Students in the television and film arts (TFA) program attended a very special sneak preview on Friday. The aspiring filmmakers were treated to a meet and greet with famed director/actor Spike Lee.
Lee came to Buffalo State’s Performing Arts Center to deliver his lecture, “America through My Lens,” to a sold-out crowd.
Approximately 30 TFA majors met with the director in Campus House’s board room prior to his speech. Lee offered the students insights on pursuing filmmaking degrees and discussed how modern technology is changing the art form.
The creator of such critically acclaimed, commercially successful films as Do the Right Thing, The Original Kings of Comedy, and Summer of Sam, Lee is widely regarded as one of America’s premier filmmakers. The opportunity to hold a private audience with a director of Lee's stature was a special experience for these young film students.
“The meeting was one of the best moments of my life,” said TFA student Ricardo Herrera. “We spoke briefly about Brooklyn, where we both are from, and our similar stories of growing up in bad neighborhoods but still chasing our dreams.”
In addition to dispensing advice and sharing stories, Lee also made sure to give the students a small assignment.
“At one point, he pulled up a list on his phone and told us to ‘write this down,” said Kraig Adams, TFA student and president of Buffalo State’s Silver Screen Association. “It was a list of movies that he wants us to watch. It's going to help all of us in the TFA major, for sure.”
In recent months, TFA majors have rubbed shoulders with a number of high-profile Hollywood professionals. In September, the students traveled to Canada to attend the Toronto International Film Festival, where they met famed producer Don Carmody (Chicago, The Boondock Saints, and others) and members of the band Pearl Jam. The group also attended screenings with directors Cameron Crowe and Francis Ford Coppola, and actor Val Kilmer.
“Our students have unforgettable experiences that will help them achieve their goals in the entertainment industry,” said Jeffrey Hirschberg, director of the TFA program.
“Whether it's going to the Toronto Film Festival, showing their films in a public setting, or interacting with world-class filmmakers like Spike Lee, our students are well prepared to follow their dreams.”
Next up, TFA students plan to travel to New York City to attend the Tribeca Film Festival.
Lee’s lecture, part of Buffalo State’s Year of the Arts schedule, was generously funded by M&T Bank, the Faculty Student Association, and an Auxiliary Services Grant, with support from United Students Government.