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Jon Vickers
IU Cinema

Last modified: Monday, October 31, 2011

Charles Burnett headlines IU Cinema film series held in conjunction with IU Black Film Center/Archive anniversary

Oct. 31, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Five movies directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Charles Burnett will be featured Nov. 3-6 at the IU Cinema, an event that coincides with the 30th anniversary of IU's Black Film Center/Archive.

Charles Burnett

Charles Burnett

Print-Quality Photo

Michael Martin, a professor of American Studies and Communication and Culture who is director of the Black Film Center/Archive, will host a public interview with Burnett at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at the IU Cinema.

"Consummate cineaste and recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship and a MacArthur 'genius' award, Charles Burnett is a raconteur of extraordinary sensitivity and among the most discerning cinematic voices in America," Martin said. "Having Burnett on the IU campus and featuring a selection of his more notable and recent films at the IU Cinema offers the Bloomington public and campus community a rare and unique opportunity to engage with this world-class filmmaker."

As part of the "Arriving at the Truth" film series, the IU Cinema will screen Killer of Sheep, My Brother's Wedding, To Sleep with Anger, The Glass Shield and Namibia: the Struggle for Liberation, as well as a series of short films by Burnett. A complete list of dates and times is available at As with all visiting filmmakers to the IU Cinema, Burnett will also be visiting film production classes and having informal conversations with faculty and students.

Burnett's first full-length feature film, Killer of Sheep, was written for his master's thesis at UCLA's prestigious film school.

"Subtle and distinctive for its economy, intimacy and understatement, Killer of Sheep dispassionately engaged with the marginality, estrangement and resilience of black life and heralded, in counterpoint to Hollywood's stereotypical depictions, a 'new realism' in black independent filmmaking, earning Killer of Sheep an enviable place in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress," Martin said.

James Naremore, an emeritus professor with IU's Department of Communication and Culture, will speak before the screening of Killer of Sheep, at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at the IU Cinema.

"One of the standard things said about Burnett is he's the best movie director you've never heard of," he said. "I think what makes him so interesting is the great integrity of his work. He has not ever made a film that you feel is calculated to make big money at the box office. And he's really stayed true to being a filmmaker who makes films for black audiences, but he's also very socially relevant and educational. He's something of a poet."

Burnett has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the J. P. Getty Foundation. He is also the winner of the American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award and Howard University's Paul Robeson Award for achievement in cinema.

Burnett will also take part in a special screening of Killer of Sheep at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.

"This is a great opportunity for us to share Mr. Burnett with the Indianapolis community while we have him in Indiana," IU Cinema director Jon Vickers said. "It is also an effective way for us to strengthen our relationship with the museum, support the important work that they are doing and introduce the IU Cinema and Burnett's work to a broader audience."

No ticket is required to attend Burnett's Nov. 3 lecture, which is part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series made possible through the support of the Ove W. Jorgensen Foundation. All other events are free, but ticketed.

For free tickets to the film series, visit the IU Auditorium Box Office or call 812-855-1103.

The Indiana University Cinema is a world-class facility and program that is dedicated to the scholarly study and highest standards of exhibition of film in its traditional and modern forms. For more information on the facility or programs call 812-856-2503.