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ASU to host U.S. premiere of ‘Roy Orbison’ documentary

Filmmaker will be honored for his career achievements

Images of Roy Orbison
March 11, 2016

The Arizona State University Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture and Arizona Humanities have announced a free film screening and discussion with award-winning British documentary filmmaker Jeremy Marre.

Marre will be honored at the U.S. premiere of his documentary film, “Roy Orbison: One of the Lonely Ones.” The Telegraph described the film as “an astute profile of ‘The Big O’ capturing his roller-coaster life, which was often reflected in his dark ballads, and capturing his success, rejection and rediscovery.” This program is the Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture's first collaborative annual event with Arizona Humanities that recognizes extraordinary documentary filmmakers’ contributions to the humanities.

The public is invited to attend the one-night-only showing of “Roy Orbison: One of the Lonely Ones” in Tempe, Arizona, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, at Harkins Tempe Marketplace, 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway. Prior to the screening, Marre will be honored at a private dinner, and following the screening, there will be a Q&A with Marre and Peter Lehman, a professor of English and director of the Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture at ASU. Lehman is also interviewed in the film.

The one-hour biography of iconic rock balladeer Roy Orbison, told through his own words, uncovers the man behind the shades. It casts new light on the triumphs and tragedies that beset his career using previously unseen performances, home movies and interviews with many who have never spoken publicly before. The film reveals Orbison's remote Texas childhood, his battles to get his voice heard, and how he created lasting hits like “Only the Lonely” and “Crying.” It follows Orbison's roller-coaster life, often reflected in the dark lyrics of his songs, from success to rejection to rediscovery in the '80s with the Traveling Wilburys supergroup.

ASU’s Lehman remarked on the film, “Roy Orbison is a legend today because of how unusual and distinctive he was within his time. He was a singer-songwriter and performer who ignored the norms in all three areas with a powerful three-octave voice singing emotional songs with complex structures that he performed with a dark, mysterious and nearly stationary persona. Jeremy Marre’s film takes a similar creative approach that abandons the common voice-over narrator and gives voice via an actor to Orbison’s own words. We also hear from his associates, close collaborators and family and watch never-before-seen footage.”

Marre is the founder of Harcourt Films production company and has worked on dozens of films and television series throughout his career. He is best known for his Beats of the Heart series, which introduced world music and its performers to international audiences, and he has worked on features highlighting other famous musicians such as Otis Redding, James Brown and Marvin Gaye. His documentary film “Classic Albums: Paul Simon — Graceland” examined the creation of the musician's critically acclaimed solo album that brought new light to South African music. Marre will be formally honored for his career achievements in documentary filmmaking in a joint presentation by Lehman from ASU and Ellie Hutchison from Arizona Humanities.

Hutchison, programs manager with Arizona Humanities, said, “We are delighted to partner with Arizona State University to host the U.S. premiere of this film, and bring Jeremy and Peter together to discuss the life of one of rock and roll’s heroes and most famous icons.”

This program is made possible by the ASU Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture and Arizona Humanities in partnership with ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Hanson and Schwam Public Relations.

Guests are encouraged to RSVP at or by calling 602-257-0335.

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