UVM Alumnus up for an Oscar

UVM is taking a trip to the Academy Awards-through class of ’78 alumni Jon Kilik. Kilik, who graduated as a film minor, is the producer of the movie “Babel”, which is nomi-nated for seven Oscars, includ-ing best picture. Kilik has produced many films with director Spike Lee and many other greats, like Woody Allen. However, Kilik is proud of his latest work with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. “The goal is always to make the next one even better than the last so, I’m really proud of ‘Babel’,” Kilik said. “I’m really hoping that I can do even better next time.”Kilik has been nominated for Oscars before, but said that with “Babel” it’s different. “Yeah, [the day I found out ‘Babel’ was nominated] was a good day.” He said. “It’s great to kind of shed a light on the film and have more people see-ing it and have this new life in the theatres.” Todd McGowan, associate professor and program direc-tor of film at UVM, is a fan of Kilik’s work. “[‘Summer of Sam’] is one of my all time favorite films,” McGowan said. He liked “Babel” too. “You don’t see things in the order that they happen, which is sort of interesting narra-tively,” he said. “Part of what he’s trying to say…is that our reality seems more and more disconnected from each oth-er.” Kilik will be in warm Cali-fornia amongst the stars for the Academy Awards, but his career in film began amongst the cold and mountains sur-rounding Burlington. “I think Jon took five or six courses,” said Frank Manchel, Professor Emeritus of “He just loved films…He knew that that’s what he wanted to do.” “Babel” is nominated for best picture, twice for best supporting actress, achieve-ment in directing, best origi-nal screenplay, achievement in film editing, and achievement written for music for motion pictures. “Babel” will compete against “The Departed”, “Let-ters from Iwo Jima”, “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Queen” for best picture “I can’t tell you how im-pressed I am with the films that Jon has done,” Manchel said. “He’s much more con-cerned with the art of the film, than the commercialism of the film.” Kilik and Manchel are still closely in touch to this day, and Kilik says that, “he still criticizes everything I do all the time.” He’s come a long way from his role as a film student, how-ever. “‘Babel’ is like a culmina-tion of everything that came before it,” Kilik said. He says that the key to success is to, “always be pushing your-self and everybody around to strive to do your best work.” “It’s a fine line between do-ing something right and, you know, not,” Kilik said. When the Cynic talked to Kilik, he was leaving Califor-nia to tend to some other busi-ness before the Oscars-the British Academy Awards in London.