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Independent film series debuts at ASU Herberger Institute School of Theatre and Film

September 15, 2009

The ASU Herberger Institute School of Theatre and Film

The School of Theatre and Film announces the opening of Film Forum, a new screening series designed to illuminate the independent cinematic voice in America. The first series, From Abroad: The World Visits America, features three critically acclaimed films, each of which offers a unique take on the theme of foreign-born characters on U.S. soil.

“Films that represent a clash of cultures often tell the story from the American side,” says Jason Davids Scott, School of Theatre and Film lecturer and curator of the Film Forum. “There’s a long history of films about immigrants assimilating into the American landscape – including the first talking film, The Jazz Singer, about a European, Jewish immigrant defying his traditional father.”

However, Davids Scott feels that within the last 20 years there have been a few films made from a foreign visitor’s perspective, and not necessarily an immigrant.

“These films offer very compelling and unique perspectives on America and Americans,” he adds. The films to be screened are:

Oct. 7
Bagdad Café (1987) – German director Percy Adlon earned acclaim for this wry comedic tale of an abandoned German hausfrau (played by Marianne Sagebrecht) who becomes an unlikely asset at a roadstop restaurant located in the harsh Arizona desert. Supporting performances by Academy Award® winner Jack Palance and C.C.H. Pounder, the film also features one of the most beautiful and haunting film songs of the last generation, the Oscar-nominated “Calling You” sung by Jevetta Steele. For more information, visit:

Nov. 4
Mississippi Masala (1991) – Internationally acclaimed director Mira Nair gives us this ensemble drama about an Indian-Ugandan family displaced by the Amin regime who takes up residence in Greenwood, Miss. Tradition and ambition clash when the family’s daughter Mina (Sarita Choudhury) falls in love with Demetrius (Denzel Washington). The film won awards at the Venice and Sao Paolo Film Festivals, as well as earning a nomination for Best Picture at the Independent Spirit Awards. For more information, visit:

Dec. 2
Sugar (2008) – From independent filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck comes the story of a teenaged baseball player nicknamed Sugar (Algenis Perez Soto), recruited from the barren fields of the Dominican Republic and brought to the American Midwest to play in the low minor leagues. A nominee for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Sugar was hailed as “a beautifully made...thoughtful, poignant film” (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times). For more information, visit:

Murdock Hall, Room 101, 450 E Orange St., ASU Tempe campus

7:30 p.m., the first Wednesday of every month: Oct. 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2.

The Film Forum is free and open to the public.

Public Contact
The School of Theatre and Film, 480.965.5337

The School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the dramatic writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by U.S.News & World Report. To learn more about the School of Theatre and Film, visit

Media Contact:
Laurie A. Trotta 
ASU Herberger Institute 
School of Theatre and Film