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Award Winning Documentary Film Maker Helen Whitney at USU

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013

film maker Helen Whitney will speak at Utah State University

Producer, writer and director Helen Whitney is a guest at Utah State University Jan. 28-31 for "Helen Whitney's Life in Film: A Documentary Series." (Photo by Chrissie Hardy)

Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts presents “Helen Whitney’s Life in Film: A Documentary Series” Jan. 28-31 in the Performance Hall on USU’s Logan campus, sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“Producer, director and writer Helen Whitney represents one of the most significant figures in contemporary American documentary film production,” said Craig Jessop, dean of the Caine College of the Arts. “As a writer, as a producer and as a director, she’s virtually without peer. To have her on our campus, to share with us the body of her work over the past decade is an extraordinary opportunity, not only for the students and faculty at USU, but for the community and the state of Utah as well.”

Whitney has more than 30 years of experience in filmmaking, focusing on documentaries and dramatic features. She was nominated for an Oscar with her film First Edition, won an Emmy award for her film The Choice: ’96, and won Outstanding Script for Television Documentary from the Writers Guild of America for John Paul II: The Millennial Pope. She produced, directed and wrote The Mormons, a PBS special, and Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero, among many others.

“We are very fortunate to have Helen Whitney here at Utah State University,” said John Allen, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Students have a rare opportunity to engage with an individual who uses documentary film to discuss difficult issues of today as well as the spiritual life. Her films bring empathy and a clear eye to social issues and our students will learn a great deal by participating in these events.”

While at USU, Whitney will also speak during Common Hour (one of two offerings that day) Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 11:30 a.m. in the Performance Hall, previewing the film for that night Faith and Doubt.

An additional Common Hour offering features Al Bingham with “What you don’t know about your credit score CAN hurt you!” in a presentation at 11:30 a.m. in the Taggart Student Center Ballroom. His visit is sponsored by the Family, Consumer and Human Development Department, the Family Finance Club and Financial Planning for Women. Bingham will sign books following his presentation.

Helen Whitney’s Life in Film: A Documentary Series” runs Jan. 28-31 in the Performance Hall. Each night’s event begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For more information visit the CCA Box Office in room 139-B of the Chase Fine Arts Center, call 425-797-8022 or see the Caine College of the Arts Production Services’ website.

Schedule for “Helen Whitney’s Life in Film: A Documentary Series”

Jan. 28 — Living Portrait

Introduction and an overview of Helen Whitney’s Life in Film. An exploration of the world of juvenile violence in the blighted urban areas of New York City, Brooklyn and New Jersey. Excerpts from Whitney’s documentary Youth Terror; The View from Behind the Gun will be shown. Also shown will be excerpts from her documentary The Monastery, an intimate portrait of monastic life in her year with the Trappists.

Jan. 29 — The Outsiders

The lives of gay men and women, the mentally ill, McCarthy Era victims and the photographer Richard Avedon — selections from Homosexuals, They Have Lives Too, American Inquisition, and Richard Avedon; Darkness and Light.

Jan. 30 — Faith and Doubt

On the road with John Paul II — selections from The Millennial Pope. Searching for meaning in the aftershocks of 9/11 — Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero.

Jan. 31 — Spiritual Landscapes

Inside Mormonism, a three-year journey resulting in a four-hour PBS series — The Mormons. An exploration of the complexities and contradictions of forgiveness in the personal and political realm; from adultery to genocide — Forgiveness; A Time to Love and a Time to Hate.

Related links:

Writer: Kara Rindlisbacher, 435-797-9203,

Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500,

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