U.S. Department of State to Present American Documentary Showcase with Public Screening at National Geographic Society

Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 19, 2009

The U.S. Department of State will present the American Documentary Showcase, a major touring program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) that introduces foreign audiences to award-winning U.S. documentaries, filmmakers, and film specialists. On Monday, June 22, 2009 at 11:45 a.m., the National Geographic Society (Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.) will host a screening of one of the featured documentaries: America’s Lost Landscape: The Tall Grass Prairie. Filmmaker David O'Shields will discuss his documentary and reflect upon the dialogue it elicited with the foreign public. O’Shields will be joined by National Geographic Television President Michael Rosenfeld, noted author and documentary film expert Betsy McLane, and a State Department official in a panel discussion about documentary film and cultural diplomacy.

ECA produces the American Documentary Showcase in partnership with the University Film and Video Association (UFVA) and in cooperation with the International Documentary Association (IDA). UFVA and IDA have curated a thematic showcase of 29 award-winning contemporary American documentaries, including 2008 Academy Award® nominees “The Betrayal” and “The Garden.” The documentaries offer a diversified look at American life and the values of a democratic society and demonstrating the role of documentaries as catalysts for dialogue and change. As part of the program, American filmmakers and film specialists are traveling abroad to introduce Showcase films and conduct workshops and other public diplomacy outreach at documentary festivals and at U.S. Embassy-organized events.

The Showcase debuted in the Czech Republic and Poland in April, 2009, and has since traveled to Ecuador, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Turkey and Indonesia. It is expected to travel to 17 more countries by the end of the year before beginning a new Showcase overseas tour in 2010.

Founded in 1947, University Film and Video Association has more than 800 professional and institutional members involved in the production and study of film, video, and other media arts. The International Documentary Association supports and promotes documentaries and their filmmakers and has 3000 members in 53 countries.

Please visit http://www.exchanges.state.gov/cultural/index.html, http://www.ufva.org/index.php and http://www.documentary.org/ads09 for more information.

Media Contacts:
David C. Grier phone 202-203-7007, GrierDC@state.gov
Catherine Stearns phone 202-203-5107, StearnsCL@state.gov

PRN: 2009/625