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Gateway is the community newsletter of Pratt Institute. It is published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement. For a list of contributors, click here.

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Friday
Sep022011

ALUMNI DIRECT BOX-OFFICE HIT "CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE."

Left: (L-R) Writer Dan Fogelman (rear), director Glenn Ficarra, producer Denise Di Novi, and director John Requa during the filming of Warner Bros. Pictures’ comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love., a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Right: (L-R) Actor Steve Carell, directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra on the set of Warner Bros. Pictures’ comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love. a Warner Bros. Pictures release.The romantic comedy that struck box-office gold over the summer, Crazy, Stupid, Love., was directed by two Pratt graduates who met as freshmen and have been collaborating ever since. Glenn Ficarra (B.F.A. ’91) and John Requa (B.F.A. ’91), met in a first-year Foundation class taught by the late Mary Buckley Parriott. The two aspiring filmmakers had no drawing or painting experience.  

"We were in way over our heads and we bonded by our lack of ability," jokes Requa. The two became fast friends, especially because the Film program had only about a dozen students. 

"The program was very intimate back then and we had a lot of access to our professors," says Requa. The two cite their major influences at Pratt as Paul Corrigan, video artist Juan Downey, and Camille Rojas. A lesson taught by Rojas, who made Requa and Ficarra cut one of their assignments in half, then in half again, and in half yet again, has stuck with them.  

Even that fateful Foundation class has paid off, says Ficarra. "Mary Buckley would talk about the color of the light and Edward Hopper and she would send me to the library to look things up, and I didn't get it. Then years later I was in Hollywood and looking up at the mountains and I saw this  light and it all hit me. And now an understanding of light has become crucial to us  since we're directing."

Requa says as writers and directors with a strong visual arts education, the two are often able to communicate with the photographers and art directors on their sets.

"We can speak to them on their level and we understand their sensibility, and we know art history," says Requa. "We're often told that we're a bit more artistic than the average comedy guys."

The two are thrilled with the success of Crazy, Stupid, Love., which stars Steve Carell as a man making his way through life after a surprise separation from his unfaithful wife. He gets help navigating the singles scene from a ladies man played by Ryan Gosling.

This film is their biggest hit to date, though they previously worked together writing screenplays for Bad Santa (2004) and the remake of Bad News Bears (2005). They made their directorial debut in 2009 with I Love You Phillip Morris, a dark comedy about a romance between two prisoners played by Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. 

Though there is no one scene in their latest hit that stands out as being influenced by Pratt, Requa says that what they learned at Pratt comes through in all their work.

"The influence is there in everything we do. Our mentors and teachers, we still talk about them or talk to them," he says.

Text: Abigail Beshkin
Photos: Ben Glass

Thursday
Sep012011

"Architectural Digest" Magazine Names Pratt Campus One of 10 with Best Architecture

Architectural Digest magazine has named Pratt one of 10 college campuses nationwide with the best architecture. The ranking puts Pratt's campus on par with those of such famed universities as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and the University of Virginia. Pratt was the only college of art and design and campus in New York City to make the list.

The magazine’s September issue directs readers to an online slideshow, which singles out the School of Architecture’s Higgins Hall and the Leo J. Pantas residence hall, and praises Pratt’s “stately 19th-century redbrick campus.”

“Pratt takes great pride in its historic campus,” says President Thomas F. Schutte. “In recent years we have added a number of modern structures by some of today's leading architects that complement the campus’s late-19th and early-20th -century buildings. Together these buildings create a magnificent and inspirational educational environment on a campus that is unlike any other in New York City.”

Read the article!  

Plus, tour some of Pratt campus’s architectural highlights with Eric Allison, academic coordinator of the Historic Preservation program and adjunct associate professor in the School of Architecture.

Text: Amy Aronoff
Video: Jonathan Weitz

Friday
Aug192011

Pratt Kicks Off 125th Anniversary Celebration

The Institute will launch 16 months of 125th Anniversary festivities with an exciting weekend of lectures, workshops, campus tours, and more for alumni, families, and friends of Pratt on Saturday and Sunday, October 1 and 2. The weekend will also feature an evening of music and dancing under the stars on Pratt’s historic Brooklyn campus.

Todd Galitz, vice president for Institutional Advancement, says this milestone provides a fitting opportunity to celebrate the important contributions made in the world of art and design by the Institute and members of the Pratt community. “Pratt alumni, faculty, and students have influenced our culture and everyday lives with their iconic works,” says Galitz. “Celebrating Pratt’s history gives us a chance to reflect on these significant achievements over the decades, while also offering perspective to the incredible talent of our current students and faculty, and the potential impact of their work .”

The 125th Anniversary Kickoff weekend will also feature class reunions for alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago. In addition, there will be special dedication ceremonies honoring generous gifts by two alumni. One will celebrate Hiroko Nakamoto, whose contribution supports improvements to and beautification of Grand Walk; the other will honor trustee Bruce Newman who designed and supported the fabrication and installation of a new clock as his gift to the Pratt community in commemoration of the Institute’s anniversary. The Kickoff weekend will also include opportunities for visiting families to join alumni and faculty as they begin to mark the occasion of Pratt’s first classes on October 17, 1887. 

To register and to view the full 125th Anniversary Kickoff weekend schedule, please click here.

Also that weekend, the Institute will host a special tour and champagne lunch for the classes of 1951, 1956, and 1961. See more and learn how to register

For questions about family activities during the 125th Anniversary Kickoff, please contact: family@pratt.edu.

Text: Abigail Beshkin
Photo: Josh Gerritsen Photography