Kansas University gears up to celebrate the centennial of American film.
Three award-winning filmmakers -- Mike Robe, Ken Burns and John Altman -- will make the trek to Lawrence during the next couple of months to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of American film.
The events are being organized by the Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Center for the Humanities, in collaboration with several other departments at Kansas University.
"We wanted to look at American film from the standpoint of the filmmaker," said Bill Andrews, Hall Center director. "(Each of these filmmakers) is important because of substance rather than spectacle. They have looked deeply into the human condition from various perspectives.
"There's been lots of criticism of the media ... but I feel these men are not part of the problem but part of the solution. We wanted to feature people who've made positive contributions."
The celebration starts at 8 p.m. today at the Lied Center with a tribute to Robe, a Kansas University graduate and Hollywood filmmaker who will receive a Distinguished Kansan Award from KU and the state of Kansas. Robe is best known for his made-for-TV movies and TV miniseries, such as "Murder Ordained," "Son of the Morning Star" and "Return to Lonesome Dove."
The program will feature a retrospective screening of Robe's films, followed by a dialogue between the filmmaker and John Tibbetts, KU professor of theater and film and entertainment reporter.
Robe will be introduced by writer Scott Turow, whose book "A Burden of Proof" was made into a TV film produced and directed by Robe.
Next on the lineup is Burns, a documentary filmmaker praised for his public television series "Baseball" and "The Civil War." He will present a lecture, "Sharing the American Experience," at 8 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Lied Center.
Burns has a list of awards to his credit, including two Emmy Awards and two Grammy Awards. His films "Brooklyn Bridge" and "The Statue of Liberty" were nominated for Academy Awards. His other works include biographies of Huey Long and Thomas Jefferson.
Andrews said Burns is working on a documentary about the history of American jazz and most likely will visit the jazz district of Kansas City, Mo., while he's in the area.
Altman, a Kansas City, Mo., filmmaker recognized for his documentaries on Ozark storytelling and Thomas Hart Benton, will appear as part of "Documentary Film in America Today," a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Feb. 29 in the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art Auditorium. He will be joined by KU professors Catherine Preston, Chuck Berg and Tibbetts.
The program will include a screening of Altman's works-in-progress on Harry Truman and William Allen White.
These events are free and open to the public. However, tickets are required for the Burns lecture and can be obtained at the Student Activities Box Office in the Kansas Union.
Other events include:
- A faculty minicourse, "The American Cine-Century: Mapping a Medium," 3:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27, Kansas Union. Among the topics are the history of American film, American experimental film, Third World films and the technical aspects and academic study of film.
- Documentary film festival, Feb. 24, Kansas Union. "An Anthology of Documentary Film," noon; "The Atomic Cafe," 3 p.m.; and "Don't Look Back," a perspective on Bob Dylan, 5 p.m.
- Feature film festival, March 1-3, Kansas Union. March 1: 7 p.m., "Breakfast at Tiffany's," 9:30 p.m., "Apocalypse Now" and midnight, "Monty Python's Meaning of Life"; March 2: noon, "When Harry Met Sally," 2:30 p.m., "Citizen Kane," 5 p.m., "Breakfast at Tiffany's," 7:30 p.m., "Apocalypse Now," 10 p.m., "Monty Python's Meaning of Life" and midnight, "Pulp Fiction"; and March 3: 2 p.m., "Citizen Kane." Special weekend passes can be purchased at the Student Union Activities Box office.