Actor-writer-director Tim Blake Nelson—best known for his role as Delmar in the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?—was in Sarasota last night as part of Ringling College of Art and Design’s Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab.
Speaking to a group of donors at a private reception on Tuesday night, David Shapiro—cofounder of the Studio Lab , along with Ringling president Larry Thompson, and owner of Semkhor Productions—said that the goal of the Studio Lab is to “bring the industry here.”
“It’s about educating the students and the community,” Shapiro said.
Nelson, who is about to start shooting an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle with James Franco and hopes to direct his own film over the summer, toured the school campus, working with students and even teaching a master class on filmmaking. He said he was duly impressed with both Sarasota and Ringling students.
“What impresses me most is how healthily ambitious they are, while being utterly courteous to one another and to me as a guest—they seem smart, focused and utterly decent,” Nelson said. “And Sarasota is obviously a uniquely idyllic place. Everything here is quite beautiful.”