Thursday, November 15, 2012

Six MAGIC Films Shot at Bryn Mawr College

By Erin Korth, BMFI Intern

“Welcome to the real Hogwarts,” Magic Camp’s tagline boasts. This award-winning documentary chronicles the lives of campers at Tannen’s Magic Camp, a prestigious convention for young magicians held annually at local Bryn Mawr College. Magic Camp documents the campers as they compete to become the next Houdini, hoping to follow in the footsteps of famous camp graduates like David Blaine. This heart-warming film sees each young magician struggle with his or her own demons as the campers blossom into self-confident professionals.

An aspiring young magician pulls tricks with flair in Magic Camp
In honor of Bryn Mawr Film Institute’s screening of Magic Camp, check out these five other films shot at Bryn Mawr College.

Wide Awake (1998) 
Philadelphia-area native M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this 1998 drama-comedy, which tells the story of a schoolboy’s search for God at a Catholic boys’ school. Bryn Mawr College’s sweeping architecture served as a double for Waldon Mercy Academy in Lower Merion, where much of Shyamalan’s filming was done. Wide Awake follows a ten-year-old boy, who, in dealing with the death of his grandfather, seeks the answers to life and death.
Joseph Cross gets advice from baseball-loving nun Rosie O'Donnell in Wide Awake
The Sterling Chase (1999)
Double-cast with Rosemont College, Bryn Mawr played the part of the fictional Chadley University. The Sterling Chase revolves around three highly competitive college seniors, their pursuit of the coveted Sterling Chase Award, and the sacrifices required as each makes serious decisions about the type of person they want to become as they graduate.

The Paradigm Shift (2008)
Bryn Mawr College's signature stone architecture and old wooden staircases act as the backdrop to indie short The Paradigm Shift, the story of a frustrated history professor who asks his students to design a plan to assassinate the President of the United States.

Dare (2009)
Dare was written by BMFI Advisory Council member David Brind and stars top-billed performers Alan Cumming, Emmy Rossum, Rooney Mara, and Sandra Bernhard. The drama follows three graduating high school seniors as they wrestle with issues of identity and sexuality in the months preceding their graduation. Dare premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and received critical acclaim, with New York Magazine hailing it as “surprising and dangerous.”
Dare shoots inside Bryn Mawr College's Taylor Hall
Tenure (2009)
In Tenure, Bryn Mawr College snagged the role of Grey College, a fictional east coast liberal arts school. The quirky indie comedy traces the exploits of down-and-out English professor Charlie Thurber (played by Luke Wilson), whose only aspiration is to be a published, tenured professor. His life gets complicated when the college brings on Professor Elaine Grasso (Gretchen Mol), an impressive new hire whose credentials unwittingly threaten Charlie’s future at the school. Funny-man David Koechner joins Wilson and Mol as Charlie’s best friend and a Bigfoot-obsessed Anthropology professor, who convinces Charlie that the only logical course of action is to sabotage the endearing Professor Grasso’s career.
David Koechner and Luke Wilson prank the new professor in Tenure
Bryn Mawr College’s foray into the film industry has been brief but notable. Experience the fun of seeing this local Hollywood hot-spot on the big screen in Magic Camp, showing at Bryn Mawr Film Institute on December 4. The event will conclude with an appearance by director Judd Ehrlich, and performances by talented young magicians from the camp.

What are your favorite movies shot at local spots?

Erin Korth is a senior at Bryn Mawr College currently interning at Bryn Mawr Film Institute.


  1. Don't forget the recent The Best and the Brightest,, where Bryn Mawr plays the role of about 10 different NYC preschools!

  2. A Bollywood film was also shot at BMC: