This year, Ivies is really going to be a time students will never forget. Rickey Larke ’15, head of the Bowdoin Cable Network (BCN), plans to make sure of it with a documentary he is creating as an independent study that will chronicle the weekend.
Although the cast has not yet been finalized, Larke currently anticipates following two or three students, in addition to himself, through their Ivies experiences this spring.
“I thought, ‘What would I make a documentary about? What’s important to me? What’s important to people my age, Bowdoin, my friends?’” said Larke. “I immediately thought—boom. Ivies.”
As a member of the track team—which usually cannot attend the Saturday concert because of a meet—Larke has never experienced Ivies himself. The project is partly a personal exploration of what Ivies is and what it means to Bowdoin students. On the other hand, Larke also hopes to investigate the deeper impact it has on our campus.
“The project is like a social experiment,” he said. “It’s just like writing a sociology paper or an anthropology paper, but I’m making a film instead of writing a paper.”
The documentary is meant to be a reflection on a tradition for Bowdoin students. There are currently no plans to distribute the film beyond Bowdoin.
“I don’t care if no one sees the film—if it sits on a shelf at Bowdoin forever—or if a million people see the film. It really makes no difference,” said Larke.
After doing preliminary research and interviews Larke said he realized that individual students have a narrow view of what Ivies is to everyone else.
“It means something different to everyone,” he said. “All the preconceived notions I had about Ivies were totally wiped out.”
According to Larke, Ivies unites much of the student body.
“Something that’s been reiterated with almost all the people I’ve talked to is the sense of the community coming together,” said Larke. “It’s like we all are here together for one time only on the weekend—everybody comes out, everybody’s a part of Ivies in some way.”
Ivies is a time when the party scene at Bowdoin is amplified, but Larke emphasized that the focus of the film is not to expose student debauchery.
“I’m trying to make the most truthful exploration of this event, so obviously there will be negative parts of it shown, but I’m not necessarily looking for negative things,” he said.
Larke said that as leader of BCN, he has had the necessary experience with various types of film equipment. He has also received help from Visiting Professor of Film Studies Sarah Childress.
Larke is in charge of every part of the documentary’s production. He is the producer, director, writer, cinematographer and cameraman.
Larke said he found potential cast members by reaching out to certain classes and putting out flyers. These students had a range of perspectives on Ivies and what it means.
“I think if Ivies is done safely, it can be a fun time for everyone involved,” said Alex Marecki ’14, a potential cast member.
Nick Benson ’17, another student being considered for the documentary, said he has lower expectations for his first Ivies.
“I feel like too many people here are blinded by the fact that they’re in college to realize that the parties here are of a pretty appalling standard in my opinion,” he said. “I feel like I could offer an alternate perspective.”
First year Fatoumata Bah hopes Ivies will be a step up from the typical party scene at Bowdoin.
“There are a lot of weekends on campus that I don’t really enjoy,” said Bah. “I hope it’s better than what Bowdoin parties usually are.”
The documentary will be filmed this semester, and post-production work will be completed in the fall. Larke said he expects to have the film ready for screening around this time next year.