This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Image Courtesy of Woodrow Travers ’09

Vassar Filmmakers Receive Top Honors in Nationwide Film Fest

Within a 24-hour period, the Vassar Filmmakers wrote, cast, shot, edited, and scored their three-minute film, Hobopus, for Apple’s second annual Insomnia Film Festival. And now their hard work has paid off with the film’s recognition as the public favorite among the 2,000 entries in the nationwide contest.

Ben Rutkowski ’09, Brian Paccione ’09, Lauren Rubin ’10, Woodrow Travers ’09, and Sebastian Weinberg ’09 are the minds and talent behind Hobopus, a fantastical account sans dialogue of the rise and downfall of one of New York City’s greatest young composers. The film is featured on Apple’s website at

The team was required to use specific film elements posted on Apple’s website at the official start of the contest; the Filmmakers incorporated five of them, including a dream sequence (Apple’s prescribed narrative device) and the dialogue “Don’t tempt me,” which appears on a homeless man’s sign. A lesson in efficiency, the film continued to be shot while teammates simultaneously edited the footage in a friend’s apartment throughout the day. They created the original minimalist score with pre-recorded music composed by Rubin and Weinberg on the violin.

At the end of the 24-hour period on October 14, the filmmakers, along with approximately 2,000 other college and high school teams, submitted their film to the Apple website. The public was able to watch it online and rate it through November 9, with the Vassar Filmmakers leading the pack at the end of the rating period. They officially came out as the public favorite when the ratings were calculated on November 26.

For the grand prize, each of the team’s members will receive a MacBook Pro and movie production software. As one of the 25 highest-rated films, Hobopus was also screened by a panel of celebrity directors, which included Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), Mary Harron (American Psycho), James Mangold (Walk the Line), and Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding).

December 2007

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