July 21, 2019 | 83° F

Targum’s article misrepresentative and offensive

Letter to the Editor

I hope everyone understands my issue with the article I was featured in, “U. sees strengthening, expansion in filmmaking culture,” is not a self-centered one. I couldn’t care less about how I was painted as a person, but I do care about how you painted me as a representative of the Cinema Studies program. Let’s back up and review the article you did not read closely enough: “Previously, filmmakers only had the opportunity to enroll in the University’s Cinema Studies minor to immerse themselves in curriculum-based film scholarship.”

This statement implies to me that Cinema Studies is inadequate at providing a curriculum-based film scholarship alone, and that Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking is, somehow. Neither of these things is true. It may not have been your intention, but it is the implication of your writing.

“These students often created movies as side projects, struggling to squeeze production time into the insanity that is college. Film clubs existed but had very limited resources and so student-made films had trouble taking off in a professional sense.”

I should take more offense to this than I do. This article failed to mention those film clubs with “limited resources” have gotten films into Campus MovieFest and the New Jersey Film Festival. Those clubs are called the Screenwriter’s Community of Rutgers University and Knight Times Productions. I know this because I run them both. The article ignored that although I mentioned what I have done with my films in my interview.

The rest of the article gives gloss to the DFC while ignoring the accomplishments of Cinema Studies, and my quote was used as a case-in-point to hammer in a biased argument.

I stated in my response to the article I agree there is a divide — an academic one. The students from the two programs do not have much reason to collude when one works for credit and the other does not. However, this divide does not exist when there is a middle ground for the two sides to meet. This is why KTP is such a great thing — everyone there has a different area of experience. Last year we got together and made a great movie. There is no divide outside of a circumstantial one.

I love Cinema Studies. I don’t want to see it become irrelevant when it really shouldn’t. I believe if the two programs combined, then Rutgers could have some great film students, but it will never happen if articles like this continue to get published.

Now stop telling me how upset I shouldn’t be.

As you can see, I am not all right with this article. Several of my teachers are not all right with this article. This article is not all right.

I don’t want to hear “but that’s what you said in your interview.” No. Nuh uh. Making sure you have all the information necessary to convey an accurate picture of a situation is the responsibility of the journalist. If it’s not clear, ask for clarification. I even gave examples of accomplishments that I made with my film clubs. The implication of the article is that they did not exist or were insignificant compared to the DFC. I am not OK with that.

I feel my words were used to convey a biased point to misrepresent my program. It made Cinema Studies look like the red-haired stepchild of the “film culture” of Rutgers. This article was supposed to be about film culture, not just a pro-DFC program. I would like to request you do something about it.

I have been told you guys only correct errors of “substance.” I believe this article to be composed of bad and misleading substance.

Matthew Riddle is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in economics and mathematics with a minor in cinema studies. He is president of Screenwriters Community of Rutgers University and vice president of Knight Time Productions.

By Matthew Riddle

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