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  • NYS Writers Institute

A chat with Stephen Soucy: Filmmaker, theatrical producer, UAlbany alumnus

How does a UAlbany English major get to be a documentary filmmaker and theatrical producer? Aside from practice, practice, practice.

We checked in with University at Albany alumnus Stephen Soucy, Class of ’91, who has been hunkered down in Palm Springs, Calif., during the coronavirus quarantine.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Writers Institute director Paul Grondahl, Soucy talked about his experience at UAlbany, where he studied with outstanding professors in the English department, including Eugene Mirabelli and William Dumbleton. He became deeply interested in literature and reading great books, moved to Los Angeles after graduation and used his skills as a literary person to land work in the theatre and film industries as both a producer and writer.

Soucy was scheduled to be a featured filmmaker at the Albany Film Festival. The event had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Soucy has agreed to come back for the rescheduled Albany Film Festival in the spring of 2021. He plans to premiere his completed documentary, "Merchant Ivory," about the remarkable partnership and cinematic career of the Oscar-winning director James Ivory and the late producer Ismail Merchant. Together, they made 44 films, including 23 with author and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Their acclaimed films featured adaptations of novels by Jhabvala, Henry James and E.M. Forster and included "Heat and Dust," "A Room With a View," "Howards End" and "The Remains of the Day."

James Ivory, .Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and Ismail Merchant (Reuters)
James Ivory, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and Ismail Merchant in London, 2002. (Reuters)

In addition, Ivory, who lives in New York’s Columbia County, became the oldest person - at age 89 - to win an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for the 2018 film "Call Me By Your Name." Ivory and Soucy were going to be in conversation at the Albany Film Festival and we hope to have them both on stage together next spring.

Stephen Soucy is also a producer whose current theatrical projects include the Off-Broadway-bound "Romy and Michele: The Musical." The scheduled spring production was postponed due to coronavirus precautions and aims to be in an Off-Broadway in fall 2020 or early 2021 depending on the COVID-19 situation. In addition to "Merchant Ivory," Soucy created a short film titled "The Dress," based on a story by David Ebershoff. His short film "Rich Atmosphere: The Music of Merchant Ivory Films" is currently playing the film festival circuit.

Click the arrow to view the Paul Grondahl - Stephen Soucy discussion

Here are links and trailers to Soucy’s recent and forthcoming work, including a sneak peek at his documentary-in-progress, "Merchant Ivory," featuring interviews with major film stars including Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Hugh Grant, and Helena Bonham Carter.

Trailer: "Rich Atmosphere: The Music of Merchant Ivory Films"

"Merchant Ivory" short trailer (4-min) and long trailer (17 minutes)

More about Stephen Soucy

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