FTT reunion: Let’s do lunch, and much more

Author: Julie Hail Flory


The stars are coming out this fallnot just in the sky, but on the ground, as Notre Dames Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) hosts an unprecedented reunion event Sept. 15-17, welcoming some 200 alumni with ties to the entertainment industry to campus for informative workshops, A-list performances and plenty of good old-fashioned schmoozing.

Among the expected attendees, many who majored in something other than FTT, are musicians, actors, cinematographers, television network executives, standup comedians, broadcast journalists, film and video producers, and editorsall returning to their alma mater to get back in touch with their roots. And maybe do a little business.

Its a huge networking opportunity,says Ted Mandell, the FTT faculty member charged with the daunting responsibility of putting it all together.There arent too many industries that rely on networking more than film, television and theater. And there arent many universities that network their alums quite like the ND family. So to combine those two at an official event for the first time is pretty exciting for our alums.

Its a wee bit exhausting just reading the schedule for the three-day event (available on the Web at http://www.nd.edu/%7Eftt/reunionevents.shtml ). The lineup includes concerts, film screenings, a Shakespearean performance, workshops, an alumni film festival, a rock concert, social events and a football game. Good thing these are people accustomed to a busy lifestyle.

So busy, in fact, that coordinating the event at times turned into quite a challenge for Mandell.

The main problem is that film, television and theater professionals have wacky schedules,he says.Ive had at least three scheduled workshops specifically initiated by an actor, a network executive and a producer have to be cancelled because one got a part on a television series that started shooting this fall, another was required to attend the Emmy Awards (which happens to be on that Saturday), and the other got his film into the Toronto Film Festival, also that same weekend.

Thankfully, though, there have been plenty of alums willing to step up to fill any vacancies on the schedule, allowing the weekend to remain chock-full of events, even with a few midseason cancellations (always a bummer in the biz).

Sure to stand out as highlights on the agenda are a performance of ShakespearesTwelfth Nightby Actors from the London Stage on Sept. 15, a concert by rock pianist Bruce Hornsby in the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 16, and, oh yes, something about a tailgate party and football game on Sept. 17.

Workshops also will be a big draw, featuring such prominent alums as Rich Cronin, who graduated in 1976 and went on to found the Game Show and TV Land networks; actor William Mapother, the 1986 alum who has appeared in such films as the Academy-Award nominatedIn the Bedroom; and John Walker, the 1978 grad who produced the Academy Award-winningThe Incrediblesfor Pixar last year.

Faculty and students from all departments are encouraged to attend the workshops and screenings. For further information, contact Ted Mandell at tmandell@nd.edu .

Or you could always have your people call his people.

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