The New York Times: “Law Student’s Alter Ego: Filmmaker”

Anthony Desiato, a current Pace law student and comic shop employee, is featured in an interesting article in the New York Times after making a documentary or “D.I.Y film” as his “creative outlet… ‘in order to stay sane'” and landed the coveted chance to show it at Comic-Con.

Anthony Desiato, a current Pace law student and comic shop employee, is featured in an interesting article in the New York Times after making a documentary or “D.I.Y film” as his “creative outlet… ‘in order to stay sane'” and landed the coveted chance to show it at Comic-Con.

The film is a sweet-natured exploration of Mr. Oto’s quirky relationship with his shop, his employees and his loyal, foul-mouthed and eccentric clientele, some of them man-cave-dwellers who seem to have sprung from the pages of the comic books they hoard and devour. Mr. Desiato’s collection, of 500 graphic novels and 100 superhero statuettes, is confined to his bedroom at his parents’ home.

He wrapped the film in time to return to law school in the fall and then went toWithoutabox, an online hub for film festival submissions, and sent out a dozen paid applications. The movie was picked up by NewFilmmakers, which screened it at Anthology Film Archives in May. Now comes Comic-Con, a mainstream event that draws 130,000 comics aficionados each summer. Mr. Desiato’s was one of just five documentaries accepted.

"Far left, Steve Oto, who owns the comics shop Alternate Realities, in Scarsdale, N.Y., and Anthony Desiato, a law student and shop employee who made a film about it." Richard Perry/The New York Times

Read the full article in The New York Times online.

Pace Law School

THE JOURNAL NEWS: Meet Hartsdale’s Anthony Desiato, Documentary Filmmaker About A Scarsdale Comic Book Store

Hartsdale resident and Pace Law School student, Anthony Desiato, recently made an independent documentary titled “My Comic Shop Documentary” while working at the comic shop “Alternate Realities” in Scarsdale, NY. Next month, the documentary will be shown as part of the long-running New Filmmakers New York Series.

Meet Hartsdale’s Anthony Desiato, Documentary Filmmaker About A Scarsdale Comic Book Store

The story was again featured in The Journal News with photos on May 9, 2011 in an article entitled Screen Gems.

NEWS RELEASE: Documentary Produced by Pace University Students Wins Best Documentary in 2010 Indie Short Film Competition

Fifteen students in a Pace communications class taught by Prof. Maria Luskay, Ed.D., can now add “film competition winner” to their resumes. Their documentary, titled “The Life of an American Ambassador: The Netherlands,” was chosen as Best in Category for “Documentary” in the 2010 Indie Short Film Competition. (Left: Luskay’s students filming winning documentary in Holland.)

“The Life of an American Ambassador: The Netherlands” focuses on an Obama appointee

Next week: Belize and sustainable shrimp farming

PLEASANTVILLE, NY, March 9, 2011 – Fifteen students in a Pace University communications class taught by Professor Maria Luskay, Ed.D., can now add “film competition winner” to their resumes.

And Fay Hartog-Levin, the American Ambassador to Holland who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, can add “subject of prizewinning documentary” to hers.

Their documentary, titled “The Life of an American Ambassador: The Netherlands,” was chosen as Best in Category for “Documentary” in the 2010 Indie Short Film Competition.

The Pace students wrote, directed, filmed and produced the half-hour film that follows several days in the life of an American Ambassador. Over the 2010 spring break, the students were given full access to the Embassy and the Ambassador’s residence. They followed her to meetings, public speeches and public relations events.

“I don’t think I have ever seen my students work so hard – and love every minute of it,” said Luskay on the project’s blog, which gives a play-by-play of the trip and the project. “They began shooting at 8 am and logged and blogged until after 10 pm.”

“We are honored to have spent time with Fay Hartog-Levin,” continued Luskay. “She is an awe inspiring leader and someone that we all hold in high esteem. Her staff was incredibly accommodating and went above and beyond what we had ever anticipated. This truly was an experience that my students and I will never forget.

Next week, Luskay takes a new class to Belize, to film a documentary on Linda Thornton, a female shrimp farmer who does sustainable shrimp farming.  Media inquiries welcome. The students will blog about their activities and are available for interviews before and after their trip.

The spring class taught by Luskay is titled Producing the Documentary and in past years has taken students to Nassau, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Tuscany, to produce their own films.

“The editing process has taught the entire class how to truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into making all types of film,” said last year’s students on their blog. “We learned to understand what editors go through and the fiascos and challenges they endure.”

The students continued: “Many of us are beyond tired but are thrilled to be nearing this documentary’s final phases where we will be using dissolves and audio sweetening, transition effects, titles, and credits. Upon our completion we hope to … [enter] it into several student documentary contests and film festivals. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!”

The finger crossing worked last week then their award from the Indie Short Film Competition (ISFC) was announced. Winning filmmakers and screenwriters in the competition are “honored for their exceptional achievements and receive awards, cash prizes, merchandise, and services that can help further their careers” according to the ISFC. Winners gain international exposure and recognition in the film and screenwriting industries.

From the Indie Short Film Competition web site: The ISFC is not your usual brick and mortar film festival, it is a unique and innovative online international short film and short script competition. The main focus is to find the next generation of talented filmmakers and screenwriters. The Indie Short Film Competition is accepting entries for their 4th annual competition.

More info about the making of the winning documentary can be found on the class blog: http://hollanddocumentary.blogspot.com/ 

The documentary can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/paceuniversity#p/u/35/sx3N0ctTuaI

About Pace University. For 105 years, Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

Pace professor’s film traces Kol Nidre’s origin, impact | LoHud.com | The Journal News

Allen Oren, a Dyson professor and producer of a PBS documentary on the Kol Nidre prayer, is featured in The Journal News. The film will air Sunday, September 12 at 7:00pm on Channel 13, WNET, and on other public television stations in 34 cities throughout the month including WLIW, Channel 21 at 7:00pm September 16.

Allen Oren, a Dyson professor and producer of a PBS documentary on the Kol Nidre prayer, is featured in The Journal News. The film will air Sunday, September 12 at 7:00pm on Channel 13, WNET, and on other public television stations in 34 cities throughout the month including WLIW, Channel 21 at 7:00pm September 16. The story begins on the front page of the paper and continues on page 10 with a photo of Oren with a copy of the documentary in his home in New Rochelle.

(Photo: Meagan Kanagy/The Journal News)

Pace professor’s film traces Kol Nidre’s origin, impact | LoHud.com | The Journal News.

The program was highlighted in NY1’s weekly segment “Your Weekend Starts Now,” which shows entertaining picks for great things to do each weekend around the city.

http://www.ny1.com/content/ny1_living/arts/125532/your-weekend-starts-now-9-16-10

More on “18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre” from Professor Oren below. The following was used in a pitch to media by Pace Public Information:

“A number of years ago I was leaving the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., when my attention was wrested by a video testimonial on a large screen on the wall.  A survivor was testifying to his story.

He told of how his work detail in a Nazi labor camp was exhausted on the afternoon before Yom Kippur day, the holiest day in Judaism.  Suddenly the sky turned black, the guards allowed a weather break, and the inmates saw it as literally a heavenly sign.

First one, then another began singing the Kol Nidre, the prayer that begins the Yom Kippur observance.   Some knew the words, many hummed haltingly, but all chanted in unison.

“How,” I asked myself, “did one prayer, the Kol Nidre, become so important to one people, the Jews?”

Finding the answer led to “18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre,” a documentary and DVD I recently completed that’s scheduled for broadcast in New York as a pledge piece on WNET’s THIRTEEN on September 12 at 7 p.m. and on WLIW21 on September 16 at 7 p.m.

It will also air this High Holiday season in more than 34 other cities across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, and Denver.

How did the Kol Nidre become a Jewish anthem and, as it turned out, an object of intense interest for non-Jews as well?  How did a prayer that doesn’t even mention God overcome centuries of persecution and save itself with a haunting melody?

The answers arrive when 18 storytellers in the piece, most from New York City, share their tales about the prayer.  Some are top experts on the chant, some are just those who have been changed by chanting it. Each tells his or her story with the help of unique visuals and unique musical settings for the melody.

The 18 voices—18 storytellers—include a Hassidic rabbi who tells the tale of a stable boy who is illiterate and can’t read the Kol Nidre prayer, but in frustration lets his shepherd’s flute fill the synagogue with spirit.

Also, famed African-American author Julius Lester, a convert to Judaism as an adult, who recalls as a boy practicing the melody on piano “as its beauty and pain twisted together like the braids of a girl’s hair.”

And a composer demonstrates how the chant has reached beyond Jewish circles, adapted by non-Jewish musicians from Beethoven to Johnny Mathis to the Electric Prunes.

Then a film critic shows how the prayer burst onto the pop scene with the first talking film, “The Jazz Singer” in 1927, which included, among the first words heard on film, the Kol Nidre.

In short, we learn the secrets of a sacred chant from those who have been touched by it.”

Professor Oren is a full-time associate professor of Journalism at Pace and a long-time working journalist, first in print, including a stint as Entertainment Editor of USA Today, then in broadcast, recently winning an Emmy for a series on the history of Madison Square Garden and an Emmy nomination for a documentary on the topic.

Oren is a long-time student of Jewish history and religion and his late father was a rabbi in Queens for 50 years.

For more on the documentary, visit www.18voices.com.