She grew up in the Upper West Side and graduated from City-A-School, an alternative public high school in which students design their own curriculum based on experiential learning, mostly through internships . (Jean-Michel Basquiat was an alumnus, as is Adam Horowitz of the Beastie Boys.) Ms. Rafan did an internship with fashion photographer Albert Watson.
Her mother often described Ms. Rapan as an “irregular verb”.
“He saw things through a different lens,” she said. “Banita could take something simple and find beauty in it. He was the real deal. No artifact about him. The heart was right there. “
Ms. Rafan graduated in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan – where she taught for the past 15 years – and did an MFA from the Royal College of Art in London. He spent 10 years in Paris, before returning to New York in the mid-1990s, working as a graphic designer for fashion companies such as Marith and François Girbaud.
Her mother and her sister, Melissa Rapan, survive her.
“While the rest of us were stealing from our instructors and other design publishers,” said Gail Anderson, a creative director and Ms. Raphan’s former classmate, “Banita was on her journey, working with delicate typography and hairstyling images Hue, making collages. And photo-illustrations that were uniquely made. “
Ms. Rapan was, in her own estimation, more of a collage artist than a filmmaker. “His films are really a collage of ideas,” said Ken Platt, the film’s editor, who worked on several of his projects. “You had a lot of freedom from working with him, and if you had ideas that were weird and infrequent, he was like, ‘Go, go, go!”