Bryn Mawr’s Campus Takes Star Turn in New Documentary About Camp for Aspiring Magicians

Posted November 29th, 2012 at 1:28 pm.

Katharine Hepburn ’28 may have won more Oscars than any other woman in history, but Bryn Mawr College itself has yet to find that perfect role—particularly in recent years.

The Bollywood movie “New York” was a big hit in much of the world and has some great shots of the campus, but Bryn Mawr was just used as a stand-in for the fictional “New York State University.”

The 2009 film “Tenure” is chock full of scenes of Bryn Mawr’s campus but the straight-to-video comedy starring Luke Wilson again has Bryn Mawr portraying a fictional campus, this time, “Grey College.”

However, the movie “Magic Camp” may be the College’s break-out performance.

“Magic Camp,” which has its Pennsylvania premiere at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4, is filmed almost entirely on Bryn Mawr’s campus and the film is a documentary. This time, Bryn Mawr College is Bryn Mawr College.

“As a filmmaker, I was so thrilled that the camp had been moved to Bryn Mawr,” said Magic Camp director Judd Ehrlich in a phone interview earlier this week.

“Bryn Mawr provided a phenomenal backdrop. It really is a magical campus and almost acts as another character in the film,” said the director who attended the camp back when it was still held at a Long Island military academy.

Filmed in the summer of 2008, Magic Camp follows a group of aspiring magicians as they attend Tannen’s Magic Camp, which has been around for 38 years but only held at Bryn Mawr since 2007. Past campers include some big names such as David Blaine and guests and counselors have included David Copperfield and Criss Angel.

Magic Camp has been screened at a number of film festivals, including the Newport Beach Film Festival, where it was winner of the “Outstanding Family Film” award.

“Audience response has been fantastic,” says Ehrlich, who has been in discussions about having the film more widely distributed. “It’s a film that appeals to all age groups. For much of the audience, it’s an introduction into a unique subculture but at the same time it’s a universal story about kids finding out who they are.”

Tuesday’s BMFI screening of Magic Camp will feature a Q&A with Ehrlich as well as magic from some of the young magicians from the camp. Tickets are $10.00 for general admission, $7.00 for students and seniors, and $5.00 for Bryn Mawr Film Institute members. Advance tickets are available in person at the Box Office and online at

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