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GMU Goes Hollywood

College welcomes film producer Marshall Herskovitz for lecture, screening of ‘quarterlife’ TV series.

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Marshall Herskovitz

George Mason University’s Fairfax campus is hosting the Mason Festival of the Arts, a new visual and performing arts festival that celebrates the cultural diversity of Northern Virginia. Sponsored by GMU and other affiliated arts organizations, the festival is currently taking place from June 12 to June 29.

GMU’s Center for the Arts will host more than 35 free ticketed performances, which include lectures, gallery shows and readings by students, community-based performing groups and professional artists. Theater performances will cover a range of subjects, from opera and intense theater dramas to a sex scandal in a small Colorado town.

On Friday, June 20 American film director, writer and producer Marshall Herskovitz will premiere his new television-to-Web series titled "quarterlife" in the Johnson Center Cinema, at 7:30 p.m. "He will be showing the first six episodes of the series, along with some new clips from upcoming episodes," said Jill Graziano, public relations and media relations coordinator for GMU’s Center for the Arts.

Herskovitz, who is the president of the Producers Guild of America, has produced several well-known films, including "Blood Diamond," "I Am Sam," "Legends of the Fall," "The Last Samurai" and "Traffic," and was the executive producer of the television shows "thirtysomething," "Once and Again" and "My So-Called Life."

"Mr. Herskovitz will be speaking at Studio A, which is Mason’s version of the show ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio,’ which will be recorded and played on GMU TV on Saturday night," said Graziano. "He will speak about the evolution of the ‘quarterlife’ series. There will be a public reception after the taping."

"Quarterlife," which was created and executive produced by Herskovitz, premiered on cable television last fall, airing three episodes directly before the writer’s strike. "When the writer’s strike hit, Herskovitz decided to move the show from a network to the Web. He knew that online distribution was the way to go, as it allows far more freedom within the show. You don’t have to answer to the demands of a network," said Jim Maiwurm, GMU Festival of the Arts manager.

The show follows a group of artists in their mid-20s who share life experiences on their blogs, display the difficulties of life in the 21st century, and show the differences between the current generation and their parent’s generation. "Herskovitzs’ specialty is generational shows," said Maiwurm. "‘Quarterlife’ fits into that category, as it focuses on twentysomethings who have graduated from college, received their degrees, but still haven’t found their niche. They grew up in the PlayStation, Web 2.0 era. They don’t have real jobs, and they continually ask themselves ‘Where am I going?’"

Once the show began airing online, a large community of fans created quarterlife.com, a site devoted to the show.

Following the screening, Herskovitz will be leading a free question and answer session with the audience. He is also the keynote speaker at the Theater Lover’s Day luncheon at George’s Restaurant in the Johnson Center on Saturday, June 21 from 12-1:30 p.m. "Mr. Herskovitz will speak about the evolution of storytelling, and the change from film to digital media," said Maiwurm. A second screening of "quarterlife" will take place Saturday, June 21, 4:30 p.m., in the Johnson Center Cinema. "Mr. Herskovitz is a very compelling speaker. This is a great opportunity for theater and film lovers. It’s a first-hand explanation of the production of a series," said Maiwurm. Additional information regarding GMU’s Festival of the Arts and "quarterlife" can be found on www.masonfestival.org or www.gmu.edu/cfa.