I was recently thinking about how this project began as I watched the 2014 class of seniors graduating. The faculty this year had been moved to another location to view the ceremony via simulcast since turnout was overwhelming. I sat looking at 3 jumbo sized screens. All of a sudden one of the cameras cuts to students filing in and standing there in the crowd was Perry in his cap and gown wearing a look that was somewhere between bewilderment and unease. His smile was hard to read as joy and more like the kind you wear when you run into that old friend that you avoid because they just scare the hell out of you.
I remembered the day I held the information session just before the start of the Fall semester in 2010. How I hoped we would get 30 students to show up and fill out applications so that at least we would have a pool to review and narrow the field from. How to my surprise the room filled up with almost 100 students all eager to be in the film. I scanned the room thinking about which faces looked interesting. As much as I wanted to, I would remember none of them as I reviewed the applications and set up the initial interviews. My assistant Alex and I labored over what attributes would make for a balanced and interesting cast.
This time has gone by very quickly. I have these strings of before and after images in my head of each of them and I often think that this film has enormous value in just that; the realization and volume of what happens in such a short period of time. These four years change you immensely.