POUGHKEEPSIE, NY— The Africana Studies Program and the Film Department of Vassar College will present a screening of the documentary film William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe on Friday, April 2, at 7:00 pm in Sanders Hall Spitzer Auditorium (room 212). The filmmakers, sisters Emily and Sarah Kunstler, will discuss making this documentary about their famous father.
In conjunction with the screening, the 31st annual Green Haven Prison Program Reunion will take place on Saturday, April 3, in the Aula of Ely Hall. From 1:30 to 5:30pm, there will be public events including a panel discussion as well as workshops on prison issues.
Both the film screening on Friday as well as the reunion's afternoon events on Saturday are free and open to the public.
About the Film:
"This is a wonderful film and Emily and Sarah Kunstler have done a remarkable job in presenting their famous father in an honest, critical light," noted Alec Baldwin in the Huffington Post. "The film is great history."
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe explores the life of the late radical civil rights lawyer, whom the New York Times called “The most hated and the most loved lawyer in America.” In the 1960s and 1970s, Kunstler fought for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr. and represented the famed “Chicago 8” activists who protested the Vietnam War. When the inmates took over Attica prison, or when the American Indian Movement stood up to the federal government at Wounded Knee, they asked Kunstler to be their lawyer.
To his daughters, it seemed that he was at the center of everything important that had ever happened. But when they were growing up, Kunstler represented some of the most reviled members of society, including rapists and assassins. This powerful film not only recounts the historic causes that Kunstler fought for; it also reveals a man that even his own daughters did not always understand, a man who risked public outrage and the safety of his family so that justice could serve all.
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe was an official selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, at which the Kunstlers received the L'Oreal Women of Worth Vision Award. The filmmakers also received the Special Jury Prize for Best New Filmmakers at the Traverse City Film Festival. The film's website is http://www.disturbingtheuniverse.com/.
About the Filmmakers:
Emily and Sarah Kunstler founded Off Center Media (www.off-center.com), a production company that produces documentaries exposing injustice in the criminal justice system, in 2000. They have produced, directed, and edited a number of short documentaries, including Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War (2002), which won Best Documentary Short at the Woodstock Film Festival, and was instrumental in winning exoneration for forty-six wrongfully convicted people; and Getting Through to the President (2004), which has aired on the Sundance Channel.
Emily Kunstler, who spent her freshman year of college at Vassar, graduated in 2000 from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Film and Video. She was a video producer for Democracy Now!, an independent national television and radio news program.
Sarah Kunstler graduated from Yale University with a BA in Photography in 1998 and from Columbia Law School with a JD in 2004. She is currently a criminal defense attorney practicing in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.
About the Green Haven Prison Program:
Lawrence Mamiya, Professor of Religion and Africana Studies on the Mattie M. Paschall Davis and Norman H. Davis Chair at Vassar College, founded the Green Haven Prison Program in 1979 as a weekly dialogue on current events between Vassar students and inmates at the maximum-security prison in Stormville, NY. The program has evolved into a broader educational experience for both students and inmates, who together confront issues such as race, class, stereotypes, and economic opportunity in a weekly discussion group. Many of the Vassar students who have participated in the program have gone on to work with other prison education programs, and since 1999, an annual reunion each spring has brought together Vassar alumnae/i and former Green Haven inmates for conversation.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.