Rider University’s Annual Film Symposium – Real Life, Reel Representation: The Art and (Personal) Politics of Nonfiction Film

Rider University's Annual Film Symposium - Real Life, Reel Representation: The Art and (Personal) Politics of Nonfiction Film


Wed, Feb 28, 2024 - Thu, Feb 29, 2024    
All Day


Rider University
2083 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ, 08648

Event Type

Rider University to host annual film symposium 
“Real Life, Reel Representation: The Art and (Personal) Politics of Nonfiction Film” takes place Feb. 28 and 29

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — Landmark documentaries and personal nonfiction films are the subjects of Rider University’s Department of Media Art’s annual film symposium, which will take place on Feb. 28 and 29. “Real Life, Reel Representation: The Art and (Personal) Politics of Nonfiction Film” will feature acclaimed speakers, a student film and screenwriting festival, and several student and faculty panel presentations.

“Every year our symposium provides students with a great opportunity to share their work with a larger community and to meet and talk with celebrated filmmakers and film scholars,” says Dr. Cynthia Lucia, professor of media arts.

This year’s keynote speaker is pioneering documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee, who will speak on Feb. 29 at 6:30 p.m. McElwee is most well-known for his trailblazing 1986 film, Sherman’s March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation, which won the 1987 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and was chosen by the Library of Congress National Film Registry for preservation as  an “historically significant American motion picture.” As part of his appearance, McElwee, who is also professor of practice at Harvard University, will present portions of Remake, his newest work in progress.

On Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Barry Keith Grant, professor emeritus of film and culture at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, will present  “Voyages of Discovery: The Cinema of Frederick Wiseman.” Wiseman, a world-renowned documentarian whose observational films have woven a complex tapestry of American institutions over the past six decades, has more than 50 films to his credit. The first film scholar elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Grant has written and edited a wide variety of books about film, including two about Wiseman, as well as Film Genre Reader, a hallmark volume in cinema studies that has been expanded in four editions since its initial publication in 1986.

During the two-day event, students and faculty will present insights into several historic and influential documentaries, including Hoop Dreams, Steve James’ 1994 masterpiece that examines two high school students aspiring to become professional basketball players, and Grizzly Man, Werner Herzog’s haunting 2005 true tale about a man’s misguided relationship with Alaskan bears. Students majoring in film and television at Rider will also present original work during a film and screenwriting festival.

The annual film symposium is designed to help build a film culture at Rider and the surrounding community through cutting-edge film scholarship and exposure to classic and contemporary films. Previous symposia have examined the past and present of film comedy, film noir, cult classics and the film musical, among other topics.

All symposium events are free and open to the Rider community and the general public. Events will be held in Rue Auditorium (Sweigart 115). See the full schedule of events here.