Two UCI Department of Film and Media Studies alumni will be participating in the Newport Beach Film Festival for the first time. In its 17th year, the Newport Beach Film Festival will showcase more than 350 films from 50 countries from Thursday April 21 to Thursday, April 28 at various theaters in Orange County, Calif. 

Merced Bacon, 2015 alumnus, will have a film he produced and co-directed with Kyle Decker—“Casa Del Sol”—screened at the festival on April 24th at 2:30 p.m. at Regency South Coast Village in Santa Ana. Patrick Reagan, 2006 alumnus, will have his film, “This Side of Dreamland,” screened on April 25th at 7:30 p.m. at Island Cinema in Newport Beach.

“The Department is very proud to see two alumni with their own films in a prestigious festival,” said Peter Krapp, chair of the UCI Department of Film and Media Studies. “We pride ourselves on placing our undergraduates in the best graduate programs around the country, and welcome Patrick back to the OC. We are also excited to see Merced gain this level of visibility so shortly after graduating.”

Bacon served as producer and/or director for more than five films while a student at UCI, including a 45-minute documentary entitled, “Music made me do it.” He co-directed “Blindspot” with Jason Covington, which won both a People’s Choice Award and Zot Prize for Superior Technical Achievement at Zotfest 2014, a UCI student-run film festival.

Bacon’s “Casa Del Sol” follows four schools in Orange County, including UCI, as they work together to win the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.

“Although I was attending UCI for my bachelor’s, the Casa Del Sol project felt like a thesis project. I was excited to challenge myself to do a project in an arena that I was very unfamiliar with which is sustainable solar-powered houses,” said Bacon. “I'm hoping that my film is well received and enjoyed at the Newport Beach Film Festival. I'm also hoping that my film will lead to more professional opportunities.”

Reagan’s film, “This Side of Dreamland,” co-directed with Joshua Glick, is a portrait of Coney-Island-based painter Marie Roberts. The film follows Roberts as she shares her unique artistic craft, her familial ties to the area, and her unceasing love for the cultural landscape of Coney Island.

“We have had success showing the film in venues and festivals on the East Coast and it is exciting to have the opportunity to show it on the West Coast, where I am from,” said Reagan. “It is also nice to see how much the NBFF has grown since I was a UCI undergrad more than ten years ago. I plan to see as many films as possible and meet with other filmmakers.”

While a student at UCI, Reagan immersed himself in both the theoretical and practical aspects of filmmaking. He received several awards, including the 2004 Ellen Stapp Award, 2005 Dean's Undergraduate Award in Film and Media Studies, and 2006 Tonelli Prize.

“The UCI Film and Media Studies department will always hold a special place in my heart. I came to it wanting to make films and although I made a couple while I was an undergrad, I was seduced by the theory, philosophy and writing focus of the department in a profound way that surprised me,” said Reagan. “After graduation and a couple years working as an editor, I ultimately pursued the theory path through graduate school. ‘This Side of Dreamland’ has brought me back to film practice. The great thing about UCI FMS is that they take both theory and practice seriously.”

Reagan is currently finishing his Ph.D. at Yale University in Film Studies and German where his research explores representations of community and images of utopia and dystopia in contemporary European auteur cinema. He will receive his Ph.D. in May 2016.

His advice to current UCI students majoring in film and media studies: “Explore both theory and practice seriously. They inform each other: theory will make you a better practitioner and filmmaking will help you be a more insightful theorist. You're in a department that does both extremely well.”

To purchase tickets to see Bacon and Reagan’s films, please visit

Pictured left to right: Merced Bacon and Patrick Reagan

Film and Media Studies