Airing Schedule

Click here for the full airing schedule.

Produced by BYU students and hosted by Professor Jeff Parkin, First Look is a unique series where student filmmakers showcase and discuss their work. On each episode they discuss the impact these remarkable creative experiences had on them--highlighting the challenges faced and lessons learned en route to capturing stories that uplift and inspire. Tune in to BYU TV to get your first look at this new generation of filmmakers. Their work encourages us to consider how we see, listen, and think about moving images.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Episode 406: Going Forth

In this episode we visit BYU graduates in New York and California and talk to them about the new experiences they're having as they pursue film-related careers and graduate studies in big cities.

Justin Cook is originally from Los Lunas, New Mexico and graduated with a BA in Media Arts Studies from BYU in 2006. Justin currently lives in New York City with his wife Brecken and their two boys Reuben and Simeon. He is completing his Master of Fine Arts in Film: Screenwriting and Directing at Columbia University's School of the Arts. Pas de Deux, a short film that Justin made as a part of the Columbia MFA is currently screening at film festivals across the nation.

Jon Ventura grew up being home-schooled in Georgia, where he developed an interest in photography, writing, and music. He knew he wanted to study film after watching The Truman Show for the first time. He graduated from the film program at BYU in 2009 with an emphasis in Critical Studies, and is currently working on an M.A. in Cinema Studies at NYU.

Marc Marriott went to grad school at University of California in Los Angeles and earned a M.F.A in directing, he was also awarded the UCLA James Bridges Award in Directing. Among many accomplishments on his resume he has produced several television shows and webseries for AOL, the History Channel, and the Discovery Channel.

Dane Cannon is a 27 year old freelance producer and director. His work has shown at more than 10 film festivals, winning its category four times (including Best Family Film at the Newport Beach International Film Festival and Best Independent Feature at the Kids First! Film Festival). He's currently finishing up his second feature, and sometimes assists Jay Duplass on several documentary projects. He loves every Disney movie ever made (especially "The Emperor's New Groove"), independent film, Animal Planet, and "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" More of his work can be seen on the Internet.

Ashley Pacini began being interested in film at the age of 16 when her family moved to Rome, Italy.
Along with her twin sister she found the local Blockbuster only a few blocks away from their house. Through film they would nostalgically travel to the land they had come from. When she found that BYU had a film program, she didn’t hesitate in finding out more information. She found film magical and the passion that filmmakers displayed was inspiring. After graduating from BYU, she worked as a Producer Assistant for the Church’s Audiovisual department. While working there she applied to grad school and is currently working on an MA in Cinema Studies at NYU. She also works for a business management firm with clients in the entertainment industry.

Jed Cowley grew up in the backwoods of Southern Oregon as one of five boys. At the age of 19, he served an LDS mission in El Salvador before pursuing a BA in Film and English at Brigham Young University. While at BYU, Jed produced and edited various short films. He also directed an award-winning commercial for the Utah Film Commission. The Loss of a Wrestling Match, Jed’s first short film, was an official selection at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Currently, Jed resides in New York City with his wife Kate. He is working on an MFA at Columbia University, with an emphasis in film directing and screenwriting.

Tristan Whitman studied film at Brigham Young University where he received his B.F.A. He went on to receive his M.F.A. in Cinematography at American Film Institute in 1998. Since then, Whitman has been working as a director of photography on commercials, features, music videos and corporate films. Whitman's recent work includes: ongoing second unit DP on FOX’s Bones; the feature Take, starring Minnie Driver and Jeremy Renner; Axmen on the History Channel; and How Stuff Works and Out of Egypt, both for the Discovery Channel. Whitman's work has also been seen on HBO, Showtime, MTV, MTV2, VH1, NBC, Nick at Night and the Sci-Fi Channel. Whitman is a lecturer of cinematography at USC's School of Cinematic Arts and is a member of International Cinematographers Guild [ICG], IATSE Local 600. You can see more of his work here.

Original Air Dates:
08/11/2010 8pm
08/18/2010 12pm
08/18/2010 6pm

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Episode 405: Starting Over

Featuring "Peter Bayer" with director Sean Slobodan and "Clean Break" with director Chas Kelly. Also featuring faculty host Jeff Parkin.

Documentary filmmakers Chas Kelly and Sean Slobodan discuss their rewarding experiences making films about people at a crossroads and explore how we can find hope even during the toughest trials.

Although he was left behind at home and forgotten by his family on his birthday at a young age, Chas followed in the footsteps of his brothers and father before him (just as two of his sisters did after,) by earning his bachelor's degree in film studies. He emphasized in documentary film production and editing. He graduated from BYU in August 2009 as he finished his student film, Clean Break. Since then he has been freelance editing and assisting in production work for the LDS Church in Salt Lake City, where he lives with his beautiful wife, Samantha, along with whom he just bought his first scooter. He's got no complaints.

Sean Slobodan's main areas of interest are cinematography and documentary filmmaking. During his time at BYU he was involved in several projects including documentaries shot in Samoa and Argentina. He's now found work as the main photographer/cinematographer for Nature's Sunshine Products in Provo, Utah. He's currently shooting an energy drink advertisement in San Francisco and is also involved in the pre-production phases of a short horror film scheduled to shoot mid-June of this year. Sean is married to the beautiful Megan Slobodan and they are the proud parents of a chubby little 6 month old daughter named Evelyn Rose.

Original Air Dates:
08/04/2010 8pm
08/11/2010 12pm
08/11/2010 6pm

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Episode 404: Obsession

Featuring "Unhinged" with director Nick Stentzel and producer Diane Mayne, featuring "Obsessive Compulsive" with filmmaker Derek Pueblo.

Passion can come with a price--just ask a student filmmaker. The filmmakers discuss the obsessions of the characters in their films but also how their love of filmmaking has become an obsession of their own.

More About the Filmmakers:

Nicholas Stentzel is an award winning filmmaker and photographer. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Media Arts: Film and a BA in Photography. He can most often be found behind a camera - either directing the action or capturing stills of amazing sights.

Nick has traveled extensively, shooting documentary films and photography around the globe. He has spent time photographing the "invisible children" of Northern Uganda, hiking through the Andes Mountains in Peru, and wandering the streets of Singapore. He has also lived in Australia and Brazil for extended periods of time.

Please visit his website.

Diane Mayne did not grow up dreaming of becoming a filmmaker. The youngest of six children, she grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado. She began her time at BYU as a Chemistry major but after two years realized that science was no longer her passion. In search of a completely new direction she took the Intro to Film class. It only took a single lecture for her to make up her mind and soon she was accepted into the BYU Film program. After graduating in 2008 Diane began working as a production manager for BYU Broadcasting on the series "The Generations Project."

Derek Pueblo is currently a student in the BYU TMA Program. Along with taking classes he teaches the Intermediate Film Production class. He is the recipient of the 2009 Kodak student filmmaker award and was director of photography on Inspector 42, which recently won a Student Emmy. Currently, he just finished shooting a feature length western, "For Robbing the Dead."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Episode 403: Sou Da Bahia

Featuring "Sou Da Bahia" with director Christian Jensen and director of photography Nick Stentzel. Also featuring faculty host Jeff Parkin.

Sou Da Bahia, which translates to "I'm From Bahia" is a documentary about artists in a region of Brazil called Bahia. Filmmakers Christian and Nick describe their experiences as they related to and learned from fellow artists of all ages.

More About the Filmmakers:

J. Christian Jensen is a filmmaker with a professional emphasis in documentary producing and editing. He has worked on both fiction and non-fiction films in a variety of capacities including, production sound, electric, camera, writing, editing, directing and producing. His relative versatility comes from having worked on everything from large, nationally distributed projects (National Geographic Television, PBS Frontline) to smaller niche projects for regional PBS, public exhibit, and the Latin American market. Christian’s past projects have frequently been character-based or taken on ethnographic qualities and include a series of vignettes about Bahian artists in Brazil, a documentary about the last living leprosy exiles in Hawaii, an exposé on Mormonism, and an off-the-beaten-path series about U.S. National Parks. He has a particular interest in producing films that bridge social divides and appeal to both international and domestic audiences. Currently, he works as a freelance editor and continues to independently develop documentary features and television series.

Original Air Dates:
07/21/2010 8pm
07/28/2010 12pm
07/28/2010 6pm

Friday, April 2, 2010

Episode 402: "Butterflies"

Featuring "Butterflies" with director Andy Bailey and faculty host Jeff Parkin.

Butterflies is an imaginative story about a young boy who overcomes his fear of presenting in front of the class for Show and Tell. Director Andy Bailey discusses the challenges of combining live action and animation, working with kids, and shooting on an old roller coaster.

You can learn more about Andy and the film at the official site or at the film's blog.

Original Air Dates

07/14/2010 8pm
07/21/2010 12pm
07/21/2010 6pm

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Episode 401: BYU Animation: Birth of a Program

Featuring three short films made over a few years as the BYU Animation Program began to take form. Jeff Parkin, member of the TMA faculty, talks with filmmakers Chad Erekson, Craig Van Dyke and Trenton Halvorsen.

Originial Air Dates
07/07/2010 8pm
07/14/2010 12pm
07/14/2010 6pm

BYU's Animation Program started out as a handful of students and some ambitious professors. They soon found success, however, as their first completed films went on to win awards. In this episode, the former students discuss how the newly formed BYU animation program gave them unprecedented opportunities to create and get ahead.

More About the Filmmakers:

Born in Salt Lake City, J. Chad Erekson grew up in Murray, Utah. Chad was labeled an artist in his youth. After high school and a period of service for his church, he attended the Salt Lake Community College and received his A.A.S. degree in Graphic Design. He won 1st place in both the state and national advertising design competition held by the Skills USA Organization. Chad earned a A.S. degree from the Art Institute of Portland in Computer Animation, and a B.F.A. in Animation from Brigham Young University. His student film, "Faux Paw," was awarded a "Student Emmy" from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in traditional animation. Chad has spent over 10 years at various design, and animation studios in Washington, Pennsylvania, and Utah doing design, illustration, and animation work. He currently oversee the animation specialization as full time faculty at Salt Lake Community College. He fills his free time collecting books, occasionally posting on his blog, drawing in his sketchbook, and tying up loose ends on various projects. Chad and his wife Andrea are parents of two daughters, and two sons.

Trent Halvorsen grew up loving Disney animation and Super Nintendo. In 2004 he graduated from BYU's Animation program after directing "Pet Shop", an animated short film which won a "Student Emmy". He now works for Disney Interactive Studios in Salt Lake City where he frequently visits with top talent at PIXAR and the Walt Disney Animation Studio to develop console video games for their films. His recent work includes "Meet the Robinsons", "Bolt", and "Toy Story 3". He and his talented wife, Melissa, have developed freelance games for MTV Networks and Adult Swim. They have two children. Visit his blog.

*Photo: Trent Halvorsen in a mocap session at the Jim Henson Studios in
Hollywood, CA

Photo credit: National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Craig graduated with a BFA in Animation at Brigham Young where he worked on the award winning film Lemmings. He currently lives in Santa Monica with his wife and two kids and does character animation at a studio called Asylum. You can learn more about his work here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Media Arts alum Hubbel Palmer ('01)

This special edition of First Look follows Media Arts alumni who live and work in Los Angeles as they share advice for young BYU filmmakers thinking of making the plunge. Also featuring faculty host Rodger Sorensen.

From the newest arrival to the seasoned veteran, there are many Media Arts alumni working in the film and television industries in Los Angeles. Shot in their offices and homes in the city, our graduates share their struggles and insights about leaving student life behind and working in the entertainment capital of the world (without losing their souls!). Featuring alumni Eric Anderson, Brian Gibson, Hubbel Palmer, Melissa Puente, and Jenni Bushman.

Melissa Puente ('99) examines her Emmy®
for her work on the NBC series "Starting Over"

Monday, July 6, 2009

EPISODE 305: CONEY ISLAND airs on BYUTV July 8 @ 9pm, July 15 @ 5pm

"Coney Island"

Featuring “Coney Island,” with director Brandon Dayton speaking with TMA faculty Sharon Swenson. Also featuring faculty host Rodger Sorensen.

In "Coney Island," Dayton portrays a world set in reality yet infused with magical elements. Set in an earlier time, the film focuses on a boy facing the realization he may never get what he wishes for. Brandon joins Media Arts faculty member Sharon Swenson in a deeper analysis of the film’s meaning, as well as the challenges faced in making it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

EPISODE 304: KIDS GROWING UP airs July 1 @ 9pm, July 8 @ 5pm


Featuring “Warplay,” with director Bryan Lefler, and "Andy," with writer/producer Ben Gourley and director Brandon Dayton speaking with TMA faculty member Tom Russell. Also featuring faculty host Rodger Sorensen.

In "Warplay," director Bryan Lefler illustrates the imagination of a child during an afternoon game of war, where reality and fantasy seem to overlap. In an engaging conversation with Media Arts faculty member Tom Russell, Lefler discusses the distinct impact media has on the decisions we make, as told through his film's child protagonist and his sobering struggle to distinguish the two in a media-saturated world.

Ben Gourley, writer/producer of “Andy,” and director Brandon Dayton tell their film's story through a foster child’s point of view as he struggles to adapt to his new surroundings. The film offers a fresh perspective on how children view the world around them--one that has taken on new meaning for the filmmakers since becoming parents themselves. Together with Media Arts faculty member Tom Russell, Ben and Brandon discuss how "Andy" helps us to see the ways children want to do good but often test boundaries to make sense of their complex and often rapidly shifting environments.


Monday, June 15, 2009

EPISODE 303: THE POTTER'S MEAL (airs Jun 17 @ 9pm, Jun 24 @ 5pm)

"The Potter's Meal"

Featuring “The Potter's Meal,” with director Steve Olpin speaking with his former TMA advisor Tom Lefler. Also featuring faculty host Rodger Sorensen.

Despite there not being an established documentary program at BYU yet, film student Steve Olpin created an ambitious long-term project featuring his pottery instructor, Joseph Bennion called "The Potter's Meal." The film would go on to earn acclaim from a variety of venues, including the Heartland and Sundance Film Festivals.

Living a life of simplicity, we see Joe devoting his time and energy to his family, his pottery, and his garden--following the belief that by living for what you love and being closer to nature, one may understand God better and draw nearer to Him. Steve Olpin joins us to revisit what went into making this stirring film as a student at BYU.


Steve Olpin is a filmmaker with a documentary and action sports background. He has made films about artists, musicians, a scientist, a mortician and numerous action sports athletes. His films have been screened and honored in national and international film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival. The Heartland Film Festival honored him as a visionary with the Crystal Heart Award for his films The Potter’s Meal and In The Presence of Healers. His directing and cinematography work have been featured on NBC, PBS, ESPN, USA Network, Outdoor Life Network, Fuel Network and Fox Sports Net. He has directed for both television programs and television commercials. His work explores passionate, driven people. His feature length documentary “Nasty’s World” won Grand Prize at the 2003 X-Dance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. With creative partner Tim Irwin, Steve has been directing behind the scenes documentaries for DVD special features including the Jack Black hit comedy “Nacho Libre.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2009



Airs June 10 at 9:00 PM and June 17 at 5:00 PM
Featuring “Seaside,” with producer Kendall Wilcox and director Caroline Prohosky speaking with TMA advisor Tom Lefler, and
Garden of Hesperides,” with director Brandon Dayton, speaking with TMA faculty Jeff Parkin. Also featuring faculty host Rodger Sorensen.

BYU Dance Faculty member Caroline Prohosky and TMA student Kendall Wilcox joined together in hopes of telling a story that would meld the art of modern dance with film in "Seaside." Through their collaboration, the symbolic storytelling nature of modern dance is expressed through carefully conceived cinematic tools such as lighting, cinematography, and music. Ultimately, each complements the other well in this unique cross-disciplinary film. In this episode, Caroline and Kendall discuss their work, as well as some challenges they encountered along the way.

Behind the scenes on "Garden of Hesperides"

"Garden of Hesperides" is a film adaptation of the C.S. Lewis short story "Forms of Things Unknown." Brandon Dayton, the director, made this striking film with a small crew and Super 8 camera in Goblin Valley during a rush of extra-curricular creativity early in his BYU career. In his discussion with TMA faculty member Jeff Parkin, he shares with us the excitement of tackling an ambitious adaptation project, as well as the challenges faced while working with limited resources.


Brandon Dayton learned early on that he loved to draw and tell stories. Throughout his schooling, he experimented with comics, animation and film to the detriment of his GPA. While at studying at BYU he made four short films, snuck into as many illustration classes as possible and eventually graduated with a degree in Theatre & Media Arts.

Since graduation, he has worked as a writer, animator, illustrator, storyboard artist, and Christmas-light hanger. He currently works at EA Salt Lake as a concept artist, and is nearing production on his first mini-comic, Green Monk. He hopes to someday return to filmmaking.

He lives in West Jordan, UT with his wife, Annie and daughter, Lucy.

You can follow Brandon's work on his blog:

Monday, June 1, 2009


"Night Becomes Day"

Airs June 3 at 9:00 PM and June 10 at 5:00 PM
Featuring “Night Becomes Day,” with director Jacob Hinmon and TMA faculty member Tom Russell, and Still Lifes,” with director Ryan Arvay. Also featuring faculty host Rodger Sorensen.

In this episode of First Look we feature two films that explore human connection through their use of visual storytelling and minimal dialogue. Director Jacob Hinmon joins Media Arts faculty member Tom Russell in a conversation about his film “Night Becomes Day,” which he says seeks to portray the "potential of that connection to affect others and the way we live our lives."

Next, Ryan Arvay sends us a report from his new home in Florida about his experience making "Still Lifes" – a contemplative piece which focuses on the outward expressions of strangers in a diner that in turn make speculations about those around them.

"Still Lifes"


Since finishing his studies at BYU in 2006 Jacob was the director of Film and Video Production for the Hinmon Agency, an advertising/marketing agency in McMinnville, OR. As Director he wrote, directed, and produced television commercials, promotional videos, and other video content for the internet. Since then he has recently started his own production company, Four + One Productions.

He is married to Megan
Pugmire and they have two daughters, Maddie and Evie.

Ryan Arvay graduated from BYU with a BA degree in directing. Though Still Lifes was his first film at BYU, he had been making "little movies" since he was 12 years-old. Today he resides in the Florida panhandle with his wife and two children. In recent years he has worked as a free-lance illustrator and graphic designer. The DVD packaging for his second student-film - which he created with fellow BYU alum Seth Taylor - was included in the 2005 AIGA 100 (the American Institute of Graphic Design's top honors). He has also recently worked as a journalist and a photographer. His most current project will be conducting interviews and recording oral histories for a local non-profit organization. Though Ryan has worn many different hats since graduating, his love of film continues. He is currently developing a feature-length documentary which he says is inspired by his other love - historic preservation.

Friday, May 16, 2008


"Balarama & Sita Priya"

Featuring “Balarama & Sita Priya,” with director Nathan Armstrong, and “B.Y. Shoe,” with director Tim Irwin. Also featuring faculty hosts Ben Unguren and Brad Barber.

In “Balarama & Sita Priya,” Nathan Armstrong spends time with members of the Hare Krishna faith in a somewhat unexpected location: Spanish Fork, Utah. Balarama & Sita Priya are two converts to the Hare Krishna faith. Director Armstrong reports he was interested in the way their faithful involvement with this religion connects with the modern world. The film provides an eloquent demonstration how upholding the values of one’s faith and worshiping in sincerity are evidence of true devotion.

Tim Irwin knew for awhile that he wanted to make a documentary about shoes. “B.Y. Shoe” examines the shoes that people wear around campus and what that may reveal about the individual. Shoes come with a style, a story, and oftentimes a hefty price. Ultimately, "B.Y. Shoe" explores an expected contrast that causes us to reexamine some how we appraise and prioritize things like shoes.

"B.Y. Shoe"

Thursday, May 15, 2008



Featuring “2Ne211,” with director Tim Irwin; “Pat Asplund: A Merry Widow,” with director Erin Fox; Ode to an Orange,” with director A. Todd Smith; and The Sari,” with director Manju Varghese. Also featuring faculty hosts Tom Lefler and Tom Russell.

In “2Ne211,” Tim Irwin interprets the scripture from 2 Nephi Chapter 2 Verse 11 by using abstract, conflicting images in split-screen, inspired from his own life experiences. On one side there is peace, but on the other there is industrial chaos, reflecting both the serenity and turmoil inherent in his and ultimately each of our lives that come with having opposition in all things.

"Pat Asplund: A Merry Widow"

Erin Fox incorporates stories about her roommate’s mother with experimental footage in “Pat Asplund: A Merry Widow.” Erin filmed Pat in a variety of settings from her day-to-day activities and brought them to life with techniques which visually communicate something complementary to what Pat may be saying. The result is a unique portrait of a unique woman, who happens to really enjoy her life.

“Ode to an Orange” was A. Todd Smith’s application film to get into the Media Arts major at BYU! One would think this imaginative short came from a more advanced student, as Todd combines Super8 footage with digital video in a vibrant interpretation of the short story by Larry Woiwode.

"Ode to an Orange"

In “The Sari,” Manju Varghese captures a daily routine from the life of an Indian woman: putting on a sari. Manju brings a sense of magic and wonder to this routine in each of her production choices, and collaborated with her family in a variety of roles to create this short film, fittingly, about familial traditions.

"The Sari"


Tim Irwin got his start making films about skateboarding and punk bands. In his own words: When I was 16 my life changed for a few reasons. I started skateboarding, and I took a video production class. I spent my time skateboarding, playing in a punk band, or making films about skateboarders and punk bands. It's amusing to me that I am doing the same things as an adult that I was passionate about as a teenager. But I'm grateful that it has worked out that way. Documentaries are my passion--all forms of non-fiction film making. I'm interested in making films about people who are passionate about what they do. I'm inspired by all sorts of flavors of art and film.

I started my professional film making at Dog on a Bike Films where I was able to be part of some really fantastic projects. It was there that I met and worked with Steve Olpin. A creative relationship that has given me many opportunities to further my craft. Steve and I still work together often and I am stoked on that. We also own a post production company together.

Check out more of Tim's work here:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


"Milton Glaser the Famous Graphic Designer Makes a Drawing"

Featuring "Milton Glaser The Famous Graphic Designer Makes a Drawing" with director Chris Coy,"Il Contrabasso," with director Geoff Groberg, and "Capoeira: Finding the Center in the Ring" with director Justin Cook. Also featuring faculty hosts Brad Barber and Ben Unguren.

Chris Coy combined his visual arts studies with his interest in film by making this unique short documentary about BYU's visiting artist Milton Glaser. In it, the audience is offered a unique look at how Glaser operates by offering one single take, focused on a drawing he composes while ruminating on his experiences with the form.

In "Il Controbasso," both subjects, the instrument and the musician, are of interest for director Geoff Groberg. A musician himself, Groberg shares insights gained on his labor of love while making this short documentary that explore the beauty and joy of playing the upright bass.

Being a documentarian himself, we asked former student Justin Cook to shoot and edit his own segment on location in New York, where he currently studies film in the MFA program at Columbia University. In it, Justin shares his thoughts on the subjects of his film--a Colorado couple who teach capoeira, a Brazilian blend of martial art and dance, and how their passion changed the way he viewed his own life.

BYU TMA Grad Justin Cook sends a report from NYC


Geoff Groberg now works within a variety of media arts formats. Check this out for more examples of his work.

Chris Coy ('06, BFA Graphic Design) is a graphic designer, fine artist, and filmmaker currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Examples of his work can be found here.

Regarding his film, Chris has some more thoughts he'd like to add: While it may not be obvious in the film, as Milton Glaser is drawing the picture, he is also simultaneously giving an impromptu lecture. The final film was take two of two takes- the first being rejected because portions of his picture were drawn outside of the the frame. It was a little difficult to ask him to do it all over again- as the first take was also fantastic but he obliged graciously.The project was generously funded by the BYU Museum of Art and BYU's TMA department with all aspects of production completed by full time students.

See more of Milton's work

"Il Contrabasso"

"Capoeria: Finding the Center of the Ring"