Isidore M.T. Bethel

Constructing buildings and shaping cinema

Rebecca J. Margolies

If film or architecture don’t work out, he has a career in poker.

When asked what he sees himself doing after graduating from Harvard in the spring, Isidore “Izzy” M.T. Bethel ’11 gives an answer that’s hardly typical.

“I do want to be a filmmaker ultimately,” he begins before pausing. “But I’m thinking of going to architecture school.”

For a student who has been making films since the age of 10, labeling Bethel as a filmmaker is a no-brainer. Before he had even started his first year of college, film festivals near and far—from the Atlanta Film Festival of his hometown to Denmark’s Aarhus Festival of Independent Arts—had exhibited Bethel’s work. As an undergraduate, he has taken on the role of director, editor, producer, cinematographer, and even animator in many short films and a full-length film titled “Terminus.”  However, as a concentrator in Visual and Environmental Studies, Bethel says that while half the classes he has taken are in film and video production, the other half have been in architectural theory.

When explaining why he decided to study both subjects, he says, “For me, whenever there is an interface between a human being and that which is not a human being—that is environmental studies.”

Currently, Bethel is working on his senior thesis under the guidance of French filmmaker Dominique Cabrera, whom he met while studying abroad in Paris last spring.

“He’s very witty and hilarious to talk to,” says Oliver D. Strand ’11, Bethel’s close friend and one of the people showcased in his developing thesis project.

However, the project is still a mystery to almost all of the parties involved, except for Cabrera and Bethel himself. But Cabrera thinks such secrecy is something that will give the film clarity, and help Bethel decide what type of projects he wants to do next.

“I am very happy to have met him right now because he is at a point in his life, with this project, where he is making it,” she says, with a light pound of her fist on the table. “His work is very difficult, and yet he is making it.”