8 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 5, 2006
'Golden popcorn' evades 'U' filmmaker
With his first feature film,
LSA senior Jarrett Slavin
receives national attention
By Kimberly Chou
Daily Arts Writer
Jarrett Slavin thought "The Spiral Project"
was just a high school pipe dream - it turned
out to be something more, earning a MTV
Movie Award nomination.
The LSA senior premiered his first feature-
length film, "The Spiral Project," at the Michi-
gan Theater this past March.
Slavin completed the first draft of the script
in high school and spent the past two and a half
years filming and editing it with the help of
his former Resident Advisor-turned-producer
Sultan Sharrief, a University alum.
Shot entirely in Ann Arbor and metro Detroit,the
film features 60 University student actors and cost a
tidy sum of $100,000 - the majority obtained by
the Slavin family's fundraising efforts.
Based on the basic "wretched excess" plot-
line, "The Spiral Project" tells the story of a
promising high school playwright seemingly
caught in a prostitution ring. Produced on 35-
mm film - standard for Hollywood fare but
rare for student filmmaking - the movie was
also the first high-definition film shown at the
Michigan Theater. Angeles," he said.
The icing on the proverbial cake would have The "mtvU Student Filmmaker," a new addi-
been national recognition by MTV's college- tion to the awards show this year, is presented
centric sister channel, mtvU, at the MTV Movie during the taping alongside other unorthodox film
Awards in Los awards, includ-
Angeles. ing "Best
Slavin was . Fight Scene"
nominated and "Best On-
for the "mtvU Screen Duo."
Student Film- Joshua
maker" prize. Caldwell, a
But as Slavin student at
found out, he Fordham Uni-
would not be versity in New
in thecompany York, won for
of past winners his film "A
like Selma Beautiful Lie."
Blair and "I knew my
Sarah Michelle film was the
Gellar ("Best cortesy at salten shorwt only feature
Kiss") or Jared "The Spiral Project" focuses on Chase Addison, a high school film and only
Hess, whose senior wearied by life in suburbia and the pressure to produce a hit 35-mm film in
quirky "Napo- new play. A crew of more than 60 students were hired to act in the the competi-
leon Dyna- film, shot over a span of five weeks. tion," Slavin
mite" cost little said. "I thought
more than "The Spiral Project" to produce. that would make it either a shoe-in or eliminate me.
Slavin did not attend the awards ceremony, There's two sides of the coin."
taped Saturday night and set to broadcast this Either the judges would see Slavin as a
Thursday on MTV, because he was told in moneyed filmmaker with more resources, he
advance that did not win. reasoned, or as someone who simply strove to
"We're not celebrities yet," Slavin said with reach greater heights.
a laugh. "They only fly the winner out to Los "I guess they saw it as the former, but I'm not
really bitter about it at all," Slavin said.
Instead, Slavin is in talks to bring his soph-
omore script, tentatively titled "Frat Star," to
celluloid life. Although a screen arts and cul-
tures major, Slavin did not consult professors
or other departmental resources when making
"The Spiral Project," nor does he plan to when
"Frat Star" gets underway.
As actress-host Jessica Alba was taping the
MTV Movie Awards Saturday, Slavin was meet-
ing with a "pretty big Hollywood producer" to
discuss budgeting and casting for the new film.
The greatest windfall to the attention "The Spi-
ral Project" has garnered is Slavin's new leverage.
"('Frat Star') will be a much more profes-
sional shoot," he said. "It's going to be a lot
different than the last film."
Slavin's ultimate goal is to submit "Frat Star"
to major theaters nationwide. Slavin also plans
to shoot the film on location in Ann Arbor.
"It's lighter but it definitely has a dramatic
aspect to it," he said.
Slavin has his eyes set on bigger endeavors,
but for other University student filmmakers,
MTV's elusive "golden popcorn" suddenly
seems more attainable.
"I do know there are a number of produc-
tions that are currently being attempted along
the scale of 'The Spiral Project' that wouldn't
have been attempted previously," Slavin said.
"People are thinking, 'Oh, I can actually do
this,' " he said.
Continued from Page 1.
national average of nearly 27 percent.
In Washtenaw County, about 53 percent of residents have
at least a bachelor's degree.
But simply increasing the number of young people entering
colleges and universities will not be enough to diversify the
state's economy, said Rebecca Blank, Dean of the Ford School
of Public Policy.
In a paper presented at the conference, Blank argued that
Michigan faces a tougher challenge than other states trying
to build a skilled workforce because a large number of the
state's young college graduates leave after graduation.
Michigan currently has the third highest level of "out-
migration" of young educated people in the nation.
Power's Center For Michigan is not alone in its effort to
find new solutions to Michigan's economic woes.
Other moderate groups, such as Detroit Renaissance and
Michigan's Future, are tackling similar issues within the
The continued decline of the state's manufacturing sector
has created broad consensus that something urgent needs to
be done to revitalize the state's economy.
But in an increasingly partisan election year, it is unclear
just how great an impact a group of self-described centrists
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making coverage unaffordable for
These factors often make college
students among Michigan's unin-
Robert Winfield, director of Uni-
versity Health Service, said students
are generally aware of their health-
care coverage status, but unexpect-
ed emergency medical bills often
catch them off guard.
"People on the edge financially
are making conscious decisions
about their risks," Winfield said.
Winfield also said the University
has considered requiring all stu-
dents to purchase health insurance,
but has not yet moved forward with
The University worries the extra
cost might discourage students from
attending, he said.
Currently, the University only
requires international and medical
students to have health insurance.
In its preliminary stages, Gra-
nholm's plan, while applauded by
some, was met with criticism from
Republican gubernatorial can-
didate Dick DeVos has criticized
Granholm's approach, saying that
rather than creating new healthcare
programs, existing plans should be
Granholm defended the program,
saying that research shows that
providing basic healthcare reduces
costs over time by eliminating cost-
ly emergency visits that could have
been prevented if the patient had
received care earlier.
DeVos has also pushed for exten-
sive reforms of Michigan's Medic-
McLaughlin said DeVos is justified
to want more control over the health-
care system, but that as governor,
Granholm has little power to over-
haul the program because of its sta-
tus as a joint state-federal program.
"Her hands are tied pretty tight by
the federal government," McLaugh-
Talk of universal healthcare
has been building in Lansing for
In April, Lansing activist Melissa
Sue Robinson launched a petition
drive to have a provision guar-
anteeing universal healthcare in
Michigan added to -the state's con-
The initiative will be added to
the November ballot if Robinson
collects the nearly 320,000 signa-
- Brian Mok and Candy Chu
contributed to this report.