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CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
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Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: winston-barclay@uiowa.edu

Release: Oct. 17, 2002

(NOTE TO EDITORS: You can reach James Hatch and Camille Billops at 319-688-9836. Video tapes of the films are available in advance to reviewers.)

Films By Hatch & Billops Include Sundance Jury Prize Winner

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will present a festival of short films by UI alumnus James Hatch and his wife, visual artist Camille Billops, Oct. 25-27 on the UI campus. Hatch, Billops, poet Suzanne Noguere and their team of collaborators are on campus creating the blues-musical fantasy “Klub Ka” for a Nov. 14-24 world premiere production on the University Theatres Mainstage season.

The free film screenings will be:

-- “Finding Christa,” winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and “Suzanne Suzanne” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building;

-- “Older Women and Love,” plus a special sneak screening of a new film, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, also in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building; and

-- “Take Your Bags” and “KKK Boutique Ain’t All Just Rednecks,” at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, in the Terrace Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Hatch, a native of Oelwein, Ia, is one of the nation’s most distinguished scholars of African-American Theatre. A graduate of both the University of Northern Iowa and the UI, he is an emeritus professor at City University of New York. Hatch and Billops are the curators of the Hatch-Billops Collection, a major archive of taped interviews and documents about African-American culture.

“Finding Christa” recounts how Billops was reunited with her daughter Christa, whom she had given up for adoption as a young child. Christa, who is now a singer and songwriter, is music director and composer for “Klub Ka.” After winning the Grand Jury Award at Sundance, “Finding Christa” was screened at film festivals around the world.

“Suzanne Suzanne,” Billops directorial debut, was selected for the 1983 New Directors series sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art. The film confronts the tribulations of her niece, who fell into heroin addiction in response the abuse by her father.

“Older Women in Love” frankly explores the erotic prowess of older women, and their relationships with younger men, through parallel interviews with four women between the ages of 45 and 79.

“The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks” has been called “a comic excursion through an imagined underworld.” It includes a “racist fashion show” of Klan robes, intercut with interviews about encounters with hate groups.

“Take Your Bags” addresses the cultural theft of the “Middle Passage.” “When the Africans boarded the ships bound for America, they carried in their ‘bags’ all their memories of home,” Billops explains. “When they arrived in the New World, their bags had been switched, and in them they found ‘nigger,’ ‘beast,’ ‘slave.’ ” Many generations later, the descendents of these Africans tour the Museum of Modern Art to see the African-influenced sculptures and art of Picasso, Braque, and Matisse.

The film was shown at the Sedona International Film Festival, as part of the curated series “A Tribute to Women in the Director’s Chair.”

All three screenings are open to the public, and no tickets are required.

Co-sponsors include UI Student Life/Bijou, the UI Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature, and the Diversity Committee of UI Student Government. The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information, visit www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu.