Film

Gish name for venerable BGSU venue challenged

First it was moved from its original location, and now the Gish Film Theater may lose its name. In a message today (Feb. 20) to the university community, Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers said that concerns have been raised about the theater being named in part after actress Lillian Gish, whose extensive credits on film, stage, and television, include starring in “Birth of the Nation.” The 1915  film by D.W. Griffith celebrates the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and is cited as a factor of the revival of the Klan in the early 20th century. Last week, he wrote, members of the Black Student Union approached the administration “about the propriety of the naming.” In his statement, Rogers wrote: “The film … is widely recognized as racist and discriminatory, advancing and inflaming the prejudicial stereotypes of the time period. The controversial film and its commercial success is believed to have helped revive the Ku Klux Klan. … I can unequivocally affirm that the values and the views expressed in the film do not align with those of Bowling Green State University.” The Black Student Union will host a town hall at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in 210 Mathematical Sciences Building to discuss the issue.  The theater was named for Gish in 1976 after the auditorium in Hanna Hall was transformed as a home for the university’s growing film program. Lillian Gish visited at that time, the first of four visits to campus. She had  insisted that the theater be named for her sister, Dorothy, also a renowned actress. The Gish sisters were born in Springfield, Ohio, to an actress and made their stage debuts in Risingsun. All this seemed good reason to English Professor Ralph Wolfe  for the theater to be named for them. Wolfe was the guiding light behind the development of the theater and opposed moving to make way for the Maurer Center, which will be the home for the College of Business. Rogers said he has asked Dean Ray Craig, of the College of Arts and Sciences, to lead a task force of…

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BGSU Arts Events through April 29

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS At  the galleries  — The School of Art will host its second MFA Thesis Exhibition April 21-29 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries in the Fine Arts Center. The opening reception is at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20. Exhibitors include Fernanda Ruocco, Jacob Nolt and Ericsson De La Paz Lugo. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The galleries are wheelchair accessible with the exception of the upper level of the Wankelman Gallery. For more information, visit bgsu.edu/art. April 19 — The International Film Series presents “Dear Pyongyang” (2005, Japan/South Korea, 107 minutes, directed by Yang Hong-Hi), with an introduction by Dr. Ryoko Okamura from the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Filmed in both Osaka, Japan, and Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2004, this deeply moving and intimate documentary features Zainichi (North) Korean immigrants living in Japan and their complex allegiances to family, host country, and their “fatherland.” A daughter interviews her parents as they return to Pyongyang to celebrate her father’s 70th birthday with her brothers. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater, located in Hanna Hall. Free April 19-22 — The BGSU Theatre Department presents “The Threepenny Opera,” Bertolt Brecht’s “play with music.” Brecht turned John Gay’s 18th century “The Beggar’s Opera” into a biting commentary on the bourgeoisie and modern morality. Set in Victorian London, this tale of the outlaw Mack the Knife offers a socialist critique of a capitalist world. Advance tickets are $5 for BGSU students and $15 for other adults; all tickets the day of the concert are $20. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 5 p.m. weekdays at 419-372-8171. The show opens at 8 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Additional performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. on April 20 and 21, and 2 p.m. on April 21 and 22. See review. April 20 — The International Film Series presents “La Pirogue (The Dugout)” (2012, Senegal, 87…


BGSU film students celebrate their movies, the Gish, & Ralph Wolfe

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Bowling Green State University film students, the Film and Media Festival is their Oscars. Walking into Gish Theater, the trophies for best drama, comedy, documentary, experimental, and horror, and for the various crafts that go into making these – special effects, musical score, costumes, makeup, and cinematography – are lined up. The festival is a decidedly more low key affair – and it should be noted, a tighter show, lasting less than an hour from the end of the mixer to start of the after-awards socializing. At the Oscars, you wouldn’t have Adam Panter, who would pick up best actor award on Sunday night, hawking t-shirts at the theater on Saturday morning. But then that’s all part of being in a creative community. That sense of camaraderie, even among ostensible competitors, was evident. They appeared in each other projects, and cheered wildly when a classmate won. This community, though, will be losing its ‘home,” or at least the venue where so many of the films produced on campus were first screened, said Keisha Martin, president of the University Film Organization, which presented the festival with BG Reel. Martin said that the experience of screening films in the Gish connected current students with those who came before them. To show their appreciation the student groups honored Ralph Haven Wolfe, the professor emeritus of English, who founded the theater in 1976. Wolfe said that growing up on a farm, he always wanted to go to town because that’s where the two places he loved, the library and the movie theater, were. Those ignited the intellectual passion that led him into academia, and BGSU, first as a student and then as a professor. Wolfe spoke about how he got Lillian Gish to come for the dedication at a time when film studies at BGSU was in its infancy. Though he has been outspoken in his displeasure about the removal of the Gish from Hanna Hall – the theater will be relocated to the Student Union (see story http://bgindependentmedia.org/university-promises-gish-name-will-live-on-bgsu/) – he struck a philosophical note on Sunday…


University promises Gish name will live on BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The last day of classes this spring semester will mark the end of the 42-year history of the Lillian and Dorothy Gish Film Theater in Hanna Hall. Bowling Green State University officials hope this will mark a new chapter in film studies at the university, though the man behind the theater, Ralph Haven Wolfe remains disheartened at the changes to the theater he founded and led for 40 years. He said Friday afternoon that changing the theater in the Bowen Thompson Student Union into the Gish marks a step back to 1975 when the university did not have a theater dedicated to showing films. The space in the union will still be a multi-use space, he said. That’s necessary said, Dean Ray Craig, who led several members of the media on a tour Friday of where the Gish facilities will be moving next semester. Those include a large lecture hall, Olscamp 117, which will be named the Ralph Haven Wolfe Viewing Center. That will replace in name the viewing center now in Hanna. That viewing room houses a collection of hundreds of videocassettes, DVDs, and laserdiscs donated to BGSU by Wolfe. The relocation project will cost $500,000, said Bruce Meyer, interim vice president for capital planning/campus operations. The money will come from funds allocated to complete the university’s master plan. Craig explained that the Gish has served two communities. There are the students in film studies who screened their original work in the 168-seat venue, and there were film series that attracted the broader community. Those were the Sunday matinees, often silent films with live musical accompaniment, a Tuesday film series, and international films on Thursdays. Those series will all move to the student union theater. That auditorium will get a new digital high definition projection system and a screen large enough for those images. The sound system will be rearranged with some of the speakers now lining the walls being placed behind the screen. The system, said Bob Waddle, assistant vice president for capital planning, will be the same system used throughout campus,…


Arts Beat: Sharing the bravos – ‘Emilie,’ electrifies; ‘Montreal, White City,’ haunts

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bravo! BGSU this weekend was a major arts event, showcasing some, but by no means all that transpires here culturally. Like the food served at Bravo! this was just a taste, delicious to be sure, but a sampling. As the spring semester unwinds, it’s hard to keep up with everything going on. Yet there are events that bear documenting.   “Emilie” Among those performing at Bravo! BGSU was Hillary LaBonte, who with Caroline Kouma, reprised a duet from Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte,” which was staged two weeks ago. That opera was a frothy entertainment. Just a couple days before Bravo! though, LaBonte had the stage to herself in a very different opera. Working with conductor Maria Mercedes Diaz Garcia and the Vive! Ensemble, which the conductor founded, she sang “Emilie,” a solo opera by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and Lebanese author Amin Maalouf. Here LaBonte portrays leading 18th century French intellectual Emilie de Chatelet. We find de Chatelet in the process of writing a letter to her lover, the father of the child she carries. De Chatelet was a woman of great passions, both physical and intellectual, and all these weave together. She spills her heart into the letter. Her quill is amplified so that there’s a telegraphic urgency as she writes. That’s just one of the ways the composer uses electronics to expose Emilie’s inner life. Emilie is consumed by a sense of foreboding, about to give birth, she expects the worst. She speaks of her hopes for her child, hopes for a parent as loving and encouraging as her father. Rare for the time, de Chatelet received a full education in the sciences and arts. She played harpsichord. The instrument electronically amplified plays a prominent part in the orchestra. It tracks, even anticipates, her thoughts. She is devoted to astronomy, physics, mathematics, and philosophy. There is nothing cold about her calculations and observations. They burn like the sun, whose constitution she ponders. Emilie is at this point completing her translation into French from Latin of Newton’s “Principia.” This is the cutting edge…


BGSU Arts Events through April 24

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS April 6 — Academy Award-winning actress Eva Marie Saint will attend a special showing of “The Trip to Bountiful,” the 1953 television production she starred in with Lillian Gish, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater at BGSU’s Hanna Hall. Gish and Saint reprised their roles on Broadway the following year, earning Saint the Drama Critics Award and the Outer-Circle Critics Award. Following the screening, Saint, a BGSU alumna, will discuss her career and her work with Gish. Free   April 6 — World Percussion Night will feature multiple drumming styles, including performances by the Taiko and Steel Drum ensembles from the College of Musical Arts. Advance tickets are $7 for students and $10 for other adults; tickets the day of the concert are, respectively, $10 and $13. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 6 p.m.weekdays at 419-372-8171. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. April 11 — The Faculty Artist Series presents Matthew McBride-Daline on the viola. Since his debut in Carnegie Hall, McBride-Daline has performed worldwide as a viola soloist. An avid chamber musician, he has performed at numerous international festivals including the Banff Center for the Arts, Verbier Academy, the Music Academy of the West, the New York String Orchestra Seminar and Sarasota Music Festival. His performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall, located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free April 12 — Continuing its focus on exile and migration, the International Film Series presents “Balseros (Rafters)” (2002, Spain, 120 minutes, directed by Carles Bosch and Josep Maria Domenech), with an introduction by Dr. Pedro Porbén from the Department of World Languages and Cultures, Latin American Studies. Filmed in Cuba, Guantanamo Bay and the United States, this transnational film gives insight into the “human adventure of people who are shipwrecked between two worlds.” The award-winning documentary tracks the lives of Cubans who fled Cuba by raft during the economic depression of the so-called “Periodo especial” in the early 1990s. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater, located in…


Documentary about finding a movie treasure trove to be shown in Gish Theatre (updated)

The new, award winning documentary, “Saving Brinton,” will be screened Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. in the Gish Theater at Bowling Green State University as part of the Ray Browne Conference. (Click for more details  on the conference.) The film is about the discovery of a collection of historic films and documents in a small town in Iowa. In addition to the screening, the audience will get to see some of the oldest films in existence, which have been carefully digitized. “Saving Brinton” will have showings in New York and Los Angeles, but is making its in Bowling Green first. The film  tells  how  in a farmhouse basement on the Iowa countryside, eccentric collector Mike Zahs makes a remarkable discovery: the showreels of the man who brought moving pictures to America’s Heartland. Among the treasures: rare footage of President Teddy Roosevelt, the first moving images from Burma, a lost relic from magical effects godfather Georges Méliés. These are the films that introduced movies to the world. And they didn’t end up in Iowa by accident. The old nitrate reels are just some of the artifacts that belonged to William Franklin Brinton. From thousands of trinkets, handwritten journals, receipts, posters and catalogs emerges the story of an inventive farmboy who became America’s greatest barnstorming movieman. As Mike uncovers this hidden legacy, he begins a journey to restore the Brinton name that takes us to The Library of Congress, Paris and back for a big screen extravaganza in the same small-town movie theater where Frank first turned on a projector over a century ago. By uniting community through a pride in their living history, Mike embodies a welcome antidote to the breakneck pace of our disposable society. “Saving Brinton” is a portrait of this unlikely Midwestern folk hero, at once a meditation on living simply and a celebration of dreaming big. The screening culminates Saturday’s Ray Browne Film Festival. The schedule is: Noon- Faculty Showcase Hacked – Dir. Daniel E. Williams – 2013 – 27 min. Vida Muertos – Dir. Thomas Javier Castillo – 2017 – 17 min.   2 p.m. – Alumni Showcase Ideal…