Issue 25 | February 2007

  • Message from the Membership Directors
  • Message from Mia
  • Member Profile: Peter Rader '82-'83
  • Industry Successes
  • Pencil Me In

Message from the Membership Directors

This month's highlights arrive in your inbox just in time for some easy reading as you recover from those Oscar parties! Congratulations to all of our members who were honored this year.

We would like to officially welcome our new undergraduate Campus Liaisons - Estelle Eonnet and Sophie Kargman. Given the success and positive feedback of the Harvardwood 101 program, as well as the strong showing of support from our alumni hosts and panelists, we are very much looking forward to working with these two dedicated individuals in developing a strong on-campus presence.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this month's Highlights. We're looking to showcase each of our local chapters in the months ahead, so be sure to send along any photos or stories you may have from your events. In the meantime, please continue to share your stories, successes, and insider tips. Your participation is what Harvardwood is all about!

Happy Chinese New Year!
Angela and Kibi

Message from Mia

I am thrilled to announce two additions to our Harvardwood Board of Directors -- Amit Samuel is our new Programs Director, and Angela Lin joins Kibi Anderson as our co-Membership Director! Amit can be reached at programs@harvardwood.org, and Angela and Kibi can be reached at membership@harvardwood.org.

We kicked off February with our first-ever on-campus seminar, Harvardwood Presents...an Introduction to Screenplay Structure. Alum writer-director Peter Rader (see profile below) conducted an intensive one-day screenwriting workshop with two dozen students in Cambridge; the program was sponsored by Harvard's Office of Career Services and Office for the Arts.

Harvardwood is now accepting internship applications as well as postings from companies for our fifth annual Harvardwood Summer Internship Program -- for more details, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/?HSIP

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous Year of the Golden Pig -- Gongxi Facai!
-Mia

Member Profile: Peter Rader '82-'83 "The Fable Maker"

by Sean O'Rourke

His e-mail moniker says it all: fablemaker. He practices one of the oldest arts on earth, one that satisfies some of our deepest needs. Humans have been doing it for thousands of years, sitting around the campfire, telling and listening to stories. Peter Rader '82/'83 - a writer, director, cinematographer in Hollywood - believes that if Homer were alive today, he'd probably be a filmmaker.

Writing, for Rader, is about discovering our own personal mythology. But it takes quite a journey to get there. As a Harvard undergraduate, Peter wandered from physics to mathematics to economics before finally enrolling in an introductory film course that rocked his world. He found great inspiration in T.A. Chris Gerolmo '77 whose passion for movies was contagious.

Between his junior and seniors years, Peter decided to take a year off and try working professionally in the business. He ended up landing a job as a assistant cameraman on a film produced by Dino DeLaurentiis, for whom, years later, Rader would write "The Last Legion," an historical script set at the fall of the Roman empire.

After graduation Peter moved to Los Angeles and made music videos. He also developed a number of low budget films - stories that could be shot on weekends with borrowed equipment. But Peter became frustrated with limiting the scope of his imagination and that's how "Waterworld" was born.

Peter had been toying with the idea of developing a variation on the Road Warrior myth. Ironically, he first pitched the idea of setting Mad Max on water to Roger Corman, the legendary low budget producer, who summarily dismissed it, declaring such an outlandish idea would cost in excess of five million dollars! That, it certainly did.

Peter ended up writing WATERWORLD on spec. It landed him an agent and sold in a matter of weeks, which was an absolute thrill but also ushered Rader into the world of development hell. WATERWORLD ultimately went through five writers, twenty drafts and 180 million dollars. When it was all over, one of the producers said that he thought Peter's first draft was really the best. "But that's Hollywood," he said.

One of the most invigorating aspects of filmmaking for Rader is the constantly evolving marriage between technology and creativity and how the landscape of stories continues to expand. Many of Peter's scripts have been epics set in alternate universes. But at the heart of every story, says Rader, lies a simple human drama.

His wife, Paola Diflorio, introduced Peter to the world of independent films. He worked with her as a cinematographer on several movies that went on to premier at Sundance and got short-listed for Academy Awards. Peter loves the hands-on aspect of indie filmmaking and is excited by the new possibilities of viral distribution and alternate platforms for storytellers.

On February 3 Peter returned to Harvard to give a one day seminar on screenwriting, which helped students focus on accessing their personal connection to archetypes and developing an internal mythology.

I interviewed Peter by telephone on the coldest, darkest night of the year. As he talked, the four walls of daily existence fell away. Millennia evaporated. I felt as though I was sitting on the floor of the cave, warming myself at the fire, listening to the storyteller weave his spell. Peter Rader is indeed a fablemaker.

Industry Successes...

Jonathan Bird HLS '05 directed and edited and Sam Englebardt HLS '04 produced a music video for Island Records recording artist Terra Naomi's song "Say It's Possible." Fans across the world collaborated by sharing what they would want if anything were possible. After premiering New Year's Eve on YouTube, the video has garnered 600,000+ views to become one of the top-rated and most-discussed music clips of the month, with YouTube naming it one of the "Top 10 of 2006" alongside OK Go's "Here It Goes Again" and The Shins "Pink Bullets" videos. Check it out here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlXlhFlHR8A or www.jonathanbird.tv

Lara Hirner '05 will be joining the Mark Morris Dance Group for their March performances of Dido and Aeneas in Urbana, IL, singing the role of the 2nd Woman/2nd Witch. She will also be joining the Juilliard Choral Union for their performance of Beethoven's 9th this May.

Benjamin Lee '94 recently signed with the Metropolitan Talent Agency for literary representation, based in part on a spec he wrote through the Harvardwood Writers Program for TV drama.

Marga Vicedo GSAS '05 and Mark Solovey are now represented by Mickey Freiberg, President of the Literary Department at ACME Talent & Literary Agency. Recently, Marga and Mark's feature film script "Althea, American Daughter" was a Finalist in the 2006 Century City Screenplay Competition, and a Semi-finalist in the 2006 Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards. You can reach Mark at msolovey1964@yahoo.com, Marga at marga.vicedo@utoronto.ca, or their agent Mickey Freiberg at mickey@acmeagents.com.

Alum film RED DOORS is now available on DVD, just in time for Chinese New Year! You can buy it from the usual retail suspects (Amazon, Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, etc) and/or rent it (from Netflix, Hollywood Entertainment, Movie Gallery, etc). DVD extras include commentary by writer-director Georgia Lee '98 and producers Jane Chen '96 and Mia Riverton '99, the "Behind Red Doors" featurette, "Educated": a short film by Georgia Lee, a photo gallery and more! www.reddoorsthemovie.com

And the Award Goes to...

Amy Powers HLS '87 was nominated for an Emmy in the Best Original Song/Children's Animation for "Shine" from Barbie in The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Nickelodeon). For more on Amy and her work please visit www.amypowers.com.

Carmen Oquendo-Villar's 2006 film MIZERY won the Director's Choice Award at the 26th Black Maria Film Festival. It has also been reviewed in New England Film Online Magazine February 07 issue. http://www.nefilm.com/news/archives/2007/02/villar.htm

Pencil Me In...

March 30: Deadline for submissions to the 2007 Harvardwood Screenplay Competition. Full posting: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=8625

The Harvardwood love just keeps on spreading...

Thanks to the almost 70 students who turned up for our info session at OCS earlier this month. And for those of you who haven't yet joined us on Facebook, well hop to it! http://harvard.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2200361789

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