Film Screening and Discussion to Focus on Forgiving

10/22/2003

Contributed by Antoinette Di Ciaccio

A film by Mara Alper, featuring South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others considering the topic of forgiveness, will be screened at Ithaca College on Thursday, October 23. The showing, which will be followed by a discussion, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Park Hall Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Forgiving the Unforgivable is a 30-minute documentary produced and directed by Mara Alper, an assistant professor of television-radio in the Park School. The film takes a psychological and philosophical approach to the dilemma of forgiveness, which can be offered both because it is the right thing to do and because it can be in the forgiver's best interest.

"The possibility for profound healing is told through powerful stories from a prisoner, a recovering alcoholic, a grieving mother, and a renowned world leader, Archbishop Desmond Tutu," says Alper. "Each one portrays different aspects of forgiveness after suffering a loss -- loss of innocence, trust, life, or liberty. They tell us how they moved on with their lives instead of staying locked in anger."

Alper, a media artist and documentarian, spent three years putting the film together. Her personal questions about forgiveness led her to interview experts in the field, then identify people who exemplified the experts' findings. She says the goal of the piece is to stimulate discussion and expand possibilities for conflict resolution.

The panelists for the discussion following the screening will include Lori Kofoid, program coordinator at the Community Dispute Resolution Center, and Stephen Cole, associate professor of theater, film, and dance at Cornell University.

Forgiving the Unforgivable has been chosen for screening at the national conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers selected it as a work in progress to screen for national PBS executives for possible airing.

Also on the program will be a showing of Alper's short experimental film To Erzulie, which features poetry and performance by Ithaca College theater arts graduate Lenelle N. Moise '02. One of Alper's video installations will be included in the Ithaca College Handwerker Gallery's faculty art show, which has an opening reception from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. the same evening as the screening.

Funding for Forgiving the Unforgivable was provided by the James B. Pendleton endowment in the Roy H. Park School of Communications; Ithaca College summer research, creative projects, and Center for Faculty Development and Research grants; and the Experimental Television Center in conjunction with the New York State Council on the Arts.

Contributed by Antoinette Di Ciaccio

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