On Vassar, San Francisco, and film

From Following Sean

Several months back, my dear friend Ryan called from New York to tell me that he'd seen our names on the big screen, in the credits for Ralph Arlyck's film Following Sean. Ralph is a documentary filmmaker based in Poughkeepsie, New York--based, in fact, directly across the street from Vassar College, where Ry and I went to school. We were both active in the Film department there and made a few short pieces together (including Hershey: A Chocumentary and Postcards, both of which I'll digitize one of these days and post to YouTube, though the former piece is irreverent and silly enough to potentially piss off the Hershey powers that be; luckily, Ryan's a lawyer--but I digress). We both also held internships with Ralph at some point.

So I finally got around to renting Following Sean, which I found fascinating, not only because of the people who are the heart of the film, but also because it glides back and forth between San Francisco and Poughkeepsie. Now Ralph is on Haight Street; now he's shooting from his front door at home, with a view across Raymond Avenue to Chicago Hall, where his wife Elisabeth teaches (and, in fact, was my professor for a few French film classes). Now the sun is shining in the eternal springtime of Northern California; now snow is starting to fall in the Hudson Valley. It was exhilarating and poignant and curious to watch the film bounce between those two worlds, both of which I know so well.

And it was, of course, a delight to see my name on screen, though the film came out years after I'd graduated, moved out west, and given up the dream of attempting to subsist on the income of an independent filmmaker in the expensive world that was dot-com-era San Francisco, and though I now have only sketchy memories of working with Ralph. But my name there, the names of fellow film students, Steve Leiber's credit as Executive Producer (I also interned with Steve and his wife DeDe at the kick-ass Upstate Films in Rhinebeck)--all of it was a pleasant little trip back to those days when my life was so much celluloid. They seem such a long time gone.

(On a side note, the other movie I watched this week was The Squid and the Whale, which I'd forgotten was directed by Noah Baumbach, another Vassar alum. So it's been a sort of mini, unintentional VC Film Fest here in my house.)


sgazzetti said...

Rhinebeck -- that takes me back. I wonder if I ever told you anything about the ex-girlfriend at Bard and my days of slacking around in the Hudson Valley. I am guessing not.

Related: remind me to also tell you about my college film work in "Deuce In Deutschland" sometime.

Emily said...

J, your guess is correct: I have not indeed heard the Bard-girlfriend-Hudson-Valley-slacking story. By all means, please share.

"Deuce in Deutschland" for some reason sounds to me like a precursor to "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective," though I assume it wasn't.

Simon said...

I got a kick out of seing my name on tv credits a couple of times too, during my short-lived career as a camera assistant. Silly, isn't it?

Emily said...

Yes, but also so delightful, no matter that our names might be buried in the part of the credits that no one but film geeks and the people who love them ever watch.