LOS ANGELES VALLEY COLLEGE THROWS AWAY THIRTY YEARS OF FILM
FORMER FILM STUDENTS RESCUE FILM
NEGATIVES FROM DUMPSTER, HOPE TO RETURN FILMS TO ORIGINAL
In May, 2007, Will Falconer and I visited the Los Angeles Valley
College campus to shoot some still photos and video footage of
the locations we’d written into our first screenplay
collaboration, Film School, which was inspired by our
years as film students in the LAVC Cinema Arts Department.
Cinema Arts Building 2007
made nearly all of our student films together and won
consecutive 16mm Synch Sound Film Awards: Will in 1987 and I in
Will wins Film
Together with our classmates, we had many interesting
and, at times, outrageous experiences that inspired us to write
outside the old cinema arts building, we noticed that not much
had changed in the past 21 years since we’d first met in a film
class in 1986. As if on cue, a minivan pulled up, and a voice
inside asked, “Can I help you?” That voice turned out to be one
of our two former film professors, Prof. Joseph A. Daccurso.
When we reminded him that we were once his students, his eyes
lit up with vague remembrance, and he smiled. We proceeded to
tell him about our screenplay and of our hopes to shoot our film
on the LAVC campus. He offered to open the studio for us so
that we might look around and reminisce.
1986 Erik, Will, and John Comstock
shooting outside of the Cinema Arts Building.
1988 On the set of “Don’t Destroy Your Future”
1987 On the set of Terry Cochrane's (to the right of
Erik) film "Let Those Who Ride Decide"
Prof. Joseph A. Daccurso, and Erik
Whoever said “You can never
go back” was never a film student at LAVC. Like a scene out of
“Peggy Sue Got Married,” Will and I were instantly transported
back to 1987. The classroom hadn’t changed at all. The room had
the same rows of beat-up wooden desks in which we sat during our
film history classes, the same editing equipment on which I
learned to cut, the same camera equipment with which we shot our
first 16mm films so many years ago. A homemade crane made of
two-by-fours and plywood still leaned in one corner of the
studio, probably untouched since Will had used it to shoot his
one-minute Public Service Announcement, “Take A Good Look In The
Mirror.” Even the white studio floor I painted for the set of
my PSA, “Don’t Destroy Your Future,” was still there, under our
feet, albeit worn and scuffed under countless steps taken by
hundreds of LAVC film students during the 21 years since we’d
gone through the program.
2007 The same wooden
2007 Film editing
LEFT 1987 Will
on the crane. RIGHT 2007 crane is stored in the
corner of the studio
LEFT 1987 Erik
starts to paint the floor. RIGHT 2007 Erik is
amazed it's still there.
I took the opportunity to ask Prof. Daccurso if I could borrow
the negatives of my student films. I wanted to have new video
transfers made. Imagine my surprise when he told me that my
negative, along with all the other films made on the LAVC campus
during the past 30 years, had been tagged to be disposed of. I
always thought the negative of my modest beginning as a
filmmaker would be safe at Valley College. Clearly, I was wrong. He offered us an opportunity to look for our
films and save them. But that wasn’t good enough. I thought,
How would I feel if I found out that my film negative had
been thrown away! Imagine if the earliest films of Martin
Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and others like them had been
trashed. We knew we had to save all the negatives that had been
tagged for the dumpster. I vowed then and there that I would
try to find as many of the filmmakers as possible and return
their films to them.
I still find it hard to believe
that they were going to throw away my films.
Below is a list of LAVC student filmmakers and the names of
their student films. If you are on the list or know how I can
find any of them, please e-mail me at
I have already received some support. Foto-Kem has kindly
donated film boxes to protect the negatives and Magic Filmworks
has generously offered to Telecine all the films to digi-beta
videotape. Much remains to be done to preserve the proud
history of the Los Angeles Valley College Cinema Arts program.
If you can help in any way toward the storage, preservation,
and/or restoration of these priceless student films, please
contact me at the above e-mail address. Thanks in advance for
all your support, and let’s Save the Films!
1975 "FIRE DEPT. PROMO"
1975 "UNICEF PROMO"
1984 "TIME INVESTMENT"
1998 "EL NIDO"
"SAVE OUR SCHOOLS"
1982 "L.A. AIR POLLUTION PROBLEM"
"CPR" (with answer print)
1995 "A GOOD PLACE TO START"
"REST IN PEACE"
EFREN R. BLANCO*
KIM TAZ. BISHOP
1985-86 "TOXIE WASTE DANGER" &
"FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND"
JUAN XAVIER BORJA
1989 "DON"T JUNK YOUR LIFE"
"CAL-TRAN BIKEWAYS" (with answer
1993 "DOG FIREFIGHTER"
ANTHONY O. CARELLI
1993 "READING IS FUNDAMENTAL"
"THE C.F. FOUNDATION"
"THE 3 PIGS"
1987 "SHATTERED MIRROR' & "LET
THOSE WHO RIDE DECIDE"
1987 "THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR"
1982 "COMMUTER COMPUTER"
1976 "COAST GUARD - BOAT SAFETY"
"MORALITY KILL" and "RODIN" (with
1992 "ALCOHOLISM CENTER FOR WOMEN"
WIM DEN BOER
1993 "YIN & YANG"
ROBERT E. DUNLAP
1973 "SENIOR CITIZEN"
1977 "AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL?"
BRENDA EL KADI
1982 "FOLLOW THE TRAFFIC SIGNS"
1975 "SEAT BELTS" (with answer
1995 "AGAINST ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR"
1998 BERKS "THE BOOK"
1982 "RAPE PREVENTION"
ANGELA Y. GRAY
1985 "WILDLIFE WAYSTATION"
"NATIONAL REGISTRY OF HISTORICAL
PLACES" with release print
"GUN CONTROL PROMO"
1975 "THE GOOD OLD DAYS"
"INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE" (with
"AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY" (with
MARK VAN HORNE
"CATS & DOGS" or "SPAY YOUR PET"
1992 "AIDS KILLS"
YVONNE C. HRABE
1984 "AGAINST CHILD ABUSE"
AUGUSTINE (AUGGIE) JUAREZ
1975 "HOUSEHOLD DRUG SAFETY" &
BARBARA J. KAMBIC-UTZIG
1982 "DIVORCE MEDIATION"
"TRANSPLANT COUNCIL" (with release
"WHEN LOVE IS GONE" ???
1990 "UNITED ARMENIAN FUND P.S.A"
1980 "GIRL SCOUTS" (with answer
1975 "MOTORCYCLE SAFETY"
"LAST GASP RANGER"
1993 "THE HATRED"
HENRY G. MARCARD
1975 "ARGENTINA A FOUR MINUTE
"SAVE A LIFE"
1982 "BEACH SAFETY"
MELISSA S. MENDEZ
1995 "HEAL THE BAY"
1975 "VOLUNTEERS IN EDUCATION"
BRUCE ROSS MORGAN
1976 "PUBLIC SERVICE SPOT"
1982 "CHILD ABUSE"
1982 "THE MOBIUS TRAP" & "THE
"A CRY FOR HELP"
"NUTRITION PROMO" (with answer
"DRUNK DRIVING" (with answer
1981? "HOUSEHOLD RECYCLING"
"PREVENT THE SPREAD"
"CHILD HELP USA"
1975 "ENERGY CONSERVATION"
1992 & 93 "THIS IS WHERE I LIVE" &
"AMERICANS WITH DISABILITES"
Robert Wilkman e-mailed
me this information on Craig Littell. This is why I feel the
need to save the LAVC films and post them on youtube. That way
Craig and his film "Last Gasp Ranger" will not be forgotten.
Animator and former Executive Board member CRAIG
LITTELL-HERRICK died on October 10, 2002. Since 1977 he worked
for Bosustow, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, Disney, Cornell/Abood,
Baer Animation, Calvert-Cobbler, Kroyer, Filmfair, Cool
Productions and Warner Bros. He served as a Local 839 Executive
Board member from 1992 until 2001, and as a delegate to several
I will remember Craig as someone who combined the
quirky disposition of an eccentric and talented artist with a
fierce sense of unionism.
For years, his wild collage ads for the annual holiday party
took inspiration from the B-movie career of our long-time
hostess Beverly Garland. Those less familiar with Craig's sense
of humor will probably miss the rich irony that he died just as
we decided to stop having our parties at the Holiday Inn. We
will never know what he could have done with old photos of
bowling balls and ice skates ...
-- Jeff Massie
Today Will and I helped celebrate Milt
Timmons 75th Birthday. It's been 20 years since we last saw him.
I hope to post some video soon.
Milt Timmons Reports Successful Mid-City Party
Milt Timmons’ pot-luck supper and 75th
birthday party was attended by about 30 people
on Saturday, April 19th. The
Recreation Room of Andrea Winkler’s condominium
near CBS Television City was festively decorated
with purple crepe paper bunting, a giant
birthday banner, balloons and candles of various
colors. The covered ping-pong table served
admirably as a buffet for the sumptuous spread
of meats, salads, breads, casseroles and sweets.
In one corner Milt had set up a table to display
all the books he has written, while in another
corner a video setup continuously played movies
that Milt had directed and/or produced over the
years. The books and movies stimulated many
Three of Milt’s former film students from LA
Valley College were among the guests, and the
highlight of the afternoon and evening occurred
when two of these students showed up with a TV
cameraman. Erik C. Andersen, one of the students,
has become the very successful editor, and he
has undertaken a labor of love in which he plans
to restore to pristine condition all the student
films that were produced at Valley College over
the last forty years or so. Then he plans to
post an archive of these films on YouTube. Since
Milt was the producer of most of these films,
Erik took this opportunity to interview Milt on
camera, and to document some of the fascinating
conversations that are always a hallmark of any
Here is a fun e-mail I got from a past
"I went through the film program and survived Joe Daccurso's
classes. At the time Francis Ford Coppolas's film "Bram Stoker's
Dracula" was in the theatres with a tag line "Love Never Dies".
We (my fellow students and I) came up with "Bram Stoker's
Draccurso" with a new tag line "Class Never Ends"."
Wim den Boer
I got an e-mail today from Joel Nassan (see
below). Everyone should check out his documentary "SOLD". Joel,
thank you for your kind words. They are inspiring.
I stumbled across your website and I read about what you did
with all the old films at LAVC and I was really inspired that
there are people like you who care enough to put effort in
saving precious archives. Thanks for your work!
Magic Film & Video Works has
transferred over 30 LAVC films to tape.
Alphadogs has donated time
in an Avid bay for me to start digitizing the transferred films.
In the next few months I hope to start uploading them onto
8-13-07 YourLA on channel 4
in Los Angeles aired my "Save The Films" video today. You can view it at the
top of the page or at the following link
8-03-07 "Save The Films" was in The
Daily News today. The article was called DRAMATIC RESCUE
films saved by former student. Thanks to Susan Abram
interest in my endeavor I found 3 past LAVC film students. Click
on the www.dailynews.com link to read
ABOUT ERIK C. ANDERSEN
At LAVC I
quickly noticed that most of the
other students liked directing their
own projects but didn’t care much
about cutting them. To me,
editing the film was every bit as important as directing it, so I
volunteered to cut everyone’s films. Editing those projects as
well as some very low-budget films helped me gain experience as a
film assistant. In the early ‘90s, I helped
introduce one of the first
computer-based editing systems – Lightworks
– into the film industry. These systems have revolutionized
the way editors cut today. Since that time, I has
worked on many feature films
including Madonna-Truth or Dare,
Speed 2, Desperado,
Bring It On, Down With
Love, Killer Pad, Housebroken, and Hotel
California. In 1997, I was awarded an Emmy for editing
Joe, a Public Service Video
for the American Heart Association. one of 15 editors who
authored the book “Transitions –
Voices on the Craft of Digital
ABOUT WILL FALCONER
Will was born
in Lucille Ball’s hometown: Jamestown, New York. He spent ten years
working as a professional musician and for a short time lived in a
small West Hollywood apartment next door to a then fledgling
actor/musician by the name of Johnny Depp. Will also worked on
several motion picture productions and was the Visual Media
Specialist for the Broadway Department store chain before enrolling
at Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, where, in a film production class, he met another young
aspiring filmmaker and photographer named Erik C. Andersen.
obtaining his Motion Picture Technician’s Certificate from LAVC,
Will transferred to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst,
where he obtained a B.A. in English and a Masters in Education,
William Falconer rips off
the "Dispose of" note.
Masters degree at the same ceremony at which Bill Cosby’s wife
Camille was awarded her Ph.D. Will has been teaching English
and Film for 15 years and is currently English Department
Chairperson at Hueneme High School in Oxnard, California. Will just
completed his first novel, Voyage to the Planet of the Giant Bugs,
a science fiction adventure for young readers, and has written
several screenplays including Flower Girl, The Close Shave,
Indecent Assault, American Waste, and Father’s Day.
a screenplay Will co-wrote with Erik C. Andersen, was nominated for
Best Screenplay at the 2005 San Fernando Valley International Film
Festival. Although they did not win an award, Will got to meet
Academy Award-winner Shirley Jones, which was even better.
current works-in progress are the screenplays The Custodian,
Old Folks’ Home, and Joe and Jerry’s Double Date. He is
still planning on writing the Great American Novel or, if that’s not
in the cards, at least the Great American Screenplay. Will is an
avid film buff whose tastes range from studio blockbusters to
independent art films, from Hollywood classics to grade-Z
exploitation films, and almost everything in between. He estimates
he’s seen around 4000 movies, but he’s trying to cut down with the
help of his lovely wife and two charming and adorable children.
ABOUT MITCH MANDELL
- Director - Gun Control PSA
I have very fond memories of the LAVC film dept.
and Prof. Daccurso. It was truly the first time
I was inspired to apply myself to school work.
Poor high school study habits, and spending
more time in the student parking lot then class,
led me to LAVC instead of UCLA or USC. If I had
it to do over again, I would still go to LAVC
and have 15 - 20 students in my class instead of
the hordes the universities get. The class I was
in bonded during our time there and we had a
blast. I, and my classmates, felt we got a
great education in film making. Although, I'll
be the first to admit, it's not reflected in
this first film I produced.
After finishing my AA at LAVC in 1983 I began my
advertising career by landing a job at Chiat/Day
Inc. Advertising, where I was responsible for
all non-broadcast, multimedia materials
produced. Then I quickly moved on to producing
radio and television ads for Porsche, Pizza Hut,
Apple Computers, Nissan, Fox Television and
Steven Speilberg's television show "Amazing
Stories." I spent most of my days (and many
nights) in post houses throughout Hollywood.
I left Chiat/Day in 1988 to work for Fox Television as a
television promotions writer/producer. After two years with
Fox, I started getting burnt out on the film/TV biz
and started getting involved with telecommunications. This
led me to the day in 1993 when I first saw the internet.
That was the day I saw the future. For the past 15 years I
have produced websites for numerous fortune 500 companies,
but I am most proud of my own sites
and the soon to be released
www.fabulousliving.com, and that's what I continue to
work on today.
I live in Big Bear Lake with
my best friend/ business partner Cheri Sicard and our 2 dogs
Zeena and Zoey.