Arts in the News

Festival Rolls Out Red Carpet for Milton Film Club

georgeWhen George Luo (I) wrote his first screenplay at the end of his freshman year at Milton, he rounded up about 20 people who said they’d be interested in helping him make the film. Over that summer, interest fizzled, and George never made the movie, which is OK, he jokes, because, “It was probably the worst screenplay of all time.”

A few more attempts failed; it was hard to manage the process alone. So, during sophomore year, George and some friends founded the Hollywood Filmmaking Club, which has lent structure to film projects, he says.

Last year, the club, which is made up of actors and students interested in directing and writing, worked together to make George’s film, “Under the Wound,” which was accepted in several film festivals. Over that Columbus Day weekend, six members of the club went to New York City, where the 20-minute-long drama was an official selection of the All American High School Film Festival, an event that honors the best of high-school films from all over the country.

“It’s a really big festival,” says performing arts faculty member Shane Fuller, who advises the club. “It was really cool to see the students taking on the project as their own and doing all the work. They did all the scheduling, filming, casting, lighting and editing. The film itself turned out really nice. The attention to detail is really great.”

“Under the Wound” explores the damage that unfurls from a single lie. George wrote and directed it. He was inspired by a critically acclaimed Danish film called “The Hunt.”

After early missteps in making movies, George felt motivated to learn everything he could in film classes. Shane’s advanced filmmaking class created a film called “Abstraction,” which was accepted into several festivals; George, Conor Greene (I) and Joey Leung ’17 won the best cinematography award at the Hotchkiss Film Festival in the spring for “Abstraction.”

George has always loved watching movies, but didn’t grasp the filmmaking process until his second day at Milton, when he saw a film crew shooting on campus. “I don’t remember if they were making a TV show, a commercial or a film, but they were out in front of Forbes. And I saw the giant camera, and those lights and thought, that’s what I want to do,” he says.

Taking what he learned from film classes, studying lighting and sound tips on the internet, George’s first film at Milton was a short horror movie. For “Under the Wound,” he wanted to create something longer, which was possible because every member of the club got involved.

“They put a lot of time in and sacrificed several weekends for a project I started, which is incredible,” George says. Because the club was fully involved, George says he was able to focus on small details, a focus that his favorite directors, Stanley Kubrick and Christopher Nolan, are known for. George’s goal is to continue making movies with social messages, and to be conscious of improving gender and racial diversity in film.

The All American High School Film Festival is an opportunity to hear from established filmmakers, visit a college fair with a focus on film programs, and absorb the work of other student artists.

“I know that there are films that are better than mine, and I want to watch them,” George says. “I know that my next project has to be better than the previous one. That’s the standard I’ve set for myself. And I think for people our age, watching great films that are created by young people is excellent motivation.”

A Night of Latin-American Jazz

jazz-flyerThree student jazz groups take to the stage in King Theatre on Thursday night to perform in Milton’s 27th annual fall jazz concert. Curtains open at 7:30 p.m. for this celebration of Latin-American jazz.

“We will play sambas, bossa novas, mambos, cha-cha-chas and boleros. Some of the tunes will make you want to dance and some will make want to cry (for good reasons we hope),” jokes music faculty member, Bob Sinicrope. “This promises to be a spirited and educational experience as we will share with our audience background information on the tunes.”

This is the only major on-campus performance of the year scheduled for these groups. All are welcome to join in the fun.

The concert performance features:

Group A

Cori DeLano – flute

Sarah Palmer, Matt Ryan – alto saxophone

Louis Barber, Andrew Viola, Andrew Willwerth – trumpet

Isaac Goldings – cello

Alli Reilly, David Shaw – piano

Henry Taylor – guitar

Jonah Bussang – bass

Jack Sullivan – drums

Group B

Nate Jean-Baptiste – cello

Evan Jenness, Jen Zhao – piano

Jack DeLea – guitar

Clara Wolff – bass

Tanay, Srivastava, Nick Taborsky – drums, percussion

Group C

Danny Little – soprano sax

Coalter Palmer – alto sax

Alex Chen – tenor sax

Will Goldberg – cello

Cameron Shockley-Okeke, Jane Yang – piano

Jonah Garnick – guitar

Vijay Karle – bass

John Minicus – drums, percussion

First Art Exhibit and Jazz Concert of the School Year Opens in Kellner

17-09_art-exhibitBeginning on Friday, September 15, the newly renovated Arts Commons in the Kellner Performing Arts Center features Ubuntu, an exhibit by photographer Frances Scanlon. Ms. Scanlon’s body of work includes images captured over the years during the Milton Academy jazz group’s biennial tour of South Africa.

“What started out for Frances Scanlon as documentation of the Jazz South Africa tours crossed the line into art,” says Nesto Gallery Director Larry Pollans. “Frances finds structural energies that define South African culture. She also captures the spirited link forged between our students and the South Africans. There is a palpable sense of adventure in the images.”

Ubuntu began with an opening reception in the Arts Commons on Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by a performance of South African jazz featuring student and alumni musicians.

Grease is the Word—and the Spring Musical—at Milton this Year

grease2More than 40 students are participating in Grease, the iconic musical set in a 1950s high school, which opens Thursday, May 18, in King Theatre. It’s a big production for Milton, says performing arts faculty member Eleza Moyer, who is directing the show.

“It’s a classic show,” Eleza says. “A lot of the students have seen the movie, and Grease Live! was on TV in the fall, which brought the show back. It’s a fun time period, with fun costumes. It appeals to a lot of people.”

Because Grease is set in a high school, the students are playing characters their own age, an opportunity not often available in musicals. Faculty member and choreographer Kelli Edwards and assistant choreographer Sophie Clivio (II) are teaching the company classic ‘50s dance routines that will be familiar to any fans of the classic film starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta.

Eshani Chakrabarti (I) plays Sandy and Spencer Evett (I) plays Danny; the show also stars Nick Govindan (I) as Kenickie, Dorsey Glew (II) as Rizzo, and Cheyenne Porcher (I) as Frenchie. Nick Gistis (I) is the assistant director.

Eshani has been in Milton productions, and has worked with Eleza, since she was in sixth grade. Having the musical in the spring allows freshman to participate—in the fall, the Class IV play takes their time—something Eshani loves.

“It’s a great way to meet people in every class. Some of the best times I’ve had at Milton have been in ensemble roles as a younger student,” she says. “A lot of the Grease cast have been together in shows for years. For the seniors, it’s a great way to end our run at Milton with such a fun show.”

Grease will run Thursday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 20, at 7 p.m.

Reserve free tickets online.

Milton Presents Yellow Face in Wigg Hall

Yellow-Face-1A cast of eight actors, many of whom play multiple characters, takes the stage in Wigg Hall for this spring’s 1212 Play, Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang.

The semi-autobiographical play tackles issues of race and assimilation and was written as a reaction to the real life casting of a white actor to play an Asian role in the hit musical Miss Saigon in 1990. In Yellow Face, Mr. Hwang’s character, played by Jonathan WuWong (II), accidentally casts a white actor, played by Ty Mohn (III) for an Asian role. He then proceeds to try to cover up his error in comedic fashion, although the humor explores complicated issues that are relevant today.

Performing arts department chair Peter Parisi, who is directing this spring’s 1212, says the play unfolds like a documentary with appearances by key cultural and political figures of the ‘90s. The play is also a part of the School’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration. There will be two “talk backs” with actors after Thursday’s and Friday’s show. Other events scheduled during the month include a Straus Dessert titled “Acting Asian American” on May 16 and an Asian Society workshop on tea culture led by Leo Jin (II) on May 22.

Yellow Face opens Thursday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m., and shows on Friday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 6, at 7 p.m.