Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date: June 16, 2009

For More Information: Brenda J. Rayner, (901) 333-4247


2009 Graphic Arts Honors Graduate Opts to Freelance Until Job Market Opens Up

By any standard William Michael Phillips Jr., a 2009 Southwest Tennessee Community College graphic arts technology graduate is the embodiment of success. Phillips was selected as the “Most Outstanding Student” the in graphic arts technology interactive multimedia production concentration at the Southwest Honors Award program. He jumped into the worldwide sector of design when two of his films were selected to be screened recently at the On Location: Memphis International Film Festival. Both films were among 24 selected for screening, out of hundreds submitted world-wide. His goal was to work for a big design company. But Phillips suffers the common fate of most 2009 graduates, a depressed job market. So he opted to freelance.

The National Association of College and Employers’ 2009 Student Survey shows that just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one. In comparison, 51 percent of those graduating in 2007 and 26 percent of those graduating in 2008, who had applied for a job, had one by the time they graduated.

Phillips, who graduated in May, teamed up with local filmmaker, Matteo Servente, to make a music documentary for some local musicians - Deering and Down. He started dabbling with film as a young boy, but it wasn’t until he enrolled in the video editing class taught by Southwest adjunct instructor Harry Dach, that he really became adept and caught the bug for filmmaking. “It opened my eyes to what is out there. It was like ‘wow.’ It was an open door for me.”

Dach, was ecstatic over Phillips’ screening at the film festival. “Out of the 24 accepted, two were his. This is an international film competition. There were students from Germany, Poland and other countries,” said Dach.

The festival has a rich history, and has attracted accomplished filmmakers and artists like David Lynch, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Altman, and Memphis’s own Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow), its Web page cited.

One of Phillip’s pieces was a music video. The other was a dramatic comedy, Fightin’ Blues, about the theft of the Memphis city charter. “This year was the biggest this festival has ever been. Just to be a part of it was such an honor. Just to be there and represent Southwest was an honor,” Phillips revealed.

Adding to the list of his achievements, Phillips is very proud that he created all of the graphics for the 2009 festival including the signage and the 40-page program for the event. “On Location: Memphis Film Fest was so pleased with my work that they asked me to be a member of their committee. So, I'm excited about working with them more in the near future, Phillips revealed.

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Photo caption: William Phillips exhibits some of his work at the Memphis Heritage, Inc. during the Southwest industry show.

Photo caption: William Phillips on the red carpet at the Memphis International Film Festival.