Fred Marx visits the UI this week

Beginning today, Sunday, October 6, through Thursday, October 10, the student residents at Allen Hall/Unit One at the University of Illinois will receive several chances to get to know independent documentary producer Frederick Marx, a Champaign-Urbana native and UI graduate whose company Warrior Films creates media intended to inspire the humanity inside us and prioritize healthy relationships between adults and youth and, by extension, our future generations.

While not overtly public events, Marx’s presentations as a Guest-in-Residence at AH/UO, 1005 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, can be attended by non-students. Tonight’s opening program is called “My Life as an Artist: From Champaign to Zanskar” and begins at 7 p.m. in the South Rec Room, also the location for film screenings and additional talks. The former includes his most famous work, the award-winning HOOP DREAMS (Mon., Oct. 7, 7 p.m.) on which he worked for Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, and his most recent, a harrowing story about young children escorted from the mountains of Tibet to lower India by Buddhist monks in order to save their dying culture in JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR (Weds., Oct. 9, 7 p.m.) featuring the Dali Lama and narrated by actor Richard Gere. Other programs include “The Necessity for Healthy Rites of Passage for Youth” (Tues., Oct. 8, 7 p.m.) and “Living a Life of Purpose” (Thurs., Oct. 10, 7 p.m.) rounding out the portrait of a filmmaker genuinely affecting social issues in a positive manner through his chosen life’s work.

Other titles in the Marx filmography include THE UNSPOKEN (1999), a rare narrative feature about a preteen healer traveling the countryside, HIGHER GOALS (1992), an Emmy-nominated PBS special encouraging student athletes to take the “student” aspect seriously, and BOYS TO MEN? (2011) and RITES OF PASSAGE (in production) which examine different angles of the struggles in properly mentoring kids to become effective, compassionate adults. HOOP DREAMS, a fall 1994 theatrical release from Fine Line Features/New Line Cinema, is probably as famous for being a highly compelling character study of Chicago inner city youth banking on college scholarships and basketball careers as the proverbial “way out of the ‘hood” as it is for being called “one of the great moviegoing experiences of my lifetime” by the late Roger Ebert. At the time, many movie critics cried foul that HOOP DREAMS was not nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1995 by the default that it was a documentary.

After his stay at AH/UO is finished, Marx will introduce JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR one additional time on Saturday, October 12, 2 p.m., at the Art Theater Co-op, 126 W. Church St., Champaign, in a screening presented by the UI University Laboratory High School (a.k.a. “Uni High”) from which he graduated in 1973. Admission is free to all the aforementioned events.

~ Jason Pankoke

[This is post #800 on CUBlog! Do well and do good, peoples.]

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