Los Angeles director visits university

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, August 23, 2012

Troy University students had a rare opportunity Thursday to sit in on a master class in screen writing and film production and view a movie with the director present.

Los Angeles-based writer/director Isaac Ergas visited the Troy campus to speak with students about the future of filmmaking and offer suggestions and ideas for crafting characters and stories.

“Film is beautiful,” Ergas, a University of Southern California Graduate, said. “It’s chemically printed. It’s like a painting.”

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Ergas’ visit was two-fold because the subject of the movie he shared with students is also the subject of the Common Reader Initiative book for this year, “The Ghost Map.”

“Snow” is about a doctor at the center of the 1854 cholera outbreak in London, England. Dr. John Snow went against common theory that the sickness was brought on by poisonous air and developed a mapping technique that lead him to the real source – a public water supply.

Ergas said the movie was a blend of his two lives, the filmmaker and the public health professional. He also holds a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of California at Berkley.

Although Ergas has written and directed several other short films that have earned awards at festivals nationwide, his most recent award was the Alfred P. Sloan film and science grant, which enabled him to write and direct “Snow.”

The 22-minute short film has gained attention from film festivals and will soon be available on DVD through Amazon.com.

Ergas shared with those present that he fears “film’s days are numbered” in movie making due to emerging technology, but that doesn’t mean that good stories still can’t be told, even if the medium is less romantic.

“I think the only thing that keeps people in the theaters is good movies,” Ergas said. “It all comes back to telling a good story.”