The School of Media Arts & Studies is pleased to announce that 6 of the 20 MDIA students who produced Monhegan Light, a short film based on a story by Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo, presented their film at the Lake Placid Film Forum at a special screening in June. Russo traveled from his home in Maine to attend the screening and meet the students
Russo is both a novelist and a screenwriter, having written several produced scripts, including the teleplay for HBO’s Empire Falls, starring Paul Newman and Ed Harris, based on Russo’s own Pulitzer-winning novel.
"What I enjoyed most about the students’ adaptation of “Monhegan Light,” Russo said, “was the smart, deft way the writers and director departed from the original story where they needed to, yet remained faithful to its spirit. There are major Hollywood filmmakers who haven't mastered this subtle art.”
Monhegan Light revolves around a man who receives a nude painting of his recently deceased wife in the mail. When he learns that the artist was his late wife’s lover for ten summers, he journeys to Monhegan Island, where he is forced to see his late wife through the eyes of another man.
“We realized early on that shooting on the actual island was a necessity,” said director Joe Battaglia. “Monhegan is a well known artist’s colony and the landscape is unmistakable. The primeval quality of the headlands isn’t something you could fake.” The students raised $18,500 in order to travel to Maine and shoot the film on Monhegan Island last April.
Monhegan Light is one of three short films produced last year in MDIA 4719, an advanced narrative production class taught by Associate Professor Frederick Lewis.
Professor Frederick Lewis with (L-R) MDIA students Joey Buccini, Lindsay Hatcher, Tim Korenich, Joe Battaglia, author Richard Russo, student Emily Stevens, actor Rick Montgomery and student Greg Mezey.
Students from the Media School's advanced narrative production class ready for a pivotal scene shot in Maine, in the Monhegan Island studio of artist Alison Hill, who also created two original canvasses for the film.