On Friday, June 28, Trae Harris (Lang ‘10) will have her first film showing at BAM. Harris, an actress, stars in Newlyweeds, the comedy/drama shot over three weeks in Brooklyn. The film will arrive at BAM after showings at Sundance and Cannes, and already has a deal for national distribution. For Harris, her starring role in a soon-to-be-nationally-released film is the result of a winding, unlikely path that will be familiar to many Lang students.
When Harris came to Lang after graduating high school in Baltimore, she had a pretty clear idea of what she wanted to do: study dance. Like many students at Lang, however, the longer she stayed here, the more her mind opened to other possibilities. She worked with the I Have A Dream Foundation. She began to focus on the college’s theater program, and studied with Cecilia Rubino. She wrote poetry and performed it around the city at places like the Apollo Theater. She also put a lot of energy into her Tumblr, GypsyBruja, where she focused on travel and style. “I ended up studying Arts in Context,” she said, “It gave me the opportunity not just to study theater, but also a lot of the other disciplines that I’m interested in: feminist theory, literature, things like that. It gave me the opportunity to bring all of that together. I started creating my own little niche.”
After graduation, she wasn’t sure what path to take, so she kept doing what she was doing: writing and reading poetry, and blogging. That blog eventually caught the eye of a writer at Vanity Fair, who was impressed with her creative, globe-hopping lifestyle and unique sense of style.
As it turned out, at just that same moment, there was a director shooting a movie in New York who was having a very hard time casting a very particular role. He needed someone authentic to portray a creative, globe-hopping woman with a unique outlook on the world. He happened to see Harris’ Vanity Fair piece and knew that he had to have her.
“I know that it never happens like that,” Harris said, laughing. The film shot in three weeks, then went on to be shown at film festivals like Cannes and Sundance, where it was purchased for national distribution.
“I didn’t imagine that this film would go as far as it has,” she said. “I just thought it was an amazing opportunity to do something Brooklyn-bred.” By following her instincts and exploring options outside of her plan, Harris has ended up with a career in independent film, where she’s currently exploring her next project.