UCSC honors Marti Noxon at Hollywood Film/TV alumni event

Dean announces launch of new Arts Division alumni web site

From left: Executive Producer Brannon Braga (Terra Nova, 24, Star Trek); Writer/Producer Marti Noxon (Mad Men, Grey's Anatomy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer); UCSC Arts Dean David Yager; Writer/Producer Michael Shipley (Better off Ted, My Name is Earl)  (Photos by Ashley Scontriano)
Marti Noxon accepting the UCSC Film and Digital Media Prestigious Alumni Award
Randall Grahm (left), founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard, welcomes Steve Nemeth, CEO of Rhino Films.
Left to Right: Producer Ron Yerxa (Little Children, Little Miss Sunshine); his wife Annette Ballester, and UCSC Arts Dean David Yager; with event co-sponsor Brannon Braga

Award-winning writer and producer Marti Noxon (Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee) was presented with the first UCSC Film & Digital Media Prestigious Alumni Award at a ceremony held last week at the Soho House in West Hollywood.

Nearly 100 UCSC alumni currently working in the arts and entertainment industry attended the event, hosted by Arts Division Dean David Yager.

The participants included several members of the dean’s leadership board, including executive producer Brannon Braga (Terra Nova, 24, Star Trek), director Sheldon Epps (George Lopez, Frasier, Friends), producer Ron Yerxa (Little Children, Little Miss Sunshine), Rhino Films CEO Steve Nemeth, executive producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Take Shelter, Insidious), and Kikim Media CEO Kiki Kapany.

Noxon, a 1987 graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a degree in theater arts, noted the warm and intimate atmosphere that permeated the alumni event.

“I was able to connect with old friends and was reminded of how unique UC Santa Cruz is and was,” said Noxon.

“I came away with a renewed sense of it's importance in my 'origin story' and a renewed desire to support both the Alumni and the Arts Division.”  

Braga, co-executive producer of the new TV series Terra Nova along with Steven Spielberg, noted that the event was held at The Soho House “with panoramic views of Los Angeles, great food, good wine, and faces I hadn't seen in 20 years.”

“I made some connections and new friends with those whom I already share UCSC alumni history. It was not only a memorable alumni event, it was a great party," Braga added.

The Los Angeles gathering was a Southern California follow-up to the UCSC Arts Division’s Bridging the Gap film and television symposium held on campus last June.

The goal of both events was to bring together and celebrate the work of UCSC alumni in the entertainment industry.

“It was remarkable to me that so many alumni were re-engaging and seeing people they haven’t seen in 20 years,” noted Dean Yager.

“And that they were hearing from other alumni in the industry about how being a Banana Slug really gives you great opportunities to be successful in the film and television industry,” he added.

Addressing the crowd, Yager announced the launching of a new Arts Alumni web site to help make it easier for UCSC alums to network.

The Dean also encouraged the group to think about supporting vital new initiatives for the UCSC Arts Division that he characterized as "game changers," including a named School of the Arts, the University Museum of the Arts and Sciences, and a new film building.

The event included a tasting of vintage and unusual wines by renowned Santa Cruz winemaker Randall Grahm. Founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard, Grahm is a close friend and supporter of the arts at UC Santa Cruz.

A number of UCSC Film & Digital Media faculty attended, including department chair Larry Andrews, along with Shelley Stamp, L.S. Kim, Gustavo Vazquez, and Renee Tajima-Peña.