February 01, 2013


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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Emmy-winning film-maker Stanley Nelson will give the talk, "Documenting Jonestown," Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

His film, "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple," will be shown Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg. The film will be introduced by Vincent Stephens, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services at Bucknell, and followed by a discussion. Admission to the film is $2.

"Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple," previewed in April 2006 at the Tribeca and San Francisco Film Festivals to sold-out audiences and won awards at both festivals. The film was shortlisted for the Academy Awards and won the International Documentary Association Award for its use of archival footage.

Nelson's visit is part of the university's celebration of Black History Month, "A Celebration in Blue," and the Griot Institute for Africana Studies' series, "Jonestown Reconsidered, 35 Years Later." While at Bucknell, he will participate in a lunchtime question-and-answer session with faculty, staff and students, and attend the Arts Entrepreneurship course.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Film and Media Studies, the University Lectureship Committee, the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender, and the Departments of English, History, and Sociology and Anthropology.

Recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Nelson is co-founder and executive director of Firelight Media, which provides technical education and professional support to emerging documentarians, and co-founder of the for-profit documentary production company, Firelight Films.

Nelson has had five films in competition at Sundance in 10 years and multiple industry awards to his credit. His latest films include "Freedom Riders," which aired on PBS' "American Experience" in 2011 and "Wounded Knee," part of the landmark series on Native Americans "We Shall Remain," which aired on PBS in 2009. Both films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and 2009 respectively.

Other documentaries by Nelson include "Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice" (2005), "A Place of Our Own" (2004) and "The Murder of Emmett Till", which won the Primetime Emmy for Best Direction, non-fiction, the Special Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and the George Foster Peabody Award, the highest honor in broadcast journalism.

"The Murder of Emmett Till" also is credited by reopening the investigation of the 1955 murder of a 14-year-old African-American boy for whistling at a white woman. The U.S. Justice Department cited the presence of witnesses unearthed in the film as the major factor in their decision.

Contact: Division of Communications