Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ONLINE NOW: The Video Diaries Project: A Series of Short Films About the Artists in the Strawberry One-Act Festival

The Video Diaries Project: A Series of Short Films, See the Films Online Now and Cast your Vote for Best Short Film by Clicking the LIKE Button on Facebook, Youtube or Viemo.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jeremiah Milbauer: Renaissance Man, Literally By Kaley G Pillinger (The Observer Newspaper)

Jeremiah Milbauer, a 10th grader at Hunter College High School, has fostered an interest in theater from a young age.  “Like any kid, I think I was always interested in dressing up and parading around the house in costume, pretending to be some character from my imagination.”  It’s been a long and prolific journey between his first role as a sunflower in a play at day camp at age 8 and his current role as Giorgio Vasari, a young apprentice in the current production of The Faultless Painter, currently in rehearsal for the Strawberry One-Act Festival by the Riant Theater.

While this is Jeremiah’s first foray into professional theater, he’s participated in many productions both at school and his synagogue.  His favorite roles include: Fagin in Oliver!, Crank in Snow Angel, the title role in The Odyssey as well as the aggressive half of Caius Lucius in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.

The producer from The Faultless Painter saw Jeremiah as Odysseus and remembered his terrific performance when it came time a year later to cast the role of Giorgio Vasari. The characters in the play are all based on real historical figures.

Young Giorgio is apprenticed to the oft-overlooked Renaissance painter Andrea del Sarto (played by Samuel Muniz).  The one act, which delves into del Sarto’s inner conflict between his love for his unfaithful wife, Lucrezia (Virginia Bosch), and his commitment to his art.  The interesting historical note is that Giorgio, who plays a seemingly insignificant role, turns out to become the real-life biographer of del Sarto and the first ever art historian.  “It will be interesting to see how I play the character who ends up being the storyteller,” Jeremiah commented.  But that’s not the only challenging part of his role: the entire play is in verse.

Jeremiah is faring well with his new environment, be it having his feet measured for Renaissance-style footwear, working with a cast of all adults, or spending hours discussing the history behind the characters and situation in The Faultless Painter.

But walking around in Renaissance shoes and a vest will be completely worthwhile, because “It feels great to be able to say to yourself, ‘Jeremiah, you are in an Off-Off-Broadway show.’”

The Faultless Painter will be performed March 1st at 9 PM at The Hudson Guild Theater, as part of Series B of the Strawberry One-Act Festival, 441 West 26th Street, NYC (between 9th and 10th Avenue)
Tickets are available at 1-646-623-3488

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Evolution of a Filmmaker: An Interview with Sam Pollard, a Riant Theatre Pioneer of the Arts Award Recipient (February 16, 2013)

The Evolution of a Filmmaker: An Interview with Sam Pollard
By Jane Rubinsky

Film and television editor and documentary producer/director Sam Pollard receives the Riant Theatre’s 2013 Pioneer of the Arts Award for an extraordinary body of work that spans four decades.  His career encompasses both feature films and documentaries, working in nearly every capacity within the industry.  He has collaborated with filmmakers such as St. Clair Bourne and Spike Lee and won numerous awards.

He didn’t originally intend to be a filmmaker.  As a young man growing up in East Harlem, he set his sights on becoming an electrical engineer before deciding to study marketing at Baruch College.  Three years in, Pollard wasn’t at all happy.  A college counselor steered him into a film and television workshop at WNET/Channel 13, which had been started in 1968 after Dr. King’s assassination.  An effort to get more people of color behind the camera, the one-year program met two nights a week, bringing in professionals to teach how to shoot and edit, write scripts, and record sound.  Pollard, one of the youngest in the class, gravitated toward editing.  “It was the first time I ever felt like I was creative,” he recalls.  He also realized that he “could make a mistake and put it back together” without the scrutiny of being on location.  “As soon as I was alone in that editing room,” he says, “I knew I had found something that was for me.”

The following year, in 1972, Pollard was hired as an apprentice editor by Victor Kanefsky and worked as his assistant for the next three years.  “By the time I was 25,” says Pollard, “one of his clients who couldn’t afford him hired me to cut one of my first films.”

As a youngster, Pollard had loved old Hollywood movies; once he began studying the craft of film, he says, “I started to fall in love with Federico Fellini and Kurosawa and Robert Bresson, foreign filmmakers.  And then, as I focused on editing, I really started to look at films for who the editors were, and what they did in terms of bringing rhythm and pacing and storytelling structure to the film through the editing process.  Dede Allen, whose films like The Hustler, Bonnie and Clyde, Serpico, and Dog Day Afternoon I thought were phenomenally put together, was a big influence on me editorially.”

Pollard’s first project with Kanefsky was a feature; his second was a documentary, and he was introduced to a whole new world that he fell in love with.  “What I came away with after working with him for a few years on documentaries,” says Pollard, “was how important the role of the editor was in really being a surrogate director, and shaping the story and direction of a film in the editing process.  You really did that in documentaries, where you didn’t have scripts; you had to really figure out – sometimes by yourself and sometimes with the director or producer – the arc of a film and how to tell the story.”  Style Wars (1983), a documentary on graffiti culture that he co-edited with Kanefsky for PBS and which won a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1984, remains one of his favorite projects to this day.

He has collaborated with Spike Lee for more than two decades, as editor on films such as Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, and Bamboozled as well as co-producer/editor on documentaries like the Oscar-nominated 4 Little Girls (1997) and the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning When the Levees Broke (2006).  Working with Lee is “a really interesting kind of dynamic,” he says.  “It’s never been one where there’s a lot of open dialogue between us.  He’s a very strong director; we will screen the footage together and he’ll give me his notes and thoughts about what he likes and doesn’t like, and I’ll take my own notes, and then I’ll shape the sequences according to his notes and my notes.  Then I’ll show it to him again, and he’ll give me feedback, and I’ll go back and change it again, and then show it to him again.  When I used to edit films for the late St. Clair Bourne, Saint and I would sit and philosophize and talk about sequences and the direction of the film for hours. With Spike, we’d never do that.”

At the helm of his own project last year, Pollard produced and directed Slavery By Another Name (2012), shedding light on the little-known system of forced labor that emerged after the abolition of slavery and which persisted until the onset of the second World War.  The documentary was broadcast nationally on PBS and was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.  The editor on the film was Pollard’s own son, Jason.  “He’s been coming into editing rooms ever since he was eight or nine,” says Pollard.  “We’d worked together before on some smaller projects, but this was gonna be a big one for both of us.  I used to brow-beat him a little,” he confesses, “but I don’t anymore.  He works hard and is a very creative editor; our relationship is one of give-and-take.”

Pollard began teaching at Columbia University in 1988 and has taught at New York University since 1994.  “To tell you the truth, I always liked the idea of giving back; I think that was one of the things that Victor taught me,” he says. “It’s important to share what you have with the next generation of people coming up in the business.  I really love looking at these young people and getting them excited.  And the students just keep energizing me and making me still feel excited about filmmaking.”

He is currently in pre-production with WQED in Pittsburgh on a documentary for American Masters about the life and work of playwright August Wilson, to be broadcast sometime in 2014.  As filmmaking technology changes nearly every day, says Pollard, things can be done faster; the look and feel is different.  “Now, we don’t edit with physical film anymore; we edit with computers.  What people need to remember is, even though the technology has evolved, the thing that’s really important in making anything creative is what’s in a human being’s mind – what you think and how you view the world.  It’s still what’s inside a human being that informs how you make your films and gives them that vision.”
* * * * *
The Riant Theatre and the Founder & Artistic Director Van Dirk Fisher, will be honoring Sam Pollard with the PIONEER OF THE ARTS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM & ENTERTAINMENT at the Screening of the Video Diaries Project on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at the Tribeca Grand Hotel - Cinema, 2 Avenue of Americas, NYC at 3:45pm.  For tickets to this event go to

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Video Diaries Project: A Series of Short Films, Saturday February 16, 2013 at 3:45PM at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, 2 Avenue of the Americas, NYC

The Video Diaries Project: A Series of Short Films, Saturday February 16, 2013 at 3:45PM at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, 2 Avenue of the Americas, NYC

Screening of The Video Diaries Project: A Series Of Short Films
About the Artists in the Strawberry One-Act Festival
Saturday, February 16, 2013
At the Tribeca Grand Hotel
2 Avenue of the Americas, NYC
2 Blocks South of Canal St.

Screening #1 at 3:45 p.m.
Short Documentary Films based on the following plays:
  • Nobody's Man
  • Chip Bolcik - A Writer's Story about the play The Blizzard

  • 4 Murders & A Suicide
  • Ohio Bites Back
  • Kate The Great about the artist in the play Hello, Red

  • Dramatic Paws
  • Saving Legs
  • Behind Three Shots a film by Claude Isbell
Screening #2 at 5:15 p.m.
Short Documentary Films based on the following plays:
  • Robot Rising by Julia Rae Maldonado, about the artists in When Greenland Melted...The Robot Rose

  • The G Train
  • Perfect
  • a tree without blossom by Sima Jafari. About the artists in A Love Story

  • Follow the Red Lines to the Gates of Paradise
    by Yvette King

  • Three's A Crowd a film about the artist in the play Hunger

  • Plastic Couch
  • Trash Salmon a film about the artists in A Broken Liver and a Cataract

Award for Best Short Film will be
Presented at the Awards Ceremony & Performance
For the Strawberry One-Act Festival

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 5PM
At the Hudson Guild Theatre
441 West 26th Street, NYC
Between 9th & 10th Avenue