You are currently browsing the Focus blog archives for the day Monday, February 1st, 2010.



Karen Schmeer: 1970-2010

By robertr

A great documentary editor has been taken from us.  This past weekend, while crossing the street near her apartment in New York City, Karen Schmeer ( ’02) was the victim of a hit and run by a 25-year-old fleeing the scene of a robbery.  She was returning home from work on her latest project for HBO, a documentary on Bobby Fischer.

Schmeer, who worked with Errol Morris on many of his documentaries, including The Fog of War, Fast, Cheap and Out of Control and Sydney Pollack’s, Sketches of Frank Gehry visited the BU Cinematheque a few years ago to talk about her work with Mr. Morris and her time as a student in the Film and Television department.  She was exceedingly kind and encouraging the the students gathered there.  She will be missed.

Preparations are being made for memorials at Boston University and Coolidge Corner Theater–details to come.



Alum Wins Prestigious Lighting Award

By robertr

Ben Pilat, (CFA ’08) recently won the sixth annual Rising Star Award, presented by the Association for Performing Arts and Entertainment Professionals (USITT).  The award is given to a promising lighting professional within the first few years of joining the workforce.   Learning his craft in part from professor John Gates, Ben has moved on as the lighting supervisor of the Los Angeles Ballet, and is currently doing freelance work in New York City.  Congratulations Ben!

The award will be presented to Ben at USITT’s 50th Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Kansas City, MO.

For a profile of Ben in BU Today, visit their website.

For more information on USITT, visit their website.



BU L.A. Director in Boston to Direct Video/Theatre Project

By robertr

Next week, the director of Boston University’s Writing and Directing graduate degree programs in L.A. will hold the opening of his theatre and video piece, What Dreams May Come.  Matt Watckins (COM ’09), created the video for the production, and the show will run for a month at the College of Fine Arts.

For more information, and to obtain complimentary tickets to the opening night and reception, visit: the online alumni community.

The press release is below:

Join the Boston University community as we celebrate “One BU” with a collaboration among the various schools, colleges and departments of the university.

Robert Shampain (CFA’80), Director of the Boston University Los Angeles graduate internship programs for actors and writers, is visitng the Charles River Campus for one month to direct What Dreams May Come, a live theatre piece with video.

The subject matter of the project is nightmares and how we deal with the intense emotions they bring up, inspired in part by BU School of Medicine professor Patrick McNamara’s 2008 book Nightmares. The collaborative show had a very successful workshop production in LA last year, and is being expanded for the BU version to include 10 actors from the School of Theatre, film students from the College of Communications, as well as input from Professor McNamara and his students.

The post-show reception will include light refreshments and a panel discussion with Robert Shampain, Matt Watkins (COM’09) and other experts from the Boston University community.

Additional performances will take place February 12th and 13th. For more information, please contact the School of Theatre at 353-3390.



In a Dream DVD

By robertr

in_a_dreamOver the last few years, In a Dream, the feature-length documentary produced Boston University alum Jeremy Yaches has made its way around the festival and theatrical circuit, and has now made its way to DVD.  The film follows the life of mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar as he covers Philadelphia with this beautiful, family-oriented, expressive, and sometimes sexual works of art.  Yet the heart of the film is more than just the journey of an artist and his medium; director Jeremiah Zagar, the subject’s father, infuses the struggles of their family into the movie until they are inseparable.  The result is a wonderful film.

In their own words:

“Over the past four decades, Isaiah Zagar has covered more than 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia with stunning mosaic murals. In A Dream is a documentary feature film that chronicles his work and his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Julia. It follows the Zagars as their marriage implodes and a harrowing new chapter in their life unfolds.”

When the film screened at the MFA last year, Kelly Smart and I were lucky enough to sit down with Jeremy, Jeremiah and his parents, Julia and Isaiah for nearly an hour-long interview.  All four of them were open to answering the tough questions that we had for them–the film being about the struggles of their own family and all.  We’ll re-post that interview soon, but for now, head over to their site, give the trailer a look, and perhaps help out a BU alum by purchasing the dvd.

-Rob Ribera