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ON YOUR RADAR: The Second Year Class of 2017

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2017

THIS WEEK'S "ON YOUR RADAR" IS A SPECIAL SEGMENT, SHOWCASING GRAD FILM'S 2ND YEAR CLASS OF 2017.

READ ABOUT THEIR INSPIRATIONS, FILMMAKING PROCESSES, AND WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND THIER UPCOMING SHOWCASE ON MAY 6TH AND 7TH.

What inspires you?

"In general, I often find inspiration in the simplest of activities: walking around the city with my headphones on, reading a book in the park, watching live music, etc. I am also frequently inspired by family and friends, and the tragicomic nuances of relationships. For this project in particular, my biggest influences were Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, Larry David, and Louis C.K." -Gregory Oxenberg

"I am inspired day-in and day-out by women and people of color and the way we survive; both ordinarily and triumphantly. I want to dedicate myself and my work to unpacking that in every pathway I can find." -Sontenish Myers

"Not one individual thing inspires me. It is ever changing with my environment and with whom I surround myself with. I come from a large family. Very 'Yours, Mine & Ours.' My family is everything to me, so my work tends to center around family dynamics. Both the beautiful and dark aspects of being so intertwined with another individual. As humans we exists to coexist. But it is not always easy. My films always center on a female protagonist, who goes against the 'norm,' and the consequences that come with that." -Ashley Deckman

"I'm inspired by classic bildungsromans or 'life stories' like Great Expectations, and more recently, Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan Quartet, the natural world, the unnatural world of big cities, and people who fail to live up to their own ideals." -Swetha Regunathan

"I get inspired by being outdoors and getting away from civilisation" -Marcus Clausen

"I'm inspired by stories about ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances." -Kevin Wilson Jr.

"I am inspired by the consequences of the one-child policy, a policy issued by the Chinese government 30 years ago: each family can only have one child. I have known this policy since I was just a little kid. I didn’t feel there was anything wrong about it until I went to Beijing to study. Every time I talked to my mom, she would try to persuade me to come back to my hometown because I am her only child. Then I started to realize how this policy has greatly influenced Chinese people for 30 years." -Chenyi Zhuge

"Independent Thinking and Fearless Filmmaking" -Lin Que Ayoung

"What's been inspiring me recently are New Yorkers. The little bits of conversations heard on subways have been thought provoking and have highlighted what a melting pot New York is of different people with aspirations, dreams, sorrows and challenges that are so diverse and far ranging, you can find a source of inspiration on almost any block in the city." -Ria Tobaccowala

What was your biggest triumph making your film?

"I got it done and my set was brimming with positive energy. There were so many moving parts involved, and they all came together without a hitch thanks to an amazing cast and crew." -Jall Cowasji

"The biggest triumph I had was pulling off this production, with the limited budget and time I had to do so. I had a couple financial hiccups before shooting that looking back on now I am grateful for, in that it really made me prioritize what I want to show and how with the limited means and time that I had, to most effectively tell my story." -Ashley Deckman

"It felt really good to be making a film with a bunch of awesome artists in the days immediately after Trump was elected. I wouldn't have stopped crying on the floor if I didn't have to show up to set and act like a person. Also, I didn't destroy the very nice location that was lent to me by my in-laws." -Lisa Duva

"My biggest triumph on my 2nd year film was in the cutting room. As I reworked and restructured my footage endlessly, I ended up with a cut that far exceeded my expectations and inflected my original vision even better than I could have hoped for." -Swetha Regunathan

"Staying Focused." -Lin Que Ayoung

"After a mishap, I learned that mealworms must be refrigerated at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. They're a fragile species; their very existence teeters on a razor's edge. I now consider myself their human guardian; privy to their ancient secrets. For this, I am grateful, but forever changed." -Thomas Meyer

"The journey of filmmaking has a life of its own. This one began with the location, Nepal. I had never been there before and I did not know anyone, but I went to Nepal to find the location and actors. It was a blind faith, a calling and surely a risky endeavor. When shooting this film in a Himalayan mountain village, we were surrounded by beautiful scenary everywhere. But what really moved me were the people who worked on this film. Their love and dedication for this film is what I will remember from this journey." -Jisun Jamie Lee

"The biggest triumph for me during the making of my second year film was being able to collaborate with incredible fellow artists. No one person makes a film come to life, I found amazing filmmakers and actors who I adore and learned so much from every day. These are people I hope to work with for years to come." -Ria Tobaccowala

"There were some really difficult scenes in my second year film, and there were a couple times when I was tempted to settle for something less than I wanted.  But I didn't, I fought for what I wanted and I worked at it, and it made me a stronger filmmaker. I think!  Also I filmed a fight scene!" -Laurel Parmet

What was the biggest lesson you learned making your film?

"The greatest lesson I learned during this process is that keeping an open mind and not being precious about the material leads to extremely gratifying collaborations. Be it my cast, producer, DP, or editor, I wanted everyone to feel invested in the material, and know that his or her input was valued. I also learned that at the end of the day, you're not making your movie for everybody, and it's crucial to remember what drew you to the project originally. You can receive endless notes, but ultimately there are some people who will never be your intended audience." -Gregory Oxenberg

"To not stop until you get what you want. There were times when I would get caught up with being the efficient director; the director that keeps his AD and crew happy. I always want the experience to be very positive and painless for everyone, but sometimes, one has to be difficult and push harder." -Jall Cowasji

"The most significant lessons of making my second year film was the importance of preparation, being a good collaborator, and listening to yourself. I adore my class; we all have such unique voices and approach this craft with such seriousness and passion. This showcase will be a fine example of that, I'm sure of it. Don't miss it!" - Anonymous

"The most significant lessons of making my second year film were the importance of preparation, being a good collaborator, and listening to yourself." -Sontenish Myers

"My biggest lesson I learned, was set up is everything. If your audience is confused or lost in the beginning of your film it doesn’t matter how strong your ending is, it will never land as you intended if you aren’t clear upfront." -Ashley Deckman

"There's never enough time." -Lisa Duva

"I'd just give the general encouragement to use the second-year film as an opportunity to explore and not to perfect. Ask a question that you want to know the answer to. Find people who want to understand but may not yet." -Prashanth Kamalakanthan

"I learned that what I want my films to do is elicit visceral, raw feeling and that every decision I make on and off set should be in the service of this intention." -Swetha Regunathan

"The biggest lesson I learned is that it pays off to plan everything well and know exactly what you want to do - that leaves more wiggle room to be creative and make changes while on set." -Marcus Clausen

"My biggest lesson was learning how to work with my cast being all non actors and turning that out to the story's advantage." -Lorena Durán

"Underestimating how much time it takes to get my shots." -Lin Que Ayoung

"What a great reminder this entire year has been that stuff never goes according to plan, but how wonderful and rewarding it is to stare those obstacles in the face and keep at it. There will be a truthful movie on the screen at the end of the year, and it will be yours!" -Adrian Cardenas

Why should people attend the Showcase?

"It will be a great opportunity to see many unique and interesting voices telling their stories. So much hard work has gone into these projects, and experiencing them with an audience will be a really special experience." -Gregory Oxenberg

"I adore my class; we all have such unique voices and approach this craft with such seriousness and passion. This showcase will be a fine example of that, I'm sure of it. Don't miss it!" -Sontenish Myers

"Why not? Two days of pure entertainment, from some of the most talented filmmakers from all over the world--FOR FREE! I admire each and every one of my classmates, and their unique voices. I could never make a film like they do, and that is so special." -Ashley Deckman

"There is a hidden message embedded into all of our films, one frame at a time. You must watch all of the films in order to find it. If you do, you will be awarded $1,000 and you will be handed a clue to the next phase of the puzzle." -Lisa Duva

"My classmates are the diverse, innovative future of film. Their films are so smart and beautiful, it makes my head hurt." -Swetha Regunathan

"To get a break from the real world." -Marcus Clausen

"Oh jeez, Showcase. The very word tingles the spine. I can't believe it's almost here. May 6th and 7th. I really can't wait-- it's quite the event. Also, heard there's a Mets game that weekend. That could be cool too. Maybe check out how much tickets are. Someone mentioned a new exhibit at Moma, which could be fun. So I guess weigh your options. Man, New York has it all!" -Thomas Meyer

"Come and sit with us in our magic cave. We grew up a bunch of stalactites here." -Anya Alekhina

"The Showcase brings together short films from 37 passionate voices from around the world that are sharing small parts of their lives and experiences. In 2 days time, people who attend the showcase will get a little glimpse into the different perspectives of new filmmakers from around the world and see what defines and unites us as a community." -Ria Tobaccowala

"I don't know where else you can see movies from all around the world for this price. And maybe some of us will get famous so latch on early." -Ari Halevy III