The moving picture turns 100 this year and some Johns Hopkins University undergraduates who can’t picture life without a big screen have marked film’s centennial by bringing to the Homewood campus an impressive group of movie industry insiders to discuss the powerful medium of film.
The 1995 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium, “Framing Society: A Century of Cinema” will be held in Shriver Hall at 8 p.m. on different nights from Oct. 10 through Nov. 16, and is entirely free and open to the public.
James Robinson, founder and CEO of Morgan Creek Productions, will discuss the movie-making business in the series kick-off event Oct. 10. Since 1988 Robinson has produced at least 26 films, including Young Guns I and II, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Enemies: a Love Story, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and True Romance. Last year Robinson, a Baltimore resident who commutes every week to the West Coast, was named the most prolific producer of the year by Hollywood Reporter Magazine.
Also during the series, an independent film maker will discuss the recent boom in independent, low-budget films while another director will talk
about the importance of her identity as a Latina lesbian and her struggle not to be pegged as a “queer” director. Other speakers will discuss the portrayal of African-Americans and women in movies, and one of India’s leading directors will discuss the international movie scene.
Symposium organizers say another highlight will be a lecture given by veteran screenwriter Millard Kaufman. Kaufman, 78, has weathered the ups and downs of the film industry for decades and his colorful, tell-it-like-it-is style is as entertaining as it is enlightening. Besides writing memorable Lee Marvin and Spencer Tracy westerns like Bad Day at Black Rock and Take the High Ground, he is also known for risking his career by fronting the screenplay Gun Crazy for a blacklisted friend during the McCarthy era. Still, Kaufman is probably most famous for creating the quirky and comical cartoon character Mr. Magoo.
During the symposium, Hopkins will also hold the grand opening of the Shriver Hall Theater in Shriver Hall Auditorium, which will be outfitted with state-of-the-art screening capabilities, making it the largest movie theater in the Baltimore-Washington area. In the future, the new theater will host movie premieres and sneak previews as well as off-beat and foreign films.
The Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium was established in 1967 by Hopkins’ undergraduate student council to honor the university’s eighth president.
Every year since then, a team of two to three students chosen by the student council has arranged and managed all aspects of the series. Usually about six prominent figures are booked to address a current national issue.
Covering topics like the nuclear arms race, human sexuality, freedom of the press and foreign policy and race, the symposium has been drawn speakers like Aaron Copland, Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Bernstein, former senators George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, Pat Robinson and Isaac Asimov.
This year’s symposium organizers are Hopkins seniors Chris Aldrich and Matt Gross. Gross and fellow Hopkins senior Gil Jawetz have also produced and directed a short film, Mardi Gras, Baltimore, which will premiere during the symposium.
The 1995 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium.
Oct. 10, 8 p.m.
“The Film Industry.” James G. Robinson, CEO of Morgan Creek Productions; producer of True Romance, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Major League 2.
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 8 p.m.
Go Fish, written and directed by Rose Troche.
Thursday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m.
“Sexuality and Film.” Rose Troche writer/director of Go Fish.
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 8 p.m., Shriver Hall.
U.S. premiere of Ondanondu Kaladalli, directed by Girish Karnad.
Thursday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m.
“World Cinema.” Girish Karnad, leading film director of India and past director of the Film and Television Institute of India.
Thursday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m.
“Women In Film and Criticism.” Molly Haskell, New York film critic and author of From Reverence to Rape.
Thursday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m.
“Censorship of Film.” Millard Kaufman, screenwriter, Bad Day at Black Rock, Take the High Ground, Raintree Country; board member of the Writers Guild of America; creator of Mr. Magoo.
Friday, Nov. 3, 8 p.m.
Bad Day at Black Rock, written by Millard Kaufman. The film will be introduced by Kaufman and followed by a question and answer session.
Thursday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m.
“Race and Film.” Thomas Cripps, author and history professor at Morgan State University.
Friday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.
Premiere and screening.
World premiere of Mardi Gras, Baltimore, written, produced and directed by JHU students Gil Jawetz and Matt Gross. Screening of Laws of Gravity, produced by Larry Meistrich.
Thursday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m.
“Independent films.” Larry Meistrich, producer of Laws of Gravity and New Jersey Drive; CEO of the Shooting Gallery.
(photos of speakers available upon request)