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Ang Lee Dylan Baker, one of the lucky L&S undergrads selected for an up-close-and-personal lunch with Ang Lee takes the director's ideas seriously during Tuesday's get-together at the Faculty Club. (Peg Skorpinski photo)

A free lunch, with filmmakers Ang Lee and James Schamus

19 March 2009

Eight fortunate undergrads dined with director Ang Lee and producer/screenwriter James Schamus (the latter a Berkeley Ph.D. in English) at the Faculty Club on Tuesday. The students, who attended a discussion of Lee's films last fall, won the lunch opportunity in a drawing.

Lee and Schamus, who have collaborated on 11 films (including Brokeback Mountain, Sense and Sensibility, and Lust, Caution), are at Berkeley this week as part of the College of Letters and Science's "On the Same Page" program, which gives new students a chance to discuss influential works. During their Berkeley visit the filmmakers have discussed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Ice Storm in settings ranging from classrooms to Zellerbach Hall. Last fall, all incoming freshman and transfer students received DVDs of the two films to prepare for the creators' visit.

To a person, the students remarked on how "normal" and down-to-earth the filmmakers were. The lunch "wasn't very intimidating," said Seika Iwao, a junior transfer student majoring in art history, who reported that the group talked about horror movies and favorite films. Lee and Schamus discussed the filmmaking process from start to finish — from how they get ideas to publicizing the completed film — said Michael Lyons, a freshman majoring in physics. Lyons learned that "It's a lot more complicated to get a movie made than you would think — especially if you want it to make money."