Tale of a Hamptons Town and a Troubled Filmmaker

The Boston Globe reviews The Windmill Movie, a film about Richard Rogers ’67, edited and directed by his former filmmaking student, Alexander Olch ’99.

The Boston Globe recently ran an insightful review of The Windmill Movie, a film about the life of Richard Rogers ’67, Ed.M. ’70.

As the review notes, Rogers himself shot the footage that makes up the film, intending to make a movie about the Hamptons town where his family had a summer house. Before his death in 2001, he tried to edit the more than 200 hours of footage he had shot, wrestling with the idea that this was really a movie about his life. But Rogers (who headed the Film Study Center at Harvard), never finished the film; the task was left to Alexander Olch ’99, his former student.

The result, writes reviewer Wesley Morris, is a movie about Rogers, "a child of affluence who found not-insignificant success when he wanted extraordinary achievement," who despite making several acclaimed films, "believed he was a failure - at least in his family’s tax bracket." Morris writes that Olch succeeded at making "the sort of portrait that Rogers might have made of someone else."

A separate Q&A with Olch contains interesting tidbits, including Olch's revelation of how he was able to sustain himself financially while working on the film:

My men’s accessories business started out as a souvenir [necktie] I designed for the crew who worked on my thesis film in college, Artemin Goldberg: Custom Tailor of Brassieres. It was about a tailor who lived in New York. My friends from Harvard, who were graduating to jobs in New York where they had to wear ties every day, liked it and started buying it. The business just grew organically. It’s done quite well, sold in Bergdorf Goodman and many of the best stores around the world.

For more background on the film's Harvard angle, plus a photo slideshow, see "The Windmill Movie" (an article from the May-June issue of Harvard Magazine). 

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