PETE GRANA (1951 – 2021)
For close to a quarter century, Pete Grana worked in the film-video Equipment Room in Sever Hall. His kind and patient demeanor masked his wry sense of humor. Students, faculty, and fellow staff members alike remember his interest in their lives, and his frequent questions about their loved ones. Many recall the nicknames he gave, nicknames that felt special coming from him.
Pete’s kindness was matched by his generosity. One usually could find him doling out substantial measures of time and attention to students asking for a refresher course in how to thread the take-up side of an Aaton film magazine, or how to set the diopter on a Bolex. Pete loved motion picture film and the machines that made it possible and conveyed this love to the students he helped in every way he could. Even after the ready availability of YouTube videos explaining how to do absolutely anything and everything, students seemed to prefer getting demonstrations from him. For these students, Pete was a sturdy bridge to gaining confidence and competence in making movies.
Pete’s interests drove him to take classes in acting and screen-writing. When asked, he acted in student films. One example out of many is the supporting role he played as the patient and supportive father to the young dancer in Meredith Slifkin’s When The Lights Hit. That particular role enabled him to display traits that came naturally to him – traits that were unmistakable in the way he related to students and supported their efforts.
A skilled still photographer, trained at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, he took his photography seriously, and for the past few years was at work producing an insightful documentation of the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, and completing a photo essay on his mother.
Pete kept a drum kit in his wonderfully cluttered office and sometimes after hours he could be heard skillfully laying down beats and riffs to jazz classics he listened to on a headset. In many ways, he was the secret heart of the film-video section. It was a secret shared by hundreds of students during his 24 years among us. He will be missed.