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Bright Lights Series at Emerson College

BOSTON, MA (September 2, 2014)—On Tuesday, September 9, Emerson College’s Visual and Media Arts Department kicks-off its Bright Lights Series—free film screenings open to the public.

All screenings start at 7:00 p.m., and many include post-screening discussions with filmmakers. Screenings take place at the Paramount Theater’s Bright Family Screening Room, located at 559 Washington St., Boston. Seating is first-come, first-served. There is no advance registration. For more information about screenings and updates on special guests, visit the Bright Lights Series website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @brightlightsfilm.

Tuesday, September 9: What is Cinema?
80 min, USA, 2013
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Chuck Workman’s documentary What is Cinema? tackles the question of its title through over 100 clips and new interviews. What is Cinema? not only asks a poignant question, but chronicles the best of filmmaking today and proposes where cinema will go, and should go, in the future. Post-screening discussion with Visual and Media Arts Faculty.

Thursday, September 11: American Arab
60 minutes, USA, 2013 | Sponsored by the Boston Palestine Film Festival and the United Nations Association of Greater Boston.
Iraqi-born Director Usama Alshaibi takes a provocative look at the contradictions of Arab identity in post 9/11 America, weaving his own life’s journey and “coming-of-Arab” experiences into the life stories of several diverse characters. Exploring the values, passions, and hopes of his fellow Arab-Americans, Usama tries to make peace with his conflicted chosen homeland. Post-screening discussion with director Usama Alshaibi via Skype.

Tuesday, September 16: The Act Of Killing
115 minutes, Denmark, 2012 | Sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston
In this chilling and inventive documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, executive produced by Errol Morris (The Fog Of War) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), the film examines a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, challenging them to reenact their real-life mass-killings in the style of the American movies they love. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit. Post-screening discussion with David Kishik Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies.

Thursday, September 18: Balagan presents Outré Montréal
56 minutes
Montreal continues to be a source of innovative experimental cinema that is rooted in hands-on, formally adventurous production — thanks, in part, to the exuberant activities of the Double Negative filmmakers' collective. Co-presented with Balagan Films, this program highlights a number of works from DN members and their friends completed in the last several years. 

Tuesday, September 30: Documented
89 Minutes, USA, 2013 | Part of Latin American Heritage Month
In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine. Directed by Jose Antonio Vargas and Ann Raffaela Lupo, Documented chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his journey through America as an immigration reform activist/provocateur; and his journey inward as he re-connects with his mother, whom he hasn't seen in 20 years.

Thursday, October 2: Angkor’s Children
66 minutes, Cambodia, 2014
Directed by Emerson College Visual and Media Arts Professor Lauren Shaw, this film is about Cambodia’s cultural and artistic renaissance told through the voices of three young Cambodian women. A singer of Buddhist poetry, a circus artist, and former garment workers, grassroots, protest band; these are Angkor’s Children. They are members of the generation after the Khmer Rouge regime that tragically killed 90% of artists and intellectuals. Sreypov, Phunam, and Messenger Band have stepped out of the dark past of their parents by expressing the resiliency of Cambodia through their art and advocacy. They are pioneers, and are part of a global movement of women who are changing and inspiring the world. Post-screening discussion with filmmaker Lauren Shaw.

Tuesday, October 7: Kill Your Darlings
104 minutes, USA, 2013
In the early 1940s, Allen Ginsberg is an English major at Columbia University, only to learn more than he bargained for. Dissatisfied by the orthodox attitudes of the school, Allen finds himself drawn to iconoclastic colleagues like Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Together, this gang would explore bold new literary ideas that would challenge the sensibilities of their time as the future Beat Generation. However, for all their creativity, their very appetites and choices lead to more serious transgressions that would mark their lives forever. Directed by John Krokidas, written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com). Post-screening discussion with Producer Christine Vachon.

Thursday, October 9: The Congress
122 minutes, Israel, 2013
More than two decades after catapulting to stardom with The Princess Bride, an aging actress (Robin Wright, playing a version of herself) decides to take her final job: preserving her digital likeness for a future Hollywood. Through a deal brokered by her loyal, longtime agent (Harvey Keitel) and the head of Miramount Studios (Danny Huston), her alias will be controlled by the studio, and will star in any film they want with no restrictions. In return, she receives healthy compensation so she can care for her ailing son and her digitized character will stay forever young. Twenty years later, under the creative vision of the studio’s head animator (Jon Hamm), Wright’s digital double rises to immortal stardom. With her contract expiring, she is invited to take part in “The Congress” convention as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema. Directed by Ari Folman.

Wednesday, October 15: Special event—Animation Show of Shows
The Animation Show of Shows is a traveling selection of the year's best animated short films, curated and presented by Acme Filmworks founder, Ron Diamond. It began in 1998 with the aim of showing the most original, funny, intelligent short animated films from all over the world and presenting them at the major animation studios in order to inspire their animators and directors. Post-screening discussion with curator Ron Diamond.

Thursday, October 16: The Dog
100 minutes, USA, 2013 | Sponsored by the Boston LGBT Film Festival
A documentary portrait of the late John Wojtowicz, whose attempted robbery of a Brooklyn bank to finance his male lover's sex-reassignment surgery was the real-life inspiration for Dog Day Afternoon (1975). Post-screening discussion with the directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren.

Tuesday, October 21: Omar
96 minutes, Palestine, 2013 | Sponsored by the Boston Palestine Film Festival
A young Palestinian freedom fighter agrees to work as an informant after he's tricked into an admission of guilt by association in the wake of an Israeli soldier's killing. Directed by Hany Abu-Assad.

Thursday, October 23: Alone with People
30 minutes, USA, 2014 | Part of Queer Awareness Month
Emerson alumna Quinn Marcus ’13 stars in this short LGBT film. Growing up gay in the South, a high school girl seeks the help of a therapist to come out to her family and friends in this coming-of-age, coming-of-gay story. Directed by Drew Van Steenbergen.

Tuesday, October 28: Kisses to the Children
115 minutes, Greece, 2012 | Sponsored by Emerson College’s Writing Literature and Publishing Department and The Onassis Foundation
Five Greek-Jewish children who were saved by Christian families during the German Occupation, five “Hidden Children” who lived in total silence, tell their stories. Stories of terror, anguish and confusion but also stories of salvation and carefree childhood into the arms of strangers. Secret Gardens of Eden, nests of love away from the horror of the Holocaust. Five children were forced to mature abruptly. Rosina, Iossif, Eftyhia, Shelly, and Marios grew old, carrying the memory of those children who were never given time to grow up. Post-screening discussion with the director Vassilis Loules and special guests.

Thursday, October 30: Only Lovers Left Alive
123 minutes, UK, 2013
Only Lovers Left Alive tells the tale of two fragile and sensitive vampires, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), who have been lovers for centuries. Both are cultured intellectuals with an all-embracing passion for music, literature and science, who have evolved to a level where they no longer kill for sustenance, but still retain their innate wildness. Driven by sensual photography, trance-like music, and droll humor, Only Lovers Left Alive is a meditation on art, science, memory, and the mysteries of everlasting love. Directed by Jim Jarmusch.

Tuesday, November 4: Three short films directed by Emerson College Professor of Visual and Media Arts Cristina Kotz Cornejo
Despertar, 15 minutes, Mexico, 2011
Rosa, a domestic worker in Mexico City, is at a crossroads in her relationship, her job and her life.
Hermanas, 14 minutes, Mexico, 2013
Two sisters have been evicted from their home. Older sister Lupe takes responsibility for the move while younger sister, Luz is under the spell of her boyfriend.
Buena Fe, 16 minutes, Argentina, 2014
A couple’s relationship is falling apart after the death of their young son. Post-screening discussion with director Cristina Kotz Cornejo.

Thursday, November 6: Stumped
10 minutes, USA, 2014 | Sponsored by the ReelAbilities Film Festival
Stumped is a documentary about the survival and physical rehabilitation of filmmaker Will Lautzenheiser who suddenly finds himself a quadruple amputee. Directed by Robin Berghaus, Stumped highlights the trials and triumphs of adapting to a world he never could have imagined, including his first stand-up comedy performance. Post-screening Q&A and comedy performance with Will Lautzenheiser.

Tuesday, November 11: Finding Vivian Maier
83 minutes, USA, 2013.
Who is Vivian Maier? Now considered one of the 20th century's greatest street photographers, Vivian Maier was a mysterious nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that went unseen during her lifetime. Since buying her work by chance at auction, amateur historian John Maloof has crusaded to put this prolific photographer in the history books. Maier's strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never-before-seen photographs, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her. Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel.

Thursday, November 13: Special event—Silversonic
Silversonic is an annual showcase of music videos created by Emerson students and alumni. It is a celebration of the combination of music and image as a unique art form worthy of exhibition in a cinema environment. Post-screening reception with musicians and filmmakers.

Thursday, November 20: Mood Indigo
94 minutes, France, 2013 | Sponsored by the French Cultural Center
Set in a charmingly surreal Paris, wealthy bachelor Colin spends his time developing his pianocktail (a cocktail-making piano) and devouring otherworldly dishes prepared by his trusty chef Nicolas. When Colin learns that his best friend Chick, a fellow acolyte of the philosopher Jean-Sol Partre, has a new American girlfriend, our lonely hero attends a friend's party in hopes of falling in love himself. He soon meets Chloe and, before they know it, they're dancing to Duke Ellington and plunging headfirst into a romance. Their whirlwind courtship is tested when an unusual illness plagues Chloe; a flower begins to grow in her lungs. To save her, Colin discovers the only cure is to surround Chloe with a never-ending supply of fresh flowers. Directed by Michel Gondry.

Tuesday, December 2: Lakshmi
115 minutes, India, 2014 | Sponsored by Emerson College’s Office of International Student Affairs and Violence Prevention and Response
Based on true events, Lakshmi is a story of heroism and untold courage. Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl is kidnapped and sold into prostitution. Thrown into this horrific, inhuman world where she is raped and brutally beaten she barely survives with the help of the other girls and her own will to never give in. Finally she is rescued in a police raid. Against all odds, Lakshmi shows courage where everybody else fails. Resisting all pressure – violent threats, coercion and bribes, she stands up in court and in a landmark case in India, succeeds in putting the traffickers behind bars. Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor.