Monday, July 18, 2011

UCLA Short The Absence Collects Two More Awards

It's been quite a run for The Absence, the UCLA MFA thesis film of Alex DeMille. Earlier this spring, female cinematographer Dagmar Weaver-Madsen received a prestigious William A. Fraker Heritage Award from the ASC. Now, on the heels of winning Best Short earlier this month at New York's VisionFest, the drama has been named Best Student Film by the Long Island International Film Expo.

The reason that last one is a big deal is that it comes from the general area that DeMille's dad, New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille, calls home. The Absence is also scheduled to screen at next month's Long Island Film Festival, and was in fact shot mostly on location in eastern Long Island.

The Absence stars Matthew Rauch as Benjamin Moss, an assistant manager who gradually, with the help of an 11-year-old boy (Jan Uczkowski), discovers the sinister truth about the company he works for. The plan is to remake the short as a feature-length film.

Other awards have come from the 2010 Beverly Hills Shorts Festival, the 2010 Big Easy International Film Festival, and UCLA. DeMille certainly has the right kind of last name to make epic feature film dramas. Before coming to LA to do his Master's, he earned a B.A. in History from Yale University.

The only sad note is that co-star Larry Swansen, whose beginnings as an actor date all the way back to a 1950 Connecticut staging of Death of a Salesman, passed away in 2009 after shooting The Absence.

[The Absence]

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