Italian Film Festival/Conference: Franco Maresco

Due to unforeseen circumstances, filmmaker Franco Maresco is unable to attend screenings of his films at Indiana University Cinema this April, as previously scheduled. Though we are disappointed that he will not be in attendance, we are excited to still be able to share his work with our audiences. Producer Rean Mazzone, from Ila Palma–Dream Film, will still be present for question-and-answer sessions after each screening.

The Seventh Annual Film Symposium on New Trends in Modern and Contemporary Italian Cinema with filmmaker Franco Maresco and Producer Rean Mazzone is presented by Indiana University’s Department of French and Italian. Support comes from the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of French and Italian, Mary-Margaret Barr Koon Fund, Olga Ragusa Fund for the Study of Modern Italian Literature and Culture, College Arts and Humanities Institute, IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel, and IU Cinema. All films are Italian language with English subtitles. Special thanks to Rean Mazzone and Ila Palma–Dream Film for supplying all films.


Italian filmmaker Franco Maresco is perhaps best known for creating films with cinematographer Daniele Ciprì, with whom Maresco began working in 1986. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the duo became known and appreciated for their works for Italian national television. In 1995, Maresco made his first film with Ciprì, Lo zio di Brooklyn (The Uncle from Brooklyn), followed by Totò che vise due volte (Totò Who Lived Twice), which became true cinematic events for their new style of filmmaking and for opening a window to a world apart, a world neglected and forgotten, a world that can be understood only as a response to the idea of “post”—post-modern, post-atomic, post-historical, but also meta-historical. Maresco’s cinema shows the baseness, the imperfection, the incompleteness of humanity and its degradation. His vision creates a new aesthetic of ugliness, which, like a phoenix, rises from the ashes of a burned civilization. Maresco proposes an alternative vision to the imaginary future created by technology by showing a world consumed and burned-out. His films are set in an environment surrounded by ruins, rubbles of the post industrial age. He shows humanity that has lost the ideals of the Renaissance man.

Human Connectedness in a Time of Need

College life is difficult to navigate, especially during challenging times. But through human connections, peers and important people can help individuals deal with the rollercoaster of emotions often felt during this time of life. Inside Out and Paper Towns are excellent examples of the importance of network connections in dealing with depression and other negative emotions. This film series exposes the importance of network connections as a way of eliminating stigma of mental health. This series is sponsored by IU Bring Change 2 Mind, Union Board, Culture of Change, and IU Cinema.

Midwest Independence: Kris Swanberg

Kris Swanberg began her film career at Southern Illinois University, where she studied documentary film production. Using naturalistic techniques and often working with non-actors, Swanberg went on to focus her career in narrative film. Her first feature, It Was Great, But I Was Ready To Come Home played in competition at the SXSW Film Festival in 2009, followed by her next feature, Empire Builder (2012) and short film Baby Mary (2014). Unexpected, starring Cobie Smulders and Anders Holm, premiered in competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and is Swanberg’s third feature. Swanberg lives and works in Chicago.

Prismatic Music: The Short Films of Joseph Bernard (1978–85)

Visual artist Joseph Bernard was born in Port Chester, N.Y., later educated at Harford Art School and School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. For 35 years, Professor Emeritus Bernard taught fine arts at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. Abstract “collage” sensibilities are evident in his paintings, films, and photographs. Contemporary poetry and music remain as influences. His work is informed by travels to Provincetown, Southern California, Austin, and other locales. His films have been exhibited at Toronto’s Funnel Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Chicago Filmmakers, San Francisco Cinematheque, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. This series is sponsored by The Media School, Underground Film Series, and IU Cinema.

Small Island Big Stories: Irish Film Festival

Small Island Big Stories Irish Film Festival is a glimpse into contemporary cinematic Irishness. The Irish experience is far too broad to be captured within a few hours of screen time, but this selection of films shows some of the things that the Irish are known for: mythology, powerful storytelling, and portraying the human condition simultaneously as challenging and uplifting. These films are an invitation for people of all ages and backgrounds to learn more about Irish cinema.

This series is sponsored by Indiana Celtic Community, Irish American Community at Indiana University, The Runcible Spoon, Institute for European Studies, the departments of Anthropology and Folklore and Ethnomusicology, and IU Cinema.

Managing Differentness Through the Filmic Lens of Indian-American Experience

These films bring together candid stories of diasporic experiences of South Asians living in the U.S. while also managing some form of additional “differentness” that makes them self-conscious in thought-provoking ways. Each film surprises the viewer with how easily its treatment of seemingly overwhelming and stigmatizing personal challenges speaks to broader realities of our human condition. Neither film has previously screened at either IU Cinema or in Bloomington.

This series is sponsored by the Dhar India Studies Program, the departments of Religious Studies and Anthropology, the Cinema and Media Studies program, the Asian Cultural Center, and IU Cinema.

The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl tells the story of Danish artists Lili Elbe, the first transgender individual to have sex reassignment surgery, and her wife, Gerda Wegener. Einar Wegener’s transformation to Lili Elbe begins when Gerda asks her husband to model for a painting, dressed as a woman. This leads to Lili’s realization of who is she and who she needs to be. Set in Danish society of the 1920s, the film subtly portrays the changes in Lili, and in Gerda, as they navigate a new reality.

The film’s producer, Gail Mutrux, first visited IU in 2003 in preparation for the final script and the filming of Kinsey. Gail consulted often over the next 10 years with Kinsey Institute faculty on transgender and historical sexology as the script for The Danish Girl evolved, often referencing the Kinsey Institute library’s transgender archives.

David Ebershoff’s debut novel, The Danish Girl, won the Lambda Literary Award, and the film adaptation stars Academy Award®-winner Eddie Redmayne and is directed by Academy Award®-winning director Tom Hooper. His most recent novel is the bestseller The 19th Wife, which was made into a television movie that has aired around the globe. His books have been translated into 25 languages to critical acclaim. Ebershoff has appeared twice on Out Magazine’s annual Out 100 list of influential LGBT people. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Columbia University and for many years was an editor at Random House. Originally from California, he lives in New York City.

This screening is sponsored by the Kinsey Institute, School of Public Health–Bloomington, College Arts & Humanities Institute, The Media School, GLBT Student Support Services, the departments of Sociology and Gender Studies, and IU Cinema. Producer Gail Mutrux and Author David Ebershoff are scheduled to be present.

The Return of Draw Egan


This event inaugurates the Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award, which was presented to Ari Fisher in May of 2015 as a commission to create an orchestral score for The Return of Draw Egan. This annual award is endowed by a gift from former IU trustee, the Honorable P.A. Mack Jr. Through a juried competition, the commission will be awarded each year to a student from the composition department in the Jacobs School of Music. This presentation includes IU students in the roles of composer, conductor, musicians, audio technicians, projectionist, house managers, and ushers.

Ari Barack Fisher is a master’s student studying composition in the Jacobs School of Music (JSoM), where he has been a student of Mischa Zupko, Don Freund, Claude Baker, Aaron Travers, and Sven David Sandstrom. He is the recipient of the inaugural Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award with his score for The Return of Draw Egan. As a JSoM freshman, Ari won the commission to score the 1922 silent version of David Copperfield, which premiered at IU Cinema in 2012. Ari has also composed for concert, commercials, film, and videogames, and his piece Springtime in my Hometown toured South Korea.

One on One with Robby Benson

Robby Benson is best known for starring in films such as Jeremy, Ice Castles, Death Be Not Proud, Ode to Billy Joe, The Chosen, Tribute, Running Brave, The End, Harry and Son, Walk Proud, One on One (for which he wrote the screenplay), and, to new generations, as the voice of Beast in Academy-Award® nominated Beauty and the Beast. He has produced and directed feature films and television series, including directing episodes of Friends, Ellen, and many top 10 shows. Benson starred on Broadway in Zelda, The Rothschilds, and the Joseph Papp production of The Pirates of Penzance, where he met and fell in love with his co-star, Karla DeVito. Benson wrote the musical Open Heart for DeVito, published by Samuel French (2006). Open Heart was produced by and debuted at NYC’s historic Cherry Lane Theater. As an author, Benson penned best-selling novel, Who Stole The Funny?, published by HarperCollins (2007), and his multi-media, medical memoir, I’m Not Dead…Yet (2012), receiving major kudos from Apple. As a composer, Robby has written songs that have gone gold (including “We Are Not Alone” from John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club) and scores for films, including his son Zephyr Benson’s impressive feature directing debut Straight Outta Tompkins (2015). Benson’s most-valued, professional accomplishment is that of college professor, teaching for two decades at universities around the country. As Professor of Film at NYU’s famed Tisch School of the Arts in the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, Benson received the honor of being nominated for both NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006, and the David Payne-Carter Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010. He is currently Professor of Practice in the Department of Telecommunications in The Media School at Indiana University.

Keys to Directing: The Near Death and Life of Jeremy Kagan

Jeremy Kagan is an internationally recognized director, writer, and producer of feature films and television and a tenured professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. In addition to teaching graduate courses at USC, Kagan created the Change Making Media Lab, which specializes in developing and creating Entertainment Education (EE) that emphasizes the values of narrative dramas and comedies to successfully motivate behavior change. He has just finished shooting his 11th feature film, Shot, about gun violence in America. Kagan has served as the Artistic Director of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute and is Chairperson of Special Projects for the Directors Guild of America. He is author of Directors Close Up Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, as well as soon-to-be published interactive eTextbook Keys To Directing. A Graduate Fellow of the American Film Institute, Kagan earned his master of fine arts from New York University and his bachelor of arts from Harvard University. He has taught master seminars on filmmaking in France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, and Vietnam.