Wellesley College Takes a Look at Recent History with Documentary Film Festival

For immediate release:
October 6, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- On Oct. 15-17, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee and the McNeil Program for Studies in American Art will present a film festival, “Deconstructing Master Narratives: Recent Documentaries,” featuring nine films that address 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and related issues. All events are free and open to the public.

An expert will lead a discussion following each of the showings of the films The Fog of War, The Corporation, Edward Said: On Orientalism, Fahrenheit 9/11, 11’09”01, Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire, Control Room, Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War and Outfoxed.

“Just as Martin Luther King Jr. became increasingly critical of the Vietnam War and the persistence of poverty in the late ’60s, more and more Americans and others are raising questions about the Iraq War and the political economy of ‘globalization’—how the two are linked, the validity of the given justifications for undertaking the war, and what is seen by some as the manipulation of the tragedy of 9/11,” said Wellesley Professor of Africana Studies Judith Rollins, chair, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee. “The unprecedented reception these documentaries have received is an indication of a hunger for a fuller, more nuanced discussion of current events than is being presented by this administration and most of the media.”

Such films can also bridge an information gap.

“Documentary filmmakers commit themselves to this form because they believe that 'to every story, there is, at most, one and a half sides—a right side and a side that, despite possibly having some redeeming aspects, is, on balance, wrong' (Louis Menand),” said Salem Mekuria, Wellesley College professor of art. “Come and participate in an open educational experience that will enrich your understanding of current history beyond one-liners.”

Discussions will be led by Mark Solomon, professor emeritus, history, Simmons College; Sut Jhally, filmmaker; Seble Dawit, human rights lawyer; Bo Smith, film director, Museum of Fine Arts; Elaine Hagopian, professor emerita, sociology, Simmons; Shahid Alam, economics, Northeastern University; Julie Matthaei, economics, and Pat Berman, art, Wellesley College. Films and discussions will take place in Collins Cinema and Jewett Arts Center.

For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu/Art/events/docfest or call 781-283-2563.

Here’s a schedule of the film festival:

5 pm, Collins Café: Reception

6 pm, Collins Cinema: Fog of War by Erroll Morris, 2003, (107 minutes). Discussant: Mark Solomon. Followed by The Corporation by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, 2004, (2 hours, 30 minutes). Discussant: Shahid Alam.

2 pm, Jewett Art Center. Room 450: Edward Said: On Orientalism by Sut Jhally, MEF, 2000, (40 minutes). Discussant: Elaine Hagopian. Followed by 11’09”01, 2003 (128 minutes). Discussant: Bo Smith.

6 pm, Jewett Art Center Sculpture Court: Buffet Dinner.

7 pm, Collins Cinema: Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore, 2004, (122 minutes). Discussant: Seble Dawit.

1 pm, Collins Cinema: Hijacking Catastrophe by Sut Jhally, MEF, 2003, (64 minutes). Discussant: Sut Jhally. Followed by Control Room by Jehane Noujaim, 2003, (84 minutes). Discussant: Elaine Hagopian.

5 pm, Collins Café: Buffet Dinner.

6 pm, Collins Cinema: Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War by Robert Greenwald, 2003, (90 minutes). Discussant: Julie Matthaei. Followed by Outfoxed by Robert Greenwald, 2003, (114 minutes). Discussant: Pat Berman.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.