Movie Magic

By Daniel Rothberg

 It started with a move. When Nick Lieberman ’11 was nearly 12 years old, his father moved into a new home, and Lieberman was tasked with the responsibility of organizing his father’s extensive collection of DVDs. At the same time, Lieberman received a copy of Steven Jay Schneider’s “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” With a newfound interest in the silver screen, inspired by the book and DVDs, Lieberman began watching his father’s films in alphabetical order.

“I started with ‘A’ and I didn’t get very far with that method.” Lieberman said. “I just started … to watch as much as I possibly could and asked [my father] for a list of recommendations.”

“When I watched the film ‘Days of Heaven’ by Terrence Malick, I realized that this is something that I absolutely wanted to do.”

 Since then, Lieberman has become highly involved in filmmaking and is currently serving as the co-director of the Harvard-Westlake Film Festival. With Jacqueline Sir ’11, the other director of the festival, Lieberman hopes to expand the festival this year. Lieberman said that they are planning to add an event for filmmakers, which will include speakers, workshops and a luncheon, the Saturday after the festival. Additionally, they are increasing the size of the committee that screens the submissions.

 Lieberman is also working on a video for the Prefect Council, after being asked by the Council to produce a short film about the Honor Board and the Honor Code.

 Although Lieberman developed an appreciation for film at a young age, he said that he first discovered his passion for filmmaking at about the time that he came to Harvard-Westlake as a sophomore. Lieberman quickly immersed himself in the school’s film program, studying Video Art, attending Harvard-Westlake Film Festival meetings, and working on additional videos, including one promoting “Fashion for Action.”

 While Lieberman said he has learned much about filmmaking through his Video Art and Cinema Studies classes, he believes that Introduction to Calculus Honors and his Harvard-Westlake English classes were instrumental in his growth as a filmmaker.

 “The most important classes for me, in terms of filmmaking, have been English,” Lieberman said. “I really found a way to hone the skill of reading a book as a director and thinking thematically and then how to translate that structurally to a film.” Lieberman has also found his math classes helpful.

 “Intro to Calculus Honors with Mr. Weis completely opened my eyes to the joys of solving problems and logic,” Lieberman said. “The essence of the things I’ve learned in that class, in terms of workflow of thought, is something I will use more than anything specific that I’ve learned.”