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Loyola students join professional video team for Harry Shearer

Loyola press release - October 15, 2007

(New Orleans)—Current students and recent graduates from Loyola University New Orleans’ music industry studies program recently joined professional crews to work on location in the production of six short films for actor, director, and writer Harry Shearer.

Shearer, a part-time New Orleans resident, introduces the series with personal reflections on the state of the city two years after the catastrophe. The majority of the films, initially destined for Shearer’s groundbreaking new internet-broadband showcase, document musician members of three of New Orleans’ long-time families, Leah Chase, Philip Manuel, and David Torkanowsky, describing their families’ Hurricane Katrina experiences and the effect the storm has had on their own personal creative lives over the past two years.

The two other pieces by Shearer both feature Ivor van Heerden, Deputy Director of the LSU Hurricane Center, on a discovery tour of Louisiana’s barrier islands and cypress swamps.

Jim Gabour, artist-in-residence and professor of video technology at Loyola, acted as director of photography and local producer for the shoot.

Karen Murphy, producer of the infamous mockumentary, “Spinal Tap”, “For Your Consideration,” and dozens of other feature films, served as series producer and supervised the New Orleans production. Murphy anticipates the pieces will be out of post-production in Los Angeles and will begin to be posted on the new website, mydamnchannel.com (MDC), within a month.

Headed by former MTV executive Rob Barnett, MDC has its own channel on YouTube and also shares revenue with megasite Google.com In profiles in The New York Times and Variety, Barnett said he hopes that by choosing high-profile creators and curating content more carefully, MDC will stand apart from other video startups. “There's a slew of sites with hundreds of thousands of videos that are impossible to find,” Barnett said. “We're taking a very different approach than all the YouTube imitators.”

Loyola’s digital filmmaking curriculum is one of the most unique in the nation and that is a major reason why Shearer chose Loyola students to help with his project. The filmmaking program originated in the university’s music program as “music visualization,” and still primarily serves a unique niche of developing musical imagery for professional creative markets.