Whether using performance as protest, acknowledging bias in research, or documenting in film historical inequalities, three School of Communication faculty crossed departmental lines to contemplate the necessity of equity and inclusion in their scholarly and artistic work during a special symposium April 6 at the Norris University Center. The event was the first CommConnections, a new symposium series established to cross disciplines and create partnerships in the School of Communication.
How can a horror movie help us feel less lonely while navigating out of pandemic life? This is a question that came up again and again during Night’s End, Brett Neveu’s (associate professor of instruction in the Department of Radio/Television/Film) original feature film, directed by Jennifer Reeder (Knives and Skin and A Million Miles Away). The film was screened March 31 at the Block Cinema on Northwestern’s Evanston Campus, followed by a talkback with some of the film’s artists and moderated by Professor David Tolchinsky. The event was sponsored by the Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab for the Promotion of Mental Health via Cinematic Arts and the MFA in Writing for Screen and Stage.
The School of Communication is pleased to announce that alumna Judy Belk (C75) will deliver remarks at the SoC convocation ceremony on June 13, 2022 at 5 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Belk is the president and CEO of the California Wellness Foundation, which awards nearly $43 million in annual grants and program-related investments that promote health equity, justice, and advocacy for Californians whose well-being is often determined by their race, income, immigration status, or where they live.
School of Communication Professor Viorica Marian is Moldovan American and fears a grave situation is imminent for the young democracy of Moldova, just to the west of Ukraine. Her column for the Chicago Tribune was published March 9, 2022, and the extended version, shared here, ran on Medium the same day.
From growing up above a church as a preacher’s daughter in Trinidad to winning a Tony at the age of 25, Heather Headley says she has learned her craft in conventional and unconventional spaces. “What is training? You can be trained anywhere…The question is, is the training good or not?” she said on stage at the Ethel M. Barber Theater at Northwestern on February 15 with School of Communication Dean E. Patrick Johnson. “I grew up in the church. In the church. Our house was above the church…I would go in there and close all the windows and sweat, because it was Trinidad, and sing for hours to the empty pews. It was years later that my husband, Brian, said, ‘No, you had an audience, it was the angels.’” Headley spoke as part of the Dialogue with the Dean series at the School of Communication, which seeks to spotlight emerging and established communicators who are advancing the future of their fields, challenging paradigms, and promoting social justice.
What happens if we actually stop listening to the negative thoughts drummed up by the committee of fear-mongering critics in our heads? This is the central question in author and filmmaker Justine Bateman’s directorial debut, Violet, which was screened February 3 at the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for Performing and Media Arts in Abbott Hall at Northwestern’s Chicago campus. The event was sponsored by the new Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab for the Promotion of Mental Health via Cinematic Arts and the School of Communication’s Office of External Programs, Internships, and Career Services (EPICS). “Years ago, I made a lot of fear-based decisions, and so when I got to the other side of that, I knew that I had a lot of time stolen from me where I hadn’t been myself,” Bateman said. “I wanted to exact revenge, so I made this film so that someone else could watch it and realize the voice, the negative voice, was lying, and the opposite was probably true.”
With a $1 million grant from the Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation and Jessy Pucker ’19, Northwestern University School of Communication has launched a new student film incubator dedicated to flipping the script on mental health portrayals in movies, television and media. The mission of the Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab for the Promotion of Mental Health via Cinematic Arts is to create, support and examine original narrative screenwriting, television writing and media making centered around mental health.
When John Leguizamo was a young teen, he commandeered a New York City subway conductor’s intercom and workshopped his first public comedy routine. With impressions of cartoon characters and early glimpses of his signature wit, commuters got an impromptu taste of what the rest of the world was in for. The mediums have changed, but Leguizamo’s style has not: clever, quick, real, and raw. The actor-writer-director-comedian graced the Northwestern School of Communication community with all this and more during the first Dialogue with the Dean of the academic year on November 16 in the Josephine Louis Theater at the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.
Two-time Academy Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi dazzled the Northwestern filmmaking community with stories of his creative process during a special virtual masterclass offered to students on November 18. “I made my first film when I was 13 years old,” Farhadi said through an interpreter on Zoom. “I didn’t know what filmmaking was. I read a book that I couldn’t understand, but I did get one part of it, and based on that, I found out how they make movies. I found that when you want to make a movie, take it in parts, and stitch them together. From that moment on, I made one short movie each year.” Farhadi twice won Oscars in the category of Best Foreign Language Film—for A Separation (2011) and The Salesman (2016)—which makes him one of the few directors worldwide who have won in this category more than once. He also won Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival for The Salesman and the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Prix for A Hero.