Three programs produced by Jerry Carlson and Andrzej Krakowski, professors in the Media Arts Production Program at The City College of New York (CCNY), are vying for nine prizes in the 53rd Annual New York Emmy® Awards. The winners will be announced April 18.
“Nueva York,” a series for CUNY-TV produced by Professor Carlson, was nominated in four categories: Arts: Program Feature/Segment; Politics/Government: Program Feature/Segment; Magazine Program, and Promotion: Program Promo – Campaign. Another program produced by Professor Carlson for CUNY-TV, “Canapé,” was nominated in the Historical/Cultural: Program Feature/Segment category.
“We Are New York,” a series produced by the Mayor's Office of Adult Education and CUNY, for which Professor Krakowski served as executive producer, received nominations in the following categories: Writer, Program; Photographer: Program; Craft Specialty: Musical Composition/Arrangement, and Crime Programming.
“Nueva York,” which targets New Yorkers who speak Spanish in the home, is looking to win in the best magazine program for the second consecutive year. One of its distinguishing marks is the way it “respects the diversity of the Spanish-speaking peoples of New York City,” said Professor Carlson. “No one would confuse a Swedish American with a Greek American, and no one should confuse a Mexican American with a Dominican American.”
The program has also won recognition for the innovative documentary style of its segments, which attempts to tell stories from the perspectives of the subject, he adds. Of the eight segment producers, six are graduates of CCNY’s MFA program in Media Arts Production. In addition, one of the hosts for the program is Carmen Boullosa, a distinguished lecturer at CCNY and one of Mexico’s most admired contemporary writers.
“Canapé,” the other program for which Professor Carlson was nominated, is a co-production of CUNY-TV and the cultural services of the French Embassy. The program covers French culture in New York and the United States and includes film releases, book translations, exhibitions, festivals, ballets, concerts and theater productions.
“We Are New York” used entertainment as a tool to teach immigrants English and give them insight into the services the city offers for them, Professor Krakowski said. Mayor Bloomberg supported the project as a way to increase speaking of English among “the 1.5 million immigrants in New York who don’t speak English well enough to call the fire department,” he added.
Instead of teaching English in the traditional way, it portrays immigrants in situations they might find themselves and teaches by example. The nine-episode series was the only program produced entirely based on the ESL (English as a Second Language) language acquisition model, Professor Krakowski noted. “Every word spoken can be seen on the screen in close-up with English subtitles so the audience can hear, see and read.
“It was a great challenge for me and the director to make the situations look natural and not patronizing. Also, we had to have a certain number of repetitions for students to absorb and remember. Technically, it was a very demanding project.”
All of the programs tell stories based on real situations that immigrants could face in their lives. In addition, episodes feature persons from different immigrant groups. For example, one program was about a Dominican woman in her 50s who was saving money to open a business and learned she had diabetes. Another, set in Brighton Beach’s Russian community, dealt with getting a family member to quit smoking.
Several students in the MFA program worked on the project as directors or crew members. Professor Krakowski noted that all eight full-time faculty members in the program are working filmmakers who often employ students on their projects. “We do that as a vehicle to expedite absorption of our students into the industry,” he said. “We’re the only film school that does that.”