A young student journalist faces off against a section of the mafia operating on campus. A group of friends and floormates deal with the pains and cringe-inducing laughs that come from complicated romances in close quarters. A middle-class student with a mixed-race background tries to find her place at an elite northeastern university.
All three are coming soon to a residence hall lounge near you on April 30, when Columbia University Television will host a preview screening for the spring 2012 season. “The O.C. Club” from CTV president Andy Seife, CC ’14, the third episode of “Floorcest” from Eliana Levenson, BC ’14, and “High Class Problem” from second year MFA student Anthony McDonald will play.
The shows’ directors have poured a lot into their work. Seife has been developing the idea for “The O.C. Club” since high school. It was only once he joined CTV that he began the script for the pilot and started production with CTV News reporter Chris Canales, CC ’14.
“It’s a really fucking long script,” Seife said. According to Canales, it is approaching movie length at 68 pages.
Heavily influenced by “The Sopranos,” the show follows an Italian mafia family operating out of Columbia University. “The O.C. Club” borrows from reality. It smacks of Operation Ivy League, and the protagonist is a student journalist who investigates for a school paper known as The Watcher.
Naturally, “The O.C. Club” contains plenty of violence, adult language, and nudity.
In producing the show, Seife skirted a few rules. One scene involved a chase from Woodbridge Hall—the crew was strictly forbidden from filming in the halls—all the way to Riverside Park.
“We had to do it one take,” Seife said. “We knew that once we left they wouldn’t let us back in.”
“Floorcest,” written and directed by Levenson, features seven friends getting frisky with floormates. The actors bring energy and enthusiasm to awkward situations.
“I’ve always wondered what would happen if you hooked up with someone from your floor,” Levenson said.
But “High Class Problem,” written by Andrew Verdi and Andrew McDonald, produced by Anthony McDonald, and directed by Delphine Batier, is devoted to a different sort of realism. According to Verdi, the show will explore contemporary class and racial issues. It has received the most official buzz of the three, including first place at the 2011 Hollywood Screenplay Contest.
“One thing I wanted was for the show to be diverse,” Anthony McDonald said. “A lot of shows right now cater to one audience. But the world really isn’t like that. New York really isn’t really like that.”
Andrew McDonald agreed, adding that it’s “the right time for a strong female lead.”
Levenson hopes the screening will draw campus television and film fans and unify its sundry shows into one brand. “We’re trying to get our name out there,” he said.
For Levenson, it’s also just a way to see what everyone is doing.
“I think there’s a lot of people on campus who like TV and film, and so we really want to make sure that when we do a screening it gets a lot of people to come,” she said.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece misstated the director of "High Class Problem." Delphine Batier, not Anthony McDonald, Andrew McDonald, and Andrew Verdi, directed the piece.