By Brittany Keeperman
“Lifescape: A Video Portrait of Marshall Bennett” premiered April 3 at the Heller College of Business at the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate.
Bija Bennett, producer of the installation and daughter of Marshall Bennett, darted from room to room greeting friends and relatives as photographers snapped photos.
Many who know Marshall Bennett were looking forward to the film.
“Marshall is an extraordinarily smart, funny and generous person,” said John Wallach, Bennett’s nephew. “I’ve known him since I was born, just about, and he’s been interesting for me to talk to.”
Wallach added that he was looking forward to the film and noted that Biija Bennet spent quite a bit of effort putting the project together, even kicking off the event with a speech.
Thirty-seven years ago, Marshall Bennett suffered an accident that put him into a coma, his daughter said.
“He had to learn to walk and talk all over again,” she said.
Bija Bennett said that it was the accident that made discovering more about her father and exploring the rich heritage he’s brought to her, important.
“Listen to your parents, your children [and] your loved ones,” she said. “Really listen to them and have them listen to you. … In one moment, life changes, and you can never get it back again.”
Bija Bennett expressed the meaning of the film to her father.
“This film is an expression of my love for you, Dad,” Bennett said, gesturing to her father.
“Thank you for showing me how to live and how to age, with dignity, energy and grace. … No regrets.”
The video project was put together in collaboration with artist Lincoln Schatz, whose work has been shown internationally. Ken Olsen, the assistant principal cellist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, produced the sound-score for the film and performed Bach at the reception before the video premiered.
The 14-minute shortened version of the video project played on no fewer than five screens throughout the 12th floor, yet still, people craned their necks to see over the crowd.
After the premier, President Charles Middleton spoke, joined by Newton Minnow and, of course, the guest of honor Marshall Bennett. The video documentary then returned on loop for the remainder of the evening.
“I thought it was lovely to have a personal account, a documentary on the person that’s connected with the school so the students really can see it’s a real person, and how his life developed and how he got into the field,” said Meredith Palmer, a private art dealer who came in from New York, and old friend of Bennett.
The instillation is now open to students, faculty and the general public at the Heller College of Business on the 12th floor of Roosevelt’s Wabash building, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The video project can also be viewed at http://www.BijaB.com.