Best of the Bronx: Lehman College/NYC Partnership Inspires Student Filmmakers and Shares Bronx Culture Citywide

November 25, 2013 1:58 pm Art Dept, Journalism, Communication, and Theatre Dept, Multimedia, Multimedia Center, Music Dept, Video

A series of video vignettes promoting the “Best of the Bronx” – produced by Lehman College students and supported by Lehman faculty and industry professionals – is now appearing across New York City.

While the Bronx is well-known for landmarks such as Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Botanical Garden, each of the one-minute spots focuses on other Bronx icons, sharing the borough’s rich history and vibrant culture with a citywide audience. Revolving around the themes of history, culture, dining, and entertainment, the series of ten videos highlights locations such as historic Woodlawn Cemetery, Wave Hill, and City Island.

The first video – a profile of Arthur Avenue – debuted in October 2013 on NYC life with the remainder rolling out one per week.

The “Best of the Bronx” vignettes can be seen across a variety of platforms, exposing huge numbers of New Yorkers and visitors to the many cultural and historical resources of the Bronx. The channels include NYC life, part of the official network of New York City (Channel 22 on Cablevision and Channel 25 on many other cable providers). The videos are also presented on Taxi-TV, NYC Media Video-On-Demand, BronxNet, and Lehman College’s online channels.

The series is supported by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, which also allowed Lehman College’s School of Arts and Humanities and Multimedia Center to offer master classes in video production while simultaneously producing the series.

“At the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, we are committed to helping the next generation of creative professionals develop the skills they need to embark on careers in production,” said Commissioner Katherine Oliver. “Working with Lehman College has allowed us not only to support these talented students but also to bring a unique perspective of the Bronx to a larger audience through the City’s network.”

“From start to finish, this project has been about Lehman students,” says Deirdre Pettipiece, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. “Our goals for the project were to provide our students with best educational experience possible by teaming them with professionals, cross-train them in all elements of production, and produce the most professional product possible in a very short time frame.”

About 20 students joined faculty, staff, and other experts for weekly workshops on all aspects of video and film production: writing, editing, camera operation, sound recording, music scoring, graphic arts, location scouting, hosting, and more. Speakers included Lehman College faculty, representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, professional film editor Holle Singer, and Olga Tirado, executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council. The “Best of the Bronx” crew then fanned out across the borough to put their new skills in action and showcase the landmarks that distinguish the Bronx.

Among the student producers was Nialaney Rodriguez, a Lehman College junior majoring in multimedia studies. She began her television career in a high school program offered by BronxNet, headquartered at Lehman College. She says serving as producer opened her eyes to the organization, hard work, and flexibility necessary to bring such a production to the screen.

“We had a lot of surprises on this shoot,” said Nialaney. “On Arthur Avenue, we shot at several locations – mostly mom-and-pop stores in the market. Nearly everything happened on the fly, because we were dealing with so many moving parts and very busy people.”

The vignettes are hosted by Lehman College students Maddy Sher and Lawrence Mays. View the videos and learn more at www.lehman.edu/bestofthebronx.

“Our first major goal was that the students get the best educational experience, get exposed to a professional production, and are crossed trained in all the disciplines involved, not just to the specific job that may be doing for the project,” said Jerold Barnard, director of Lehman College’s Multimedia Center/Lehman Studios. “The second goal was to produce a truly professional product that we can be unconditionally proud of and that the client is completely satisfied with the final product. I believe we have achieved both of these goals.”

“As you can see from the finished product, our students far surpassed our expectations—we are very proud of them and what they’ve accomplished and have no doubt about their success in the future,” continued Dean Pettipiece. “We are grateful to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for their support and their unconditional confidence in the students, faculty, and staff at Lehman College.”

Additional topics include the Andrew Freedman Home, the Clock Tower, Bronx Community College’s Hall of Fame, and the Grand Concourse.