BEST OF THE BRONX: PARTNERSHIP BRINGS BRONX CULTURE TO CITYWIDE AUDIENCE WHILE INSPIRING STUDENT FILMMAKERS AT LEHMAN COLLEGE
November 8, 2013 - A series of video vignettes promoting the “Best of the Bronx” – produced by Lehman College students, supported by Lehman faculty and industry professionals – is now appearing across New York City.
While the Bronx is well known for landmarks such as Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Zoo, each of the one-minute spots will focus on a Bronx icon that is perhaps less recognized citywide. Revolving around the themes of cultural significance as well as dining and entertainment, the series of ten videos will profile locations such as Arthur Avenue’s Little Italy, historic Woodlawn Cemetery, Wave Hill, and City Island.
The “Best of the Bronx” vignettes will be seen across a variety of platforms, exposing New Yorkers and visitors to the many cultural and historical resources of the Bronx. The channels include NYC life, part of the official network of New York City (Channel 22 on Cablevision and Channel 25 on many other cable providers). The videos will also be presented on Taxi-TV, NYC Media Video-On-Demand, BronxNet, and Lehman College’s online channels.
The series was supported by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, which also allowed Lehman College’s School of Arts and Humanities and Multimedia Center to offer master classes in video production while simultaneously producing the series.
“At the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, we are committed to helping the next generation of creative professionals develop the skills they need to embark on careers in production,” said Commissioner Katherine Oliver. “Working with Lehman College has allowed us not only to support these talented students but also to bring a unique perspective of the Bronx to a larger audience through the City’s network.”
“From start to finish, this project has been about Lehman students,” says Deirdre Pettipiece, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. “Our goals for the project were to provide our students with best educational experience possible by teaming them with professionals, cross-train them in all elements of production, and produce the most professional product possible in a very short time frame.”
About 20 students joined faculty, staff, and other experts for weekly workshops on all aspects of video and film production: writing, editing, camera operation, sound recording, music scoring, graphic arts, location scouting, hosting, and more. Speakers included Lehman College faculty, representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, professional film editor Holle Singer, and Olga Tirado, executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council. The “Best of the Bronx” crew then fanned out across the borough to put their new skills in action and showcase the landmarks that distinguish the Bronx.
Among the student producers was Nialaney Rodriguez, a Lehman College junior majoring in multimedia studies. She began her television career in a high school program offered by BronxNet, headquartered at Lehman College. She says serving as producer opened her eyes to the organization, hard work, and flexibility necessary to bring such a production to the screen.
“We had a lot of surprises on this shoot,” said Nialaney. “On Arthur Avenue, we shot at several locations – mostly mom-and-pop stores in the market. Nearly everything happened on the fly, because we were dealing with so many moving parts and very busy people.”
The vignettes are hosted by Lehman College students Maddy Sher and Lawrence Mays.
“Our first major goal was that the students get the best educational experience, get exposed to a professional production, and are crossed trained in all the disciplines involved, not just to the specific job that may be doing for the project,” said Jerold Barnard, director of Lehman College’s Multimedia Center/Lehman Studios. “The second goal was to produce a truly professional product that we can be unconditionally proud of and that the client is completely satisfied with the final product. I believe we have achieved both of these goals.”
“As you can see from the finished product, our students far surpassed our expectations—we are very proud of them and what they’ve accomplished and have no doubt about their success in the future,” continued Dean Pettipiece. “We are grateful to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for their support and their unconditional confidence in the students, faculty, and staff at Lehman College.”
The first video debuted on Monday, October 21 at 8:30 p.m. on NYC life. It is a profile of City Island, known for its rich maritime history, museums, and seafood restaurants. The remainder of the series will roll out during the ensuing weeks, with additional topics including the Friedman House, the Clock Tower, Bronx Community College’s Hall of Fame, and the Grand Concourse.