October 20, 1999 Geneva, NY – “Election” was released in theaters this past spring to much critical acclaim. But the film had been a major part of Hobart and William Smith Colleges' Professor of English Elisabeth Lyon's life for quite some time. Lyon, in fact, was the director of development for the film.
“Election,” written and directed by Alexander Payne, tells the story of high school student Tracy Flick's efforts to become the president of the student body. The New Yorker called the movie “a wonderful new satirical comedy.” The New York Times review lauded the film, in part, for its ability to “make it perfectly clear that adolescence and high school are not just rites of passage. In [its] own way, it refigures and embodies adult life.”
Lyon worked as director of development for Bona Fide Productions in Los Angeles, California from 1995 through 1997, and one of her projects was this movie. Another Bona Fide production, “The Wood,” was also developed by Lyon and was released in August.
“As director of development I worked on all elements of the film right up until they began shooting it in Omaha in 1997,” said Lyon. That meant she helped secure rights to the novel upon which the movie was based; hired the writer/director and other production people; worked with the writers on script revisions; and participated in casting the film.
Lyon joined Hobart and William Smith's department of English and comparative literature in 1988, after teaching at the University of California at Berkley and the University of Pittsburg. She has led several HWS off-campus terms to Los Angeles, where participating students take coursework in film, television, and art, and serve as interns in the entertainment industry and in area art agencies and organization.
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