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TTS Alumni in First Major Motion Picture for YouTube

29 Mar

Two alumni from DePaul’s Theatre School can be seen in the first major motion picture made exclusively for web distribution on YouTube.

John Colella (THE '92)

John Colella (THE ’92) and Reamy Hall (THE ’92) are in the film, Girl Walks Into A Bar,  which opened on March 11 and has been viewed almost 400,000 times so far.

The film is written and directed by Sebastián Gutiérrez, also known for writing and directing the 2009 film, Women in Trouble. It is the first major movie for web distribution that stars a notable cast, including Danny DiVito, Josh Hartnett and Rosario Dawson.

Reamy Hall (THE '92)

The plot follows a group of apparent strangers in interlocking stories taking place in ten different bars during the course of one evening throughout Los Angeles. Colella and Hall are seen in two chapters: in Chapter Two, Colella plays the “creepy” guy, and in Chapter Three, Colella plays “Ralph” and Hall plays “the bartender.”

The film premiered in Hollywood on March 7, and was also screened on March 11 at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. You can watch Girl Walks into a Bar in its entirety for free exclusively on YouTube.

Congratulations to Colella and Hall for being a part of this incredible first!

Chicago Film Festival Welcomes DePaul Alumna

8 Oct

DePaul graduate and teacher-turned-filmmaker Carmen Marron (COM ’94) is in Chicago this month for the Chicago International Film Festival, where her new movie “Go For It!” is showing as an official selection. The film, based partially on Marron’s experience growing up in Chicago’s inner city and her work as a guidance counselor for at-risk youth, has been selected for the Boston International Film Festival, Dances With Films Festival, and the HBO Presents New York International Latino Film Festival. The coming-of-age story follows Carmen, a good student and talented street dancer in the underground Chicago club scene.

Starting this weekend, you can catch “Go For It” along with writer/director/producer Carmen Marron and cast members at the Chicago International Film Festival. For show times, locations and ticket info, visit


Alumni Center Welcomes Grads “Home”

8 Jan

If you missed the grand opening of the DePaul Alumni Center on Dec. 5, now’s a great time to check out your new on-campus “home.” Located just off the Fullerton el stop on the Lincoln Park Campus, this classy facility was built especially for use by DePaul alumni! It’s just one part of the university’s Welcome Center — which includes both alumni- and admissions-related spaces.

All DePaul graduates are invited to stop by, whether you have a question for Alumni Relations staff or just need to warm up for a minute (what’s with all the snow!?) while you’re in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The center has fully equipped PCs with Internet and printing capabilities, plus wireless access, so you can check email, do research, check out job postings or whatever you need! Alumni can even park for free during the visit (but be sure to check out the parking info for details on how and where).

Here are the fast facts:
DePaul University Alumni Center
2400 N. Sheffield Ave., Suite 150
Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Can’t make it to campus? Flip through these photos from the grand opening or watch this mini video tour:

DePaul alum highlights DePaul/Kenya Program Through Video

30 Sep

Renita D  Young PhotoEarlier this year, Demon Tracks stumbled upon alumna Renita Young’s (COM ’07) blog ( and we were fascinated by her tales of living and working as a broadcast journalist in Nairobi, Kenya. DePaul reached out to Renita, who graciously agreed to use her talents to create a video highlighting the Tangaza College collaborative learning program, run by DePaul’s School for New Learning, which graduated it’s first crop of students last year

We chatted with Renita about her time in Kenya and her experience working on the Tangaza video, which you can check out on the DePaul alumni and FriendsYouTube channel or at the end of the interview.

Tell me about your background at DePaul and how it prepared you for your current career path in journalism and social media?

At DePaul, I majored in communication/TV, radio, film production with a minor in English/professional writing. About half way through my studies, I took a journalism class and have been hooked ever since. It was at DePaul that I developed some of the little-known core values of journalism through liberal arts training: A good ear to listen, a good mind to analyze and curiosity that sparks good questions.

What eventually took you to Kenya? How long did you stay and what was your job there?

I went to Kenya to complete an internship as part of my graduate studies in journalism. From January through March of 2009, I worked as a business reporter for Nairobi-based K24-TV, which is the country’s first 24-hour news network. I reported on topics ranging from trade and mobile competition, to disaster preparedness and how Kenyan banks are seeking to prevent a local market meltdown.

How was that experience for you?

Well, at first I found that it was hard to find news in Kenya. It’s not a country that has a tradition of a free press or of working directly with reporters, but coming from an undergraduate liberal arts background at DePaul, I was able to use my research skills to tease out unusual ideas and follow up on leads. It gave me the background to be able to tell a good story.

What were some of the most notable stories that you worked on?

I had the chance to interview many influential people in the country, including U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger about US-Kenya relations. On one assignment, I interviewed Deloris Jordan from the James Jordan Foundation and mother of “His Airness,” Michael Jordan. That was a pleasant surprise to run into another Chicagoan while far away from home. I also had the honor of reporting on President Barack Obama’s inauguration from the U.S. Embassy’s counselor for foreign affairs’ viewing party. It was an unforgettable experience!

What made you decide to start a blog about your time in Keyna?

I initially used the blog to keep friends and family abreast of what I did while I was there. It was a “reporter’s notebook” style blog and served as my online journal of my experiences working at K24. My postings discussed the difference between business reporting in Kenya and the United States, and some of the stories I wrote for K24. It also highlighted some of the entertainment I enjoyed and my overall experience of living in Kenya.

Can you tell us more about the video project you’ve recently completed for us at DePaul?

While I was in Kenya, DePaul’s office of Advancement contacted me to document via video and photos its Tangaza College Program. In 2005, the School for New Learning created the partnership, offering social ministry and spirituality students at Tangaza College a bachelor’s degree in leadership and management. Previously these students had access only to a two-year program and received the equivalent of an associate’s degree.

So I took a day and went to Tangaza College to interview students, faculty and alumni about the degree program, how it has changed their lives and how they will use the knowledge gained to change their communities. Once I got back to Chicago, I interviewed Dr. Derise Tolliver, DePaul’s director of the Tangaza project and produced two videos for the program, including six short vignettes of faculty, students and alumni sharing how the program has changed their lives.

This was particularly groundbreaking, because the {Tanzaga] teachers, students, faculty and alumni from the program say that they’d never seen a program that broke the traditional course structure and combined experiential learning with classroom learning and community involvement, the way this program does.

What’s next for you, career wise?

Currently, I’m the director of social media at Women of the World (formerly with World Trade Center, Illinois), a Chicago-based networking organization that provides opportunities to professional women through collaboration, networking and mentoring.

As the job market picks up, I look forward to reporting business news full time for a major network television station. My passion is to produce reports that are relevant to average citizens in a depressed economic climate, so that they know how to best plan their futures.

Find out more about Renita at

Five Minutes for Muscular Dystrophy

3 Sep

Phil Cantore passed away in December 2008. But thanks to his passion for film making, his story lives on.

Phil’s struggle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is chronicled in a short documentary that he worked on with Mark Curcio (CDM ’09) and Stuart Lasky (CDM ’09) while the trio were seniors at DePaul.

Recently the mini-doc, titled “Phil’s Plan,” got some air time via Chicago’s ABC7 News. You can check out the story on ABC7’s website. And watch the youtube video of “Phil’s Plan” for some really heart-wrenching and insightful stuff.

Just two semesters shy of graduation, Phil received his DePaul degree posthumously, making him a 2009 graduate of DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media.