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Altman, Sayles join Imagine Festival


Historic Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues & Ideas
To Present Highly Charged Film Series

Robert Altman, John Sayles, Jehane Noujaim and a host of powerhouse filmmakers will take part in an extraordinary, highly charged film series that is the newest addition to the massive Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues & Ideas, set for the week of the Republican National Convention, organizers announced today.

The film series, which includes many world premieres, will be a major highlight of The Imagine Festival, a grassroots response to the Convention that is becoming one of the largest arts events in New York City history. The weeklong festival is the brainchild of a wildly diverse coalition of New York City artists committed to using their talent "to inspire, instigate, and create change."

>From August 28-September 2, The Imagine Festival will present more than
100 performances, events, and exhibits at dozens of New York venues. Artists on board include marquee names from every corner of the arts world, including Margaret Cho, The Welfare Poets, Marisa Tomei, Andy Borowitz, Kathleen Chalfant, Michael McKean, Mark Anthony Thompson, Julie Atlas Muz, E.L. Doctorow, Lewis Black, Tammy Faye Starlite, and many more.

According to Chris Wangro, co-executive producer of The Imagine Festival, the film series will showcase several world premieres and a mix of dramatic features, documentaries and short films addressing topics ranging from presidential power and the environment to corporate scandals and voting rights.

"Our goal is to use art, rather than partisan sound bites or fever-pitch protest, to explore the critical issues facing us as a nation," said Wangro.

The series will kick-off on August 28th with a "pre-premiere" screening of selected scenes from John Sayles' highly anticipated new film SILVER CITY, a biting satire about a bumbling gubernatorial candidate in Colorado starring Academy Award-winner Chris Cooper. It will be followed by a panel discussion with Sayles on the relationship between film and politics.

On August 29th at The Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, legendary director Robert Altman will host a special 20th Anniversary screening of SECRET HONOR (new 35mm print), a critically acclaimed but oft-overlooked film starring Phillip Baker Hall as a fictionalized President Richard M. Nixon. Altman will participate in an audience Q&A following the screening.

"While politics polarizes, film has the remarkable ability to bring people together and discuss new ideas," Wangro said. "As thousands of Americans gather in New York to debate the nation's future, we're thrilled to provide a forum where these provocative filmmakers can share their vision in a meaningful and powerful way."

Voting rights and democracy will be the focus of three films in the series: Both EVERYWHERE BUT FLORIDA (Matt Kohn; world premiere) and
UNPRECEDENTED: THE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION (Richard Ray Perez and Joan Sekler; 2002), take in depth looks at the most controversial election in American history, while in VOTING IN AMERICA (world premiere), filmmakers Laura Harrison and Charlotte Lagarde explore voter apathy and uncover innovative ways communities are combating it.

Several of the series' films also address the war in Iraq: In CONTROL ROOM (2004), acclaimed director Jehane Noujaim investigates Al Jazeera's coverage of the war, while 60 New Yorkers with cameras document a huge 2003 anti- war rally SIXTY CAMERAS AGAINST THE WAR (Julie Talen; world premiere). In BROTHERS AND OTHERS (world premiere), Nicholas Rossier meets Arab, Muslim, and South Asian Americans as they struggle to deal with the fallout from the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Other highlights of The Imagine Festival's film series include THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: JUDI BARI VS. THE F.B.I. (Bernadine Mellis; world premiere), a powerful profile of the environmental activist who won a historic civil rights lawsuit against the FBI, THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND (Lori Cheatle; world premiere), which deftly explores the impact of corporations on American democracy and society, and THE FOURTH WORLD WAR (Richard Rowley & Jacqueline Schooen; 2003), which visits the frontline of wars in five continents.

Filmmakers, artists, and experts will participate in discussions following all films. Venues across the city will be hosting screenings including Anthology Film Archives, The Pioneer Theater, Symphony Space, and Makor Center. Organizers will be announcing additional film screenings and a detailed programming schedule for all events in the coming weeks. Visit for schedule updates.

For preview screeners of featured films, to schedule interviews, or for further information, please contact Patrick Kowalczyk at or at 212.627.8098.

The Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues & Ideas is produced by NY, America, a non-profit organization of artists and producers committed to engaging the public in civic discourse through events that unite the arts, sciences, and humanities.

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