CLASS OF 1974 | 2015 | ISSUE 3

Lloyd Komesar reports that the inaugural Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival was a great success. “Among the 1,000-plus people in attendance, we had an abundance of wonderful Wes folks [and spouses] with us, including Bill Pearson and Jane Pearson P’12, Claudia Catania and John Cady ’71, Wayne Forrest, Wendy Starr, Naaz Hosseini, Lyn Lauffer, Sam Miller ’75, P’09 and Anne Miller P’09, Tracy Killam ’75, Mike McKenna ’73, David Laub ’03, Rose Komesar ’07, Katie Reid Shevlin ’07, Kara Zedlovich Rzzuto ’07, Todd Jick ’71, P’11 and Wendy Jick P’11, Steve Goldschmidt ’72, Mark Masselli HON’09, Joan Gamble ’80, Ann Deane ’79, Bob Kesner ’67, Bill Holder ’75 and Mark Davis ’96. Promising Wes filmmakers were part of the festivities as well: Tyler Byrne ’09 and Conor Byrne ’11 (Foureyes), Aaron Kalischer-Coggins ’15 (All Systems Go) and, in absentia, Casey Feldman ’12 (Posthumanismaniarama!) and Raphael Linden ’15 (Wald). Of course, I am indebted to our great artistic director, Jay Craven P’04. And my sincere thanks to Jeanine Basinger for all her guidance and support.

For the curious among you, I am mighty pleased to announce the dates for the 2nd Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival: August 25-28, 2016. You can find a list of all the award winning films and view the trailers from our first fest plus great photos and our highlight reel at Hope to see many more of my classmates here in Middlebury next August for summer’s sweet finale. The films are notable, yes, but the friendships renewed and the conversations sparked, well, those are just glorious.”

Follow this link to an article from the local newspaper:

In it, Lloyd was quoted: “I was delighted with the audiences,” said Komesar, who this week will finally get a chance to catch his breath after his deft performance as top producer of MNFF, which boasted 93 short- and feature-length films submitted by newly minted filmmakers from throughout the world. Komesar gave ample thanks to his supporting cast, which included a small paid staff flanked by a group of dedicated sponsors and volunteers — including renowned Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven.“I feel this first festival was a resounding success,” Komesar said.

More information on MNFF, including how to donate to defray expenses for the event, can be found at

Bill Pearson shares, “As with many from and near our class, I joined with Lloyd Komesar for the first Middlebury Film Festival (I’m also on Lloyd’s board). Lloyd did an amazing job and it was a big success, particularly for a first year event.

We’ve gotten to know Middlebury because our youngest son, Henry, is a junior there, having a good time. Squash team, math major, Chinese minor, playing in several bands. Howe, our middle and Wesleyan 2012 son, lives in New Orleans where he’s a musician and teacher. Nate, our eldest, lives in San Francisco and works for Tesla. All doing fine and providing us with good excuses to visit them. I’m still working as a consultant, combining my McKinsey and operating background with more recent management psychology work. Jane and I are traveling more and recently renovated our old place in eastern Connecticut and spending more time there. Cheers to all!”

Lee Coplan shares, “I had hoped to be at the reunion last year, and now a year has flown by. A couple of things prevented me from getting there last year.

My son, Ariel (who came our reunion 16 years ago), is a chef and (with my help) was in the process arranging renovations on his own restaurant in downtown Toronto. Thoroughbred Food and Drink opened last September. It was featured in the Village Voice travel column on Toronto last November, and then was included in December by the Voice as one of the top 10 destination restaurants of 2014. Earlier in his career, Ariel cooked at Michelin-starred Café Grey (Manhattan) and Number One Restaurant in the Balmoral Hotel (Edinburgh), before serving as a chef in Australia and back in Toronto. I hope Wesleyan connections will give Thoroughbred a try when they’re next in Toronto. It’s located close to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) center and King Street theaters and not far from the downtown business district and sporting venues.

I’ve also resumed my violin playing – something I largely put on hold while at Wesleyan. I’ve been playing in several klezmer groups for the past four years. We had a couple of gigs on reunion weekend last year – although truth be told, I would have passed them up if not for restaurant renovations keeping me in Toronto. Our most frequent performances are at old age homes, but we also play at community events (such as the Ashkenaz Festival and Jewish Music Week), weddings, bar mitzvahs, parties. My main group, Klez Konnection, is coming out with its initial CD shortly. I’ve recently started playing in a community string orchestra, as well.

My other son, Isaac, will be getting married next weekend (June). Isaac has been working on research and education on housing and homelessness issues, continuing on a path set in his MA in environmental studies (York University in Toronto).

My daughter, Eliana (who joined me at our reunion 6 years ago), has about a year to go on her BA in Sociology and Diaspora & Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto. She just completed a semester exchange in Utrecht. I benefitted, as I managed to travel with her before and after her term – Rome and Amsterdam in January, and Copenhagen and Berlin in May, although Eliana travelled far more when I wasn’t around.

I’d also like to mention that I had a lovely visit with Chris Moeller and his wife Sara about 18 months ago when I was in Minneapolis to be present when my advisor, Chris Sims, was feted by the University of Minnesota for his Nobel prize in economics.

I’m still working for the Ontario provincial government as part of the office of the Treasury Board. Our efforts are aimed at supporting the government in keeping on track to achieve a balanced budget by 2017-18. (Unlike most states governments, most provinces are not mandated to have a balanced budget each year.) And I’ve added our next reunion to my calendar.”

Jan Eliasberg writes, “Since I moved back to New York City last June, I’ve reconnected with many wonderful Wesleyan friends. I went to the theatre with John Shapiro & Shonni Silverberg to see The Erlkings, a moving play about Columbine written by their son, Nathaniel. Bill Pearson and I have had several wonderful lunches together in the West Village while Steven Goldschmidt helped me find the extraordinary loft in the Financial District where I’m lucky enough to live.

I am a Visiting Arts Professor at NYU Film School (teaching The Director’s Process and Advanced Television Writing) and love being colleagues with Janet Grillo.

This year my directing career has gone into overdrive. I just finished directing the second of two episodes of the fabulous Nashville, created by Thelma and Louise’s Callie Khouri, starring Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, and a group of insanely-talented actor/singers and Nashville-based musicians. I’m off to Vancouver to direct a new premium cable show called The Magicians, adapted from the best-selling trilogy by Lev Grossman. And I recently completed writing my long-gestating screenplay — Before I Sleep — which I hope to shoot as an indie film in 2016.

My daughter, Sariel, is entering her sophomore year at Barnard; she spent the summer as the graphic design intern at Nylon Magazine and had her work published numerous times on the Nylon website. She was also the Art Director for The Columbia Spectator.

While everyone is raving (for great reasons) about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s magnificent Hamilton, I’d like to recommend the work of another Wesleyan Alum — Kim Wayans — who lights up the stage at The Public Theatre in Robert O’Hara’s Barbeque.

Nathaniel Winship bought a farm in Tamworth, NH (dba as Tanna Farm) last year where my second wife (Hope Requardt) and I are actively raising chickens and ducks and growing vegetables.

Ellen Robinson is still living in Hartford practicing OB/GYN. Planning on retiring 1/1/2017. So far two grandsons Xavier 6 and Theo 2. Her family is all good, healthy and thriving.

Monique Witt updates us on her music news. “OneTrickDog* dropped Ben Sutin’s new klezmer/jazz album Tangibility with his sextet Klazz-Ma-Tazz, and the reviews have been spectacular thus far. We are up on global radio, and live throughout the northeast. That was in August. We will drop Tom Larsen’s second blues album, Loving Losing (largely original material from People vs. Larsen), this week. But the single of the same name dropped in June on KCRW (LA), then was picked up world wide on radio. Starbuck’s has picked it up for their rotation, as blues is enjoying a revival right now.

On the boys’ front, my older son designed the twelve-foot column, multi-driver speakers for the Louis Vuitton Palm Springs fashion show. They’re clear and also mirrored, and can be seen on line. My younger son was involved in the jazz festivals: he performed at Mazden (with Curtis Lundy, Warren Wolf, and Wayne Escofry), at Richmond Jazz Festival (with T.S. Monk, Thelonius’ son, and the sextet), at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (with Ray Lugo), and at MusicFest in Philadelphia. He is currently finishing his last year at Columbia and Juilliard. Both boys continue to write and record their own music and continue to perform together.

On the theatre front, Split/Screen was performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June (Best of the Fringe Award, Most Interesting, and a Showcase Award). We were pleased with the reception, because it was one of only a small handful of serious plays out of 275. The Fringe attracts comedy and farce. We hope to reprise it at the New York Fringe Festival next year. And we continue to work on the TV series. So everyone is working hard.”