Filming opportunities for students emerge while filming an independent film at Rider


Dr Shawn Kildea, Chairman of the Film and Television Department, wants to bring more productions like this to Rider. “Our department is fully committed to providing our students with more engaged learning opportunities such as Star Watcher project, ”he says.“ We will be working aggressively to bring professional film and television projects to the Rider campus so that our students can work and network with industry professionals as we go along. they learn. “

About 10 Rider students or alumni were featured in the film or worked in actual production support roles, including as camera operators, media directors, and production supervisors.

Victoria Francesca Grisanzio ’21, a recent graduate of Rider’s film and television program, was offered the position of Production Supervisor within a week of graduating in May. Having worked on film sets as a college student before, she expected the position to include a lot of intense work. Regularly working around 12 hours a day, she was not disappointed. But she found that camaraderie and purpose brought the crew together, forging real bonds that she hoped could lead to more opportunities in the future.

“It was such a rewarding experience,” she says. “I really enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. It was a great team that it was good to learn from. ”

Thematically, Star Watcher is based on the life story of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, who, among other accomplishments, discovered that stars are mostly made of hydrogen. His role in discovery was obscured for many decades, as the male-dominated field of astronomy gave credit to a male scientist. The film frames Payne’s story around a contemporary student who faces similar challenges and the possibility of history repeating itself.

Implementation of the production of Star Watcher in Lawrenceville probably wouldn’t have happened without another filmmaking project that took place last year. Following the cancellation of the Rider’s Semester in Los Angeles program due to the pandemic in 2020, around 20 students embarked on the creation of a professional film alongside the mentorship of industry professionals. Students were involved in all aspects of filmmaking, from script writing and scouting locations to filming and acting.

The professionals involved in this production have helped to bring Star Watcher to the rider. “We jumped at the chance,” Janes says. “Going straight from the classroom to a professional environment embodies the engaged learning opportunities that Rider has to offer. “


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