Rutgers student wins trip to Academy Awards

<p>Jean Paul Isaacs, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, attended the Oscars last night.</p>

Jean Paul Isaacs, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, attended the Oscars last night.


Out of thousands of amateur filmmakers, actor Channing Tatum chose a Rutgers student to attend the Oscars last night because of a short video he made about his passion to create films that awed the public.

Jean Paul Isaacs, a School of Arts and Sciences senior attending Rutgers on full scholarship, attended the 86th annual Academy Awards last night after spending a week in Hollywood touring studios and attending meet-and-greets with filmmakers, according to nj.com.

Isaacs originally planned to study exercise science, but when his film “The Youth” won best film at the national Campus Moviefest in April 2013, he found passion in a new field.

Isaacs first stepped out of his comfort zone when he was a junior and tried his hand at making films, despite his hesitation about the field’s financial stability.

“I was doing [exercise science] more for the stability that it offered … but ultimately I thought that I wasn’t going to be happy,” he said. “I’ve always been passionate about films and looked to films to help me in my life.”

Isaacs said he wanted to provide the same sort of inspiration he found in films to other people.

“I say that I really only started [filmmaking] a year and a half ago, but in reality it was a year and a half ago when I felt that I made some progress skill-wise,” he said. “But I’ve been making short films since I was a senior in high school. …But there was no consciousness behind it.”

“The Youth” highlights the pursuit of happiness and the idea of not letting go of the creativity that signifies childhood but gets lost with age, Isaacs said.

“It’s a film about the inner youth in all of us, and how we should work to sustain it regardless of our age, and how that can extend to [being happy] and just enjoying the moment,” he said.

Isaacs said the award earned him a trip to the Festival de Cannes in France.

“Cannes Film Festival is like the most prestigious film festival,” he said. “What I hope to gain from Cannes is just being in an environment with some of the most innovative, creative, passionate, talented filmmakers from around the world.”

Isaacs said the trip to France should be instrumental in inspiring what he does in his future filmmaking career.

But France comes after the Oscars, which Isaacs said he prepared to attend.

“Well, first of all it’s not cold out here,” he said. “Just two hours ago, [last Thursday] I was introduced to [a bunch of celebrities] and in rehearsal I got to hand a trophy to Samuel L. Jackson.”

Isaacs said a large portion of his time on the West Coast is spent rehearsing and observing the production process for the award ceremony.

He said he was anxious for the Oscars, but that he felt ready for it.

NJ.com cited Isaacs’ instructors as having a great deal of confidence in his future career.

Mason Gross School of the Arts instructor Patrick Stettner said although the film industry is difficult to break into, he could see Isaacs working in the industry if he continues with his current work ethic, according to nj.com.

Dana Seidel, director of the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking, also told nj.com that Isaacs is a very talented filmmaker who is sensitive to human motivation and relationships.

Isaacs said his experiences have helped him develop into a more complete filmmaker.

“When I first started [there was a gap] between what I saw in my head and the finished product,” he said. “I learned so much about the camera, acting and writing. Now, I feel like I’m developing more. I still have a lot to learn but that gap is decreasing.”

Isaacs has another movie debuting soon, he said. He made this one last summer, and he is looking forward to making a documentary in the rural regions of Zambia.


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