NKU students to privately screen documentary on former UC Dean Jay Chatterjee

News from NKU…

By Ryan Hayes

For immediate release…
Friday – Nov. 30, 2012

NKU Students to Privately Screen
Documentary on Former UC Dean Jay Chatterjee

– A group of Northern Kentucky University electronic media and broadcasting students are putting the finishing touches on a feature-length documentary project set to be screened privately in NKU’s Griffin Hall George and Ellen Rieveschl Digitorium on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m.

Professor Eric Chatterjee’s Digital Cinema Projects class is in post-production on Reconstructing 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 history, serving as dean of DAAP from 1982 to 2001. He 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 (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 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.”

The Dec. 15 screening will be invitation-only to ensure space for what is expected to be a large turnout. Interviewees such as Chatterjee, retired Sen. Stanley Aronoff and famed Cincinnati jazz vocalist Kathy Wade are likely to be in attendance.

“We are extremely excited to finally bring this project to fruition,” said Brittany Clark, a senior communication and EMB major who is co-director and still photographer for the film. “We can’t wait to show this project off.”

The documentary’s production is being overseen by NKU Professor Eric Chatterjee, who happens to be Jay Chatterjee’s son. He 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,” Chatterjee 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.”

This project also provides a unique opportunity for Professor Chatterjee’s students to work 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 upon its completion.

“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.”

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