Filming on Drew Campus Sparks Student Backlash

by Michael McCurry

Hollywood has made a brief stop in the Forest. This past week, Drew’s campus was used as a filming location for an upcoming untitled Woody Allen project slated for release in 2018. Not much is known about the film beyond some members of the cast and a brief plot outline.

The Acorn was able to get in contact with Tom Sexton, the film’s Assistant Location Manager, who answered some questions about their choice of Drew. “We scouted several universities in the greater New York City area for Mr. Allen and the creative team to choose from. Drew has a great look, and Mr. Allen really wanted to go back to Drew as he had filmed there in 1996 for his film ‘Deconstructing Harry.’ For him, it has a quintessential college campus look and feel,” he stated.

It seems that the choice of Drew was a good fit for most of the film crew as, according to Sexton, “A member of our location team had filmed on the campus of Drew for the TV show ‘Friday Night Lights’ about 10 years ago and had a great experience. We spoke with university event staff and it seemed like a good fit for everyone.”

Little is known about the film itself aside from some of the starring actors–Elle Fanning, Timothée Chalamet, Jude Law, Diego Luna and Selena Gomez– and a rumored 2018 debut.

The presence of director Woody Allen on campus has sparked backlash among the student body. Student protestors organized outside the Ehinger Center and S. W. Bowne to voice their discontent with the controversial director’s appearance. When asked why they chose to protest, Tammy Montgomery (‘18) told the Acorn, “I do not agree with allowing a child predator and sexual assaulter to be on our campus, and I don’t want the school to be taking his money and profiting from anything he is involved with.”

Fellow protester Erin Tranfield (‘21) shared the sentiment, saying, “It’s a huge slap in the face to any sexual assault survivor on campus. How many people have to walk by knowing that we’re enabling this man to make more money?”

The protests took place over the three days of filming. On Friday students gathered at the last minute, as the Drew community was not alerted of the filming on campus beforehand. Monday and Tuesday saw more organized protests as students positioned themselves outside of the filming headquarters, which moved from the E.C. to Bowne.

Jose Rivera (‘21) joined the protest on Tuesday after reading Dylan Farrow’s letter the previous day. “I felt it was important to join the protest today. I don’t think that it’s right that the school allowed Woody Allen to be here,” he stated. “It kind of normalizes that these are powerful people [and] they can do what they want.”

This was not the first time Drew has been used as a location for a film. The campus has been featured in films such as “So Fine” (1981), “Deconstructing Harry” (1997), “The Family Stone” (2005), “Spinning into Butter” (2008) and “The Incredible Hulk” (2008), as well as in television programs such as “The Sopranos” and “Friday Night Lights.”

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