The Breakfast Club, The Godfather, Casablanca: just a sample of some of the greatest films in our lifetime that have come to define cultures, events and social issues. We remember them, we love them and we praise them again and again. But what about the names behind the films? The creators who capture moments, pour them into images and immortalize them forever. Where do they begin? What’s their story? If you’re at Carnegie Mellon, you might be lucky enough to know the story of one of these future, revolutionary filmmakers. Her name is Talia Shea Levin.
Levin is a senior BXA with concentrations in Directing and Creative Writing. Originally from Washington D.C., Levin came to Carnegie Mellon to take advantage of the BXA program, live in a city, and make her own way. Since venturing to Pittsburgh four years ago, Levin has become president of the filmmaking club, is a member of Delta Gamma Women’s Fraternity and is constantly working on her own writing and film projects. In fact, just last year, Levin wrote a screenplay for a short, science fiction drama film and submitted it to the annual Steeltown Film Factory Competition. Her script, All-Sight, was selected for the Community Showcase, where the top overall scripts from the competition are given funding to be directed and produced. So, for a portion of the summer, Levin was in Pittsburgh working on her film with a team of CMU students, Point Park students and local professionals.
As if directing and producing your own short film doesn’t seem time-consuming enough, Levin spent the first half of her summer in New York City after living there for an entire semester last spring.
“Last semester I was immersed in the New York City theater world. I worked in casting at David Caparelliotis's office, volunteered at the Women in the World summit, and kicked off the summer by observing the director Carolyn Cantor on the new musical Fly By Night at Playwright's Horizons.”
Levin has a naturally glamorous air. Maybe it’s her dark, thick enviable locks that frame her fair skinned face, or her effortless, brilliant smile that makes you want to never frown again. When you meet her, you just know that she’s going somewhere, and part of you wants to follow. Levin is humbled, driven and inspired by her peers and her character is as remarkable as her talent:
“In my time here I have felt challenged by other students more than by any class, and I have learned that the college experience stems from the people you meet, not the lectures you hear. I came here knowing what I wanted to do, and that has not changed. CMU has made sure, though, that now I am one big step closer to knowing how to do it.”
And after college? What then? Levin plans to go where most aspiring young filmmakers go: L.A.
“I want to write and direct action-adventure, science-fiction films. Big budget, IMAX, event films - that kind of thing, and that specificity is still with me.”
So you never know. The next time you sit in your favorite theater, munching on buttery popcorn with peanut m&ms and a large (probably over-priced) soda at your elbow, you could be bunkering down to watch one of Levin’s films.