Oct 10, 2007 ellen leahy Uncategorized
Cynthia “CiCi” Clark, Anne’s twin sister, is on cloud nine according to her father Andrew Clark. The documentary film, “Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History,” took an emmy for its research. She functioned as the associate producer with award winning filmmaker Allison Argo.
This was CiCi’s first venture into a full-length film and the former banker couldn’t be more pleased, mainly because the subject matter was close to her heart.
“My first film to be at this caliber and this level,” she said, “not just the process but the message.”
That message is the story of the ‘ever-after’ for all those amusing chimps we have seen on television and in the movies, who so resemble humans in their intelligence and emotional make up. This includes the chimpanzees that went up into space to pave the way for John Glenn.
CiCi’s first assignment from Argo was to do a 101 on chimps. How were they captured? How long did they work? What were the working conditions? How were they used in research? What was their life span? How did they fare in zoos? Where did they go after research?
We meet in the documentary, Chimps living with HIV that we infected; The little trusting chimp who was the first to go up into space; the women who have created sanctuaries to care for these animals.
“These are amazing women,” CiCi said, “(who) invested their blood, sweat and tears; women who are stepping up.”
Argo wrote and narrated the film that took two years to make. The associate producer works on research, takes care of the details and functions as a second set of eyes and ears.
CiCi said that on location the chimps were so curious that they would have to be patient to wait for things to calm down so they could capture their everyday. The days were long, but the work interesting and worth every minute.
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“I hope this film opens up a window for people to see what these chimpanzees have been through,” CiCi said. “Is this worth it?”
Clark’s path: from here to there
Skaneateles’ CiCi Clark, Colgate class of 1992, was in a completely different field having majored in economics. She pursued a successful career in banking and finance, but ultimately found her work lacking.
From here she transferred these skills to a non-profit that she believed in, but still was looking for work she could be more passionate about. When brainstorming with friends regarding her interests in photography and travel, it was suggested she look into filmmaking, possibly in location management.
She worked first as a production assistant on a couple of commercials and then was involved in a short film on Cape Cod. It was there that she heard about Argo, whose work and topics really interested CiCi. She made contact and kept in touch until the chimpanzee project came about. Their working relationship was solid and garnered them an Emmy. CiCi said they are already on another nature film about horseshoe crabs and a bird called the Red Knot that relies on these crabs to fuel migration.