“You’re having conversations about movies and about the work and about questions and disagreements… there’s so much that grows out of that so when someone graduates you’re not through talking to them yet about it all.”
Basinger is here pictured in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. This picture was taken from a New York Times Article featuring her book The Star Machine, about the height of the studio system in the 30s through 50s [Source].
As a newly admitted film major, one can imagine the anx-citement surrounding this interview. Jeanine Basinger, who is on record as “one of the most important film scholars alive today” and who built Wesleyan’s world renowned film program from the bottom up, is a name I have learned to revere since day one as a prospective film student. At the scheduled time, I dialed Professor Basinger’s office to be greeted with enthusiasm and an eagerness to get right to business. She expressed her hope that her husband would bring her a cup of coffee amidst her busy workday and we jumped right into the questions. She made the interview very easy for me, answering with depth and segue-ing effortlessly into questions I hadn’t even asked yet. We discussed the establishment of the College of Film and the Moving Image, which was announced just over a year ago, the liberal arts approach to cinema, and her relations with past film majors. By the end of the half hour, I was feeling reenergized, inspired, and more excited than ever to begin my journey as a Wesleyan University film major with Professor Basinger as a guide.
The following is the transcript of our interview, edited for clarity.
Could you tell me about the College of Film and the Moving Image – why the initiative was taken on and what differences it brings to the department?
The interesting thing is that all of the components that make up the college are things that we have in fact been doing for years. The designation of making it into the college is less of a change and more of a recognition of what we are and what we do.
“[Fox Searchlight Pictures] received the benefits of their unpaid work, which otherwise would have required paid employees.” – Judge William H. Pauley III on the suit brought against Fox by Eric Glatt ’91 (below) and Alex Footman ’09
In September 2011, we posted about two Wesleyan alumni, Alex Footman ’09 and Eric Glatt ’91 who brought a class-action lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures. The two argued that, when they interned on the set of Black Swan, they performed menial tasks exclusively that had no educational value. By law, unpaid internships must provide some sort of educational experience and cannot simply be used to replace paid employees with unpaid labor. The two interns argued that they had not received the educational experience they should have gotten from the experience.
Just recently, Federal District Court Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that, as Fox Searchlight Pictures treated the workers as if they were regular paid employees and did not provide any sort of educational value to the internship, the interns should have been paid. The judge explained his logic to The Hollywood Reporter:
With the help of about a million other recent Wes grads, Nick Singer ’11 is busy expanding his senior thesis film into a full-fledged three-part feature. Other Months explores nearly a year in the life of Nash, an “anxious, isolated, and directionless” young man who is plagued by perpetual uncertainty. From the Kickstarter page:
There is a deep disquiet in Nash, an undercurrent running beneath his inertia. In the heady rush of sex, in the ecstatic pulse of a dance floor, in the electric punch of a confrontation with death—in these access points to the animal—he finds a certain undeniable potency. These moments in turn excite, terrify, and—ultimately, inevitably—leave Nash with a profound longing.
Singer’s thesis was a short film called February. After completing the film, which was an official selection of the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival in Utah, Singer was inspired to expand on its story and delve deeper into Nash’s mind. The second installment, July, is now also complete. The production team is now raising funds for November, the final part of the trilogy, which is being filmed in New York City.
Happy Saturday, Wes! While Colby harasses our boys in Red on Andrus Field over something that looks like a brown oval-shaped melon, I’m writing this from the sweet serenity of opening hour Pi Cafe.
So, setting aside the whole eyebrow-raising Black Swan v. Film Major Alum issue that came up a few weeks ago (click here for dramatic reenactment), there are indeed some nice tales for those who pass through the halls of Mdm. Basinger’s Center for Film Studies to hear.
Mike White ’92, writer of such films as Chuck and Buck, School of Rock, and Nacho Libre, recently had himself profiled over at NYT Mag. The piece, presumably prompted by his upcoming 10-ep HBO series “Enlightened” that’s set to premiere this monday, gives us a very brief tour through Mr. White’s life and mind; it explores, at some length, certain fascinating facets of Mr. White, like his surprisingly deep bond with reality TV (fun fact 1: he was a contestant on The Amazing Race in one of the show’s more entertaining seasons) and his tough collaborations with FOX.
(Fun fact 2: The director of School of Rock, Richard Linklater, is the same Mr. Linklater who directed the ethereal philosophy textbook Waking Life as well as two of my favorite films of all time: Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I am a sap I am.)
So, if you’re a film major in need of some role modeling, or just somebody interested in Mr. White’s exploits in general, or even somebody just lookin’ to kill some time on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, you can go on and click here for the profile.
[Thank to Big Mama Rachel Levenson ’12 for the tip!]
On the heels of yesterday’s inspirational article about SHOFCO comes another bit of Wesleyan publicity in the Gray Lady. This one’s got a bit of a darker tinge though, telling of an internship that culminated far short of perfection.
Alex Footman ’09, a film studies major, landed a coveted position as a production intern for the widely-acclaimed hit Black Swan. Yet it seems Footman’s role was a bit more minor than someone aspiring to break into the film industry might hope for: apparently, it consisted largely of “preparing coffee for the production office, ensuring that the coffee pot was full, taking and distributing lunch orders for the production staff, taking out the trash and cleaning the office.”
Alleging a violation of the “federal labor department’s criteria for unpaid internships,” Footman and another disgruntled former intern have filed suit against Fox Searchlight, “seeking back pay under federal and state wage laws [and] an injunction barring Fox Searchlight from improperly using unpaid interns” in the future.
Click here for the rest of the article. And maybe consider a double major.
Assistant football coach Joe Giaimo ’11 is looking for a talented, enthusiastic film student who probably can’t do this but certainly can do this:
The football team is looking for a film student to travel with us to our Hamilton (10/1) and Bowdoin (10/29) games to capture highlights for our end of year highlight film that we use for recruiting. You will be traveling with us overnight on a Friday and returning by Saturday night.
We are going to pay you and if you’re doing a thesis this year, the money can go towards funding your project.
Please e-mail Coach Joe Giaimo ’11 at jgiaimo(at)wesleyan(dot)edu if interested.
It’s perhaps a truism to say that different people have different talents, or inclinations, or skills, or interests, or whatever. And though we don’t typically flinch when we hear that those abilities are banal stuff like, oh I don’t know, stamp-collecting, violin-playing, basket-weaving, wind-surfing, douchebaggery, or whatnot, we may cock our heads a little to the side when we hear it’s something particularly peculiar, like panda-production.
But the Ripley’s Believe or Not comic strip published yesterday didn’t just cause me to cock my head to the side, it’s friggin’ dislocated my JAW.
John Basinger, husband of Jeanine Basinger, high-empress and overlord of the hipsters (and/or film majors), was reported by Ripley’s to have spent 8 years memorizing THE ENTIRETY OF JOHN MILTON’S PARADISE FUCKIN’ LOST. No shit, homie.
Strip to be found after the jump.