Legendary actor/director John Turturro joined Feirstein’s advisory board in June after being offered a masterclass where he discussed his distinguished career with students. Photo by Craig Stokie/Brooklyn College
When Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema hired film industry veteran and Oscar-nominated producer Richard N. Gladstein as its new executive director in the summer of 2020, it knew it would recruit someone with valuable experience.
Gladstein has joined an accomplished team of faculty and staff at Feirstein, and the team is committed to connecting students to industry and industry to students. This commitment has taken the form of a growing list of award-winning filmmakers and veteran industry executives who have joined Feirstein’s advisory board and mentorship program. They provide advice to Gladstein and faculty, as well as direct mentorship to students on their thesis film projects. For the second consecutive year, Feirstein was appointed to The Hollywood ReporterThe list of “25 Best American Film Schools”. Feirstein is in its seventh year and is located at Steiner Studios, making it the only film school in the United States on a working film lot.
The formula works. For the second year in a row, Feirstein has been named to The Hollywood Reporter’s list of “America’s Top 25 Film Schools”. Feirstein is in its seventh year and is located at Steiner Studios, making it the only film school in the United States on a working film lot.
John Turturro of Brooklyn recently joined the advisory board in June. The legendary actor/director – who recently earned an Emmy nomination for his role in Breakup – offered a masterclass on May 25 where he spoke about his brilliant career in front of a packed theater of students.
Another key advisory board member is David Linde, CEO of Participant, a global entertainment media company that sits at the intersection of art and activism. Notable Participant films include Oscar winners such as Projector; American factory, CITIZENFOUR, Roma, an inconvenient truth and others.
Linde’s experience also spans production, global distribution and building multiple businesses from scratch. He was chairman of Universal Pictures, co-founder of renowned specialty film studio Focus Features, and CEO and owner of Lava Bear Films. Linde currently sits on the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the board of Film Independent.
“The Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema has quickly proven to be an important home for training film students from diverse backgrounds, and I am proud to serve on the advisory board as the group embarks on new ways to support this mission,” Linde said.
Steven Soderbergh, longtime advisory board member and Oscar-winning director, said of the school in an interview with The penalty magazine: “It’s one of the best facilities I’ve been to. I certainly never set foot in anything like this until I started working for studios.
Other established members of the advisory board include Neema Barnette, herself a CUNY graduate and Emmy Award winner who was the first black woman to lead a prime-time sitcom; Randall Poster, Emmy Award-winning music supervisor, frequent collaborator with Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson who recently worked on The tiger king and The Irishman; and the first Oscar-nominated female cinematographer, Rachel Morrison, among others.
The mentorship program features a team of 20 top-notch film veterans who offer guidance and counseling to students as they prepare, shoot and edit their thesis films. The latest two additions to the mentorship effort are acclaimed cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh — who delivered a masterclass to school students on April 7 and served as filmmaker-in-residence through the spring 2022 semester — and acclaimed writer and producer Galt Niederhoffer.
Dryburgh’s resume includes an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography for his work on the 1993 film, The pianoin addition to being nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the Boardwalk Empire pilot. Niederhoffer has produced more than 30 independent films, 12 of which were shortlisted and awarded at the Sundance Film Festival, including films that won the Audience Award, Screenwriting Award, Directors Award and Sundance Cinematography Award.
Other mentors include Oscar-nominated film editor Kevin Tent, who was Alexander Payne’s go-to editor on films such as Nebraska, Descendants, sidewaysand Election; Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ross Katz, who produced films such as In the bedroom and lost in translation; and Kelley Robins Hicks, a well-known actress and producer for Random Acts of Flyness, Queen of Gloryamong others.
Gladstein himself serves as a resource for students and faculty. His films earned a total of 27 Oscar nominations, including two for himself for producing Best Picture nominees. The rules of the cider house and Finding Neverland. His other films include The Bourne Identity, She’s all that, Hurlyburly, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, nanny diaries, and 54. He also enjoys a longtime collaboration with writer/director Quentin Tarantino, serving as executive producer on Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brownand more recently, as a producer, on The Hateful Eight.
“We take great pride in providing our talented and diverse students with unique opportunities to learn directly from famous and accomplished cinematic storytellers,” Gladstein said. “These interactions demystify the industry and help students realize that their dreams are realistic and achievable.”