THE PRINCETON SUN — OCTOBER 2–8, 2013
Documentary to make its premiere in Princeton
By KATIE MORGAN
The Princeton Sun
A new documentary fromaward-winning independent film-maker Brad Mays will make itspremiere in Princeton on Oct. 18.The film, “I Grew Up in Prince-ton,” was inspired by Mays’ expe-riences as a student at PrincetonHigh School in the early 1970s.“In middle school in WestWindsor I was a really quiet, shykid,” Mays said. “I was bulliedquite a bit. The kids who werebullying me told me that I couldexpect far worse when I startedgoing to Princeton High Schoolthe next year. The opposite hap-pened. I fell into a group of reallycreative kids; I got to do a profes-sional internship at McCarterTheatre. I got involved in someantiwar demonstrations. Forgood or ill, Princeton is where Ibecame who I am.”About five years ago, Mayssaid, a fellow PHS graduate con-tacted him about attending a re-union, and asked if he would puttogether a short movie about theClass of 1973. Mays said he onlyreceived a handful of videos fromhis classmates, but one stood out.“A good friend of mine whoparticipated in the antiwardemonstration that had gottenme in a lot of trouble went back tothe scene of the crime, and madea video talking about it,” Mayssaid. “My wife had a really goodeye for this stuff, and when shesaw it she said, ‘look, you should-n’t be doing this high school puff piece – you ought to do a seriousfilm about Princeton.’”Mays’ wife, Lorenda Starfelt,was the producer of his films.Mays said that when Starfelt suc-cumbed to uterine cancer in 2011,it renewed his commitment to thefilm about Princeton.“We decided to make this film,and then about a year later shewas diagnosed with cancer, andthen a few months later she died,”Mays said. “She was the center of my universe. I knew this was thelast film we’d make together, so Idetermined to finish it and finishit as well as I could.”Mays interviewed more than 60people for the documentary,which also included originalfootage from the era.“There’s really importantfootage from those days,” Mayssaid. “There’s some stuff thatNixon said on TV that you won’tbelieve he actually said. There’sfootage of Vietnam that’s reallytough to watch, and footage of riots and protests.”Mays said the film is told en-tirely in the words of his inter-view subjects, without anyvoiceover or narration, to pre-serve the authenticity of the sto-ries.“I’ve taken the hard routehere,” Mays said. “I’ve investedthousands of hours to edit a two-hour documentary film of realpeople telling their real stories.It’s a very intense, very visceralfilm, and it’s probably the mosthonest thing I’ve done in my ca-reer.”Mays said that audiencesshould expect to experience aroller coaster of emotions duringthe film.“There are stories that arefunny, unexpected, shocking andtragic,” Mays said. “There aremoments of genuine horror, andthere are moments where you just feel glad to be a member of the human race. People definethemselves based on that sharedexperience of living in Princetonduring the mid 60s and early 70s.We were all on the same ride, nomatter our political sides or race.What that really says to me, andwhat I suspected all along, is thatthere were experiences we hadthat you could only have inPrinceton.”“I Grew Up in Princeton” willbe screened on Oct. 18 at thePrinceton High School Perform-ing Arts Center. Tickets are avail-able at www.igrewupinprince-ton.com.
Legality of arts and transit project deliberated
By KATIE MORGAN
The Princeton Sun
Superior Court Judge DouglasHurd is deliberating after hearingtestimony in a case againstPrinceton University and the for-mer borough and township thatclaims the zoning changes thatwere approved for the universi-ty’s $300 million arts and transitproject are illegal.Public interest attorney BruceAfran filed suit in January 2012on behalf of plaintiffs Walter andAnne Neumann and Marco Got-tardis, who claimed that the zon-ing was designed to benefit onlythe university, and was thereforeillegal.“The ordinances that give riseto the arts complex were passedby the Township Committee andthe Borough Council,” Afransaid. “Without those ordinances,the university couldn’t build any-thing. It would require hundredsof variances from the zoningboard. The Arts Zoning ordi-nances give the university theprivilege to depart from the ordi-nances that covered those areas.These ordinances are a specialgrant of power to one landowneronly. This is called spot zoning,and generally, such zoning is ille-gal.”The three-day trial began onSept. 23, and Afran mostly fo-cused on presenting evidence thatthe Arts Zoning ordinance con-flicted with Princeton’s masterplan.Carlos Rodrigues, former chairof the Princeton township zoningboard, testified for the plaintiffsover the first two days of thehearings.Rodrigues held that the artsand transit project was inconsis-tent with the master plan, whichcalls for more commercial andresidential land to be preservedfrom institutions. The ordinancegreen lighting the project will re-duce both types of land, Ro-drigues said.Princeton University’s attor-ney, Jonathan Epstein, arguedthat officials had examined themaster plan, and determined thatthe Arts Zoning ordinance wasconsistent.“The planning board reviewedthe ordinance and did not findany substantial inconsistencieswith the master plan,” Epsteinsaid.Epstein’s primary witness, LeeSolow, Princeton planning direc-tor, testified that the arts andtransit project was in fact consis-tent with the master plan, andwould enhance and benefit boththe town and school.“We’re taking some really dete-riorated buildings and providingwhat in my opinion will be an en-hanced entrance to town andcampus,” Solow said.Afran said he expects Hurdwill issue a decision on the mat-ter in early October.The case is one of severalbrought by groups of residents inopposition to the university’s artsand transit project. Anothergroup is involved in legislationprotesting the alteration of thehistoric Dinky train line and ter-minal. A third group of residentsis suing to overturn the PrincetonPlanning Board’s December 2012approval of the arts and transitproject.
LINDA A.CARROLLSpecial to TheSun
Award-winningindependentfilmmakerBrad Maysshootsfootage forhis newdocumentary‘I Grew Up inPrinceton.’