U-M celebrates the legacy of filmmaker John Sayles

May 27, 2014
Contact: Deborah Holdship holdship@umich.edu


DATE: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday June 4, 2014

EVENT: Perhaps more than any modern filmmaker, John Sayles personifies American individualism. From his 1979 directorial debut “Return of the Secaucus 7” to his 2013 release “Go for Sisters,” he has thrived outside the Hollywood mainstream, using his films to explore such complex, nuanced themes as race, class and gender identity.

The University of Michigan celebrates Sayles’ legacy in the one-day symposium, “Declarations of Independence: John Sayles as Author, Auteur, Founding Father.”

Researchers, collaborators, students and others will convene at U-M’s Hatcher Graduate Library to discuss Sayles’ artistry as a writer; his choice to explore provocative and controversial topics on screen; and his skill in navigating the business of independent cinema through a four-decade career. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Speakers include:

  • Actor David Strathairn
  • Producer/actor Maggie Renzi
  • Script supervisor Mary Cybulski
  • Composer Mason Daring
  • U-M lecturer/screenwriter Jim Burnstein

The symposium will introduce the public to the John Sayles Archive at the University’s Special Collections Library through the exhibit “Sayles Pitch: Author, Auteur, Independent.” U-M undergraduates in the Screen Arts & Cultures program utilized the archive to produce the exhibit, which is on display in the Hatcher Graduate Library through July 10.

Sayles and his partner, Maggie Renzi, will attend the archive’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. They announced their decision to donate their vast collection to U-M in October 2013.

Note: The Sayles symposium and exhibit coincide with the annual Cinetopia Film Festival, June 4-8, in Ann Arbor and Detroit. Cinetopia will host Sayles Thursday, June 5, for a Q&A after the screening of his film “Go for Sisters” (2013). Screening location: U-M’s Modern Languages Building, Auditorium 4, 812 East Washington St., Ann Arbor, 7 p.m. Tickets are required for all Cinetopia Film Festival screenings. The festival lineup also includes Sayles’ “Silver City (2004) and “Lone Star” (1996).

PLACE: Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery, 913 South University Ave., Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: U-M Department of Screen Arts & Cultures, U-M Library, Michigan Theater and Cinetopia International Film Festival

INFORMATION: www.lib.umich.edu/sayles