Producer Rose Arce Visits CCNY Journalism Class

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 2.13.24 PMThe documentary producer talks about people-driven stories by Aimee Haicken

Rose Arce, an award winning journalist, producer and documentary film maker, visited Professor Linda Villarosa’s Intro to Journalism class in early October with a talk about her life in journalism and her new ventures into documentary film making.

The class listened raptly and asked good questions as she shared her experiences. Her tenacity, even as a teenager, won her an interview with a space shuttle astronaut’s wife. She fell in love with the field of journalism, and paid her dues as she learned the craft. Today she is a respected producer and journalist. Now working with Soledad O’Brien at Starfish Media Group, she proudly talks of their newest documentary, The War Comes Home. It debuted on CNN in August and garnered praise for its look at returning veterans and the troubles they face.

Arce gave the class a peek at the documentary, pointing out the use of still photography that captures the moments in these men’s lives that need to move to the forefront. “With documentary you can really capitalize on things you need people to say,” said Arce with her characteristic quick patter. “There are many techniques you can use, and once you get that down, your creativity can come into play.”

She prefers to focus on people’s lives: their trials and hardships. By telling those tales, Arce allows viewers to see more about the world, and gets the audience to think. “It’s allowing us to view what it’s like from his perspective,” she said, referring to one of the vets in the documentary. Showing this angle gives the story a very personal touch and using still photography, combined with interviews conducted by O’Brien and other video footage, helps create an intimate portrait of the lives wrecked by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Arce never stopped talking, even as she took questions from the class. Her bright eyed, fast-paced style serves her well. She spoke about many things: her history in print journalism, her move to TV and video, her passion for the stories she tells.

What’s her key to success? “Research, research, research.” Through laughter the point came across: You have to know what you are talking about. Get the background; the details will come as you tell the story.

With 20 plus years of award-winning journalism behind her and more to come, this suggestion may compel some of the class to tell their own tales in the future.

Herman Lew–A Colleague Remembered

10701982_648472738584567_1683951334945981887_nby Onaka Fiedtkou

The Media and Communication Arts department, and City College, lost an exceptional member of their community a few weeks ago. Professor Herman Lew, director of the BFA in Film & Video program, passed away on September 20. He suffered from a fatal heart attack. The dreadful news stunned the public. People recognized Professor Lew to always be in good spirit with a smile and joke waiting for you. The MCA department falls with heavy hearts over this loss. His office remains closed with a poster and marker outside for the public to share their condolences. From an academic standpoint, the administration has everything organized after this tragic loss. An active Director of the program has been assigned as well as a professor for his classes for an entire year.

Professor David Davidson, a long time member of the BFA Film & Video department, takes over as the new Director of the BFA Film & Video program. Professor Davidson was a founding director of the MFA program in Media Arts Production. Davidson’s role as the new Director of the BFA program holds a special connection to the MCA department, and to Professor Lew.

“Not only given his talents, his experience at the institution, but in addition to that he went to graduate school with Professor Lew,” Jerry Carlson, Director of the Cinema Studies minor, says. Lew and Davidson were friends outside of being coworkers. “Professor Lew shot a number of Professor Davidson’s documentaries. It’s not only something that has to do with professional qualifications, but there is a personal bond there as well.”

-2Professor Lew also taught courses in the Film & Video program. The administration has called upon a veteran to the MCA department, and a good friend to Professor Lew, cinematographer Niknaz Tavakolian. She will step in as a substitute professor for Lew’s class this semester. Tavakolian has previously taught cinematography courses and served on the technical staff in the department. “She has actually the perfect candidate,” Carlson says. “There are many cinematographers who have high qualifications but she knows our department, she knows our students, she knows our philosophy of film, and of teaching.”

It becomes difficult to honor a great man with many accomplishments, who had a great impact on countless people across different platforms. Outside of City College, Professor Lew played a significant role with Third World Newsreel, a nonprofit organization in New York. City College and Third World will coordinate together to hold a memorial later in October for Professor Lew. “We have overlapping philosophies and missions,” Carlson says. “It’s only appropriate that we would do it together and that the communities would be able to come together in that way.”