Los Angeles alumni shine at Night for Elon Excellence

The Los Angeles Alumni Chapter sponsored A Night for Elon Excellence on Feb. 28 at United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills. 

On Feb. 28, 120 Elon alumni, parents, current students, prospective students and families came together to celebrate the talents of Elon alumni currently living in the Los Angeles area.

Following a reception, Los Angeles Alumni Chapter members Amy Good Robbins '14 and Zach Bocian '17 kicked off the showcase with brief remarks on the growth of the Elon network in L.A. and a highlight of what the night had in store. After these introductory remarks, fourteen commercials, short films, music videos and live performances followed – all of which featured Elon alumni in some capacity.

Below is a brief overview of all of the alumni talent included in the showcase: 

  • Will Anderson '13 & David Gwynn '13 — For Betty, Raul and Margarita Porto, baking is more than a profession. It's a way of life. After arriving from Cuba more than 40 years ago, the family opened their first bakery on Sunset Boulevard and have since expanded to Glendale, Burbank, Downey and Buena Park with a West Covina location on the way. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has supported them at every step. Co-Founders of Woodwalk, a production company based in LA and Seattle, Will and David help identify human stories that exemplify brands' missions. See more at this link. 
  • Grace Baldridge '13 & Tina Tozzi '13, with Alexander Hadden '13 and Bia Jurema '15 — In the pilot episode of Refinery29's documentary series "State Of Grace," Grace Baldridge explores what it means to identify as a Christian as well as a member of the LGBTQ community. Grace attends Atlanta Pride and speaks to people who believe that being a queer Christian is impossible and those who have found balance identifying as both. The full documentary can be viewed on Refinery29's YouTube channel here. Host: Grace Baldridge '13, Executive Producer: Tina Tozzi '13, Director of Photography: Alexander Hadden '13, Editor: Bia Jurema '15. 
  • Julia Boyd '15 — The Blow Up Couch Show is a mobile talk show where Julia brings an inflatable couch around Los Angeles and interviews exceptional, interesting people in their homes. The show is silly and doesn't take itself too seriously (nor does she) – but it is her hope that viewers will always learn something from her guests. This show started as an idea when she was a freshman at Elon, and while it took her roughly seven years to make the first episode, the spirit of the original idea has remained intact. Julia produced this episode with a wonderful team of Elon alums (Becca Evans '16, Daniel Spiller '15, Franklin Kramer '17). To watch more, visit Facebook.com/theblowupcouchshow and @blowupcouch on Instagram. Stay tuned for more episodes this spring.
  • Alex Clayton '16 — Guide For The Good Wife is a piece Alex shot with Paranoia Productions and Ignacio Sepulveda that made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to screen at CANIFFF, the Berlin Fashion Film Fest, MIAFFF, and the LA Fashion Film Festival. The piece won awards at the London Fashion Film Festival, and where Alex was nominated best actress for at the Seattle International Fashion Film Festival (sister to the La Jolla Fashion Film Festival). 
  • Nneka Enurah '11 — Before taking the stage at the 2018 Hello Sunshine Together Live Tour, comedian, actress, and writer Cameron Esposito sits down for an intimate conversation with Chicago-based community leader Imani-Rupert Gordon to discuss her passion for making audiences laugh while also supporting the LGBTQ community. Founded by Reese Witherspoon, Hello Sunshine is a media brand and content company dedicated to female authorship and storytelling across all platforms. 
  • Sam Jones '15 — "Stood Up" is a partially-live, partially-pre-recorded piece following Riley, a young man who has been stood up on a first date. Sam will interact with the pre-recorded soundscape of a barcade on a busy night in LA, as well as the voices of several characters around him. 
  • Bia Jurema '15 — "Run Free" is a music video celebrating queer, female friendships – the formative years where finding community and acceptance hold the utmost priority. Singer/Songwriter Rachael Cantu teamed up with Director/Editor Bia Jurema to create a canvas for this indie folk single. Watch the music video here. 
  • Jay Light '12 — Jay is a stand up comic and writer who has appeared on two seasons of Comedy Central insult competition Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle, was called a "local eclectic noise maker" by L.A. Weekly, and praised as "one of the best roasters in Los Angeles" by The Roastmaster General, Jeff Ross. Jay is a regular at the world-famous Comedy Store and has performed at clubs and colleges nationwide. Jay will be performing a stand-up comedy set drawn from his life experiences. 
  • Raj Rawal '12 & Lace Varn '07 — Exclusive music video premiered to the hit song "Be Alright" by Dean Lewis. Raj and Lace feel that the video is a great way to show how DanceOn continues to push the boundaries of dance, filmmaking, music and continues to elevate the voice of aspiring artists. Watch the full music video here. DanceOn currently employs five Elon alumni and was co-founded by Madonna, Elon alumna and CEO Amanda Taylor '06, Guy Oseary and Allen DeBevoise in 2011. 
  • Jordan Roman '15 — Cuddle Buddies is a dramatic short film about Lucy, a single mother who cuddles professionally not only to alleviate her clients' loneliness, but also to alleviate hers. This is a teaser trailer for the full short due out later this year. Jordan wrote and directed this piece, along with the short that is to come, with a crew of almost entirely Elon alumni. 
  • Asha Wilson '13 — AMERICAN HORROR STORY, SEASON 8 EPISODE 6: "RETURN TO MURDER HOUSE." The opening of AHS S8E6 sees witch, MADISON MONTGOMERY (Emma Roberts) and warlock, BEHOLD CHABLIS (Billy Porter) attempting to purchase the ghostly haunted house from season one (AHS: Murder House). 

With additional creative by:

  • Joanna Bateman '10 
  • Julia Gallagher '12 
  • Sara Spadacene '14 

Special thanks to the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter board members for their continued hard work in planning events such as this: Amy Good Robbins '14, Zach Bocian '17, Cameron Jackson '11, Raj Rawal '12, Lichota Seidewand '16, Jordan Roman '15, Sara Spadacene '14 and J McMerty '00. 

The Los Angeles Alumni Chapter hopes to make this an annual event and looks forward to involving even more alumni in the future. For more information on the showcase or how to get involved in future events, please contact Jill Hollis '13 G'17, associate director of alumni engagement, at jhollis@elon.edu.