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Be a 'Witness to War'

February 26, 2007

Still from Ken Burns' "The War" showing two soldiers leaning against a tankIn his new epic documentary "The War," renowned filmmaker Ken Burns tells the story of World War II through personal accounts of nearly 40 men and women from four quintessentially American towns, including Sacramento. Though "The War" premieres on PBS in September, the Documentary Film Institute -- a project of SF State's International Center for the Arts (ICA) -- presents a sneak preview and in-person interview with Burns on March 1 and 2. The events highlight the institute's four-day film festival, "Witness to War: Documentary Perspectives: World War II to Iraq."

Professor Stephen Ujlaki, director of the Documentary Film Institute, said "Witness to War" honors filmmakers who bring to light the real war stories often suppressed by governments and corporate news media.

"The greatest of these filmmakers train their cameras on and probe for truth amid the stark, brutal and, for the majority of the public, unbelievable impact of war," said Ujlaki, who also is chair of the Cinema Department.

Presented in partnership with KQED Public Broadcasting, the 7 p.m. March 1 screening takes place at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. It features a 90-minute compilation of Burns' 14-hour, seven-part documentary, followed by a conversation with Burns and author Thomas Sanchez. Tickets, available from City Box Office, are $15 general admission and $12 for students and KQED members.

The following night at 7:30, Burns will introduce a preview screening of the entire two-hour opening episode of "The War," at the Premier Theater in the Letterman Digital Arts Center at Lucasfilm Ltd. in San Francisco. Burns, whose body of work also includes the historical and epic documentaries "Jazz" and "Baseball," will answer audience questions following the screening. Tickets, available from Ticketweb, are $15 general admission and $10 for students.

"Witness to War" also features many free events March 3 and 4, including a tribute to legendary British filmmaker Humphrey Jennings and a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary, "Iraq in Fragments."

For a complete schedule and ticket information, visit the ICA Web site or call (415) 338-1519.

In addition, as part of "Witness to War," the ICA presents an art exhibit, "Revisiting Vietnam in Contemporary Art," through March 15 in the Fine Arts Gallery in the Fine Arts building. The exhibit, organized by faculty and staff from SF State and Mills College, features video projections, sculptures, installations and photography by nine artists exploring the legacy of the Vietnam War. Admission is free. The Fine Arts Gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays.

For details on free events associated with the exhibit, call (415) 338-6535 or visit the Fine Arts Gallery Web site.

ICA, founded in 2005 with a $3 million gift from alumni George and Judy Marcus, celebrates some of the world's most innovative art and artists, with a current focus on documentary film and visual art.

-- Matt Itelson
Photo: Courtesy of PBS


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Last modified February 26, 2007 by University Communications