Documentary filmmaker S. Leo Chiang will be visiting campus Monday through Wednesday, Feb. 4 to 6, as a part of the William and Stephanie Clohesy Documentary Film Series.
Screenings of two of Chiang’s films will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4, in Lang Hall Auditorium and Tuesday, Feb. 5, in John Deere Auditorium in the Curris Business Building. On Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 9 a.m., Chiang will give a public lecture in the ScholarSpace in Rod Library.
Chiang’s films highlight topics of inequality and social justice in America and around the world. The two films being featured at UNI include the story of a Vietnamese-American community that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and an LGBT political party in the Philippines.
The series will begin with “Out Run” (runtime: 75 minutes), which follows Bemz Benedito, a leader of the world’s only LGBT political party. Benedito, a transgender woman in the Philippines, leads the movement that challenges the traditionally discriminatory system. Hoping to gain dignity and acceptance for the LGBT people in her country, she fights for equal rights and legitimacy in politics.
Tuesday’s film, “A Village Called Versailles” (runtime: 67 minutes), highlights the story of a community in post-Katrina New Orleans that had to fight for their rights against the local government.
Each screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the director.
The Clohesy Series director and UNI’s documentary filmmaker in-residence David O’Shields said that the event is an extraordinary opportunity for students and the surrounding community.
“I want those who attend to have their horizons broadened, their consciousness raised and I, in particular, want students to see that if they are interested in doing this [making films]. It is possible,” O’Shields said.
According to O’Shields, the board members responsible for choosing who to feature at the series are dedicated to showcasing directors from diverse backgrounds, whose work focuses on spotlighting pertinent social issues.
“We are interested in films that deal with issues of social justice,” O’Shields said. “We are hoping that if we bring in people of diverse backgrounds, who are telling really interesting, important, relevant, social stories — raising issues and raising consciousness — we will be successful in enriching the culture of not only campus life, but of the greater community.”
The William and Stephanie Clohesy Documentary Film Series was established in October of 2011. William Clohesy is now an emeritus professor in the Department of Philosophy and World Religions and Stephanie Clohesy works as an advocate for social justice, heading a local philanthropy.
The Department of Communication Studies and O’Shields, as well as Chris Martin, a professor in the department, initiated the creation of the film series. It was named after the Clohesys in honor of their great work and passion for promoting the art of film and storytelling, according to O’Shields.
“They have done so many amazing things for this community,” O’Shields said. “They have really elevated the lives and enriched the lives of so many people they have come in contact with here.”
The film series is an annual event, traditionally held during the fall semester.
The screenings were initially scheduled for dates back in October 2018, but the visit was postponed due to injuries sustained by Chiang.
Both of Chiang’s films featured at the event can be streamed through Kanopy, an online catalog free for all university affiliated persons.
All events are free and open to the public.
For further details about the event, visit the Facebook page or UNI website.