Issue 101 | June 2013

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


  • TODAY! Harvardwood Reunion Mixer, Sat., June 1st


  • Harvardwood Presents: Maria Cooper Janis on GARY COOPER, Thurs., June 20th
  • Harvardwood & ARTIAA Present: JACK VIERTEL on Today's American Theater, Mon., June 24th


  • Harvardwood DC Heads To...Pitch to Literary Agents at Books Alive! Sat., June 8th


  • Brown University Entertainment Group & Harvardwood co-present THE LEAGUE SHOW, Thurs., June 6th
  • Harvardwood Heads To...TAKE ME TO THE POORHOUSE, Sat., June 8th
  • Harvardwood Heads To...UCLA Animation Festival 2013, Sat., June 8th
  • HCSC invites Harvardwood to: Harvard in the Roaring 20's Annual Dinner & Awards feat. Harvardwood Advisory Board member Lucy Fisher, Sun., June 9th
  • Harvardwood Heads To...MARRIED & COUNTING, Fri., June 14th
  • Harvardwood Presents: Dine with Art Experts from the Antiques Roadshow®, Sat., June 22nd

karengordon.jpg* Submit for the 2013 Harvardwood Writers' Competition
* DEADLINE EXTENDED - Submit for a Harvardwood Heroes grant by June 14th
* Q&A with director Bartlett Sher now available on the Harvardwood Channel
* Panel about Stella Adler and America's Master Playwrights now available on the Harvardwood Channel
* Calling all summer interns!
* Changing your email address? How to update your account.
* Industry Successes
* Featured Member Posting: Assistant - Fox International Productions - LA
* Member Profile: Melissa M. Lee '03

Director's Notes

While the livin' is suppose to be easy in the summertime, it won't be the case for our hard working HSIP interns! I can't wait to meet all of the interns that arrive in LA this month. If you have an internship in the arts, media, or entertainment this summer, don't forget to sign up on our HSIP list if you haven't already (you do not have to have received your internship from our HSIP list of opportunities). We'll keep you abreast of career-related and social activities throughout the summer in LA and NY. And for those that have not yet had a chance, you can still submit a proposal for a Harvardwood Heroes grant. The deadline has been extended to June 14th -- don't miss this opportunity to be supported and recognized for your work!

-- Kelley

Message from Allison

Happy June! And a note to all our writers everywhere -- the summer competition is officially open! We want your features, TV scripts, and plays. The deadline is August 15, see more details here: Per usual, there are some awesome cash prizes and, of course, glory.

-- Allison

Pencil Me In...

BOSTON - TODAY! Harvardwood Reunion Mixer, Sat., June 1st

It's back again, our seventh annual Harvardwood Reunion Mixer! Join Boston-based Harvardwood members, folks in town for reunion week, and current students for food, drink, and general merriment! RSVP highly recommended …To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood Presents: Maria Cooper Janis on GARY COOPER, Thurs., June 20th

Maria Cooper Janis will talk about her father Gary Cooper, one of the greatest and most iconic of all Hollywood stars. Gary Cooper's films include HIGH NOON and SERGEANT YORK, for both of which he won Academy Awards as Best Actor, as well as FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, and many more. Cooper's friends included Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Jimmy Stewart. Among those he worked with were actors Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Ingrid Bergman, and directors Joseph von Sternberg, Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch, and William Wyler. Maria Cooper Janis is a distinguished painter, exhibiting in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. She is married to the legendary concert pianist Byron Janis. Maria Cooper Janis has collaborated on three television specials about her father, and is working on a feature film documentary about the 20-year friendship between Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway…To view full posting, please visit:

NY - Harvardwood & ARTIAA Present: JACK VIERTEL on Today's American Theater, Mon., June 24th

Jack Viertel is one of the most respected and influential figures in the American theater. Viertel will discuss his professional journey from Harvard-trained dramaturg at a nonprofit resident theater to Broadway as Senior Vice President of the Jujamcyn theater chain. There will be a particular focus on how to measure success in the development of new work, from artistic risk-taking to audience satisfaction. Jack Viertel is the Senior Vice President of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns and operates five Broadway Theaters: the St. James, Al Hirschfeld, August Wilson, Eugene O'Neill, and Walter Kerr, currently presenting THE BOOK OF MORMON, JERSEY BOYS, and KINKY BOOTS. Viertel is also Artistic Director of New York City Center’s beloved Encores! series, which, this season, presented COTTON CLUB PARADE, FIORELLO!, IT'S A BIRD...IT'S A PLANE...IT'S SUPERMAN, and Rodgers & Hart's ON YOUR TOES...We're delighted to have Miriam Weisfeld to interview Jack Viertel. Weisfeld is the Associate Artistic Director of Washington DC's celebrated Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where she has dramaturged numerous world premieres… She holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from the A.R.T./MXAT Institute at Harvard University…To view full posting, please visit:

DC - Harvardwood DC Heads To...Pitch to Literary Agents at BOOKS ALIVE! Sat., June 8th

Let’s head to the BOOKS ALIVE! 2013 Conference, Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 9 am – 5 pm. Featuring one-on-one pitches with literary agents, concurrent panels in the morning and afternoon and a lunch featuring speaker Maria Arana, (American Chica, Bolivar)…The conference fee includes your opportunity to pitch your idea or manuscript directly to up to three professional agents. The conference organizers will work to match your project with the most appropriate agent(s). Agent pitches are available only to full-day registrants. However, for a lower fee you may attend just the afternoon session (the 1:30 pm-5 pm panels) if you contact Deborah Gelin before June 6th and mention "Harvardwood.” Register for the whole or half-day then email me so I can maintain a headcount…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Brown University Entertainment Group & Harvardwood co-present THE LEAGUE SHOW, Thurs., June 6th

The Brown University Entertainment Group and Harvardwood are proud to sponsor a new stand-up comedy night showcasing Ivy talent. We call it THE LEAGUE SHOW. This monthly show in Los Angeles features stand-up comics that are graduates of the prestigious Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, and Penn. These hysterically funny men and women once rubbed shoulders with the very best and brightest — before throwing it all away to come to Hollywood! Please join us for our next show at 9pm on Thursday, June 6th, 2013 at Room 5 in Hollywood! …To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...TAKE ME TO THE POORHOUSE, Sat., June 8th

TAKE ME TO THE POORHOUSE is a sparkling new comedy about Lizzie, a middle-class Nigerian third grader who dreams of becoming poor in hopes of winning the heart of her popular classmate. Inspired by true events, this "upside-down Cinderella story" is witty and wise, hilarious and heartfelt - a children's story for adults. Audiences are offered a fresh glimpse of African life as they are introduced to a girl eager to reject herself in to order to feel like she belongs. Recipient of the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute at Harvard Alumni Association’s Lab Grant, and finalist of NELA Art microgrant. This show runs from June 8 to June 28 in Hollywood…TAKE ME TO THE POORHOUSE pledges to donate 10% of all ticket proceeds to Mama Hope, a non-profit with a mission to "Stop the Pity and Unlock the Potential” in several African communities. Written by Liz Femi. Directed by Jane Morris. "[Liz Femi] is a firecracker of sputtery energy"--Washington Times; "[Liz Femi] is a scene-stealing comic relief"--DC Express …To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...UCLA Animation Festival 2013, Sat., June 8th

The UCLA Festival of Animation, affectionately known as "Prom,” has been a tradition since 1959. The UCLA Animation Workshop promotes a "one person, one film" philosophy. The works screened at Prom represent the diverse animation styles, techniques, and backgrounds of students in the program. This year, Prom will be divided into three different programs (5pm, 6:30pm, and 8pm) to better showcase the work of all of our students. Harvard alum Kate Isenberg '97, an MFA student in the Animation Workshop, presents her animated film "Robin" as part of the 8pm screening. Featuring Kate's original music, "Robin" tells the story of a lonely business traveler who dreams that a bird shows him the way to escape his drab life…To view full posting, please visit:

LA - HCSC invites Harvardwood to: Harvard in the Roaring 20's Annual Dinner & Awards feat. Harvardwood advisory board member Lucy Fisher, Sun., June 9th

Harvardwood members are cordially invited to attend the annual general membership meeting and awards dinner. Grab your top hat or flapper dress and join us for a night of recognition and excellence. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of three incredible members of our local community, Lucy Fisher AB '71, Thomas C. Hudnut and Cynthia Torres AB '80, MBA '84. Come dressed in your favorite Gatsby inspired attire and receive a door prize! …To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Heads To...MARRIED & COUNTING, Fri., June 14th

Join us as Harvardwood Heads to...MARRIED & COUNTING! Come see MARRIED & COUNTING, the award-winning documentary by Allan Piper '96 on its opening night in LA. Narrated by George Takei, the film tells the story of two men who celebrate 25 years together by traveling the country to get married in every state that will let them. Huffington Post called it "one of the most relevant, heart-felt, and timely documentaries of the year... a brilliant gem." Q&A with Allan and the film subjects will follow, and then drinks at a nearby bar... Info and tickets at, plays June 14 - 20 …To view full posting, please visit:

LA - Harvardwood Presents: Dine with Art Experts from the Antiques Roadshow®, Sat., June 22nd

Have you ever wondered how art experts can tell the value of art or antiques they get to see for just a few minutes on the set of Antiques Roadshow®? Experience does make a difference and three regular experts on the show will share their experience with you at a special dinner event. The Antiques Roadshow® cast and crew are coming to Anaheim June 22 and we will meet nearby afterwards. The social hour will be from 7 to 8 p.m., followed by a progressive dinner, providing an opportunity to dine and chat with each of our art expert guests. California art experts Peter Fairbanks and Peter Loughry will be joined by a special guest from New York. Complete program details and location will be e-mailed to participants after they complete registration…To view full posting, please visit:

Submit for the 2013 Harvardwood Writers' Competition

Started in 2006, the Harvardwood Writers' Competition was created to give emerging Harvard writers the opportunity to gain industry exposure and to recognize superior work. The contest includes these three categories: 1) Feature screenplays (90-120 pp., all genres); 2) Television pilots (30-min and 60-min, all genres); and 3) One-act plays (40-min maximum, no minimum)…The deadline for submissions will be Thursday, AUGUST 15 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Scripts will be evaluated by industry professionals and winners in each category will be announced in October. First-place writers will receive a cash award and free admission to the 2013-14 writers’ program…To view full posting, please visit:

DEADLINE EXTENDED - Submit for a Harvardwood Heroes grant by June 14th

The Harvardwood Heroes (HH) grant program aims to spotlight and support those members of Harvardwood that have made or plan to make an exceptional contribution to the community, specifically at the intersection of arts and service. These Heroes exemplify the mission of Harvardwood, demonstrating the power and purpose of the arts, media, and entertainment…Harvardwood will begin this program in 2013 by awarding four $500* grants to applicants that have demonstrated (or will demonstrate) a distinguished level of service to their organization of choice (*grant money may be spent at the winner’s discretion)…Don’t miss this opportunity! …To apply for an HH grant, please read carefully the guidelines at this link:

bart_hser6.jpgQ&A with director Bartlett Sher now available on the Harvardwood Channel

Dues-current Full Members and Friends of Harvardwood can now enjoy the Q&A with legendary director BARTLETT SHER from our event at the Dramatists Guild on May 16, 2013! Dues-current Full Members and Friends of Harvardwood may view clips from this event and more, here:

Panel about Stella Adler and America's Master Playwrights now available on the Harvardwood Channel

Dues-current Full Members and Friends of Harvardwood can now enjoy the panel discussion about STELLA ADLER and America's Master Playwrights from our event at the Dramatists Guild on January 22, 2013! Dues-current Full Members and Friends of Harvardwood may view clips from this event and more, here:

Calling all summer interns!

Calling all summer interns for this year's Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP)! If you are interning and/or working in any facet of entertainment this summer don't forget to let us know. Please fill out the HSIP participant form so we may stay in touch with you regarding HSIP events and activities in LA & NY. You do not have to have an internship that was listed on the HSIP list of opportunities. All summer interns affiliated with Harvard University can participate! …To view full posting, please visit:

Changing your email address? How to update your account.

For those in the class of 2013 changing your email addresses, you can update your account email at anytime by logging in and going to the "My Profile" menu on the right. When you are there, click on "Manage Profile" then click on the "Edit Bio” icon. Here you will see where you can make any necessary changes to your account, including updating your email address. Please also provide us with an alternate email under the "Contact Information" section. Harvardwood emails are more quickly received at non "post" addresses, so we recommend using your post address as the alternate. Congratulations!

Industry Successes...

greetings_from_beijing_a_l.jpgHarvardwood congratulates Ben Li ’16 and his film THE FINAL TEST, one of the Short Film First Prize winners in the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition! As a First Prize winner Ben will receive an all expenses paid trip to Beijing this summer to attend the awards ceremony and a cash prize. Congratulations Ben!

melson.jpgAlum singer-songwriter Sara Melson's sophomore full-length album, A MILLION WHITE STARS, was released worldwide on April 30th and was featured on the front page of iTunes. Yahoo Music calls her "one of the most fearless singer-songwriters on the planet." The record is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and the artist's website, For licensing requests for film and television, please contact Scott Cresto at [email protected]

isenberg.jpgSinger-songwriter Kate Isenberg '97 performs a set of original, guitar-driven folk-pop songs on June 4, at Witzend in Venice, 1717 Lincoln Blvd., 7pm. Advance tickets ($10): - Print this coupon to buy half-price tickets ($5) at the door: - More about Kate Isenberg:; - All ages welcome. Jessica Fine also performs (9pm). There is ample parking on Lincoln Blvd.

karengordon.jpgKaren-Eileen Gordon returns for her 2nd season in the hit STARZ Original Drama MAGIC CITY, set in 1959 Miami Beach's fictitious opulent Miramar Playa hotel. Gordon is FLORENCE, tough-funny N.Y. dame and long-time executive assistant to Hotel King IKE EVANS, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The show, created by Mitch Glazer, returns Friday June 14, 9 pm EST. Gordon will be live-tweeting along with several other cast members during all EST first-run broadcasts; join her on Twitter (@GotKarenEileen, #MagicCityTV). Watch the trailer:

chipkelly.jpgMark Saltveit '83 is finishing a book on the new Philadelphia Eagles' coach entitled THE TAO OF CHIP KELLY. He'll be in the Philly area around the end of the month, and is available to give talks and interviews on the subject. Possibly even in New York and Washington, if you can guarantee his personal safety as a self-identified Iggles fan. Please contact him ([email protected]) if you have any leads.

A recent Harvardwood testimonial:

"I just want to thank Harvardwood for helping me with some course work at the Harvard Extension School. When my writing course credits from UCLA were initially denied by the Extension School, a note to Mia at Harvardwood resulted in a call from my advisor informing me that they would allow me to take the course and transfer partial credit. I took the course, along with a few others from the UCLA School of Journalism, and earned my degree alongside my mother. We became the first mother/daughter in the history of Harvard to graduate in the same year, 2007!"
- Rosemary McCarthy

Featured Member Posting: Assistant - Fox International Productions - LA

Fox International Productions, based in Century City, CA, has an exciting and challenging role as an assistant to support the Vice President of Production. You must love to stay busy, wear many hats and have meticulous attention to details. We are looking for someone with agency or studio experience. We also prefer someone who is proficient in another language. Must have experience tracking boards, and familiarity with the US film making world, screenwriters, etc…To view full posting, please visit:

Member Profile: Melissa M. Lee '03

by Dayna Wilkinson

Raised in Hong Kong and educated in the UK, Melissa Lee '03 came to Harvard to study biochemistry—then a core curriculum class in French cinema changed everything.

MelissaLee.jpg"I fell in love with film,” says Melissa, independent producer of such films as DEAR LEMON LIMA (2009), CIRCUMSTANCE (2011) which won the US Audience Award at Sundance in 2011, and BENDS (2013), which had its world premiere at last month’s Cannes Film Festival. "My interest was so nascent that I didn’t know how I should be involved [in film]. I approached it theoretically at Harvard, taking literary theory, film theory and classes at the Graduate School of Design.” Switching concentrations junior year, she graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Literature.

She spent the next two years with Morgan Stanley in their Mergers & Acquisitions Division, first in Los Angeles and then in Hong Kong. "It was a great experience, I use those finance skills to this day.”

A conversation with a friend of a friend sparked her interest in The Peter Stark Producing Program at USC. "I didn’t have a clear idea of what producing was at the time,” she says, "but I’d always been interested in a career where I could be involved on both the creative and the business sides.” She went from 120-hour weeks in investment banking to immersion in the film world. "I made lifelong friends and learned so much.”

After earning her MFA in 2007, Melissa immediately sought projects to produce. Funding for independent films was hard to come by in the wake of the economic downturn. Also, she notes, "it’s a constant struggle for independent producers to make a living. Often producers aren’t compensated for the time and energy they put into projects. If a budget seems too high, the producer fee is often the first line item to be compromised. Many great films get made because of that sacrifice.”

In 2008, Melissa’s first feature, DEAR LEMON LIMA, went into production. Writer/director Suzi Yoonessi said Melissa and her co-producer "actualized what seemed impossible on a small budget,” and the film was complimented for its big budget look.

"The thing about producing is that every situation is different and involves challenges you can’t possibly anticipate,” Melissa says. "I played many roles, from managing the budget to driving a truck. It was an amazing experience.”

DEAR LEMON LIMA was a quirky coming-of-age story told through the diary writings of a 13-year-old half-Alaskan native girl. Melissa’s next feature, CIRCUMSTANCE, explored the struggle of a wealthy family in Tehran to contain a daughter's sexual rebellion and her brother's dangerous obsession.

"DEAR LEMON LIMA was shot in the U.S. with a SAG contract; the fundamentals of the physical production were very much filmmaking that you learn or talk about at film school,” Melissa says. In contrast, "We shot CIRCUMSTANCE in Lebanon in 2009, non-union. The working language was Arabic then French then English, and some of the actors only spoke Farsi.”

She continues, "Lebanon is an unpredictable country but fortunately we were there during a relatively quiet period. You approach things with a different mindset when a lot of your crew has grown up surrounded by civil war--it’s quite a reality check.” Much of the editing work was done in Chile. "After the really big earthquake there, one of the first e-mails I got from Maryam Keshavarz (the writer/director) was ‘we’re all OK and the hard drives are OK.’”

CIRCUMSTANCE premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. "Despite being one of the few non-English language films in the U.S. dramatic category, CIRCUMSTANCE won the Audience Award,” Melissa says. The film was acquired by Participant Media.

Five months later, Melissa was back in Utah as a Fellow at the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Lab. Her feature project, THE MAGLEV STORY, follows a Taiwanese "hikikomori” shut-in boy who leaves his room for the first time in years to go to Shanghai; while there, he forms a relationship with a local girl.

"Their interaction comes from their ability to communicate without words,” Melissa says. Both she and the film’s writer/director Anthony Ng "grew up within an Asian culture, but we’ve had enough time away to come back and look at it differently or in a way that celebrates it.” Having produced films in the U.S., the Middle East and Asia, Melissa says she’s not tied to a single geographic area: "It’s about the story and the filmmakers.” Still, she notes, "part of the reason I moved back to Asia was because I wanted to be more involved in stories based here.”

Her most recent project is BENDS, from writer/director Flora Lau. BENDS tells the parallel stories of a wealthy Hong Kong housewife and her chauffeur; the housewife faces the loss of her lifestyle when her husband disappears under a financial cloud, and the chauffeur wants to bring his pregnant wife from Mainland China to give birth to their second child in Hong Kong. "It’s an important, topical story,” says Melissa.

In addition to her film projects, Melissa produces commercials in Shanghai. "For the moment, I like the balance,” she says. "Commercial work exposes me to different production challenges and gives me the opportunity to work with experienced directors from around the world. I like the autonomy and influence that come with producing smaller films, but it would be great to work on bigger budget projects where we could afford the cast, crew, locations or whatever is needed for a top quality production.”

When asked how she would advise aspiring producers, Melissa says "embrace any opportunity to learn when you’re starting out, you never know where it could lead.” In Melissa’s case, it led to France -- BENDS premiered this summer as an official selection of Un Certain Regard, the Cannes Film Festival’s survey of current world cinema.

daynawilkinson.jpgDayna Wilkinson is a proud New Yorker currently living, working and writing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.



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