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IU alum, Academy Award-nominee Angus Aynsley to speak, present film at IU Cinema Friday

This Friday (Sept. 16), film producer Angus Aynsley will return to his Indiana University alma mater to present a lecture and introduce a screening of his Academy Award-nominated documentary film Waste Land (2010) at IU Cinema.

Waste Land

Vik Muniz on the set of "Waste Land"

Produced by Aynsley and directed by Lucy Walker (Devil's Playground, Blindsight) Waste Land was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature film earlier this year.

This will be Aynsley's first visit back to Bloomington in more than 20 years. "Absurdly enough, a film that helped influence me in coming to IU was Breaking Away -- which then influenced me to become a bicycle racer," said Aynsley, who formed the first-ever Little 500 cycling team at his residence hall, Collins Living-Learning Center. He cycled on the Collins Graitis Little 500 team in 1985, 1986 and 1988. "At the time, I never thought I would be a filmmaker or get into filmmaking," he said.

Aynsley is scheduled to present a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker lecture at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at the IU Cinema, where Waste Land will be screened that evening at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are not necessary for the lecture. Tickets for the film are free and can be reserved at the IU Auditorium box office between 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and in the IU Cinema lobby 30 minutes prior to any screening.

Filmed over nearly a three-year span, Waste Land follows contemporary artist Vik Muniz as he travels from his current home in Brooklyn to his native Brazil to the world's largest landfill. There, he photographs a band of "catadores" -- people who search through recyclable materials for a living. While he originally plans to harvest garbage to assemble portraits of the catadores, he decides to collaborate with the workers on their portraits and return the proceeds from the sale of the artworks to helping improve their lives.

Aynsley studied history and French at IU, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988. While he didn't take any film classes during his undergraduate career at IU, Aynsley learned about the world of independent and international film through a free film series at the Indiana Memorial Union. His good friend Ken Torres (a.k.a. "Gumshoe"), who lived across the hall in Collins, took every film class that he could and shared his insights with Aynsley. "He was a passionate lover of film -- especially silent film, he loved Charlie Chaplin -- and he would come over almost every night to tell me all about what he was studying in his film courses at IU."

Torres passed away a couple of years ago, but Aynsley will never forget those formative conversations, or his good friend. He also looks forward to seeing the newly transformed University Theatre building, now home to IU Cinema.

"I went to see my friends in plays at University Theatre all the time," Aynsley said. "Now, as I get ready to come back to IU after 20 plus years -- as a filmmaker coming to IU Cinema -- I'm looking back to when I was 17, 18 years old and the influences that led to this big life circle."

About Angus Aynsley

Aynsley is the British/American founder and managing director of London-based Almega Projects, which he set up in 2006, the year he began working on Waste Land.

He is also executive producer on Four Lions (Warp Films), which was selected for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition Sundance 2010, and A Man's Story, which debuted at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in October 2010. His film The Bengali Detective premiered at Sundance and Berlin in 2011. He has produced a number of award-winning short films, including the drama Oscar & Isabelle, and documentary Berrydown Cairn, which was made in collaboration with the British land artist Andy Goldsworthy.

For more information about IU Cinema, see http://www.indiana.edu/~iucinema/.