News from NKU…

For immediate release…
Monday – Oct. 15, 2012

NKU Students Constructing Documentary
on Former UC Dean Jay Chatterjee

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – A group of students in the Northern Kentucky University electronic media and broadcasting department are hard at work constructing a documentary film on a man who has had a tremendous impact on the planning and development of the City of Cincinnati.

Professor Eric Chatterjee’s digital cinema projects class is in production on “Deconstructing Cincinnati: The Jay Chatterjee Story,” a documentary detailing the life and work of Jay Chatterjee, dean emeritus at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP).

Chatterjee is the longest-serving dean in UC’s history, serving as dean of DAAP from 1982 to 2001. Under his leadership, Chatterjee successfully led efforts to forge unique collaborations between local and national architectural talent, resulting in the construction of several iconic UC buildings that include the Engineering Research Center by Michael Graves, the Aronoff Center for Art and Design by Peter Eisenman, the College-Conservatory of Music by Henry Cobb and the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies by Frank O. Gehry.

In addition to his service at UC, Chatterjee has served on numerous boards and committees around Cincinnati, including its Urban Design Review Board, the Historic Conservation Board and the Contemporary Arts Center Board.

He is also the recipient of several awards, including the Apple Award presented by the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati (1996), the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture presented by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) (2000) and the Martin Meyerson Award for Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education (2009).

“A man this influential and decorated is more than deserving of a documentary, especially since his influence has largely gone unnoticed by the public at large,” said Ryan Hayes, a NKU senior EMB major and member of the documentary’s research team. “It is our intention to craft a quality project worthy of the man himself that will finally grant him the recognition we feel he deserves for his contributions to the Cincinnati area.”

Junior EMB major and co-director Tyler Hellebusch said that recognition is a long time coming. “Jay Chatterjee has been making a silent footprint on our lives for years,” he said. “It's time for that footprint to be heard.”

Brittany Clark is a senior communication and EMB major, as well as co-director and still photographer for the project. “While changing communities all over this great city we live in, his story has yet to be told, until now that is,” she said.

The documentary’s production, which will be feature length, is being overseen by Professor Eric Chatterjee, who happens to be Jay Chatterjee’s son. Professor Chatterjee selected his father as the subject of the project, citing the feasibility along with his awareness of his father’s story.

“I knew we’d have a lot of access to him,” he said. “It was a story I knew about. My father had been encouraged to write his memoirs, which he did, but the problem I saw with that is his body of work is visual, which doesn’t warrant itself that well to a book. This is a much better way of documenting his impact.”

Professor Chatterjee said the project also provides a unique opportunity for his students to get their name on a project of a much larger scale than what is traditionally done before they graduate, a project they hope to submit to film festivals toward the end of this year.

“Gaining hands-on education, expanding your list of accomplishments and recognizing a local icon in the same project is a great opportunity,” said Jared Compton, a senior informatics major and camera operator for the documentary. “It’s really great being able to take a class learning about video production while simultaneously creating a full-length documentary, the possibilities of which extend far beyond the classroom.”

The “Deconstructing Cincinnati” production crew is also accepting donations for the project. Contributions can be made at

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