A Wellesley Team Was One Of Seven Chosen To Compete In NESN Next Producer, A Sports-Themed Reality Television Show

August 4, 2015
Cinema and Media Studies students work together on a film.

This spring, NESN (New England Sports Network) showcased the region’s top college filmmakers in a reality television show billed as "part Shark Tank, part America’s Got Talent." A Wellesley team, comprising Katie Barsotti '15, Lilly Tyson '15, Adrienne Ogle '15, and Gladys Raygoza '15, was chosen among seven teams named as finalists. Ayana Aaron '15 was also a member of the team but did not participate in the show.

"New England is a hot bed for young, creative minds...we wanted to highlight college filmmakers who are the next generation of storytellers from our area," said show co-creator and co-producer Linda Pizzuti Henry in a press release.

The film they entered into the competition was originally created as part of an independent study. They chose to enter it after encouragement from Wini Wood, senior lecturer in the writing program and Cinema and Media Studies (CAMS) faculty member.

"I think that [our] alternative take on the sports film is what got us so far in the competition," said Abra White '15. "Our main opponents in the show were largely male led teams creating serious documentaries. While they were all great, I think [NESN] found something fresh and different in our film."

She added, "I hope that our desire to share a film that has women in sports, women doing physical comedy, and [that was] completely made by women, came across in our episode."

The team didn’t win, but White called their participation an important experience. "This experience was definitely eye-opening for all of us," she said. "Up until now, most of our work has either been for ourselves, our classes, or with independent films. The creative license that we were afforded on a network show like this was far less than we were used to."

Barsotti, Tyson, Ogle, Raygoza, and Aaron grew close while working together on a film set in Nantucket during the spring 2014 semester. When they returned to campus, inspired by what they’d learned, they started an independent study designed to foster collaboration and mentor younger CAMS students. The team received a Pamela Daniels Fellowship to support their work.  

"We wanted to find a way to apply the skills that we learned on the movie set, and keep exercising them, and bring them to the CAMS community as a whole... we thought it would be really cool to teach others what we learned," Raygoza explained in a pre-show interview that was filmed on campus this spring.

The independent study did help bring the CAMS community together which, the team said, will have a lasting benefit. White noted that it is difficult, for women especially, to enter the film industry and said, “We already have this group of people who are willing to support us. I think just having a support group, even if we’re not continuing to make films together, is something really special.”

The Long Shot,” the film that was featured in the NESN show, stars Abby Hess ‘16. It is available on the NESN website.