Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 04:08 pm est

Tisch senior brings film crew to California for thesis

Posted on April 3, 2014 | by Sidney Butler

courtesy of Steve Fogel

Tisch senior Nora Unkel raised enough money to fly the cast and crew of her thesis film to California to shoot in the Sacramento-Davis area. The team filmed footage for “The Goblin Song,” a fantasy-musical based on a 19th-century poem, “The Goblin Market.”

The production received a multitude of donations from the community surrounding Unkel’s hometown, Davis, Calif.

“We got $15,000 in kind donations from the businesses of the Davis area,” Unkel said. “I’m so grateful to my incredible community at home.”

In addition to donations from her hometown, Unkel utilized resources on the web to reach out to others, as well as using her own savings.

“We raised $11,000 on Indiegogo and I provided $11,000 myself from the last four years of working various jobs,” Unkel said.

Unkel’s film is a musical fairytale with a dark twist. It tells the story of two sisters who fall under the spell of the alluring Goblin King, but must break free when things take a dark turn. The fantasy world of the film left lots of room for creative interpretation by film cinematographer Cory Fraiman-Lott.

“So often the cinematographer, especially on student films, [is] limited to real-life resources, but this genre opened a lot of doors for me to make the scenes look as interesting as possible,” Fraiman-Lott said. “In the goblin’s lair I had a lot of fun playing with the moonlight and the texture of the goblin’s skin.”

Beginning this project when she was a freshman, Unkel collaborated with her current crew early on in her film career. She had no trouble convincing friends and classmates to help fulfill the other crew positions for this next step of the project. Unkel’s narrative film professor, Ezra Sacks, also supported the project.

“She had a terrific crew, I didn’t know how it would turn out, but I knew it would get done and done well,” Sacks said.

Although Unkel overcame the location problem, “The Goblin Song” did have another challenge — having the actors sing live on set. Film composer Tisch senior Ben Nelson drew inspiration from “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Sweeney Todd” to compose songs that accurately reflected the mood in each scene.

“Performance played such a role in the music that we thought it would be best to have live singing on set,” Nelson said.

The performances in “The Goblin Song” played as big a role as the set design and costumes for the film. The goblin costumes and the production design consisted of romantic elements of Victorian England.

“After three years of preparation, it was as if my idea was taken from my imagination and put on screen,” Unkel said. “It was one of the best moments of my life to hear, ‘That’s a wrap on “The Goblin Song.”’”

“The Goblin Song,” which will be completed by Aug. 15, will be submitted to various film festivals.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 3 print edition. Sidney Butler is a contributing writer. Email her at


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.