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September 25, 1997 - Image 20

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-25

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8Q -he Michigan Daily Week .n Magazine - Thursday, September 25, 1997
4 ®University Feature .
Help wanted: Money and fun
appeal to job-hunting students

0

The Michigan Daily Weekend Maga

FlfiFeature
Disloyalty reigns in 'When We Were Kin

By Renatt Brodsky
For the Daily
Are you a student who is in need
of some extra cash? Well, don't fret,
because it's still early and there are
more "Help Wanted" signs around
campus than football tickets avail-
able for the Michigan-Notre Dame
game. Basically, if you want a job,
Ann Arbor is hiring.
There are many different kinds of
jobs available to students on campus
- it just depends upon the kind of
job that is right for each particular
person. State Street and South
University are popular locations for
jobs, but another option is to apply
for a job through the University.
As far as a paycheck goes, stu-
dents are likely to make the most
dough by working at one of the local
bars, such as Rick's or Scorekeepers,
as a waiter or waitress. As one wait-
ress at Scorekeepers said, "I'd be
going to the bar anyway, so why not
work, drink free, be social and get
paid?"
This kind of job definitely seems
to be perfect for the social butterfly
who doesn't mind giving up a night
or two of partying to make an extra
buck. But nighttime isn't the only
time to have fun while on the job.
LSA senior Dan Kerin, a sales-
person for Urban Outfitters, said
that he "loves the fun and funky peo-

ple that he gets to meet working by
day."
"Work in general allows a person
to get away from their usual niche
and just be exposed to different
kinds of people," Kerin said
LSA senior Sue Darula, a part-
time cashier at Amer's, agreed.
"Work gives (me) a relief from
school," she said. Amer's is Darula's
"get-away" from classes.
If students don't want to work in a
deli but prefer that aroma of fresh
bagels, why not work at one of Ann
Arbor's many bagel stores? Ahran
Kang, an Art junior who works at
Einstein's Bagels, said, "Having a
job is something that everyone can
do - it's just a matter of balancing
your time."
For Kang, earning money is
another enjoyable aspect of having a
job. Like most students, she is finan-
cially supported by her parents, but
the money that Kang earns is her
own to spend on whatever her heart
desires.
Students who don't like to be
around food might try working at a
card store, such as Hallmark-Gold
Crown House. LSA sophomore Kim
Kochanek has been working there
since last January. "Going to work
gives me a break from studying,"
Kochanek said. "It gets me away
from the academic pressures of

school."
However, if students are looking
for a work environment that's a little
less social and a bit on the quieter
side, they can try applying for a
University job, such as working at a
University library.
LSA senior David Hartke has
worked at the Kresge Business
Administration Library for three
years. Hartke said that the major
benefit to this job is that he is able to
study and work at the same time.
This type of assistant-librarian job
seems ideal for the serious student
who doesn't mind spending a couple
of extra hours at the library.
The bottom line is that there may
be a perfect job waiting out there,
but students have to go out and find
it. Yes, it may seem a bit threatening
to think of doing something other
than going to class and hanging out
with friends, but work can be a pos-
itive experience. Having a job does-
n't necessarily involve sitting at a
desk and answering phones all day
- a job can actually be fun.
So, if you've been thinking about
expanding your horizons and doing
something other than e-mailing dur-
ing your spare time, now is the time
to fill out an application and join the
many University students who man-
age to earn a few extra bucks while
cramming for that midterm.

LSA senior Benjamin Day tosses a pizza at his part-time job at The Backroom.
Ashley's Presents
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By special arrangement with Arcadia Brewery of Battle Creek
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Beginning the job search
Looking for a job? Here are a few places to get started:
~ University libraries hire students throughout the year. Ask for applications at the Graduate Library, Shapiro Library
and Law Library.
~ The Michigan Union employs 500 students in various departments each year. Visit the Union administrative offices
for an application.
~ The Student Employment Office (2503 Student Activities Building) provides information about work-study and non-
work-study jobs. Call 763.4128.

Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Might as well
put the moral of this tale right up at the
top. Here it is: Beware of Hollywood
fairy tales. If a story seems too good to
be entirely true, that's probably because
it is.
The fable matching this moral starts
with "When We Were Kings," a film
about the 1974 heavyweight bout
between Muhammad Ali and George
Foreman in Zaire that won an Academy
Award for Best Documentary in March.
It was a film, according to articles pub-
lished at the time, that prevailed after a
23-year struggle, coming about because
of the unwavering vision of filmmaker
Leon Gast and the dedication of pro-
ducer David Sonenberg.
The New York Times wrote of the
"sometimes-quixotic perseverance of
Mr. Gast and David Sonenberg, who
eventually became the film's executive
producer, in the face of legal and tech-
nical barriers." The Washington Post
wrote: "Gast never swerved. His love of
Ali wouldn't let him." In a "48 Hours"
segment, Dan Rather waxed: "You're
about to meet a man who could have
quit years ago; fortunately for all of us,
he didn't."
In fact, the story of the making of the
film has become as important as the
subject itself, included as a postscript
on the newly released video; Gast's
quest is presened as an inspiring story
of determination, a triumph of faith
over adversity.
The full story is rather less inspiring.
It is also a tale of lawsuits, pettiness,
credit-grabbing and, sad to say, ingrati-
tude. It was a project conceived then left
idle, proceeding in fits and starts thanks
to a series of people who believed pas-
sionately in what the film could
become, then marginalized and sued
before the moment came to reap
rewards.
A more complete, though not nearly
as uplifting, history of "When We Were
Kings" emerges through interviews
with more than a dozen people who
worked on or close to the film, court
papers, an early script and previous cuts
of the movie. It is a more-complicated
tale but one that also seems more suited
to the often-cutthroat world of film-
making, where visionaries compromise
to get their movies made and where
financiers are out to maximize profits.
Rather than a story to inspire faith in
the little guy, "When We Were Kings" is
instead about how films are promoted,
how complex reality becomes a more-
marketable simplicity.
It's about how the winners get to
write history.
So how did the film get made? After
a chance meeting with Gast in 1983, it
was Robinson who offered to take a
look at the concert footage. Robinson
owned Phantasmagoria, an editing
facility used by independent filmmak-
ers in New York City, and knew of
Gast's project.
Says Robinson: "I said, 'Let's check
it out.' We unpacked the boxes, and I
saw the Spinners, James Brown - I
Was blowIrway. I realized there were a
> ot of cameras; and a huge volume ofW

stuff"'
Getting this material into editable
shape became Robinson's private pas-
sion. From 1983 to 1989, he undertook
the expensive and time-consuming task
of transferring the film to videotape so
it could be edited, and of synchronizing
the sound. Every hour of footage took
more than two hours to transfer.
Robinson says he sank about $150,000
of his own money into the project.
Alan Douglas, a music producer who
attempted to acquire the still-emerging
film during the 1980s, says: "The pro-
ject never would've been accomplished
without Keith. Impossible. In the first
place, he financed the complete begin-
ning of the project.... Aside from that,
he edited all the rough-cut material ...
not only the Muhammad Ali material
and fight material, but the music mate-
rial."
Gast agrees that Robinson played an
important role."When I met Keith
Robinson, there was still material and
sound not transferred (to videotape).
What Keith Robinson did - and we
didn't do all the material --through his
place, Phantasmagoria, was have trans-
ferred to videotape two-thirds of the
negative. And Keith was paying for it."
In 1989, Gast and Robinson were
partners and had already edited sepa-
rate, commercial music videos of the
Zaire concert footage that included B.B.
King, the Pointer Sisters and a salsa
group, the Fania Allstars. They went to
Sonenberg, Gast's lawyer, to see about
formalizing their relationship and
ensuring the rights to use the footage in
a feature-length film, according to
Robinson.
Gast says they went to Sonenberg for
his help in negotiating an offer by a
British record company to buy the
footage; whichever, both agree that the
lawyer instead offered to put up the
money to complete the film in
exchange for part ownership of the fin-
ished product.
From the spring of 1990 to the fol-
lowing spring, Sonenberg paid Gast a

salary to edit the film in his law office,
using equipment provided by Douglas,
the music producer. Robinson did
another cut of the film after Gast had
finished his work.
But though tensions had grown
between Gast and Robinson, they were
both astonished when shortly thereafter
Sonenberg sued them for a total of $14
million, claiming "violation of copy-
right and various contract rights." Gast
and Robinson, ostensible creators of the
film, say they didn't realize until that
point that Sonenberg controlled the
copyright to the project.
The filmmakers say they didn't have
the money to fight a suit. Eventually
they agreed to a settlement. Robinson
was cut out of the profits, though he
was to be given $90,000 for his expens-
es and received credit as a producer of
the film, according to the agreement
filed in Manhattan court. Sonenberg
ended up with the rights to two-thirds of
the profits, while Gast would get one-
third.
Says Douglas: "I think a terrible
injustice was done. ... Without any
question, they pushed him out. They
pushed him out of the proper credits.
They pushed him out of financial
rewards. And emotionally, he had as
much in it as they did, if not more"
Gast says, however, that Robinson
got all the credit he deserved.
Robinson, who under the settlement
is not permitted to talk about the liti-
gation, says merely: "It was a feeling
of betrayal that you can't even imag-
ine."
All of this turned out to be an appro-
priate prologue for what happened at
this year's Academy Awards.
Although Gast and Hackford share a
credit on the film, Hackford was not
nominated for an Oscar; the two nomi-
nation slots instead went to Gast and
Sonenberg. Says Sonenberg:
"Unfortunately the Academy only rec-
ognizes two people, and he wasn't one
of them."
When he learned of the slight,

Hackford was furious (norr
with creativeinput are (nc
nominations for Best Do
but he decided not to make
a controversy over credits
hurt the film's chances at an
Instead he was silent
media wrote stories about (
gle and Sonenberg's stalwa
What finally moved Ha
action - he wrote the Aca
the ceremony asking that t
tion procedures be changed
fact that neither winner 1
mention his name from the
Oscar night.
Says Gast: "I did feel bad
mention Taylor at the award
nitely should have mentioned
contribution:" Later he adds
single awards ceremony I a
tioned Vikram, Keith and Ta
not the Oscars. It wasn't ar
omission, it was out of nervo

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