Issue 51 | April 2009

* Message from Membership Directors Kibi & Angela
* Message from Mia
* 2009 Harvardwood Screenplay Competition - Call for Entries!
* Harvardwood Writers' Program in NYC
* Harvardwood Summer Internship Program
* Harvard College Film Festival, On-Campus April 3-4!
* Seeking Panelists for Harvardwood Arts First Career Panel, May 2nd - Boston
* Member Profile: Dan Sturman '89
* Industry News
* Pencil Me In: Harvardwood Preview Screening of TYSON, Q&A w/ director James Toback '66 (& possibly Mike Tyson) - NYC
* Featured Member Posting: Director’s PA Wanted for Focus Features Film

Message from the Membership Directors

Happy Spring! As always, hope this email finds you doing well. Thanks to everyone who helped out with events last month - we appreciate all the volunteers, the support, and most of all, your time. Please don't hesitate to contact your local Chapter Heads or the Program Directors with ideas - most likely, if you can think of an event, we'll gladly help you make it happen.

In the meantime, please let us know if you are looking for interns (undergraduate or graduate students) this summer - we're happy to help play matchmaker and spread that Harvardwood love!

Angela and Kibi

Message from Mia

Much gratitude to everyone who participated in our first-ever Harvardwood Bellwether Showcase a few weeks ago -- 6 original pilots by Harvardwood writers were presented in a staged reading to an audience of industry and friends at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles... A huge thank you also to the alum speakers and friends who participated in our Harvardwood Writers Program TV pilot "Pitch to the Panel" event in LA on Tues. March 31st: Jonathan Collier, Jeff Davis, Ethan Drogin, David Garrett, Harris Goldberg, Dan Greaney, Dan O'Keefe, Mark O'Keefe, Luvh Rakhe, Thania St. John, and Scott Weinger. Your feedback and insight was incredibly helpful to the HWP writers!

All you NYC folks -- thanks for coming out to our mixer at the National Arts Club in March, and hope to see a number of you at our upcoming TYSON screening / Q&A event on Tues. April 14th! If you're a writer, be sure to sign up for the long-awaited NYC edition of HWP...

Read on for more info on all our great Harvardwood happenings, including the 2009 Harvardwood Screenplay Competition, Harvardwood Summer Internship Program, inaugural Harvard College Film Festival, and more!


2009 Harvardwood Screenplay Competition - Call for Entries!

Started in 2006, the Harvardwood Screenplay Competition (HSC) takes place every spring and is sponsored by top management and production company Circle of Confusion. The purpose of the contest is to give emerging Harvard writers the opportunity to share their material with industry professionals. We will be accepting script submissions via email and post from now through April 30, 2009. The winning script and runners up will be read by various industry professionals, and the first place winner will receive a free year of Full Membership to Harvardwood as well as a cash prize of an amount to be determined. For more information and submission guidelines, please visit:

Harvardwood Writers' Program in NYC

Yes, we're finally ready to launch the New York version of the Harvardwood Writers' Program! We're starting with three groups. If you'd like to join one, just get back to us and we'll pass your name and contact info to the appropriate group leader, who will give you more information: [email protected] **PLEASE NOTE: You must be (or become) a Full Member of Harvardwood in order to participate in HWP. For more info, please visit:

Harvardwood Summer Internship Program

Harvardwood is pleased to announce the 2009 Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP). HSIP provides a list of internship opportunities in the arts, media and entertainment to interested Harvard students. Harvardwood also coordinates career-related events over the summer for program participants in LA and NYC.

If your company is interested in listing an internship via HSIP, please visit:
If you are a student interested in applying for internships, please visit:

Harvard College Film Festival, On Campus April 3-4!

Sponsored by the Harvardwood Undergraduate Student Organization, The Cinematic, HUTV, & the SOCH

Friday, April 3: 5:30pm Kick-off Reception in SOCH Cinema Lobby, 6-8:30pm Screenings in the SOCH Cinema
Saturday, April 4: 1-5pm Screenings in the SOCH Cinema

For a more detailed film screening schedule, visit our Facebook Event:

Seeking Panelists for Harvardwood Arts First Career Panel, May 2nd - Boston

Harvardwood is putting together a panel event for Arts First weekend on-campus on Sat. May 2nd from 10:30 - 12:00. If you live or will be in the Boston area and are willing to participate in an arts/media/entertainment career-oriented panel for students, please contact us at: [email protected]

Member Profile: Dan Sturman ‘89

by Dianne L. Brooks

Harvard College grad Dan Sturman is an accomplished documentary filmmaker currently based in Los Angeles. Recent projects include “Soundtrack for a Revolution” (2009) and “Nanking” (2007). It all began when he wandered into what he describes as the “amazing” VES 50 class at Harvard taught by Rob Moss, an “absolute inspiration” as a teacher. A key component of the course is a filmmaking project done in teams. Sturman and his team of classmates followed frontrunner Gary Hart’s ill-fated 1988 Presidential campaign. Hart had left the race, after some suggestive photographs surfaced showing him with a pharmaceutical rep named Donna Rice on a boat called Monkey Business, but later reversed course and re-entered the race for the New Hampshire primary. Sturman says the disintegration of the campaign was heartbreaking, yet he found himself thrilled by the actual filmmaking process. From then on he was hooked...well sort of. It took a viewing of “Roger and Me” the summer after he graduated to finally push him into what he describes as “this ridiculously poorly paid and unpredictable profession.”

After graduation, Sturman went to work with Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Charles Guggenheim, who made films on political subjects such as “Nine from Little Rock” and “Robert F. Kennedy Remembered.” He later worked for ABC news, shooting and producing news as well as magazine shows like “20/20.” The pinnacle of that part of his career was his work for VH1’s much loved “Behind the Music” biography series where he worked on an episode on the 1980s girl band, The Go-Gos.

Currently, Sturman and his partner, Bill Guttentag, are at the Oakwood Apartments in Burbank shooting a documentary about the community of parents and children who take up residence during pilot season in hopes of becoming the next Miley Cyrus or Dakota Fanning and parents thereof. There are 1,000 apartments in the complex and between 100-200 families who meet with coaches, managers, and lawyers and attend seminars on-site to aid in the efforts to break into the entertainment business. Some of the kids have agents from other cities that bring them out, some come from talent events, and some have no experience whatsoever. The documentary is a smaller budgeted endeavor, compared to some of his other projects. He and his partner are doing all the shooting, using HVX-200s, and will rough edit everything themselves before handing the material off to a more experienced editor.

Sturman’s recently completed project, “Soundtrack For a Revolution,” about the music of the civil rights movement, is currently on the festival circuit. He said shooting interviews and finding archival footage was pretty straightforward given the number of times these events have been documented. What he didn’t fully anticipate, however, was the difficulty of getting music rights and dealing with the music industry in general.

For the award winning “Nanking,” however, a documentary about the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China during WWII, the experience was his smoothest to date thanks to funding from AOL executive, Ted Leonsis. That kind of financial support enabled Sturman and his partner to spend 8 months researching the project before they began shooting, and to travel to China as well, gathering almost every scrap of footage shot around that time. There were a handful of westerners in Nanking at the time of the invasion and the story is about how they created a safety zone for thousands of Chinese citizens. Survivors left behind diaries and letters, and some Chinese and Japanese who were there were interviewed as well. Sturman called this a “fantasy project” in that he got to make a history film with a big budget, far apart from what he calls some of the more boring “take your medicine” History Channel fare.

As for inspiration, Sturman says he’s inspired by people who make a living creating high quality documentary work, not an easy feat given the lack of demand for the genre. He says a lot of the best documentarians, like Albert and David Maysles (“Grey Gardens”) were in the right place at the right time for breaking stories. As with anything else in life, it takes a mysterious combination of skill and a little bit of luck. It seems as if Dan Sturman continues to crack the mystery by identifying fascinating subjects and shining a light on them for all of us to see.

Industry News...

Sidney Erik Wright '05 just finished performing in Evita at the Maltz-Jupiter Theater in Florida. He is thrilled to return home in order to make his New York City debut as a choreographer. He will be associate choreographing a production of The Who's Tommy for The Gallery Players in Brooklyn. The production runs May 2-24 and tickets can be found at

Robert Davenport is winner of Tribeca All Access for his script "Hellfighters from Harlem," which has previously won a number of other screenwriting awards. He is being flown to New York City for the Tribeca Film Festival, which will take place at the end of April. While at UCLA Film School, this was the script for which he became the only two time winner of the UCLA screenwriting showcase. For Mr. Davenport, this is his forty ninth (49th) screenwriting award. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School, Middlebury College, Air War College, St. John's Law School, and UCLA Film School. "Hellfighters from Harlem" is the true story of Henry Johnson, an African American soldier who was recommended for the Medal of Honor during World War I, but who never received the award, despite nearly one hundred years of trying by his Congressman and relatives, including his son, Herman Johnson, who was a Tuskegee Airman during World War II. Now, with the winning of the Tribeca Screewriting Award by Mr. Davenport, Henry Waxman, his Congressman, has sent the script to President Obama, with a recommendation that he award Henry Johnson the Medal of Honor. Mr. Davenport is himself a veteran, having served in the Navy as a Naval Flight Officer, in the Army as a JAG, and in the Air Force. He is a commercial pilot, and a member of the New York and California State Bar.

Abigail Rose Solomon produces and stars in critically acclaimed production of George Bernard Shaw's comedy MISALLIANCE at The Odyssey Theatre in West LA, through April 26. BACK STAGE CRITIC'S PICK: "Wildly hilarious." "Highly entertaining...Do see this one!" -Tolucan Times "A jolly good evening of fun!" Tickets & Info: 310-477-2055 or Harvardwood Heads To MISALLIANCE event on April 23.

KILLER - A short film by Adam Leon & Jack Pettibone Riccobono - will premiere at the 2009 NEW DIRECTORS // NEW FILMS FESTIVAL at the Museum of Modern Art, screening with the acclaimed feature film "Ordinary Boys" on April 4th & 5th. In 1989 NYC, Jose Ortiz is consumed by an intense dangerous game called KILLER. The film follows him and his group of friends as they hunt down their opponents across the five boroughs. Based on a real game still played in New York today, the film features a cast of newly discovered young talent, including a breakout performance by lead actor Xavier Pena. KILLER is a glimpse into an urban rite of passage defined by all-night stakeouts, the gritty terrain of the city, and the recklessness of adolescence.** Watch the trailer at KILLERSHORT.COM // Tickets on sale now at and // Full Festival Press Release attached **

California Lawyers for the Arts, a statewide nonprofit headed by Harvard alum and Harvardwood board member Gerry Bryant, Co-President of its Board of Directors, is presenting its Second Annual Artistic License Awards honoring outstanding leaders who serve and support the arts of all disciplines (music, film, theatre, visual arts, etc.). The gala fundraising event will take place April 26 at the William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica, with a companion awards event in Sacramento on May 16. Among the honorees this year are actors Danny Glover and Ben Guillory, co-founders of the Robey Theatre Company. For more info, go to

Brían Wescott just joined the WGA West through his TV series NDNs, an unconventional docu romp through modern Native American history since 1890.

Pencil Me In...

Harvardwood Preview Screening of TYSON, Q&A w/ director James Toback '66 (& possibly Mike Tyson) - NYC

Not since Muhammad Ali has a heavyweight champion of the world captured the attention of the press and the public as Mike Tyson did in the ‘80s, ‘90s and even into the new millennium. After winning the undisputed title at the age of 20, the youngest man ever to do so, and defending the title in a series of spectacular victories, Tyson became as famous for his legal troubles as his pugilistic prowess.

In this advance screening of TYSON, a documentary opening worldwide this spring, acclaimed director James Toback ’66 (Bugsy, Harvard Man) offers an intimate and moving portrait of a man who is simultaneously volatile and vulnerable. Tracing Iron Mike’s rise from a troubled childhood to the apex of international fame and ultimately to his athletic, legal and financial fall, TYSON presents this modern story as a classical tragedy.

Harvardwood invites you to a private screening event on Tues., April 14th at 6:30 pm in NYC. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Harvard alum director James Toback '66 and, if his schedule permits, with Mike Tyson himself. Seating is limited, and advance registration is required:

Featured Member Posting: Director’s PA Wanted for Focus Features Film

Searching for an on-set director's PA for a Focus Features film currently shooting through the first week of May. Duties to include preparing sides and other documents for director, coffee runs, pick-ups, and general support for director's assistant. Possibility of more involved, engaging projects for the right person. Must have a car, some industry experience, a 100% no-questions-asked can-do attitude, and be extremely detail oriented. Must be a team-player and easy to work with. Great experience for the right person who wants to add a great credit to their resume. This is an opportunity to work with a talented director and wonderful professional crew. Position is paid ($600.00/week)… To view full posting, please visit:



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