[OPE-L] "Strange Culture" and Critical Arts Persecution

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Aug 22 2007 - 16:04:43 EDT

The Critical Arts Ensamble has produced some excellent documents, many of
which are published by Autonomedia.  They are subversive in the best sense
of the term and deserve our support.

In solidarity, Jerry

--------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY: New screenings of "Strange Culture"
From:    "Paul Zarembka" <zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU>
Date:    Mon, August 20, 2007 5:48 pm

Professor Steve Kurtz, SUNY at Buffalo, Department of Visual Studies, is
being persecuted by the government.  He is a member of the Critical Art
Ensemble which is devoted to the intersections among art, technology,
radical politics and critical theory.

The story of his persecution is now being presented on film, first in
Buenos Aires, coming later to Buffalo itself, Sept. 7 to 13, in the middle
of a North American tour.  The director is the award-winning filmmaker Lyn
Herschman Leeson.

The film will be presented at the Sundance Film Festival's 2007
'Independent Film and World Cinema Competitions'. Less than 2% of the
submissions to the festival were accorded this honor.  See
www.buffalo.edu/news/fast-execute.cgi/article-page.html?article=82870009 .

The tour of the film includes NYC, Woodstock, and Toronto, to name a few
among many other places nationwide listed below, including the West Coast.

At the end of this message is a description of the film itself, and the
actors involved.  I forward the schedule which I received.

Paul Zarembka



Don't miss these upcoming screenings of Lynn Hershman Leeson's
critically-acclaimed Strange Culture (http://strangeculture.net), which
chronicles the ongoing story of artist Steven Kurtz and scientist Robert
Ferrell, accused by the US government in 2004 of "bioterrorism" and now
awaiting trial:

Aug 17-23
 Buenos Aires
2nd Human Rights Watch International Film Festival

August 21-23
 Albuquerque NM
The Guild Cinema

Aug 24-30
 Chicago IL
 Facets Cinema

Aug 29-30
 Northampton MA
 Maine Street Media Festival

Sept 8
 St. Louis MI
 Global Fusion Conference
 Q&A with Lucia Sommer

Sept 8
Buffalo NY
 Hallwalls & Market Arcade Benefit Screening
 Market Arcade Film & Arts Center
 Discussion with Steve Kurtz

Sept 7-13
 Buffalo NY
 Market Arcade

Sept 16-20
 Pittsburgh PA
 Regent Square Cinema

Sept 14-19
 Seattle WA
 NW Film Forum

Sept 21-27
 San Raphael CA
California Film Institute

Sept 21-27
 San Francisco CA
 The Roxie Theatre

Sept - TBA
 Waterville ME
 Railroad Square Cinema

Sept / Oct - TBA
 Oklahoma City
 Museum of Art

Oct 1
 New York NY
 Q&A with Lynn Hershman Leeson & Steve Kurtz

Oct 5-18
 New York NY
 Cinema Village
 Q&A with Lynn Hershman Leeson & Steve Kurtz

Oct 10-14
 Woodstock NY
 Woodstock Film Festival

Nov 8
 Philadelphia PA
 First Person Arts
 Q&A with Lucia Sommer

Nov 8
 Location TBA
 First Person Festival of Memoir & Documentary Art

Nov 22
 A Space Gallery
 Reception with Steve Kurtz

 Los Angeles CA
 Laemmle Theatres

 The Case
Strange Culture (2007, 75min) chronicles the surreal nightmare of Steven
Kurtz, an art professor at SUNY Buffalo and a founding member, with his
late wife, Hope, of the internationally exhibited art and theater
collective Critical Art Ensemble (CAE). In May 2004 the Kurtzes were
preparing to present Free Range Grain, a project examining GM agriculture,
at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), when Hope
Kurtz died of heart failure. Police who responded to Steve Kurtz’s 911 call
deemed the couple’s art suspicious, and called the FBI. Within hours the
artist was illegally detained as a suspected "bioterrorist" as dozens of
federal agents in Hazmat suits sifted through his work and impounded his
computers, manuscripts, books, his cat, and even his wife’s body. Today
Kurtz and long-time collaborator Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of Genetics
at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, face
trumped-up charges of “mail fraud” and “wire fraud,” punishable, thanks to
the PATRIOT Act, by up to 20 years in prison. For more information about
the case please visit: http://caedefensefund.org.

The Film
Since the ongoing nature of the case prevents Kurtz from discussing its
details, Hershman Leeson has enlisted actors to dramatize parts of the
story, skillfully interweaving dialogue with news footage, animation,
interviews, testimonials, and footage of Kurtz himself. Tilda Swinton
(Chronicles of Narnia, Broken Flowers) and Thomas Jay Ryan (Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) play Hope and Steve Kurtz, and Peter Coyote
(E.T., Erin Brockovich) plays Dr. Robert Ferrell. Strange Culture poses
questions that are more universal than local at this point in our nation's
history. How can artists whose works are critical of government policy
continue to create freely given the escalating paranoia of the state? What
liberties do we loose to “protect freedom?” The case of Kurtz and Ferrell
is of concern not only to scientists, artists, and activists, but to anyone
interested in contributing to vital public debate about the actions of
their government. More information about the film, including trailers, can
be accessed on the web at http://www.strangeculture.net

 For more information:


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