Aspiring MHS artists have something in common with the School’s new Artist in Residence: she was a Miss Hall’s student just like they are.
Filmmaker Alexa Green ’09 will be on campus throughout the fall as the Expressive Arts Department’s first Artist in Residence. Ms. Green, who has directed and produced short films, documentaries, television shows, and other film projects, will work with students through December.
In particular, she will assist students in the Filmmaking class as they gain experience with film and video production, including camera equipment and sound engineering, story development, writing, editing, and working with actors. Ms. Green is also advising the AV Club, is working on a project with the Drama class, and anticipates developing projects with other classes as the semester unfolds. Her residency will also feature a culminating show or presentation.
“I’m excited about the opportunities for collaboration,” said Ms. Green, who is also in the process of writing and producing her first full-length feature film script and piloting a new approach to producing and releasing a feature-length film, for which her script would be the prototype. “I thought the residency would be a good way to bring that project out of my head and workshop it a bit with students to see if it resonates. Especially with the writing and re-writing process, it’s important to have others read the work and for me to hear what it sounds like.”
As she works on her project, Ms. Green said she envisions involving students in readings and introducing them to the filmmaking process, including writing, editing, budgeting, production, the creation of timelines, fundraising, grant-writing, and other tasks to move a film from idea to reality. She will also share insights into working in the film industry, from common protocols while working on a production set to the many roles involved in actually filming a scene. One creative possibility is creating a student-run YouTube TV channel for which students can create content, even after her residency ends. Additionally, she would like to include students in the planning as she prepares to develop a short film that would shoot in Tokyo this December. “I’ve also been approached with some ideas, and the student interest is definitely there,” added Alexa, whose own career took shape while at MHS, where she nurtured her interest in filmmaking and interned with Pittsfield Community Television during senior year Horizons.
After Miss Hall’s, Ms. Green attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in 2013 with a B.F.A. in Film and Television and a double-minor in Producing and Sociology. Her career thus far has included working on a variety of filmmaking projects, winning several national awards for her work. While working in positions ranging from assistant director to production manager and editor on numerous shorts and features, she has worked with HBO, Nickelodeon, Columbia Pictures, PBS, THEM Media, the Berkshire Film & Media Collaborative, photographer Gregory Crewdson, New York Times bestselling author (and former MHS Scholar-in-Residence) Rachel Simmons, and others.
The MHS Artist in Residence opportunity was created to provide collaboration and demonstration opportunities within the Expressive Arts Department and to explore other creative possibilities within the School, explained Sophie Lane, the Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Chair of the Expressive Arts Department.
“When the department conducted its search, we were seeking an artist who wanted to develop a specific area of their artistic practice, cares about arts education at the secondary school level, enjoys working in a collaborative community, and is an established or emerging artists,” Ms. Lane notes. “We chose Alexa because of her passion for filmmaking, her desire to collaborate in a student-centered environment, and her love of MHS and its mission.”
Ms. Green is excited to get started. “What I hope students take away from the experience—and what got me in love with filmmaking—is that you can do just about anything,” she added. “Any scenario you can think of, you can make into some sort of reality. The other thing about film is that there are so many aspects to a project, whether it’s lighting or staging or writing, or fashion and wardrobe and costumes. There are so many worlds within film where you can pursue an interest. Whatever your passion is, there’s a place in the film world for it.”