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back to school: the guests

back to school: the guests

With all that is going on right now, I guess it was impossible that I’d be able to stay on top of blogging daily while teaching at The New School this year, I have been non-stop busy for the past two weeks with our impending move out of AIVF and the daily iW workload, etc…

Catching up a bit… one really terrific aspect of the class has been the large group of generous folks who have agreed to spend some time with the class this year. Last Thursday, Bennett Miller was a popular participant who joined us after a screening of “The Cruise“. We talked about the rise of mini-DV in the late 90s when he made the doc and the students also had a lot of specific questions about “Capote.” Bennett was insightful and candid about making both movies. Last Tuesday, John Pierson was also a popular guest, dropping in for a lengthy chat with the students before heading off to SilverDocs. Its always particularly valuable to learn firsthand about the films and filmmakers that we are talking about in class, especially the work of Linklater, Michael Moore, and Kevin Smith. Friday’s tour of IFC Center with John Vanco — followed by a screening of “Wordplay and then an informal conversation with director Patrick Creadon, producer Christine O’Malley, and graphics designer Brian Oakes (pictured above) — was quite popular with the students. As was the film itself.

Other highlights have included our first hand history of the creation of IFP with founder Sandra Schulberg (facilitated by Michelle Byrd), and the brown bag lunch last week with Peter Sollett and Eva Vives who talked about the making of “Raising Victor Vargas” and “Five Feet High and Rising“. “Vargas” was a big hit with the class and sitting down to talk about the making of the movie was a real treat. Not to be forgotten…other informative and engaging guests have included Tom Quinn from Magnolia, Dana O’Keefe from Cinetic and Basil Tsiokos from NewFest. And the fun continues later this week with a couple of special screenings of anticipated new films.

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