September 29, 2004: Headlines: COS - Sierra Leone: Film: Documentaries: Television: Black Issues: New York Observer: Sierra Leone RPCV Alrick Brown, 28, is one of four N.Y.U. student filmmakers who will star in the new reality series Film School, which premieres on the Independent Film Channel on Sept. 10

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Sierra Leone: Peace Corps Sierra Leone : The Peace Corps in Sierra Leone: September 29, 2004: Headlines: COS - Sierra Leone: Film: Documentaries: Television: Black Issues: New York Observer: Sierra Leone RPCV Alrick Brown, 28, is one of four N.Y.U. student filmmakers who will star in the new reality series Film School, which premieres on the Independent Film Channel on Sept. 10

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.185.151) on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 1:27 pm: Edit Post

Sierra Leone RPCV Alrick Brown, 28, is one of four N.Y.U. student filmmakers who will star in the new reality series Film School, which premieres on the Independent Film Channel on Sept. 10

Sierra Leone RPCV Alrick Brown, 28, is one of four N.Y.U. student filmmakers who will star in the new reality series Film School, which premieres on the Independent Film Channel on Sept. 10

Sierra Leone RPCV Alrick Brown, 28, is one of four N.Y.U. student filmmakers who will star in the new reality series Film School, which premieres on the Independent Film Channel on Sept. 10

Trading Splices

Alrick Brown, 28, is one of four N.Y.U. student filmmakers who will star in the new reality series Film School, which premieres on the Independent Film Channel on Sept. 10. His short film, The Adventures of Supernigger: Episode One, The Final Chapter, about Amadou Diallo, has already earned props from Doug E. Fresh. "I just want people to watch [Film School] and say, ‘Man, I want to go out and do something righteous,’" Mr. Brown said the other day. "Just not write about bullshit. Or make movies about bullshit. Or make a video about bullshit. Do something about something. And whether it’s good or bad, the process of doing it is going to make it worthwhile."

The series is part of an onslaught of original programming being unfurled by the 10-year-old cable channel. IFC hopes the reality series, like its counterparts Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Bravo and Nip/Tuck on FX, will attract new viewers in the growing competitive marketplace of cable TV. The channel’s longest-running original series thus far has been Dinner for Five, a talk show of sorts hosted by Elf director Jon Favreau.

The show’s creator, Nanette Burstein, is herself an N.Y.U. alum (there, she said, "I just saw the craziest stuff I’d ever seen in my life") and the director of the Academy Award–nominated documentary On the Ropes—a behind-the-scenes account of three Bronx contenders, widely considered the Hoop Dreams of the boxing world. At age 34, she has made a career out of championing the underdog. Her last documentary was about Hollywood stalwart Robert Evans, 2002’s The Kid Stays in the Picture. "Even Bob Evans ended up becoming an underdog after being the top dog," she said.

Better-known N.Y.U. alums such as Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Rush Hour’s Brett Ratner and Marc Forster of Monster’s Ball all make appearances in her show.

"The great American dream used to be writing a novel," said Ms. Burstein. "And now the great American dream is either writing a screenplay or ultimately becoming a director. People are obsessed with movies. Even beyond America, everyone wants to become a moviemaker. And so, Film School, you’re living out their fantasy, which actually you see that fantasy can become a nightmare."

N.Y.U. film students graduate with an average of $65,000 in debt. "It’s do or die for them," Ms. Burstein said. "And when you get into those kinds of situations, you get a really compelling story line.

"Most reality shows, in order to make sure that they have drama, they create a world, they create a reality, they create a contest, and put real people in it and see how they react," she added. "This experience already has a built-in narrative. You got there and your objective is to make an award-winning student film. And you’re going to have so many hurdles along the way to get there."

Her subjects are a diverse array of potential Darren Aronofskys, but although all of the characters are given equal exposure, Mr. Brown provides the core of the show. Bright, competent and idealistic, he always strives to do the right thing (one of his idols is Spike Lee, who might be his professor next year). Mr. Brown’s film, which screened at last week’s Urbanworld Film Festival, appears to be the most controversial. An exploration of the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, The Adventures of Supernigger is a modern-day allegory about police brutality.

"It has nothing to do with a fucking wallet," Mr. Brown said of the object that police thought was Mr. Diallo’s gun. "It has everything to do with the color of his skin and the situation and their training and the powers that be and all those things.

"You see one person dying," he said. "I see how many more people who have been killed, and how many people who will be killed, and how many people have gotten away with killing."

Mr. Brown—a New Jersey native who put in a stint for the Peace Corps as well as working as a turnpike toll collector and security guard for a chemical company—wants to be as provocative as Mr. Lee, but as accessible as Jerry Bruckheimer.

"Anything Hollywood would use to make a bad movie interesting—the camera movements and all those things, the colors—I used all those things to take my audience, who would not normally sit there through a movie about police brutality and the killing of a man that people are forgetting about already," he said.

Mr. Brown claims he will not be watching Film School. For one thing, he is (probably wisely) skeptical of reality TV’s influence on fledgling careers. For another, he does not have cable.

"I’m broker now than I was last year because I’m in debt from that movie," he said.

—Jake Brooks





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Story Source: New York Observer

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Sierra Leone; Film; Documentaries; Television; Black Issues

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