“The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela” documentary coming to Hilo

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Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2006
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaii at HiloVoices in a Nation project and Friends of the Hilo Palace Theatre present “The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela: a son's tribute to unsung heroes," at the Palace Theatre on Wednesday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for UH Hilo and Hawai`i Community College students with current ID, and $5.00 for the general public.

The film is the final installment of Director Thomas Allen Harris’ Paulding Avenue Trilogy. Harris, who will be in residence at UH Hilo from February 21-26, will conduct a question and answer session following the film.

Harris’ latest work chronicles his journey of reconciliation with his deceased stepfather, who despite raising him as his son, he could never call “father.”

B. Pule Leinaeng (Lee) was an African National Congress (ANC) foot soldier that sacrificed his life for the freedom of his country. Lee and his eleven comrades were part of the first wave of South African exiles who left their home in Bloemfontein in 1960 to broadcast to the world the brutality of the apartheid system and to raise support for the ANC and its leaders, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo.

Their story, according to Harris, “completes the chronicle of my family’s history over the last forty years as an African and American family at the epicenter of major social, political and cultural changes in America and the world.”

The film, a co-production of the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, will make its U.S. television premier on PBS’ P.O.V. later this year.

Harris, for the past 16 years, has been a seminal part of Gay and Lesbian Independent film as a writer, curator, maker and educator. The previous installments of his trilogy, E Minha Cara/That’s My Face (2001) won Best Documentary at the 2002 OUTFEST – Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. The critically acclaimed documentary premiered at the Toronto, Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals, winning seven international awards, including the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury of Christian Churches at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival. Vintage: Families of Value (1995) captured Best Documentary Video at the 20th Annual Atlanta Film and Video Festival, and the Golden Gate Award, at the 1996 San Francisco Film Festival.

Plans are underway for Harris to present these installments on the UH Hilo campus February 23-26 (specific dates/times/location TBA) as a follow-up to the Gay and Lesbian Ohana (GLO) conference, “Weaving the Fabric of Diversity” (February10-12). His residence activities will also include a presentation featuring his early work in video and performance installation media.

The Voices in a Nation project was founded in 2003 to provide a cross-disciplinary humanities initiative to acknowledge significant writers, visual artists, and performers from a pan-ethnic perspective. The project’s objective is to bring individuals to the UH Hilo campus who have achieved national and international recognition for work in their respective field of knowledge to significantly influence local scholarship and enrich cultural life in a manner generating long-term benefits to the community.

For additional information or disability accommodations, please contact Michael Marshall at 974-7524 (V) or 933-3334 (TTY) by February 7.

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