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Thursday, April 18, 2013 - Alumnus brings passion for cinema and art to the web
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant

Tobi Ogunyemi
Oakland University alumnus Tobi Ogunyemi is the creator of a grassroots website that brings his passion for cinema, art, video and writing all into one place. The site, SpaceLioncs.com, spotlights Oakland’s Cinema Studies program and features original work from students and alumni.

Launched in September 2012, the site boasts an array of thoughtful, informative and eye-catching content, from feature articles and critical essays to artwork, interviews, videos and podcasts. It is a prime destination for film buffs, artists or anyone with a creative streak.

When naming the site, Ogunyemi, a 2012 Cinema Studies graduate, says he preferred “a moniker that was a bit overarching, ominous, and could encompass anything and everything that I was interested in. Also, and this is the biggest part of it, I’m a huge Yoko Kanno fan.”

The first full day after it launched, the site drew exactly 500 visitors and continues to gain exposure through social networks and word of mouth. SpaceLion’s Facebook page recently eclipsed 100 likes and Ogunyemi has spoken to numerous cinema studies classes about how students can get involved with the site.

“I’m always looking for more people to join up and contribute in any way are comfortable with,” he said. “It’s also a great way for students to write and add to their resume for future consideration by bigger websites or media outlets.”

Many of the platform’s biggest contributors have Oakland ties. Jonathan Ross, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Film Studies, serves as the site’s editor in chief. Other contributors include alumna Rebecca VanBuskirk and students Justin Edwards and Salma Siddiqui, who are active members of the Oakland University Filmmaker's Guild.

In addition, the site features interviews with Oakland faculty members Hunter Vaughan, Alison Hoffman-Han, Courtney Brannon Donoghue and Kyle Edwards, director of the Cinema Studies program.

“I am extremely impressed with what Tobi has achieved with SpaceLion, especially in terms of the quality and variety of content regularly posted to the site and the number of current and former OU students involved in the project,” said Dr. Edwards, “The OU Cinema Studies program is honored to be associated with SpaceLion and so many of its contributors.”

While the site has provided a unique gathering place for people to share insights on Hollywood stars – those insights have caught the eye of the stars themselves. Ogunyemi recalls how his friend, Justin Edwards, wrote an in-depth article about the character of Maya, from the 2012 movie Zero Dark Thirty, played by actress Jessica Chastain.

“As a gigantic fan of her and her work, I follow Chastain’s official Facebook page, and I linked the article to her in a shot-in-the-dark chance that she might actually see,” Ogunyemi said. “To my complete surprise, two days later I got a notification from Chastain that she not only saw it, but she replied to it with her usual signature ‘xxjes.’ Needless to say, I was stoked by this.”

For more on spacelioncs.com, e-mail spacelioncs@gmail.com. Follow SpaceLion on Twitter at @spaceLioncs or on Facebook at facebook.com/spacelioncs.

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with nearly 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.