Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chris Burritt

On Monday my friend and former colleague at Columbia, Chris Burritt, died. Chris was a terrific lighting and camera teacher. His students loved him and I am writing this post because I know a lot of my former students, who were also his former students, read this page.

I am sorry to break the news to you this way.

Chris and I were the union reps for the Columbia College Film and Video Department and we spent a lot of time together. The spring and summer of 2005 we met twice a week as a new union contract was being negotiated. It is fair to say that there was not a single person more responsible for the benefits the current adjunct Columbia film faculty enjoy than Chris Burritt. He busted his butt to get us everything he could, then would stand in the background at faculty meetings as I got to explain to the faculty our hard fought benefits.

I know a lot of people think I was responsible, but don't kid yourself it was Chris. He knew the contract inside and out, I was just a front man. And that is just the way any good camera and lighting person would want it- to be in the shadows casting light on the things that are important to see.

You will be missed.

PeterH

6 comments:

Sam Longoria said...

Very sorry to read of his passing. There aren't enough great teachers, especially in the visual arts. It's good you wrote this. It is a nice tribute.

Sam Longoria

Chuck Zeiler said...

I attended Columbia College during the same four years that Chris was a student (1966-70). I worked on several student films with Chris. I recall one in particular, a spot Chris was making for his demo reel. Ironically, it portrayed a funeral at a cemetery, complete with rain supplied by the local fire department. The working title was, "Disease Of Your Choice".

Brian McCurley said...

I had the honor of taking two of his classes. Chris was a genuinely great person and will be remembered as such by so many people.

Anonymous said...

I was a student at St. Giles Grade School in Oak Park. Chris had a nick name "Kit" and his mom was ths school secritary who looked after all of us kids. I met Chris in 1970 when I was in the 6th grade. He was working on the Stage along with some other other guys. They were building some sets for a play the school was going to put on. He noticed my interest and aske me if I wanted to help them. Over the next 5 years I assisted Chris as a stage grip, spot light person, building props, repairing or running the lights. He had about 20 of us younger kids assisting and learing about stage, lights, props, and more. Although I became an auto technician later in life I have applied many of the skills I learned at home, at work and at other plays we do at school. Im sad to learn of his passing. He touched many of us and was a real great man. Bob Sloan

M. David said...

Chris was a great Teacher, I had the honor of being in 2 of his classes and sitting in on a 3rd. He was the first teacher that believed in me at Columbia and continued to push me to do my best. Chris was such an amazing guy with great spirits and no bitterness to him. Only the love of spreading the knowledge he learned.

Chris will be missed, and there will be a whole at Columbia with out him. He has touched so many people by believing in them.

We here in Hollywood back when this happened threw a private gathering telling great stories about what Chris has done for all of us.

Chris means the world to me!

Michael Lynch

Sarge said...

Chris was my next door neighbor for years. When he was doing his thesis film at Comumbia in 1970, he asked if I wanted to be in his film -- a paradoy of a scene from Casablanca. That was my first experience behind a camera and I loved it. I till have the black and white 16mm sound copy he gave me. Since then I have enjoyed occasional acting jobs here in Los Angeles. A bit of soaps, sitcoms, and commercials. Chris was a uniquely talented and quiet individual as I remember him; and am told he always put everything he had into a project. I had the pleasure of lunch with him and his wife about a year before his passing. His film at Columbia introduced me to an avocation I have loved to this very day. Thank you, Chris. You are missed.