Syracuse University

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Two days, two features, one internationally renowned artist

March 02, 2010

Christine Fawcett
(315) 443-8826

Syracuse film lovers and political activists will have two chances to hear from an award-winning guerrilla filmmaker on March 3 and 4 as George Gittoes speaks with students at Syracuse University and Le Moyne College and screens films for the community at The Palace Theatre in Eastwood.

Gittoes will be screening two films and conducting a seminar on political filmmaking. He has been described as one of Australia’s foremost figurative painters–a war artist who uses painting, drawing, photography and video. He has focused on traveling to places that have been affected greatly by human tragedy due to war or natural disaster. Audiences may recognize his documentary “Soundtrack to War,” which had 17 scenes featured in Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

For more than a decade, Gittoes has been working in areas that are usually the reserve of journalists. His work catches the complexity of individual circumstance, of human frailty, empowerment and survival, against a backdrop of world issues. His images are about both “the moment” and “the big picture.”

He will screen “Soundtrack to War” on Wednesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Shemin Auditorium in Shaffer Art Building (admission is free) and “Miscreants of Taliwood” on Thursday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m. at The Palace Theatre, 2384 James St., Eastwood (tickets, available at the door, are $10 for the general public; $8 for seniors and students).

“Soundtrack to War” showcases spontaneous music performances by a striking cast of the battle weary—performances made without rehearsal, under the blaring Iraqi sun, with the backdrop of a destroyed city, grit and dust, and the distraction of gunfire and bursting mortar shells. The film takes viewers on the whole emotional roller coaster ride of the young and talented who have found themselves in the hell of war, and who want to stay alive.

“Miscreants of Taliwood” finds Gittoes on location in the Taliban-dominated sections of Pakistan near the Afghanistan border. Gittoes touches on the repressive nature of the Islamic fundamentalist regime, particularly its oppression of women, but this is only incidentally a political movie. More often, it’s a bizarre comedy about the fringes of low-budget filmmaking.

Gittoes’ visit to Syracuse is sponsored in part by the Department of Transmedia in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and Le Moyne College’s film department as well as SU’s Maxwell School and South Asia Center. The event is produced and presented by SYRFILM PRESENTS, a year-round program of the Syracuse International Film Festival. To reserve a block of tickets or for more information, call the film festival office at (315) 443-8826.

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