Page 17 - FOXTALK Fall 2012

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17
Fall 2012
Marist welcomes award-winning
director to media arts faculty
R
aul Alvarez Barcelona
is
probably best known as
the director of the award-
winning documentary
f i lm “The Promise of New York,”
about three men—not the major
part y candidates—who ran for mayor
of New York Cit y in 2005.
And yet Barcelona, a professional
Lecturer in the Department of Media
Arts, doesn’t think of himsel f as a
f i lmmaker. “I do most everything
that ’s related to my work,” Barcelona
said. “For instance, when I put out a
f i lm, I also design the poster, and I
do the cover, and I do the web site,
and design the graphics and al l that.
When I do that, I think of it as just
another aspect of the project. So I
think of mysel f more as general art-
ist; it just so happens that what I’ve
been doing lately is f i lms.”
Even though his work can be
diverse—he produced visuals for
a production of the Berl ioz op-
era “The Damnation of Faust ” last
year—Barcelona says that he has
been focusing on documentaries lately
because the form al lows a f i lmmaker
to work with very few resources. “You
don’t have to get actors, you don’t
have to look for locations,” he said.
“You just sort of shoot on the go and
fol low someone around unti l some-
thing interesting happens.”
This one-person production ap-
proach lends itsel f perfect ly to his
teaching in the communication
major ’s foundational course in media
technology, Digital Toolbox. “So
it comes in very handy that I have
that experience, that in my work, I
tack le as many aspects as I can,” said
Barcelona. So his students, he said,
“get a l itt le experience with digital
image manipulation, video produc-
tion, audio production, and so on.”
Barcelona teaches some of those
more advanced classes too, including
a video production course in which he
also emphasizes a breadth of ski l ls,
since, he says, employers now have
“more of an expectation that people
wi l l know how to use more tools.”
Department Chair Paula Wi l loquet-
Maricondi said, “The Media Arts de-
partment is thri l led to welcome Prof.
Barcelona to the program, particularly
as we prepare to launch the new B.A.
in Media Studies and Production in
Fal l 2013. We could not have hoped
for a more talented, knowledgeable,
and al l around great teacher and col-
league. Prof. Barcelona is wel l versed
in al l aspects of production, having
worked on over two dozen f i lms as
director, editor, and cinematographer
for the past ten years. He also brings
to the program an extensive knowl-
edge of new media and graphic de-
sign. You name it, he’s done it! I know
Prof. Barcelona is going to be an
inspiration to the students in Digital
Toolbox, Digital Video Production,
and beyond!”
In his Toolbox and production
classes though, Barcelona tries to
emphasize the idea that ski l ls have
to be tied to actual production goals.
For instance, he has his students cre-
ate a trai ler for a nonexistent movie
using footage from two unrelated
real movies. But before they ever
begin editing, he has students watch
a large selection of real f i lm trai l-
ers, so that their new movies trai lers
are in dialogue with the tradition of
what ’s come before. He bel ieves that
media l iteracy is as important today as
old-fashioned l iteracy. “So in Digital
Toolbox, the way I frame that is that
when we come out of this class we
wi l l have the tools to react to the
images that we are bombarded with
dai ly.”
It ’s an ethos that per vades his own
work as wel l as the values he imparts
to his students. “Ultimately I think,
in the art world, that ’s how things are
made. Everything is a response to the
world as it is now, or the world as it
has been before. Nothing is made in a
vacuum.”
BY KEVIN LERNER