Issue 56 | September 2009

* Director's Notes
* Message from Mia
* Pencil Me In:

  • Harvardwood Heads To...PAINTINGS BY ZOE SHERWOOD '49, Thurs., Sept. 10 - NYC
  • Harvardwood Heads To...GOGOL BORDELLO NON-STOP, Fri., Sept. 11 - NYC
  • Harvardwood/HCT Movie Event at the TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL w/ Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia '82, Wed., Sept. 16 - Toronto
  • Harvardwood Heads To...Best of DC Shorts Film Festival, Thurs., Sept. 17 - DC
  • Harvardwood Seminar Series w/ Prof. John Stauffer, Thurs., Sept. 24 - NYC
  • Harvardwood London Screening and Networking Event, Thurs., Sept. 24 - London
  • Georgia Chapter of Harvardwood Launch Party, Thurs., Oct. 1 - Atlanta
  • Harvardwood Screening of PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL w/ Producer Abigail Disney, Fri, Oct. 9 - NYC

* Facebook Connect on Harvardwood
* Call for Harvardwood Highlights Profile Writers
* Harvardwood Writers Program (HWP) for Screenwriters - LA
* Seeking Performing Arts Panelists for On-Campus OCS Event - Boston
* Industry Successes
* Harvardwood ROCK(ED) NYC!
* Featured Member Posting: HBO Films Paid Internship
* Member Profile: Eva Gordon HMS '00

kp.jpgDirector's Notes

Hello Harvardwood! I am truly delighted to introduce myself as your brand spankin' new Director! Having worked at the Office for the Arts after graduation, and as a former member of Kuumba, the Radcliffe Choral Society, Sisters, and a globe-trotting Afro-Funk band full of Harvard alums, I've been involved in a whole lotta' things music and Crimson since the day I walked on campus. So, as you can imagine, I am over the moon to work with an organization I've had the pleasure of utilizing since close to its inception, and I truly believe in the value of what we all bring together as a powerful artistic collective. Mia and I are ready to take Harvardwood to new and exciting levels, so please don't hesitate to email me with ideas for events, discussions, screenings, concerts, parties, luaus, and more -- the sky's the limit! (And yes, I said luaus, Harvardwood Hawaii, here I come!)

- Kelley Johnson '02 (reach me anytime at [email protected])

Message from Mia

Strap on your backpacks and dust off those Trapper Keepers, it's back-to-school time in a big way here at Harvardwood! First off, I am so pleased to welcome Kelley Johnson '02 aboard as our fabulous new Director of Harvardwood. She is a truly unique and talented individual, and her efforts on behalf of Harvardwood have already started paying off (witness the bonanza of upcoming events around the world)...

So many cool things on the radar, I can hardly keep track: in NYC, we'll be running the gamut from painter Zoe Sherwood '49 to the music of Gogol Bordello, from fancy Harvard faculty (John Stauffer) to prestigious producers (Abigail Disney)...we've got a date with director Rodrigo Garcia '82 at the Toronto International Film Festival...a night at the movies in London-town...a night at the (short) movies for you Washington, DC folks...and Atlanta finally gets some Harvardwood action with the upcoming launch party on Oct. 1st!

- Mia

Pencil Me In...

Harvardwood Heads To...PAINTINGS BY ZOE SHERWOOD '49, Thurs., Sept. 10 - NYC

Artist Zoe Sherwood '49 invites all her fellow Harvardwood members to join her for a glass of wine at the opening reception at the Agora Gallery, where she will have 6 paintings in the group show "A Maze of Milieu." After graduating Radcliffe College, she studied with Manfred Schwartz at the Brooklyn Museum, and with Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League. She worked independently in Paris and studied graphics at Vassar College. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in New York and Tel Aviv and is in private collections. Her work has also been shown at the Harvard Club of NYC...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=74706

Harvardwood Heads To...GOGOL BORDELLO NON-STOP, Fri., Sept. 11 - NYC

Join us as Harvardwood Heads To...GOGOL BORDELLO NON-STOP, a lo-fi, high-energy documentary about New York City’s most notoriously entertaining band, led by frontman Eugene Hütz. Filmmaker and fan Margarita Jimeno follows the band on a five-year journey from underground legend to international phenomenon, taking in the reckless, raucous sights and sounds of a band whom Hütz describes as “dedicated to creating an insane party atmosphere to deliver messages of social and political commentary.” A wildly entertaining celebration of the definitive fun-de-siècle band, Gogol Bordello Non-Stop opens Friday, September 11, 2009...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/events/event_details.asp?id=75270

Harvardwood/HCT Movie Event at the TIFF w/ Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia '82, Wed., Sept. 16 - Toronto

Join us for a screening of the new film MOTHER AND CHILD, followed by Q&A and a private "Meet the Director" event with Rodrigo Garcia '82. Playing its theme of parenthood in different keys like a graceful chorale, MOTHER AND CHILD features a stellar cast, including Annette Bening, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Naomi Watts, and as well as alum actors Amy Brenneman '86 and Tatyana Ali '02. Writer-director Rodrigo García is a sophisticated storyteller and a master of the multi-character narrative. Having begun as a cinematographer in the nineties on films including MI VIDA LOCA and FOUR ROOMS and working as a writer, director and producer ever since, he has moved effortlessly between the big and small screens, crafting gems of U.S. independent cinema like THINGS YOU CAN TELL JUST BY LOOKING AT HER, then bringing a series such as IN TREATMENT to North American television...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/event/tiffSept16

Harvardwood Heads To...Best of DC Shorts Film Festival, Thurs., Sept. 17 - DC

You are invited to see the Best of the DC Shorts Film Festival with your fellow Harvardwood members on Thursday, September 17 at 7 PM at the E Street Theatre in downtown Washington. The DC Shorts Film Festival was voted Washington, DC's best film festival. We can gather at the Mexican restaurant next to the theater around 6 PM and then proceed to the show. Please, email me at [email protected] if you plan to attend. To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/event/dcshortsSept17

Harvardwood Seminar Series w/ Prof. John Stauffer, Thurs., Sept. 24 - NYC

Harvard Professor John Stauffer presents: “How the South Won The Civil War--and why it still matters!” With Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox, the South had lost the Civil War. Yet, within less than three decades, southern blacks had been returned to near slavery, and the south effectively controlled the policies of the national government. How did this happen? And how does this still affect us even today? Join Harvardwood and John Stauffer, Chair of the History of American Civilization Program, and Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, for an evening of hors d’oeuvres, open bar, and stimulating discussion...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/event/hssnycSept24

Harvardwood London Screening and Networking Event, Thurs., Sept. 24 - London

The London Harvardwood Chapter is hosting a cocktail event followed by a sneak preview of THE INFIDEL. Written by David Baddiel and starring Omid Djalili, THE INFIDEL tells the story of Mahmud Nasir, loving husband, doting father and something of a “relaxed” Muslim who discovers after his mother's death that not only was he adopted at birth…but he’s Jewish. A comedy of family and fatwa, THE INFIDEL was produced by London Harvardwood Chapter Head, Uzma Hasan. For more information, visit http://infidelmovie.com. Come and meet the Harvardwood team, mix and mingle with your fellow alums working and/or interested in arts, media, entertainment, and education...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/event/infidelSept24

Georgia Chapter of Harvardwood Launch Party, Thurs., Oct. 1 - Atlanta

Georgia Chapter of Harvardwood Launch Party and First Meeting! Come to the launch party to learn more about Harvardwood, to become involved in the newly formed Georgia Chapter of Harvardwood, or to simply meet other Harvard alums involved in the arts, entertainment, and media...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/event/galaunchOct1

Harvardwood Screening of PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL w/Producer Abigail Disney, Fri, Oct. 9 - NYC

"Uplifting, disheartening, inspiring, enraging - the mind reels while watching the documentary PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, even as the eyes water, the temples pound and the body trembles," wrote the New York Times. "Unbelievably inspiring!" wrote the LA Daily News...Directed by Academy award nominee Gini Reticker and produced by Abigail Disney, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL tells the story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war...Following the screening, producer Abigail Disney, whose grandfather co-founded the Walt Disney Co., will tell how she found her passion in philanthropy, turning her riches into helping others...To view full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/event/disneyOct9

Facebook Connect on Harvardwood

You can now connect Harvardwood with your Facebook account! When you login to Harvardwood, you will see the blue Facebook Connect icon as pictured above. Click this link and you will be asked for your Facebook email and password. Enter your info and press “connect” and you will automatically be logged into Harvardwood and Facebook, and be able to share your Harvardwood activities with all of your Facebook friends: http://www.harvardwood.org/general/login.asp

Call for Harvardwood Highlights Profile Writers

Harvardwood seeks writers to handle monthly profile pieces on alumni in the entertainment industry. Responsibilities include researching, interviewing the subject(s) via telephone or in person, and writing a 600-800 word profile piece. Writers should be familiar with both the Harvard community and the entertainment industry and may suggest profile subjects of interest. Some reporting and/or interview skills are required, as well as poise and a discreet manner. This is a great opportunity for someone trying to build their portfolio of clips and/or interested in the entertainment industry. Current students as well as alumni are welcome -- if interested, please email us at: [email protected] Profile writers receive 3 free months of Full Membership to Harvardwood, with a maximum of one full free year per calendar year.

Harvardwood Writers' Program (HWP) for Screenwriters - LA

We are happy to announce that a new module for the HARVARDWOOD WRITERS’ PROGRAM (HWP) will begin in LA in September, focused on feature screenwriting. The group will meet on alternate Tuesday evenings, and the idea will be for each member to set their own goals – turning a treatment into a draft, turning a draft into a polished script, etc. Writers who meet all program requirements will have the option to post their work to the Harvardwood script menu. Also, for the first time we are considering mounting a final showcase performance of screenplay excerpts, with the cooperation of the newly-formed Harvard Actors’ Program. Similar showcases for the TV group have been enormously successful...Only Full Members who are current on their dues are eligible to participate. We will have a mandatory introductory meeting on the evening of SEPTEMBER 8 to set goals and discuss group format. For more information, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/news/29517/Harvardwood-Writers-Program-for-Screenwriters.htm

Seeking Performing Arts Panelists for On-Campus OCS Event

OCS (Office for Career Services) is seeking performing artists or those involved in areas of the performing arts such as choreography, directing, or dramaturgy to speak on our "Exploring Careers in Performing Arts" panel at OCS on November 2, from 4:30-5:30 pm. We're unable to offer compensation of any kind, so are looking for people who already plan to be in the Boston area on November 2. If you're available and interested, please contact Gail Gilmore, [email protected]

Industry Successes...

Ben Forkner '01 is producing the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's 1957 novel DEEP WATER at Fox 2000. Mike Nichols [THE GRADUATE] will direct. Joe Penhall [THE ROAD] will adapt. Forkner is producing alongside Nichols and Steve Zaillian [SCHINDLER'S LIST]. Highsmith wrote thrillers STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. Variety Article: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118007326.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon HBS '06 has just returned from Afghanistan for the next round of research for a book she is writing about a young woman who supported her family and community during the Taliban years. It is scheduled for publication by HarperCollins in 2010. While in Afghanistan she worked on this piece which recently ran in the New York Times Global Edition: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/15/business/global/15mall.html?ref=global-home&pagewanted=all

Madeline (Whalen) Wheeler's '90/'93 semi-autobiographical play REVEALING FRANKIE, a memoir of abuse, is playing at Exit 7 Players Theater in Ludlow, MA on September 12th at 7 pm. Introductions by Senator Gail Candaras and post show discussion by Kathy Picard (2006 Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women Unsung Heroin and sexual abuse survivor). If interested, contact her for complimentary tickets, [email protected]

Jonathan Dorf '93 is delighted to announce that Playscripts has published 4 A.M., his new one-act play for teens that follows a lonely short-wave radio DJ, an early morning jogger, a modern day Romeo and Juliet, a most unusual letter writer and even the monster under the bed as they search for connection in the magic hour. He's currently developing it into a full-length rock musical as well. For more information, contact [email protected]

Colleen O'Brien '11 has been writing for a website called Hollywood East Connection, a great resource for those interested in the entertainment industry. Hollywood East Connection is an independent, Massachusetts-based entertainment news and career website celebrating creative talent in New England. We provide readers with engaging news and profiles of everyday people getting ahead in the movie and TV industries. We also have the most comprehensive career resource directory for people getting started in the industry and offer career advisory services. Visit the site at http://www.hollywoodeastconnection.com.

Kate Schutt's '99 song TAKE ME WITH YOU was NPR's Song of the Day on July 15, 2009. The song is from Kate's newly released, critically-acclaimed album TELEPHONE GAME (ArtistShare). You can listen to the song and read Mark Silver's article "Kate Schutt: In Pursuit of 'Second Kisses'" here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106638534. Jon Garelick of The Boston Phoenix recently hailed her as "a phenomenal up-and-coming singer," saying "Harvard and Berklee kid Kate Schutt is an assured singer/songwriter/guitarist with a smoky, understated delivery." Kate is on the road with her trio in September '09, playing in clubs from Philly, to Boston, to Brazil. Visit http://www.kateschutt.com for more info.

Make-up artist and beauty writer Béke Beau, aka Rebecca Beaudin HDS '99, was recently published in Momspace magazine (Summer 2009), and her work was featured in Philadelphia Wedding Magazine (Fall/Winter 2009).

KILLER - a short film written & directed by Jack Pettibone Riccobono '03 & Adam Leon - will screen at the 2009 San Francisco International Short Film Festival on September 10 & 11. KILLER premiered in April as one of six shorts selected for the 2009 New Directors / New Films Series at the Museum of Modern Art & Lincoln Center, and won Showtime's Tony Cox Award for Best Screenwriting at the 2009 Nantucket Film Festival. Watch the trailer at KILLERSHORT.com and visit SFShorts.org for full festival info.

Producer/director Bennett Singer ’86 is at work on ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION, a feature-length documentary that uses irreverent humor and wit to show how America’s voting system is broken -- and how it can fixed. The film is hosted by Mo Rocca ’91, a former correspondent for THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART and a regular contributor to CBS SUNDAY MORNING and NPR’s WAIT, WAIT … DON’T TELL ME! Now in post-production, ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION is slated for theatrical release and television broadcast in 2010; Singer and his co-producers are currently seeking finishing funds to complete post-production on the film, which is intended to spark interest in, and action on, electoral reform among viewers across the political spectrum. For more information, e-mail [email protected] Singer’s last feature-length documentary, BROTHER OUTSIDER: THE LIFE OF BAYARD RUSTIN, which he co-directed with Nancy Kates ’84, is currently airing on Logo/MTV; following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, BROTHER OUTSIDER was broadcast nationally on PBS and shown at more than 100 festivals as well as at the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, and for members of Congress. Described as “terrific” by Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker, “thoroughly honest" by Nat Hentoff of The Village Voice, and “beautifully crafted” by The Boston Globe, the film garnered 25 awards, including eight jury prizes for Best Documentary at festivals in the U.S. and abroad.

Darya Zhuk '02 produced GOGOL BORDELLO NON-STOP, a lo-fi, high-energy documentary about New York City’s most notoriously entertaining band, led by frontman Eugene Hütz. The film follows the band on a five-year journey from underground legend to international phenomenon, taking in the reckless, raucous sights and sounds of a band whom Hütz describes as “dedicated to creating an insane party atmosphere to deliver messages of social and political commentary.” A wildly entertaining celebration of the definitive fun-de-siècle band, GOGOL BORDELLO NON-STOP opens Friday, September 11, 2009, at New York’s Cinema Village, and will screen elsewhere around the country through Lorber Films.

MARINA OF THE ZABBALEEN, an award-winning documentary directed by Engi Wassef '02, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, will be theatrically released in NYC and Los Angeles. For more information visit, www.marinathemovie.com. Check it out in New York, September 11-17, 2009 at the ImaginAsian Theater, 239 East 59th Street between 2nd and 3rd Ave., and in Los Angeles, September 16-22, 2009 at the Laemle Grande, 345 S. Figueroa Street.

Harvardwood ROCK(ED) NYC!

rocksnyc.jpgThose of you lucky enough to attend last week's inaugural Harvardwood rock concert (aka Harvard ROCKS NYC) were treated to a rock-tastic evening featuring some of the hottest Crimson musical talent around! The evening featured five alumni acts, including Harvardwood members Alison Wood, Moniker (with Socrates Cruz), and Ashley 1st Band. We're hoping to replicate this event's success in cities around the world, so speak up if you're interested in inciting some musical revelry in your 'hood...

Ashley 1st Band rocks out at Tenjune. Photo by Ty Lamont

Featured Member Posting: HBO Films Paid Internship

PAID INTERNSHIP! HBO Films is currently looking for interns to assist in supporting the Story and Development Department...HBO Films operates as a cutting edge mini-major studio. Intern opportunities would include providing clerical support for development executives, learning many aspects of the development process, archiving past & present projects, etc...To view the full posting, please visit: http://www.harvardwood.org/networking/opening.asp?id=69248

Member Profile: Eva Gordon HMS '00

by Sean O’Rourke MAT ‘68

Filmmakers come from diverse backgrounds: acting, cinematography, writing, film school. Eva Gordon has a different background. She earned a PhD in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, and married an MBA. With a background like that, who would have thought that the first movie she executive produced, PLAY THE GAME, starring Andy Griffith and Doris Roberts, would be in selected theaters on August 28th?

It all began in business school where Eva’s future husband, Marc Fienberg, had trouble developing enthusiasm for straight line amortization schedules and depreciation rules. After graduation, he bought a round-the-world plane ticket, hoping to come back from his trip with a script for a movie. On one night of the trip he woke up with an idea for a romantic comedy and wrote an outline of what would become PLAY THE GAME.

Inspired by his grandfather, who lost his wife and resumed dating at the age of eighty-nine, the film is about an octogenarian widower who receives instructions on the dating game from his grandson. Then when the grandson meets the girl of his dreams and strikes out, grandpa does the instructing.

In the meantime, Eva and Marc rekindled their college romance, got engaged and prepared to settle down in their hometown of Chicago. But Boston pulled Eva back to a job at a pharmaceutical company started by one of her former colleagues at the Medical School. They moved to Boston right after getting married.

While Eva focused on discovering new drugs, Marc worked in strategy consulting. He also honed his writing skills with Harvard Square Scriptwriters, a group that met in the Square before the rent went up. Soon the screenplay was a family project.

It became clear that if the film were to be made, it would be faster to raise the money in Hollywood. So Eva and her husband quit their jobs and moved to Los Angeles, arriving with two suitcases and a six-month-old baby girl. Family and friends called the move “risky” and “irresponsible.” They were probably right.

While her husband raised money, Eva worked on casting and scouting locations. Andy Griffith was the first choice for the male lead. At first he declined, but when he could not stop thinking about the script, he called back to accept. Eva then helped recruit Doris Roberts from Everybody Loves Raymond and Liz Sheridan who played Jerry Seinfeld’s mother in the eponymous sit com. Paul Campbell of Battlestar Galactica plays the grandson and Marla Sokoloff of The Practice is his one true love.

The shoot took twenty-five days at locations in and around Los Angeles. Despite being nine months pregnant, Eva was on the set every day. Four days before the end of photography she started having contractions on set, and like any committed executive producer, she told her husband that since this was their third child but their first film, she could get to the hospital on her own and he could just come after filming was finished for the day. Luckily the contractions turned out to be a false alarm. The baby arrived safely ten days later.

After post-production and festivals, Eva and her husband test marketed the film in Florida. Because of their non-existent advertising budget, many in the industry expected the film to play for a week. But because of a huge grassroots marketing effort, which included Eva speaking to theater audiences for weeks to introduce the trailer, the film surprised everyone. It played for three months for over 60,000 people, earned $370,000 in box office and became one of the top five independently distributed films of 2009.

With four small children at home, Eva stays busy. While continuing to promote the film, she also writes scientific papers and is working on a text book. In addition she and her husband have almost finished raising money for a new family comedy and are also beginning to produce and direct television commercials because of their strong business background.

On August 28th PLAY THE GAME opened at selected theaters coast to coast. For more information visit www.playthegamemovie.com.


 

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