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VOL. 23, NO. 5OCTOBER 3, 1997

On Location: School of Arts at N.Y. Film Festival

'The Ice Storm' Produces Flurry of Excitement

James Schamus

By Kim Brockway

For the second consecutive year, the School of the Arts is a strong presence at the prestigious New York Film Festival, which opened with "The Ice Storm," whose Cannes-Award winning screenplay by Columbia film professor James Schamus was based on the novel by School of the Arts Writing Division alumnus Rick Moody.

  Presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the festival showcases new and significant works by directors from throughout the world. The festival opened Friday and continues through Oct. 12.

  Over the years, the festival has premiered films by such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Akira Kurosawa and Quentin Tarantino, among others; last year, film professor Milos Forman's "The People vs. Larry Flynt" opened the festival.

  Directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee, "The Ice Storm" stars Kevin Kline, Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver and opened nationally last weekend. (Schamus and Moody will discuss the adaptation of the novel on Thurs., Oct. 9, at Miller Theatre; see Calendar for ticket information.)

  Good Machine, the production company behind "The Ice Storm" and co-founded by Schamus, is currently producing a film by Columbia professor Bette Gordon.

  Richard Peña, chairman of the selection committee and program director for the Film Society has taught in the film division, first as an adjunct professor and currently as a full-time assistant professor, since 1989. In addition, "Breeze," a short film by Barbara Sanon, currently a student in the graduate film program, and another short by faculty member Jeff Scher, are also included in the festival.

  Two years ago, alumnus Ben Ross' film "The Young Poisoner's Handbook" was included in the Festival, and Tonya Hamilton's "The Killers" was featured in the New Directors Series, the springtime equivalent of the Film Festival.

  "This is an exciting time for the arts in New York City, as we look forward to a new season of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, feature and independent films, exhibitions and concerts," said School of the Arts Dean Robert Fitzpatrick.

  "It is certainly refreshing and inspiring to see our students, alumni and faculty making important contributions to the stage and screen."