Mar 042010
Authors: David Martinez

Event organizers scoured the Lory Student Center in a last ditch effort for a legitimate turnout for an event that cost students $12,000 in fees Thursday night.

But Erin VanDenburgh, a student organizer with the Association for Student Activity Programming, said the final head count of about 30 –– approaching 200 fewer than the expected attendance of 256 –– was still a success for the event, which hosted Bobby Moresco, the acclaimed director of the 2004 film “Crash.”

Moresco isn’t what some would expect from a highly paid, highly respected Hollywood executive.

But as he walked out on the Lory Student Center Theater stage in front of a crowd of more than 30 people Thursday evening, the co-writer and producer of the Academy Award-winning film “Crash” removed his coat, pulled a chair to the edge of the stage and spoke like he was among his best friends in his own living room.

As a result of the sparse turnout, the event became a more intimate question-and-answer session that covered everything from the “Crash” themes, to movie piracy and NCAA basketball –– if St. John’s University had a good team, that would be his favorite.

“Despite the low turnout, we thought it was a success,” VanDenburgh said.

ASAP event organizers reimbursed those who paid for tickets and eliminated the ticket
cost for those who came to the event late. Other ASAP members scavenged the LSC and Morgan Library 10 minutes before show time looking for those who were interested in attending the question-answer session.

Ticket revenues would have gone back to ASAP to pay for future events, said Stephanie Corder, ASAP’s event coordinator.

The session drew a melting pot of interested students, middle-aged movie aficionados and late night passersby who were interested in the free show.

ASAP played 20 minutes of clips from “Crash” at the start to introduce some of the movie’s themes on race relations and personal struggles in Los Angeles.

As the clip ended, the lights in the theater brightened and Moresco walked on to the stage.

“Is it the first time you’ve seen the movie?” Moresco asked the audience. “I hope not. You missed some of it.”

Moresco first addressed the racial themes in “Crash.”

In his opinion, the movie was about two things: How strangers affect other’s lives and how to look at people as more than just strangers.

Moresco said that through writing the movie, he tried to show racism as a product of protection, rather than hate.

Staff writer David Martinez can be reached at

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