MCC’s first feature film Antigone showcased in Phoenix Film Festival

MESA, Ariz. -- July 22, 2021 -- Mesa Community College’s first feature film, Antigone, appears in the prestigious Phoenix Film Festival at 7:45 p.m., Aug. 16 and 9:05 p.m., Aug. 19 in the Harkins Theaters Scottsdale 101. The film, pronounced ann-TEE-guh-nee, features MCC students and alumni performing the play originally written by Socrates around 441 B.C.

Theatre Program Director Kevin Dressler said, “We knew we were going to be wearing masks and thought - the Greeks wore masks - so this was the perfect pandemic play. One of the most interesting aspects is the serendipity that occurred because we had to do things differently due to the pandemic.”

MCC melded the Ancient Greeks with today’s technology for a brilliant pandemic solution.MCC melded the Ancient Greeks with today’s technology for a brilliant pandemic solution. Dressler said ultimately it was a team of academic educators who took pandemic lemons and collaborated to make magical lemonade. MCC design and production faculty member, Kara Thomson, suggested filming and contacted one of her former students, AJ Young, a 2010 MCC graduate whose cinematography career includes being the director of photography for a number of feature films and music videos.

“AJ was able to take the ground plan of our set and turn it into a 3D computerized image that you could walk through,” said Dressler.

With the 3D stage, characters were added and, instead of a traditional story board, camera angles were inserted in the script so the 95-minute show was able to be shot in 10, six-and-a-half-hour work days. Typically, it would take three or four weeks with months in post production.

2010 MCC alumnus, Chicago screenwriter and director Travis Marsala was tapped as associate director and stepped up to solely direct parts of the show. Four additional alumni brought their professional expertise to the film: Sean McBride, Billy Jones, Jason Kleinschmidt and Kristi Quiroz Kleinschmidt.

Eleven student actors and nine student designers contributed to the project, gaining new experiences and valuable networking, which now reaches into the movie and entertainment industries.

“This was a great educational experience for our students, who usually learn mainly the craft of stage acting,” said Dressler. “Having the opportunity to be involved in an actual film production with a shooting schedule and modifying their skills for film was tremendous.”

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, or 480-461-7892

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses, additional locations and a combination of online formats. Through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, MCC is transforming how it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment and advancement. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and nearly 50% of its students are the first in their families to attend college. Its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized tribes of Arizona as well as out-of-state tribes. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The diverse student body includes more than 300 international students from 55 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to successfully transfer to a university or compete in the workforce. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Thursday, July 22, 2021