The University of Chicago News Office
August 23, 2006 Press Contact: Josh Schonwald
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Writer-director-producer Atom Egoyan, artistic director Anne Bogart launch 2006-2007 University of Chicago Presidential Fellows in the Arts series

Internationally celebrated filmmaker Atom Egoyan and Anne Bogart, artistic director and co-founder of the groundbreaking contemporary theater ensemble SITI Company, will open the 2006-2007 University of Chicago Presidential Fellows in the Arts Series. Egoyan, known for challenging audiences around the world with the films he directs, writes and produces, will screen and discuss one of his films on Thursday, Nov. 9, while Bogart, winner of two Obie Awards, a Bessie Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Fellowship, will present “The Role of a Theater Artist on the World Stage” on Monday, Nov. 20.

Egoyan — Cairo-born, Canadian-bred and of Armenian descent — creates films that are uniquely personal, often exploring issues of grief, intimacy, displacement and the impact of technology and media on modern life. His films, including “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Exotica” and “Where the Truth Lies,” have earned both critical acclaim and commercial success around the world. Egoyan is known for pushing boundaries and using film to tell complicated stories from a variety of nonlinear perspectives. Unafraid of controversy, Egoyan has been noted and lauded by critics for his comfort making both big, commercially successful films such as 1997’s Oscar-nominated “The Sweet Hereafter,” and smaller, personally gratifying films such as 2002’s “Ararat,” a story that confronts the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire. The New York Times called Egoyan “one of the most distinctive members of the film industry,” and said he has “left an indelible imprint on audiences everywhere with his haunting, beautifully wrought work.”

Creator of more than a dozen films, Egoyan is one of Canada’s most prominent filmmakers. He was immediately noticed when his debut feature, “Next of Kin” (1984), earned a Genie nomination — the Canadian Academy Award — for best director, and went on to earn him Germany’s Mannheim International Film Week Gold Ducat Award. He has since earned dozens of Genie nominations and 15 Genie Awards, in addition to several awards at Cannes, a number of Independent Spirit Awards and several honors from film festivals such as Toronto, Berlin, Venice and Moscow. “The Sweet Hereafter” (1997) became the most honored film at the 50th Cannes Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize, the International Critics Prize and the Ecumenical Award for Humanist Filmmaking. That film garnered two Academy Award nominations and was named to 250 top-10 lists, earning the top position on more than two-dozen such lists, among them the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. Internationally, Egoyan’s film works have been presented in retrospectives in Paris, New York, London, Taipei, Budapest, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the U.K. and Armenia. In 1994, Time magazine, citing Egoyan as “one of the most important film artists working today,” named him to their “Global 100,” a roster of “young leaders for the new millennium.”

As much as Egoyan challenges audiences with films that break the Hollywood mold, Bogart challenges American audiences with her vision, as she puts it, of theater “both locally and internationally connected.” She founded SITI Company with Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki in 1992 with the aim of creating theater drawn not only from European traditions, but also Latin America, Asia, Africa and performance traditions in the United States, be they commercial or more marginal. Some of her productions with SITI include “Hotel Cassiopeia,” “Intimations for Saxophone,” “Death and the Ploughman” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A director, playwright, essayist and teacher, Bogart has earned a number of accolades, among them a Distinguished Career Award from the South East Theatre Conference, the Elliott Norton Award for Outstanding Direction and the designation of Modern Master by the Actors Theater of Louisville.

Chair of the graduate directing program and professor of theater arts at Columbia University, Bogart is the author of a book of essays entitled A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theater. She is the co-author — with internationally renowned director Tina Landau, a regular guest lecturer at the University of Chicago — of The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition. Her forthcoming work is called And Then You Act: Making Art in an Unpredictable World. She has taught at more than a dozen colleges, universities and theater groups, including New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Harvard University, Williams College and Playwrights Horizons. President of the Theatre Communications Group from 1990 to 1992, Bogart has served on the National Endowment for the Arts Overview Committee, the Opera Musical Theatre panel and the Fulbright Committee.

The Presidential Fellows in the Arts Series seeks to showcase the vibrant traffic between artistic theory and practice that takes place at the University of Chicago and to foster the vitality of the arts in Hyde Park. Each residency includes both a public presentation and a more intimate educational program for University students and faculty, such as a workshop, seminar or master class. While at the University, Egoyan will conduct a class with students in Cinema & Media Studies, while Bogart will offer interactive workshops for members of University Theater as well as students in Theater and Performance Studies.

The series, now in its third year, brings a cross-section of distinguished artists to the University of Chicago for residencies and offers the public a rare chance to experience eminent talent in an intimate setting. Past Presidential Fellows include actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, graphic artist Neil Gaiman, dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, composer and saxophonist John Zorn and writer, producer and co-president of Focus Features James Schamus, who was joined by director Ang Lee to present a preview of the Oscar-winning film “Brokeback Mountain.”

Tickets for both Egoyan’s and Bogart’s appearances go on sale Monday, Oct. 2. Cost per performance is $15 general, $5 students with valid ID. They can be purchased by calling (773) 702-8080, e-mailing or visiting the box office at 5720 S. Woodlawn Ave., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Persons with disabilities who believe that they may need assistance may call in advance of the event, (773) 702-8080.

An initiative of the Faculty Committee on Theater and Performance Studies, the University of Chicago Presidential Fellows in the Arts Series is made possible through the support of the Arts Planning Council and the Office of the President, University of Chicago. Other events in the Series include an ongoing, three-year residency with 500 Clown, a Chicago-based circus arts and improvisation performance group whose members have been teaching classes and leading seminars on subjects such as creative writing, adaptation and clown work, culminating with a major production in 2008.


WHO: Director, writer and producer Atom Egoyan // Artistic director and SITI co-founder Anne Bogart

WHAT: Film screening and discussion with Gretchen Helfrich of Chicago Public Radio // Presentation and discussion with Gretchen Helfrich of Chicago Public Radio

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006 // 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, 2006

WHERE: Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. // Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave.

TICKETS: On sale Monday, Oct. 2, 2006
$15 (general) and $5 (students with valid ID)
Phone: (773) 702-8080
Visit: Box Office, 5720 S. Woodlawn Ave., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Last modified at 10:09 AM CST on Wednesday, August 23, 2006.

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