- Message from the Membership Director
- Message from the President – “Mia’s Monthly Message”
- Member Profile of Jed Weintrob ‘91
- Industry Successes…
- So You Got The Job, Hey…
- And the Award Goes to….
- Members in the News…
- Featured Member Posting – Seeking Film Exec to run Fox-based Production Company
A Message from the Membership Director
Happy July Everyone! Starting now, I am on a mission to begin documenting how Harvardwood has begun to help people advance their dreams and goals in the entertainment field, thus I am asking for your help. Please send me a short note or email with your testimonial about how Harvardwood has helped you – and if you prefer, you can remain anonymous. Did you land the job you’ve been waiting years for? Were you able to meet your writing or producing partner to create a match made in heaven? Perhaps you just found an apartment or learned how to really let loose at one of our mixers. Call it “Six Degrees of Harvardwood” and share your story. I am a firm believer that the world is so small. The slightest movement in one direction, even unconsciously, begins the wheels of change that will be felt for many years over. The beautiful thing is that you won’t know it until you get there. So, keep enjoying the ride and email [email protected] your testimonials! For added incentive, for each testimonial I receive, I’ll throw in a free month of membership (limit 3 per person and they have to be good!).
Mia’s Monthly Message…
It’s been an action-packed summer for Harvardwood so far, with the successful launch of three Harvardwood Writers’ Program groups and a number of HSIP events on both coasts. A big thank you to our alum members in LA who participated in the HSIP: Getting Started in Entertainment roundtable discussion on June 30th – it was an informative evening for everyone. Our Harvardwood NYC Events Directors, Alex Kanter and Sherrese Clarke, welcomed some of the New York interns at the HSIP NYC brunch last week. There’s more on the way, with our first Harvardwood Dodgers outing coming up on July 25th…and for you New Yorkers, the Harvardwood NYC Writers’ Group had its summer party last Friday. Stay tuned to the daily email updates for upcoming events and postings (if you’re an affiliate, see the end of the newsletter for a taste of what you’ve been missing)!
Member Profile: JED WEINTROB ‘91
What I find most surprising about Jed Weintrob’s story is his unwavering focus. It seems to me that most people who choose careers in the entertainment industry try something else first, or wander into the field inadvertently; not so for Jed. He was born and raised in Manhattan, but for most of his adult life he has shuttled between Los Angeles and New York pursuing his projects and cultivating what has turned out to be a prosperous and successful career in film. Jed graduated from Harvard in 1991 with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies but by that time he already had filmmaking work experience under his belt. After his sophomore year, Jed took a year off from Harvard to work as the assistant to the director of a TV show in Los Angeles and upon returning to Harvard, teamed up with a Harvard Business School student to produce a $350,000 independent film, “The Color of Love,” during his junior year of school. It surprised me that he decided to stay in college after that experience, as I definitely wouldn’t have.
After college, Jed moved to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for directing and writing features, but producing and new technologies beckoned. When he was hired by independent production company MPCA to produce the low-budget horror sequel, “Pumpkinhead II,” Jed saw a unique opportunity to leverage the synergies between video game and film production. He produced the first concurrent film and video game ever (yes, I am haunted), and quickly became known as an interactive entertainment pioneer. When Orion Pictures acquired MPCA, Jed went on to found and run Orion Interactive, the studio’s video game and Internet division. Jed continued to develop genre video games based on studio properties, including a game based on a Stephen King book. When MGM bought Orion, Jed was given the option to have his contract bought out. Jed seized this opportunity to shift his focus back to directing and writing. First, however, he took a complete break from the industry. He left the U.S. and traveled around the world for a year, bicycling and backpacking through India, Africa and South America. This time of exploration and exposure profoundly influenced Jed’s view of the world and what he wanted to communicate in his films. He came back to the U.S. inspired, rejuvenated and in 2002 made his feature directorial debut at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals with “On_Line,” a sexy thriller about intersecting love triangles. “On_Line” went on to be released theatrically in more than 80 cities nationwide and in over 40 countries worldwide.
It’s interesting to me that in our conversation, Jed constantly used the phrase “hybrid fiction/documentary” He used it to describe the direction towards which his work is moving as well as to describe “The F Word,” his latest feature film. I would assume “hybrid fiction/documentary” belongs to the genre of a type of creative realism. “The F-Word” is a hybrid influenced by Haskell Wexler’s “Medium Cool,” a film shot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and the current day potential for increased media restriction and erosion of the freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment. “The F Word” is the story of Joe Pace, a fictional radio talk show host whose program, “The F Word,” is being shut down by the F.C.C. after racking up over $1 million in unpaid indecency fines. On his last day on the air, which coincides with the last day of the Republican National Convention, Joe sets off to broadcast his own one-man march through Manhattan. “The F Word,” made as a non-profit on a non-budget, was extremely well received at the Tribeca Film Festival this summer and is in the process of negotiating distribution at the same time as Jed is developing it into a television series. At times in the film, the distinction between reality and fiction becomes indistinguishable, suggesting to the viewer that the reality of this fictional character and story is a genuine possibility, and I think therein lies the beauty of the idea.
Jed pointed out to me that “The F Word” was very much like his senior thesis film at Harvard, “Go West,” which explored similar themes and encountered similar creative hurdles. He also mentioned that Harvard and its connections have influenced his decisions, not only creatively, but professionally too, as he has consistently worked with former classmates (including Tanya Selvaratnam ’92, Jeannette Draper ’91, Darren Aronofsky ’91 and longtime writing partner Andrew Osborne ’89). And that Harvardwood was a great way to reconnect and use what our education provided. Ok, he didn’t say that last part, but let’s just say I invoked a little creative realism.
Congratulations to Carlton Cuse ’81, executive producer of LOST. The show received 12 Emmy nominations, including Best Drama Series.
James P. Connolly ’88 is proud to announce that his new Comedy CD “Pure Polyester” is now available on iTunes. Just go to the iTunes Music Store and type in the title. He is also off to Afghanistan in August to entertain the troops. You will be able to see pictures from the trip on his website as soon as he returns to the country. You can view still images and video from previous shows in IRAQ at www.jamespconnolly.tv .
826 LA, a non-profit educational center founded by Dave Eggers, is proud to host its second Adult Seminar, Writing Television Drama. Panelists include Eli Attie ‘90 (the West Wing), Todd A. Kessler ‘94 (the Sopranos, Robbery-Homicide), Peter Blake ‘91 (House, the Practice) and more to come. In addition to discussing the writing process, the panelists will discuss practical issues relating to the business of television writing, such as spec scripts, contacting agents, and what a show runner does. Each panelist comes to 826 with a unique background in the business. No details will be spared, and all pertinent secrets shall be revealed. July 31st, 6 - 9pm. Entry and donation: $50. Seats limited, email [email protected] or call 310 305 8418 for reservations.
Diallo Riddle '97 and Bashir Salahuddin '98 are proud to present:
CLEO'S APARTMENT: EVICTED
Original sketch comedy for everyday living
This is their second season! A pure source of afro-ivy edutainment/comedy! EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT at 9:30!!!!
Second City Theatre
Melrose just west of Crescent Heights
(with special Best Of shows on July 26th and Aug. 2)
Check out www.cleosaparment.com for more information on the show and writers!
SO YOU GOT THE JOB, HEY….
Writer-director Reggie Hudlin ’83 has joined BET as President of Entertainment. In his new position, he will oversee BET's music, entertainment, specials, sports, news and public affairs, film and program acquisitions, home entertainment and programming development units. As a director, he most recently worked on Chris Rock’s “Everybody Hates Chris” for UPN.
Mandel Ilagan ’99 has recently joined the new FOX Reality cable channel as its director of programming and production. FOX Reality launched in May 2005 and is seen in over 13 million homes across the country. Mandel comes to FOX Reality after four 1/2 years as manager of development at FremantleMedia. He also served as vice-president of Harvard-Radcliffe Television (HRTV) for three years.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO….
Keir Pearson ’89 and Terry George received the Humanitas prize in the feature film category, worth $25,000, for writing “Hotel Rwanda”. The Humanitas organization bestows monetary prizes on film and TV writers whose work is “life-affirming, provoking, and enlightening.” Frank Pierson ’46 received this year’s Kieser Award, given to someone whose work has helped to promote a greater appreciation for the dignity of each member of the human family.
Neal Baer ‘79, MD ’96, showrunner of LAW AND ORDER: SVU, will received a career achievement award at the inaugural Voice Awards in LA. The awards are given by the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services to honor accurate portrayals of mental health issues and the mentally ill.
Alum film RED DOORS won two awards at the 2005 OutFest Film Festival in LA. The film, written and directed by Georgia Lee ’98, produced by fellow alums Jane Chen and Mia Riverton (who also stars), took the Audience Award for Best First Feature as well as the Grand Jury Award for Screenwriting. See www.reddoorsthemovie.com for more info.
MEMBERS IN THE NEWS…
Producer Stacy Cohen’s film DUMA will be released in Chicago on August 5, 2005 at the AMC River East 21, Loews Webster Place 11, AMC South Barrington 30, AMC Cantera 30 and the Crown Theatre Skokie. Release dates in additional cities are pending. Read below for the critic’s praise of the film.
"TWO THUMBS UP!" --Ebert & Roeper (See their review on ABC's Ebert & Roeper & the Movies on weekend of 7/30-7/31/05).
"Exciting, engaging, and beautifully made...the kind of film parents can share with their family." --Leonard Maltin, Entertainment Tonight
"A superior all-ages adventure pic. Intelligent and beautifully made...a stirring, Kipling-esque yarn...Like Ballard's best pics ("The Black Stallion," "Never Cry Wolf"), the movie is marked by ecstatic depictions of figures against a treacherously beautiful landscape, and by its ability to engage the imaginations of the young and young-at-heart without ever insulting their collective intelligence." -- Scott Foundas, Variety
"...the best American movie I've seen this year...a gorgeous child's adventure film..." --Charles Taylor, Newark Star Ledger
FEATURED MEMBER POSTING
Seeking film executive to run a new Fox-based production company for Taka Ichise (THE RING, THE GRUDGE). Must speak Japanese, must have development experience... Paid members can view full posting info at: www.harvardwood.org
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