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Olivia DrakeMay 27, 20186min
During Wesleyan’s 186th commencement ceremony on May 27, Wesleyan presented outstanding teachers with the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. These prizes, made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., Hon. ’85, underscore Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, who are responsible for the University’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education. Recommendations are solicited from alumni of the last 10 graduating classes, as well as current juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee of faculty and members of the Alumni Association Executive Committee. This year, Wesleyan honored the following faculty…

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Cynthia RockwellApril 30, 20189min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni. Recent Wesleyan News Variety: "Entertainment Education Report: The Best Film Schools in 2018" Wesleyan is highlighted as one of the best schools to study film. An exceptional group of filmmakers, including Joss Whedon '87 and Michael Bay '86, have cited Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, as a major influence on their understanding of film. 2. Hartford Courant: "New Bike Share at Wesleyan Offers Speedy Transport for Students" Sustainability Director Jennifer Kleindienst discusses Wesleyan's new partnership with San Francisco–based start-up Spin to…

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Cynthia RockwellApril 2, 201810min
Rapture, a new eight-part docu-series on hip-hop that premiered on Netflix March 30, features Ben Selkow ’96 as executive producer, showrunner, and one of the directors. It is art with an overarching purpose: "We hope to bring audiences and fans closer to the artists' experience by sharing their biography and showing the perseverance, talent, and luck that helped each transform and transcend their situation," says Selkow, a film studies and African American studies major while at Wesleyan, who previously directed Reza Aslan’s CNN series Believer. After returning from the SXSW film and music festival in Austin, Texas, where the team showcased several episodes…

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Lauren RubensteinMarch 1, 20182min
Wesleyan faculty frequently publish articles based on their scholarship in The Conversation US, a nonprofit news organization with the tagline, “Academic rigor, journalistic flair.” Ahead of the 2018 Oscars ceremony that celebrates the best in film, The Conversation explores some of the worst film innovations of years past. Scott Higgins, director of the College of Film and the Moving Image, writes about Interfilm, a "choose your own adventure" theater technology that flopped in the early 1990s. Higgins is also the Charles W. Fries Professor of Film Studies, chair of Film Studies, and curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives. Read his bio on The Conversation.…

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Cynthia RockwellNovember 7, 20172min
She Makes Comics, a documentary directed by Marisa Stotter '13, and produced by Patrick Meaney '07 and Stotter, won Best Documentary at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International Film Festival, and was released on Netflix on Oct. 15.  Also available on iTunes and Amazon Prime, the film tells the story of the women—artists, writers, executives, as well as ardent fans—in the comic book industry. The documentary has played at film festivals around the world since its release in December 2014. Both a thoroughly researched history—featuring luminaries such as Karen Green, the comic librarian at Columbia University, as well as women…

Cynthia RockwellOctober 30, 20174min
Brimstone and Glory is the feature-length documentary produced by Benh Zeitlin ’04, Dan Janvey ’06, Kellen Quinn ’05 and others, on the annual festival in Tultepec, Mexico, where pyrotechnics are the major industry. The weeklong celebration honors San Juan de Dios, patron saint of firework makers, and celebrates the artisans who dedicate themselves to pyrotechnics. Directed by Viktor Jakovleski, and edited by Affonso Gonçalves, the film is scored by Benh Zeitlin and Dan Romer, the two who collaborated on the Beasts of the Southern Wild score. Dubbed “Best Documentary Feature” at the San Francisco Film Festival, Brimstone and Glory opens in…

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Olivia DrakeOctober 25, 20172min
"Press this button and say, 'Action!'" Sarah Lucente '21 explains to third-grader Isaiah as he intently peers into a videocamera's viewfinder. "Think about this scene. Think about doing a closeup." Isaiah is one of 10 area youth learning about filmmaking though Wesleyan Film Outreach, a program that provides school-aged children with the skills to write, film, direct and edit themselves. The class is taught by Wesleyan students as part of the YMCA's Kids' Korner, an after-school enrichment program held at MacDonough Elementary School in Middletown. Stephen Collins '96, associate professor of film studies, teaches the community-engagement class for two hours every Tuesday with Film Outreach volunteers Lucente, Caris Yeoman…

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Cynthia RockwellSeptember 5, 20171min
https://youtu.be/ZnXPMx1Bow8 While still undergraduates, Julie Magruder ’17 and Jackson DuMont ’17 began filming The Face of Kinship Care, a documentary highlighting the important role that familial, but non-parental, caregivers provide in the lives of children. The documentary will be will be shown at Wesleyan—as well as more widely—at 8 p.m., Monday, Sept. 18, at the Powell Family Cinema. September, notes Magruder, is Kinship Care Month in a number of states. Through her work on this film, Magruder has become an advocate for highlighting the importance of kinship caregivers in all states. The project began more than a year ago, when Christine…

Cynthia RockwellMay 30, 20174min
On May 23, Michael Bay ’86 added his hand- and footprints to the cement outside the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, signifying his status as a film icon. Bay’s 1995 debut film, Bad Boys, was only the first of Bay's blockbusters, which include Armageddon and The Rock  as well as five “Transformers” movies, with an upcoming release of Transformers: The Last Knight slated for June 21. A film major at Wesleyan whose senior project, My Brother Benjamin, won the Frank Capra prize for best film when he graduated, Bay recalled for Variety that it was at this theater, when he was…

Andrew Logan ’18April 27, 20174min
This month, Sebastian Junger '84 and Liz W. Garcia '99 will each feature their films at the annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Founded in 2001 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert DeNiro and Craig Hatkoff, the Tribeca Film Festival attracts nearly half a million attendees. Junger, a journalist, author and filmmaker, is co-director, with Nick Quested, of the film Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS,  It follows an extended family's attempt to flee their homeland in the face of violence and tragedy. Edited down to 99 minutes from an extensive 1,000 hours of…

Andrew Logan ’18April 3, 20174min
How does one convert a shipyard into a cinema? “With a lot of gumption and very little sleep,” reports Nathaniel Draper ’12, the technical director of the Syros International Film Festival (SIFF). For five days in July, Draper and his colleagues Cassandra Celestin ’13, Aaron Khandros ’13 and Jacob Moe will transform the small Greek island of Syros into a multifaceted cinema space. Projectors hauled over three hours by boat from Athens will be erected on Syros’s docks, beaches and quarries to screen a variety of films, from art house to Hollywood. Musicians and filmmakers will gather for all-night multimedia performances…