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

(left to right): Woodrow Travers ’09, Jon Naar (lead actor), Grace Statwick ’11, Seth Cuddeback ’08, Paul Misak ’11, Aaron Naar ’08. Photo Credit: Rohini Singh ’08

Alumnae/i and Current Students Find New Way to Collaborate

Aaron Naar ’08, Woodrow Travers ’09, and Seth Cuddeback ’08 spearheaded a film project this past January in New York City. Written by Cuddeback, a film and Hispanic studies double major, Fades with Age is a short, narrative film about an elderly man’s attempt to connect with his son and grandson in an increasingly fast-paced and modern world, one he struggles to understand.

The ambitious project, with a script calling for a diverse ensemble cast ranging in age from 8 to 87, various locations, and complex cinematography, lighting, and sound work, made the task of securing shooting locations in New York extremely difficult. So Naar and Travers turned to AAVC to help connect them with alumnae/i in the greater New York area — and the response was tremendous. “Dozens of alumnae/i responded within 24 hours and were very eager to help,” said Naar, a double major in Hispanic and Latin American studies. “We really couldn’t have asked for more.”

“It was nearly impossible for us to find an office building, in particular, that fit the criteria of the script,” said Travers, a double major in film and Chinese. “When Brian Tormey ’02 offered us the use of an entire floor of his Wall Street-based insurance firm, our desperate search came to an end.”

“When working on projects like this, it’s rare to find people who are not only willing to help, but eager and excited to do so,” said Cuddeback. “A lot of the time you are dealing with people who don’t really understand or care about what you are trying to do, and that can be frustrating and debilitating. But with the alumnae/i, there was an inherent trust and mutual respect that fostered extraordinarily positive and productive working conditions.”

Collaboration continued when Joanna Oltman Smith ’92 and Ian Smith ’92 offered the production team unrestricted use of their brownstone in Brooklyn. “This was a particularly hectic location, as we had to rearrange their living room into their dining room and vice versa,” said Naar. “Even with the amount of noise we made, Joanna and Ian were nothing but kind and generous.” Said Cuddeback, “It was a very positive experience overall. We really couldn’t have done this without the help of the student body, the college, and the alumnae/i. We are so fortunate to belong to a community as supportive and encouraging as Vassar.”

Fades With Age is currently in post-production and will be finished by the end of the school year. Naar, Cuddeback, and Travers recently launched a Vassar-based production company called Shoot the Sky Productions, which is geared toward combining a diverse group of students, artists, and professionals in the production of topical films.

March 2008

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