Tag Archives: rutgers

On Tour: Homecoming in New Brunswick, NJ

18 Apr

The BLAST! screening at Rutgers was a homecoming of sorts. I grew up nearby and some of my childhood buddies showed up. Problem was they were unfamiliar with the Busch Campus. So Jim Wood volunteered to be a human billboard and direct traffic to the screening. Perfect man for job! Jim is the star of my upcoming movie The Front Man  a romantic musicomedy about what it means to pursue your art in a society where anything short of celebrity is failure.

Jim Wood-The Front Man

Speaking of celebrity, local musician Jigs Giglio, also made an appearance. He’s one of the stars of my first documentary Rockin’ Brunswick.  I’ve known both Jigs and Jim since kindergarten. I guess, if I know you long enough, you end up in one of my movies.

Professor Thomas Devlin

My father, Thomas Devlin, was a physics professor at Rutgers for 40 years before he retired to Philadelphia to work in astrophysics with my brother Mark at University of Pennsylvania. He was in charge of the renovation that doubled the size of the Serin Physics building where the movie played.

Mark & Paul Devlin

Both my father and my brother Mark, who stars in the movie, joined us for the screening. Saved my butt with this crowd, because Mark was able to field all the science questions. There were quite a few youngsters in the audience. It is always gratifying to know that BLAST! is inspiring budding scientists. One science teacher in the audience suggested that BLAST! should be showing in every high school in the country – sounds good to me!

Future scientists

Afterwards, a bunch of us met up at The Old Bay Restaurant downtown for a very festive dinner. Great to be back in New Brunswick!

Post by OSIP touring filmmaker Paul Devlin

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On Tour: Fambul Tok at Rutgers

6 Mar

March 2 – Rutgers University, Newark.

It’s a cold, rainy night in gritty Newark, but a good group turns out for the Fambul Tok screening, which is being shown as part of the Women’s History Month Film Festival.

On this trip, I’m loving the way that the post-screening conversation is guided by the interests of people in the audience. Some questions that pop out first in one place never even surface in another. Acts of forgiveness that seems impossible to some individuals make perfect sense to others.

At this screening, the Q and A is moderated by Dosso Kassimou, the president of Newark’s African Commission, and an immigrant from the Ivory Coast. He embraces Fambul Tok’s message of using cultural traditions of resolving conflict as something familiar – a practice that has deep roots across the African continent, though it takes different shapes according to country and culture. It’s an idea that seems to resonate with this audience, an acknowledgment that people so often do have answers to their own problems – solutions that can be far more effective than the tools that outsiders bring.

We talk a bit about the South African word, ubuntu. It translates in a variety of ways, but the one I love most is, “Because you are, I am.” It’s a sensibility that underlies this distinctly African love of, and commitment to, community, the understanding that my being depends on your being, and vice versa, the idea that without each other, we cannot be complete.

Tonight, this is the idea that stays with me as I walk back to the hotel in the rain. I have a lot on my mind, and am wrestling with many things. I want to live this idea of ubuntu more fully.

Post by Sara Terry, OSIP touring filmmaker

Rutgers Article on Money Matters

10 Feb

The Daily Targum recently published an article on Money Matters and Ryan Richmond’s visit to the Douglass Campus Center.

Read it here.


On Tour: Ryan Richmond Visits Rutgers New Brunswick

6 Feb

Next up on tour is Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Here we have students and a city, my kind of atmosphere. Jersey looks the same no matter what city you go. I’ve never been here before but it feels like I have.

I link up with my hosts for dinner and we have a great conversation about the climate of Rutgers, the Latino and African American communities here and of course how good the film is. I had to throw that in there… No, but we did talk about how “Money Matters” story was true to many races and people across the board. And, that it makes a strong conversational piece for education. [I’m really pitching here educators. Call me.]

Through the Center for Latino Arts and Culture, Carlos Fernandez arranged a great screening. When I introduced the film I saw a couple students take out note pads. I’m thinking, we are about to get busy up in here. After the screening, the students seemed to have appreciated the film. Again, the guys were more vocal than the girls. I couldn’t tell if the girls were stunned from what they had seen or what. They waited to say something to me after the talk back, just like the past screening. I’m starting to notice a pattern.

It was a pretty lengthy discussion overall. The students stuck around quite some time to get all their thoughts out. The students and the coordinator were so consumed by the characters and captured by the story, it made me think ‘wow maybe the film is OK’.

It was an enriching experience here at Rutgers. Now, off to the next location but not before the Super Bowl. Go G-men!!!

Sorry no pics. It was Jersey… Joking. Next location.

Post by Ryan Richmond, OSIP touring filmmaker.

On Tour: In Good Time Heads to New Jersey

8 Nov

After leaving Allentown High School I was off driving to Newark, NJ and a screening that night at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Ronaldo Hertz, Associate Director Office of University-Community Partnerships, Rutgers-Newark is a man with a calm demeanor and is a well organized dynamo of energy. He and Diane Hill have a great program integrating their student staff fully into the presentation process. They had planned quite an evening. It started at 6PM with tours of the Institute of Jazz Studies at on campus, just across the courtyard from the Paul Robeson Center where the screening was held.

Next at 6:30PM Leo Johnson a local long time jazz sax player played an hour long set with a piano player and 15 year old bass player. The Robeson Center function room was set up like a jazz club with tables and chairs. There was a buffet that disappeared pretty quickly. At 7:30PM Cephas Bowles, CEO, WBGO-FM, and the evening’s co-sponsor spoke to the crowd,. WBGO had given a big promotion to the screening. Dan Morganstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies, spoke next about Marian McPartland. This part of the program ended with Michael Bourne a WBGO DJ interviewing me about the film. At 8PM In Good Time was screened. The 130 people enjoyed the film and I had a chance to speak with many afterwards.

Saturday morning I gave a presentation at Newark Reads, a gathering for youth sponsored by area organizations in partnership with Office of University-Community Partnerships. In one of my presentations I met a very curious 5th grader named Derek, we had a great discussion about filmmaking and learning in general. An art teacher left intrigued by how I use animation with students. I gave him a few hints on how to get started. I hope he tries it with his students.

Oh, you can rest assured that Newark is a safe city. A half block from my hotel in Military Park I saw the Gotham Police Department in action.

It really was filming for the new Batman movie. It was interesting to see the Newark Police Department keeping the crowd of onlookers at bay while Gotham’s finest ran down a subway entrance arriving by Gotham police cars and even the Gotham SWAT team was there.

But Batman was nowhere to be seen. I guess he was resting in his trailer.

Post by Huey, OSIP Touring Filmmaker

On Tour: Jim Hanon at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

9 Oct

Rutgers is huge. There are three campuses, and our film showed at the New Brunswick Campus. Because the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies hosted us we were able to talk about nonviolence in the larger context of the world. They told me several nonviolence stories from Latin America. One of the best things about being a filmmaker is meeting interesting and passionate people, and I always enjoy hearing incredible stories that the public just doesn’t have access to.

What information the public does and doesn’t receive kind of became a central thread in the discussion after the film. Once again, the audience confirmed that Little Town of Bethlehem shared things they simply hadn’t heard before. Powerful things. Whenever people discover there is more to the story it is a natural response for them to ask why they didn’t know.

There were African-American students who wanted to talk about the equality issue, and the Latino students wanted to talk about the similarities of the cycle of violence to gangs. And for the second screening in a row the audience wanted to talk about the Arab spring and the current Occupy Wall Street movement. Yet, all of the questions kept feeding back to what the media reports and why.

One of the things that I always share about Little Town of Bethlehem is that I may not have a lot of hope in politics, but I have great hope in a civil society. Finally I told them if the selective media coverage troubled them we can all do something. For my part, I was fortunate to make a film. For Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s part, they sponsored the On Screen/In Person program that allowed the film to be shared at Rutgers. Every one of us can do something, big or small. A common connection of the three protagonist in Little Town of Bethlehem is that they all believe Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Post by Jim Hanon, OSIP touring filmmaker

On Tour: Nancy Kelly & TRUST@ Rutgers New Brunswick Campus

12 Sep

TRUST screened on Friday night in New Brunswick, New Jersey, at the Douglass Residential College, a women’s residential college at Rutgers University.  The screening organizer Carlos Fernandez said most of the students are also the first in their families to go to college.  And, on Friday night, the audience for the TRUST screening was almost all women.

Carlos, who is the Executive Director of the Center for Latino Arts and Culture at Rutgers, asked me to talk about what he saw as a common thread in my films, that they are about outsiders and are often about women.  That is certainly true of four of my eight films: the documentaries TRUST, (Marlin a Hondureña is the heroine), Downside UP (a first-person documentary about my dying working class hometown, in which I am the protagonist), and COWGIRLS (about women who work as cowboys on cattle ranches) and my narrative feature film THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD (about a young Chinese woman who comes to America during the Gold Rush as a slave).

THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD is probably the most extreme example of an outsider film – almost every element in the story and production was enough to insure that it would never, ever see the light of day.

Killer reason number 1: the heroine of the story. Lalu Nathoy, a young Chinese woman. There are no Asian American actresses whose name attached to the film would compel a Hollywood studio or investors to believe they’d make money on the film.

Killer Reason Number 2: the director – me.  A woman. Women direct only 5% of American dramatic feature films.  In Hollywood, the image of a director, the “helmsman” is that of a man.  That was true in the late 1980s when I was trying to get THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD made and it is true today.  It’s just pathetic that the percentage of women directing features has not changed during my career.

Killer Reason Number 3: the story is set in the American West. As a genre Westerns were dismissed with a phrase we heard again and again from men in suits sitting behind their desks: “Dust is dead.”

We succeeded in making THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD (it was released in 1992 and is now available on iTunes) because the PBS American Playhouse series supported it because they wanted to tell American stories whose heroes and heroines were people of color and supported it; because the Sundance Institute was cultivating regional American filmmakers and invited us to participate in its famed June Lab; and because an independent investor, a Caucasian married to a Chinese woman, loved the interracial love story part of the film and filled in the financing gap.

However, dust was still dead when we finished THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD,  and we had hell finding a distributor.  Then DANCES WITH WOLVES was a box office success, dust was no longer dead (!) and we got a distributor.

Post written by Nancy Kelly, On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker

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