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  •  REVIEW: FILM SCHOOL

    Vincenzo Tripodo agonizes over on-set shenanigans during shooting his student film. in Film School
    Vincenzo Tripodo agonizes over on-set shenanigans during shooting his student film.

    All's well that lens well

    IFC's 10-part reality series "Film School" turns its own lenses on four NYU film students constantly on the edge of disaster as they try to organize and complete their own films.

    By JASON GREY
    Offoffoff.com

    What drives people to work in the film industry? It's different for each and every aspiring filmmaker. It ranges from the deeply personal to the carefree whim. One may have a desire to make Hollywood blockbusters from a young age; another may just have to tell a story that is only suited for the big screen. Whatever the case may be, one way of getting involved in the industry and to make a movie is to go to film school.

      
    FILM SCHOOL
    Directed by: Tamas Bojtor, Rebecca Cammisa, Sybil Dessau, Greg Orselli.
    Produced by: Sharon Barnes, Nanette Burstein, Jordan Roberts.
    Cast: Alrick Brown, Barbara Klauke, Leah Meyerhoff, Oden Roberts, Vincenzo Tripodo.
    Cinematography: Rebecca Cammisa.
    Edited by: Thomas Haneke, Mary Manhardt, Charles Marquardt.

    Related links: Official site | Alrick Brown's official site
     SCHEDULE
    IFC Independent Film Channel
    Fridays at 10:30 p.m. Starts Sept. 10, 2004

     RELATED ARTICLES


      Interview: Alrick Brown
    The NYU graduate talks about film school and "Film School," the IFC documentary series about four students' struggles to get their student projects made.



      Interview: Nanette Burstein and Jordan Roberts
    Producers Nanette Burstein and Jordan Roberts talk about their series "Film School," a camera's-eye look at the struggles of four NYU film students to make their own films in the face of constant crisis.

    Film schools are available at many colleges and universities around the country, of course, many knowledge seekers want to attend the best schools. Having a degree from one of the best schools is more likely to yield a good job upon graduation. And when it comes to the best schools, why not go to the school that is in the greatest city in the world and has some of the most successful directors — Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch — listed as alumni. Thus you have to go to New York University.

    IFC's new reality series "Film School," produced by Nanette Burstein ("On the Ropes," "The Kid Stays in the Picture"), follows four NYU Graduate Film School students as they attend class, prepare for and produce their thesis films. We get to see them deal with everything that goes into making a short film (less than 30 minutes), which includes fundraising, casting actors, and hiring a film crew. All while trying to juggle relationships with family and friends and still graduate.

    The students in "Film School" applied to a super-competitive master's program where only 3 percent of applicants are accepted. Once in the program, only a handful of students become successful after graduation. That is the kind of pressure cooker that these characters are in. Let alone the amount of money they are paying for tuition along with the thousands of dollars it costs to make their film.

    Alrick Brown shooting his student film, The Adventures of Super Nigger. in Film School  
    Alrick Brown shooting his student film, "The Adventures of Super Nigger."
      
    In "Film School" you get to watch personal and work-related train wrecks happen firsthand. The series shows production meeting after production meeting filled with inexperienced people trying to present themselves as important to someone other than themselves. It's bewitching to watch because it's painful and funny at the same time.

    If you have ever worked on a group project, you should be able to relate with what happens in "Film School." Is there an "I" in film crew? Generally, you can say yes to that question. The "I" is the director — the person with the visual concept of how the film should look and feel as it is watched. It is the student director that these cameras focus on.

    The protagonists in "Film School" are very driven and ambitious. Leah is working on a deeply personal story and dealing with her own issues for her movie, which will star her own wheelchair-using mother. Vincenzo is trying to tell a lighthearted comedy and hopefully use the film as a calling card to his dream job once he finishes the program. Alrick is trying to tell the story of Amadou Diallo and his death by police gunfire — a political story with a comic-book style and sensibility. And Barbara is trying to tell a story of how people relate with each other, but may be more content with their pets.

    Each student is talented; however, they are also still students and must learn how to make a movie and work with different types of people. So watching them bump heads with their crew and seeing their plans blow up in their faces is thoroughly entertaining. It is when the directors have to surround themselves with a crew that the reality series' sparks begin to fly.

    If you are an aspiring filmmaker and are considering attending film school, IFC's "Film School" will give you an idea of what can happen as a student (and possibly as a professional) while making a film. On that level, it can be a lesson in what to do and what not to do. You can try to watch it as if school is in session, but it is hard to resist enjoying it for all of its voyeuristic beauty. "Film School" ranks up there with other great television reality series like "Survivor" and "The Real World." IFC has a good show in their hands with potential written all over it. I've only seen three episodes and I want to watch the rest.

    SEPTEMBER 10, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Film School:

  • IFC/INDECENCY   from karen, Nov 24, 2004
  • response   from Jasmine, May 24, 2005
  • Re: response t IFC indecency   from Dean Mason, Jul 14, 2005
  • TO VINCENZO   from Janet, Dec 7, 2005
  • The first girl...   from Teri C, May 19, 2007

  • Post a comment on "Film School"