Seniors Fulfill a Shared Artistic Vision by Adapting and Codirecting “The Picture of Dorian Gray” for the Stage

In the summer of 2021, theatre major Mattie Tindall ’23 and Hannah Chaikin ’23, who is double majoring in film and French, got together for brunch in Washington, D.C.’s  Adams Morgan neighborhood. Close friends and artistic collaborators since their first year at Hollins, Tindall was excited to share with Chaikin her enthusiasm for a book she had just finished reading: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde’s classic 19th century novel about a man who sells his soul for eternal youth.

“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, that was my favorite book in high school,’” Chaikin recalled. “We had a great conversation about everything from our favorite part to who we would cast in a film version.”

Suddenly, they both had inspiration for their senior thesis, on which work needed to commence soon. “We decided to put our passion for this novel into that project,” Chaikin said.

“We were sold on it,” Tindall added. “We were like, ‘This is happening, we’re doing this in some way, shape, or form.’”

A creative process was underway that ultimately resulted in Tindall and Chaikin adapting Dorian Gray for the stage and codirecting a full production of their play on Hollins Theatre’s Main Stage this March.

“At first, we weren’t planning on anything more than a reading with our friends,” the pair stated in their Directors’ Note for the Dorian Gray playbill. “Then, as the script developed, we got excited about the possibility of a staged version.”

That script went through several different phases. “The first draft we wrote was super literal,” Tindall explained. “We took chunks from the book and those were the lines that our characters said. But as we went through rewrites and different drafts, we got more comfortable with our voices as playwrights. Once we learned how to write as a team, we became more confident, and the script transformed. It was important to us to make the language a little bit easier to understand.”

“It was difficult for me to let go of that Oscar Wilde language that was so rich and why I loved the novel so much,” Chaikin noted. “But as it became more ‘our’ project, we had to make it ‘our’ voice. In our version, the characters are not necessarily making the same decisions that they made in the book. They’re put into different circumstances based on our own writing, which is really cool. That was something fascinating I found out about the adapting process: we’re taking the source material and creating new life for its characters.”

Tindall and Chaikin finished their first draft in November 2021. “We got a huge group together in the Hollins Theatre Green Room, read it through, got feedback, and then left it alone for a while,” Tindall said. “We didn’t know what was going to become of it, but then Wendy-Marie [Martin, assistant professor of theatre and chair of the theatre department] mentioned that the season selection committee was going to meet to determine the 2022-23 schedule. Hannah and I were both like, ‘What the heck, let’s submit this script we are proud of.’”

“We were very excited about the opportunity to have faculty and peers on the committee read it next to a bunch of other preexisting plays,” Chaikin added. “We thought their assessment would be helpful. But we were actually selected, and it was just wonderful.”

The writing of what ultimately wound up on stage largely took place during the summer of 2022. The two made remarkable progress despite the fact that Tindall spent those months serving as a counselor at a sleepaway camp while Chaikin worked on campus at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.

“We were FaceTiming every day, which was challenging,” Tindall said. “I had to search for good wi-fi and find at least an hour where I didn’t have any other responsibilities. We had to do a lot of revisions in which we were cutting characters and adding scenes. It was a beast, but it was something we were incredibly passionate about and didn’t want to give up on. It gave us the motivation to push to the end.”

One of the exercises that Tindall and Chaikin employed to make their time apart constructive was to write the same scene separately, compare each version, and determine a combination of the two with which they were both satisfied. The pair also found that their unique writing styles complemented one another. “Mattie’s writing constantly,” Chaikin said. “But I’m someone who is nothing or everything. There are times I’d go to Mattie and say, ‘I don’t have anything,’ but then suddenly I’d have a lot of ideas. It was helpful to have a partner because I wouldn’t be able to do this without working with another person.”

Another obstacle that Tindall and Chaikin successfully overcame was the changes in cast and crew that occurred over the course of the roughly year and a half it took to bring their Dorian Gray adaptation to fruition. As Chaikin stated, “At Hollins Theatre, you’re cast in a show, it goes up in a month in a half, and then then you’re done. We didn’t have that. We originally started rehearsals in March 2022 and some people were just not able to stay on this project for a long period of time. But everyone was so integral to the shaping of the show, and it wouldn’t have been the same project if those people hadn’t been there. So, the challenge was, how do we bring someone new on board to replace a person who was so important to the process? Even though the team was constantly in flux, we were able to maintain a sense of stability over a long period of time, and the journey through all those ins and outs – I don’t even call them ups and downs – was gratifying. The end part was amazing, but to me the most rewarding part was getting to that point.”

Tindall agreed that “we had an incredibly rich rehearsal process, as long as it was. As codirectors, Hannah and I tried to cultivate a supportive and caring community. We aimed to make sure every member of our team – the actors, the crew, the techs, the designers – was approached with love and kindness. We had lots of laughter and dancing and being silly and making big, bold, goofy choices. There was so much joy filling every rehearsal space at any given point.”

Witnessing their Dorian Gray adaptation come to life before a live audience in March of this year was surreal for Tindall and Chaikin in the best possible way.

“There is nothing like seeing a play that you wrote being performed before other people, and I know this is something I need to do for the rest of my life,” Tindall said.

“It was so wild,” Chaikin stated. “It felt like a different play we were seeing. It had nothing to do with us anymore. Our actors and crew were doing amazing things. It was kind of terrifying – a Hollins audience is unique. It’s lovely because it’s so authentic. I liked being able to do it at Hollins because there were people in the audience I respected and who I wanted to make laugh. There’s nothing I’ve ever felt that is like that.”

Tindall and Chaikin are delighted with what they have accomplished, but to them, their Dorian Gray adaptation is still very much a work in progress with further edits planned to solidify the script. They admit they have to decide whether they want to send the play off into the world for others to produce and perform, or if it’s something that will always be changing and thus will necessitate their direct and ongoing input.

Right now, the two are busy making plans for life after graduation from Hollins this spring. Tindall has a summer job lined up but is anticipating moving to New York City this fall. “I don’t know what I’ll do there yet. I like to write, whether that’s plays or anything else. I like to tell stories and I just want to see what that holds for me.”

Chaikin is working this summer with Roanoke’s Grandin Theatre but is hoping to join Tindall and another friend in New York. Graduate school is also possibly on the horizon. “I love academia and I would love to continue studying in the next few years.”

According to Tindall, one thing that is certain is that she and Chaikin will continue to partner on creative projects. She fondly remembers their fateful meeting in French class during the first semester of their first year. Chaikin, who learned that Tindall had done theatre in high school, asked her to act in a short video she was producing for a film class.

“It was the start of something wonderful and who knows where life will take us next,” Tindall said.

 

 

 

 


Hollins Student to Speak at International Art History Symposium

A Hollins University sophomore has been invited to present at one of the foremost events for students interested in art history and related fields.

Katelynn Budzyn ’25 will lead a session on “Mary Cassatt’s Impressionistic Impact on Scientific Motherhood and Innovation” at the Fifth Annual SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Art History Symposium, April 13 – 16. According to the symposium’s website, the multi-day virtual event features “the work of a hundred talented students from institutions across the globe. We look forward to developing it further into a premier outlet for undergraduates…to share their research, broaden their intellectual horizons, and network with one another.” The symposium’s mission statement proclaims, “We seek to provide an inviting, nurturing and inclusive space for undergraduates to give their first professional talks as well as to increase student self-confidence.”

Budzyn will focus on how Cassatt (1844-1926), an Impressionist painter who was born in Pennsylvania but later emigrated to France, “used collective maternal nostalgia and grief resulting from the creation of formula and the subsequent debate on bottle-feeding versus breast-feeding as a vessel to cultivate an audience for her artwork in the United States during the second Industrial Revolution.”

In her presentation, Budzyn will first look briefly at “external factors that impacted and accentuated longing for the past including mortality rates for infants and children during the late 1800s as well as child labor. I then discuss the idea of Scientific Motherhood, a concept that was introduced in the late 18th century and promoted the idea that mothers needed to follow expert medical and scientific advice to rear healthy, successful children.”

By blending scenes of breastfeeding with loving interactions between mother and child, Budzyn asserts that “Cassatt successfully used these mothers’ collective rejection of innovation to her advantage. I also explore the comparison between the Impressionist process of painting and how children are raised.”

Budzyn says innovative methods were a hallmark of Cassatt’s paintings. “She found her way around a painting by using large and multiple brushstrokes. Even if a brushstroke was a ‘mistake’ it could be used in its own original way to contribute to the piece. Through a non-traditional role, Cassatt impacted the Impressionist art movement, influenced mothers, and pushed boundaries – therefore breaking standards and cultivating her own unique position and career.”

Launched in the fall of 2018, this year’s Undergraduate Art History Symposium “has exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Professor Keely Heuer, chair of the Department of Art History at SUNY New Paltz. “The response to this year’s call for abstracts was astounding, and the leaders of the Art History Association who selected this year’s papers had quite the challenge.”


University of Tennessee Social Psychologist to Keynote 65th Annual Science Seminar

University of Tennessee Professor of Social Psychology Michael Olson will deliver the keynote address at Hollins University’s 65th Annual Science Seminar in April.

The seminar, which celebrates scientific research and inquiry, showcases the work conducted by Hollins science and mathematics students throughout the current academic year.

On Wednesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center, Olson will present “The Science of Bias: Implicit Attitude Formation, Change, and Impact.” His research centers on implicit bias, prejudice reduction, and intergroup relations. More broadly, he applies a dual-process approach to a variety of domains, including prejudice correction, close relationships, sexual aggression, and most recently, suicide.

Olson has served as associate editor of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. He is currently completing a textbook on the psychology of prejudice.

The Science Seminar will spotlight student research posters on Friday, April 14, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the Dana Science Building. The poster session will be held in Dana’s first and second floor hallways.


Hollins Announces Children’s Literature Workshops for Summer 2023

This summer, Hollins University’s graduate programs in children’s literature are offering three one-week intensive workshops for teachers and librarians, aspiring authors and illustrators, and alumnae/i of Hollins’ undergraduate and graduate programs.

“Whether you want to grow your skills as a picture book creator, scholar, or selector, or would like to enhance your ability to write for children, these workshops offer practical guidance through the expertise of accomplished artists and authors,” said Lisa Fraustino, children’s literature graduate programs director.

The three Summer 2023 workshops are listed below. Visit the children’s literature workshops webpage for details on registration, fees, housing, and meals. For further information, contact Cathy Koon, graduate programs manager, at ckoon@hollins.edu.

Picture Book Trends: A Curated Reading Workshop
Elizabeth Dulemba, Instructor
June 12 – 16, 2023

Are you a teacher or librarian overwhelmed by the prospect of picking out the best new picture books for your young readers? Are you a creator who needs to stay on top of today’s picture book marketplace? If so, let this expert guide you on a curated reading journey.

Dulemba, an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, will walk you through the picture book submissions for the annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize and other bestsellers, covering current themes and trends, and pointing out the written and visual tricks that make them popular, successful, and beloved. By the end of the week, you will have a solid grasp of the current picture book landscape to better prepare you to recommend books to others or create them yourself. 

Writing Intensive: The Path to Publication
Erin Clyburn, Instructor
June 26 – 30. 2023

You’ve spent months (or even years!) writing and editing your novel, workshopping and rereading and editing again, and you are ready to seek traditional publication. Literary agent Erin Clyburn will cover the steps to take your work from manuscript to book: crafting a query letter, learning what comp titles are, researching agents to query, writing a synopsis, making sure your first page shines, learning about the market, seeing what your agent relationship might look like, and working on your platform (and knowing if you need one at all).

This intensive is intended for authors of novel-length works (chapter books, middle grade, and young adult) who have completed or near-completed manuscripts and are preparing to seek traditional publication. The goal is to finish the week with a polished query package and an understanding of how to seek out the right agent for your work.

Writing for Children Intensive: “Writing is Rewriting”
Dhonielle Clayton, Instructor
July 10 – July 14, 2023

Finished a first draft? Or have a solid chunk of a novel? Now what? The best writers are really revisers. Join this intensive to find the right ingredients to transform your rough pages into a compelling book for young people. Writing demands complex characters, high stakes, a layered world, and research.

Leading this workshop is Dhonielle Clayton, a New York Times bestselling author of The Marvellerverse series, The Belles series, and Shattered Midnight; and coauthor of Blackout, Whiteout, The Rumor Game, and the Tiny Pretty Things duology, a Netflix original series. The emphasis will be on the building blocks of craft: the one-line pitch, voice and character, worldbuilding, plot and pace, and revision. Participants will exchange up to 50-75 pages of work with the instructor and other writers in the class. In addition to morning sessions, there will be two optional afternoon sessions about behind-the-scenes deep dives on: publishing, including query letters, editorial letters, and the phases of a manuscript from draft to published.

 


Wilson Museum Exhibition, “Suzanne Schireson: Aftercare,” Highlights “A Generosity of Spirit and an Intensity of Color”

As an artist, what do you do when a pandemic turns the world upside down and the constraints of caregiving make time alone in your studio utterly impossible? Do those additional responsibilities intensify your need for a creative outlet? How do you keep the demands of caregiving from stymieing creativity?

From March 9 through May 7, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is presenting Suzanne Schireson: Aftercare, a series of paintings that Schireson, an artist and professor who lives and works in Rhode Island, created from 2020 to 2023 to maximize her “studio time.”

“With a generosity of spirit and an intensity of color, she invents glowing, nocturnal, makeshift fantasy studios for herself and her circle of caregiving artist friends,” said Jenine Culligan, director of the Wilson Museum.

Suzanne Schireson, “Scaffold,” 2022. Oil on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

“A dream of solitary space is contradictory in this moment,” Schireson stated. “As a mother in quarantine, I occupied more of my time with those I care for, making flashes of solitude particularly rare and inspiring….I find it is important to share a range of experiences and promote the multitude of ways that caretakers construct their lives.”

Schireson begins each composition with a fluorescent ground built up with saturated neon colors juxtaposed with impasto strokes and bands of tighter shades. The focus is on structures in the rural landscape; some are mere suggestions of a dig site; others are simple constructed sheds or lean-tos. Many incorporate the artists working intensely, feverishly, at a task, whether it is dyeing, weaving, painting, writing, or thinking and smoking.

“These artists are hungry to make art,” Culligan said. “In this nocturnal world, we witness the artists in action as they use short bursts of time and solitude to care for themselves and their art. In this work Schireson not only sustains her need to paint but also visualizes a world where artist friends have the space they need.”

Schireson’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia; Smith College, Northampton, MA; the New Bedford Museum of Art, New Bedford, MA; the Sori Art Center, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea; the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati, Assam, India; and the Carrousel du Louvre, Paris. An associate professor of art and design at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, she holds a B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.F.A. from Indiana University, and a certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Schireson will present a lecture in conjunction with the opening of her exhibition on Thursday, March 9, at 6 p.m. in Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center. A reception will follow in the Wilson Museum. The lecture is also available via Zoom; contact cardenla1@hollins.edu for the link.

Top image: Suzanne Schireson, Turmeric Dye Night, 2022. Oil on paper. Courtesy of the artist. 


Third Annual Leading EDJ Conference Continues the Work in Building “A More Inclusive and Equitable Hollins University”

Hollins University President Mary Dana Hinton urged students, faculty, staff, and alumnae/i to “choose to see the bared humanity of one another and choose not to look away from the discomfort, but rather to lean into it” during the third annual Leading Equity, Diversity, and Justice (Leading EDJ) Conference, held February 23-24.

“I know there will also be moments of love and grace, of courage and compassion,” she added. “I ask that we lean into those moments as well.”

This year’s Leading EDJ Conference welcomed over 370 participants for roughly 30 sessions united around the theme of Barriers and Bridges to Access. “The theme reflects the holistic need to evaluate our policies, practices, programs, and this place,” Hinton explained. “We’re asking ourselves: How do we experience Hollins? How do we limit one another’s experience in this place? And most importantly, how can we turn barriers into bridges?”

Vice President for Student Success, Well-being, and Belonging Nakeshia Williams expressed her hope that attendees would come away “with new knowledge and tools, piqued curiosity, heightened self-reflection, increased understanding and compassion, and some very concrete plans for action and change” after “listening, learning, and connecting with one another as we work together to imagine, strategize, and create a more inclusive and equitable Hollins University.”

Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton (left) welcomed keynote speaker Lauren Ridloff to the 2023 Leading EDJ Conference.

Lauren Ridloff, who portrayed the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first deaf superhero in the 2021 film Eternals, delivered the event’s keynote address. Ridloff, who is also Hollins’ Distinguished Speaker for Spring 2023, is a former Miss Deaf America who played the lead role of Sarah Norman in the 2018 Broadway revival of Children of a Lesser God and was nominated for a Tony Award. She subsequently appeared as Connie on the AMC series The Walking Dead and was honored in 2020 with the SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award at the Media Access Awards, which highlight and promote disability and its representation in film, television, and new media.

Born deaf to hearing parents, Ridloff told the conference audience that she grew up signing and speaking at the same time and had years of speech therapy. But by the time she became a teenager, “my parents began to realize that my sense of identity, my cultural pride as a deaf person, wasn’t strong. My mother is a proud, Black, female artist and my father is a strong, proud, Mexican musician, and they knew the importance of having that sense of belonging and understanding of cultural pride. They saw I needed to be around more people who were like me.”

Local resident Jordan Bell presented “Gainsboro Revisited,” which explored the history of the African American people in Roanoke’s Gainsboro community.

In what she called a life-changing event, Ridloff spent two weeks at a sleepaway camp for deaf teens. “For the first time, I was free to express myself in my most native, natural language, which was sign language. This was the first time I didn’t have to choose my words carefully and I didn’t have to modulate my intentions to fit my speaking ability.”

Returning home, “that was when I truly came out, so to speak, to my family as this proud deaf woman who chose not to use her voice. I chose to use my hands. Now, I think, ‘Wow, that was a brave and radical thing for a young woman to do.’ I didn’t have any idea of how it would turn out, but I had to be true to myself.”

Over the next 30 years, Ridloff completed her education, embarked on a teaching career, and got married. “I found my joy and purpose,” she said. When she was approached to serve as a consultant to director Kenny Leon as he prepared the Children of a Lesser God revival, she jumped at the opportunity to share her advice and experience with the production and had no illusions of becoming an actor. However, another pivotal life moment occurred when she was asked to participate in a table read of the play.

Assistant Professor of Theatre Wendy-Marie Martin gave students an overview of theatre for social change and how it functions.

“I would have to use my voice, and my feelings, my body turned upside down. Was I bending my principles of who I am as a person by using my voice? It was such a vulnerable moment for me, and I was terrified.

“But then I realized: What I’m doing is helping make a story happen again on stage, and that story is important. And I thought, ‘Other deaf actors would be able to take on that role and tell the story of Sarah.’ We started the table read and got to the scene where Sarah, who had refused to use her voice up until that point in the story, screams her words. And I just screamed. It didn’t matter if people understood me, it was about the feeling, the intention. And I think in that moment in that room, I found my voice. I learned how to push for storytelling that impacts change.”

When ultimately she was asked to actually play Sarah, Ridloff said she “couldn’t stop thinking about the irony of that. Here I was on stage, night after night, yelling words to the audience. Some people might have understood them, some may have not, but I claimed my power. And I screamed: ‘This is my perfect voice. This is exactly how I want to convey myself.’ Somehow, through the magic of storytelling, the audience found a connection with me. That’s when thought that maybe I could pursue acting.”

Mackenzie Rose M.A. ’14 led a session on defining and combating the stigma of trauma in educational environments.

Ridloff landed her role in The Walking Dead a couple of weeks after her Broadway run ended, and it was during the series that she was approached about playing Makkari in Eternals. While both experiences were exciting, she nevertheless at times felt fear and frustration. As a deaf actress she had needs ranging from the appropriate number of interpreters to how to get cues from the director when she had her back to the camera. Yet, “I didn’t want to ask for too much. I was so grateful to work with these amazing, seasoned stars and I didn’t want to cause trouble. I just wanted to prove that working with a deaf actor is easy. To deliver the best work they could, other actors did not hesitate to ask for the things they needed, so I finally had to admit I had some challenges as a deaf actor. I had to advocate for myself.”

Currently, Ridloff is preparing to star in a new show for Starz in which she also serves as executive producer along with filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time, When They See Us) and actor and costar Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek, Fringe, The Affair). “I finally have a seat at that table in Hollywood where the important decisions are being made. I am so happy to open more doors for deaf talent. This show will include deaf actors and writers, which means authentic representation is happening not just in front of the camera but also behind it where the story is being created.”

When Ridloff looks back, she is “so glad I found my voice at that table read. I found a way to fight, and this is how I fight: by telling stories that mean something. By telling stories that make connections. I am ringing that bell, making sure stories are heard.”

 


Francophone Film Festival Spotlights “Diversity Found in French-Speaking Cultures”

Throughout Spring Term 2023, Hollins University’s Departments of Film, French Studies, and International Programs are presenting an array of film screenings as part of the Francophone Film Festival. The festival is made possible through a grant from Albertine Cinematheque, a program of FACE Foundation and Villa Albertine, with support from the CNC (Centre National du Cinema) and SACEM (Fonds Culturel Franco-Americain).

“This is the second time that Hollins has received this grant to offer excellent Francophone cinema to the Hollins community and beyond,” said Director of International Programs Ramona Kirsch. “The films are from an array of Francophone countries and display the diversity found in French-speaking cultures.”

The festival schedule includes the following screenings. Each will be introduced by Hollins faculty, who will also lead post-screening discussions. Admission is free and open to the public.

Les 400 coups (400 Blows) (1959)

  • Screening: 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10, Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center
  • Country: France
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Director: François Truffaut
  • Synopsis: “The 400 Blows traces 14-year-old Antoine Doinel’s odyssey through a life of aloof parents, oppressive teachers and petty crime. A loner on the brink of rebellion, Antoine is buoyed along the way by a touching friendship, a love of cinema, and the hope of escape.” – mubi.com
  • Facilitator: Kenza Chabane

Bamako (2006)

  • Screening: 5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16, Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center
  • Country: Mali
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Synopsis: “An extraordinary trial is taking place in a residential courtyard in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. African citizens have taken proceedings against such international financial institutions as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whom civil society blames for perpetuating Africa’s debt crisis, at the heart of so many of the continent’s woes. As numerous trial witnesses (schoolteachers, farmers, writers, etc.) air bracing indictments against the global economic machinery that haunts them, life in the courtyard presses forward. Melé, a lounge singer, and her unemployed husband Chaka are on the verge of breaking up; a security guard’s gun goes missing; a young man lies ill; a wedding procession passes through; and women keep everything rolling – dyeing fabric, minding children, spinning cotton, and speaking their minds.” – Icarus Films
  • Facilitator: Jeanne Jégousso

L’Evénement (Happening) (2021)

  • Screening: 2 p.m., Thursday, March 16, Babcock Auditorium, Dana Science Building
  • Country: France
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Director: Audrey Diwan
  • Synopsis: “France, 1963. Anne is a bright young student with a promising future ahead of her. But when she falls pregnant, she sees the opportunity to finish her studies and escape the constraints of her social background disappearing. With her final exams fast approaching and her belly growing, Anne resolves to act, even if she has to confront shame and pain, even if she must risk prison to do so…” – happeningmovie.com 
  • Facilitator: Abubakarr Jalloh

France (2021)

  • Screening: 5 p.m., Thursday, March 30, Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center
  • Countries: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium
  • Runtime: 133 minutes
  • Director: Bruno Dumon
  • Synopsis: “A celebrity journalist, juggling her busy career and personal life, has her life overturned by a freak car accident.” – IMDb.com
  • Facilitator: Jeanne Jégousso

Lingui, les liens sacrés (Lingui, the Sacred Bonds) (2021)

  • Screening: 2 p.m., Friday, April 7, Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center
  • Country: Chad
  • Runtime: 87 minutes
  • Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
  • Synopsis: “On the outskirts of the capital of Chad, determined single mother Amina works tirelessly to provide for herself and her 15-year-old daughter Maria. When Amina discovers Maria is pregnant and does not want a child, the two women begin to seek out an abortion, condemned by both religion and law.” – mubi.com
  • Facilitator: Lindsey Breitwieser

Aline (2020)

  • Screening: 4:30 p.m., Thursday, May 4, Babcock Auditorium, Dana Science Building
  • Country: Canada
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Director: Valérie Lemercier
  • Synopsis: “Quebec, late 1960s, Sylvette and Anglomard welcome their 14th child: Aline. In the Dieu family, music reigns supreme and when Aline grows up we discover a gift to her, she has a golden voice. When he hears that voice, music producer Guy-Claude has just one thing in mind – to make Aline the greatest singer in the world. Supported by her family and guided by the experience and then the budding love of Guy-Claude, they will together write the pages of an extraordinary destiny.” – IMDb.com
  • Facilitator: Kenza Chabane

 

 

 


Hollins, Roanoke College Present International Film Series, Feb. 15-26

The Fifth Annual Roanoke College International Film Series, presented in collaboration with Hollins University, is kicking off Wednesday, February 15, with a lineup of films centered on the theme of Ghosts.

The screenings, which will be hosted across multiple campus and community venues, are designed to promote intercultural exchange, learning, and world cinema among both students and the wider region.

In total, eight films will be shown between Feb. 15 and Feb. 26. Each screening is free and open to the public. Panel-led discussions with the audience and faculty members will be held after each film.

The International Film Series was first launched in 2019 as an initiative of Roanoke College’s Department of Modern Languages. Key partners in the program include Hollins University, Roanoke Valley Sister Cities, the Grandin Theatre and the Taubman Museum of Art.

The event works to cultivate cross-cultural learning and dialogue.

“Film is a powerful vehicle of culture,” said Teresa Hancock-Parmer, a Spanish lecturer with Roanoke College and committee chair for the film series. “The International Film Series encourages our students to engage with the cultures of the languages that they study and get that multi-layered exposure and language input.”

“The series also builds community,” Hancock-Parmer said. “We want community members to come. Afterward, we invite people to come together to discuss the films and share their thoughts. So, we get to build those connections both within the Roanoke College community and beyond.”

Each film series is organized around a unifying theme that adds depth to the experience by encouraging audiences to reflect on how an issue is dealt with across different cultures. This year’s theme, Ghosts, was the top pick of the organizing committee.

“Hollins University is thrilled to partner with Roanoke College on this year’s international film series on the rich and provocative theme of ‘ghosts,’” said Nathan Lee, assistant professor of film with Hollins. “All of cinema is a kind of haunting, as images captured in the past float and glimmer on screen. I’m particularly excited to be screening the sublime Russian Ark — one of the most extraordinary films ever made — at Hollins, as well as the supremely spooky Pulse, a movie that dramatizes millennial anxieties about the ‘ghosts in the machine’ of network culture.”

More details about this year’s film lineup follow below or are available online here 

Photograph (2019)

  • Screening: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Grandin Theatre
  • Language: Hindi
  • Runtime: 110 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Details: In this romantic drama, directed by Ritesh Batra, struggling street photographer Rafi learns his grandmother has stopped taking her medication in order to find him a bride. When Rafi meets a woman named Miloni, he convinces her to pretend to be his fiancée in order to convince his grandmother of their relationship. The film highlights Mumbai, refracting the protagonists’ love story through the city’s sociocultural realities. View the trailer here.
  • Panelists: Srikanth Mallavarapu and Meeta Mehrotra

 Volver (2006)

  • Screening: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in Wortmann Ballroom (Roanoke College)
  • Language: Spanish
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Details: This comedy-drama, directed by the acclaimed Pedro Almodóvar, tackles difficult themes of sexual abuse, death, and family secrets. Penélope Cruz stars as Raimunda, a working-class woman forced to go to great lengths to protect her 14-year-old daughter, Paula. Raimunda’s dead mother, Irene, also mysteriously reappears. The film, which Roger Ebert praised as “enchanting, gentle, transgressive,” won two awards — Best Actress and Best Screenplay — at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival where it premiered. View the trailer here.
  • Panelists: Charlene Kalinoski and Juan Manuel Portillo

 Russian Ark (2002)

  • Screening: 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at Wetherill Visual Arts Center Auditorium, Room 200 (Hollins University)
  • Language: Russian
  • Runtime: 159 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Details: A sumptuous cinematic experience and experimental historical drama, with a cast of over 2,000 actors and three orchestras, director Alexander Sokurov’s extraordinary masterpiece is a unique journey through time and Russian history. Filmed entirely in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, this groundbreaking film recreates 300 years of history in a single, unedited, feature-length take. Sokurov’s camera glides through 33 rooms of the Hermitage, moving in and out of cathedral-like galleries, opulent ballrooms and shadowy corridors and workrooms covering three centuries of Russian history and European art. View the trailer here.
  • Panelists: Nathan Lee and Tatyana Munsey 

Rouge (1987)

  • Screening: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Wortmann Ballroom (Roanoke College)
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Runtime: 96 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Details: Rouge bridges past and present in its tragic romance between a humble courtesan (Fleur) and the wayward scion of a wealthy family (Chan), who embrace death by suicide pact amid the opulent teahouses of 1930s Hong Kong. Fifty years later, Fleur returns to the city-state to find her lover, who never showed up in the afterlife. When she posts a newspaper advertisement, she draws a young contemporary couple into her quest to rekindle a passion that may be as illusory as time itself. With its lush mise-en-scène and transcendently melancholy mood, this sensuous ghost story directed by Stanley Kwan is an exquisite, enduringly resonant elegy for both lost love and vanishing history. View the trailer here.
  • Panelist: Stella Xu

 Pulse (2001)

  • Screening: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Wetherill Visual Arts Center Auditorium, Room 200 (Hollins University)
  • Language: Japanese
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Details: An apparent suicide in Tokyo triggers a chain of mysterious disappearances involving computers in writer-director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s creepy techno-thriller. As ghosts invade the world through the Internet, many more people vanish. The film inspired a 2006 English-language remake. View the trailer here.
  • Panelist: Nathan Lee  

Sicilian Ghost Story (2017)

  • Screening: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at Wortmann Ballroom (Roanoke College)
  • Language: Italian
  • Runtime: 122 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Details: Directed by Fabio Grassandonia and Antonio Piazza, in this film, in a little Sicilian village at the edge of a forest, 13-year-old Giuseppe vanishes. Luna, his classmate who loves him, refuses to accept his mysterious disappearance. She rebels against the code of silence and collusion that surrounds her, and to find him she descends into the dark world which has swallowed him up and which has a lake as its mysterious entrance. The film, inspired by true events, is dedicated to the memory of Giuseppe Di Matteo, a victim of Mafia violence. View the trailer here.
  • Panelist: Giuliana Chapman 

Phoenix (2014)

  • Screening: 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, in Antrim Chapel (Roanoke College)
  • Language: German
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Details: This evocative and haunting drama, set in rubble-strewn Berlin in 1945, is like no other film about post-World War II, Jewish-German identity. After surviving Auschwitz, a former cabaret singer (Nina Hoss) has her disfigured face reconstructed and returns to her war-ravaged hometown to seek out her gentile husband, who may or may not have betrayed her to the Nazis. Without recognizing her, he enlists her to play his wife in a bizarre hall-of-shattered-mirrors story that is as richly metaphorical as it is preposterously engrossing. Revenge film or tale of romantic reconciliation? One doesn’t know until the superb closing scene of this marvel from director Christian Petzold, one of the most important figures in contemporary German cinema. View the trailer here.
  • Panelist: Rob Willingham 

Sylvie and the Ghost (1946)

  • Screening: 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Taubman Museum of Art
  • Language: French
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Details: Director Claude Autant-Lara enters the realm of pure fantasy with this film, conceived during the German occupation and released after World War II. Odette Joyeux stars as Sylvie, in love with a long-dead romantic figure from her family’s past. Sylvie’s father hires three actors to impersonate the ghost of her beloved, while the spirit himself (Jacques Tati) stalks the grounds. Marrying a playful script, artful special effects, and wistful performances, Sylvie et le fantôme stages a delicate dance of enchantment. View a preview here.
  • Panelists: Jeanne Jégousso & Matthew Trumbo-Tual

Hollins Presents Leading EDJ Conference, February 23 & 24

The artist celebrated for her pioneering role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will be the keynote speaker at Hollins University’s third annual Leading Equity, Diversity and Justice (Leading EDJ) Conference, February 23-24.

Featuring the theme “Barriers and Bridges to Access,” the Leading EDJ Conference will bring together Hollins students, faculty, staff, and alumnae/i for 30 sessions across three time periods.

Lauren Ridloff
Tony nominee Lauren Ridloff is Leading EDJ 2023’s keynote speaker.

“Leading EDJ aims to create an intentional and meaningful space for all of us to reflect, learn, and facilitate action toward making Hollins a more equitable and just community,” said Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton. “This event brings together members of our community and prominent local and national figures to learn from one another in various formats, both face-to-face and online.”

Lauren Ridloff will deliver the conference’s keynote address on Friday morning, February 24. A former Miss Deaf America, Ridloff performed on Broadway as Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God and in 2018 was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play. She subsequently appeared as Connie on the AMC series The Walking Dead and was honored in 2020 with the SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award at the Media Access Awards, which highlight and promote disability and its representation in film, television, and new media. That same year, she was chosen by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts as a 2020 Breakthrough performer.

Dev Cuny
Guest speaker Dev Cuny ’02 will present “Asserting Identity in the Workplace” to kick off Leading EDJ 2023.

In 2021, Ridloff was cast in the movie Eternals as Makkari, the MCU’s first deaf superhero. “It felt like it was a lifetime of waiting,” Ridloff shared with Variety after the film’s release. “I didn’t really see anyone like myself ever represented on the screen. It was definitely life changing. And I hope that this has the same impact on different communities, people who have been marginalized or are underrepresented in this industry. From the deaf and hard of hearing community, the response has been very positive. I feel like a lot of people are thrilled just to see a deaf person of color in the movie.”

Guest speaker Dev Cuny ’02 will kick off this year’s event with a special session for students and alumnae/i on Thursday evening, February 23, entitled “Asserting Identity in the Workplace.” Cuny (they/them) is a nonbinary speaker, educator, chaplain, and restorative justice facilitator who works in multiple capacities to support young people at the intersection of oppression, trauma, and mental health.

 

 

 


Distinguished Jurist and Hollins Alumna to Speak at 181st Commencement Exercises

Senior United States District Judge Callie Virginia “Ginny” Smith Granade ’72 will be the guest speaker at Hollins University’s 181st Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 21. The ceremony will be held on Hollins’ historic Front Quadrangle.

Granade was nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama by President George W. Bush in August 2001 and was sworn in on February 20, 2002. From 2003 to 2010 she served as the district’s chief judge, and in 2016 she chose to take senior status as a federal judge.

Born in Lexington, Virginia, Granade earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972 from Hollins, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1975, she received a juris doctor degree from the University of Texas. From 1975 to 1976, she was a law clerk for the Honorable John C. Godbold, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth (now Eleventh) Circuit.

In 1977, Granade joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama, the first female assistant U.S. attorney in that district. Early in her career she gained extensive trial experience prosecuting criminal offenses and defending the United States in civil suits. Her expertise in the courtroom was reflected in her vigorous prosecution of complex white-collar fraud, tax fraud, and public corruption cases. Her prosecution of a multi-defendant, far-reaching, racketeering/public corruption case in 1990 still holds the record as the lengthiest jury trial in the Southern District of Alabama. She also gained extensive appellate experience before the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

In 1990, Granade was promoted to chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. From 1997 until her appointment as interim U.S. attorney in May 2001, she served as first assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Alabama, and as such, was responsible for supervising the overall operation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Recognized as both a leader and teacher in the field of trial practice, Granade has served as an instructor of criminal trial and grand jury practice at the Department of Justice’s Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute. She was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1994 and was Alabama’s first female Fellow.

Granade, a member of the Hollins University Board of Trustees, is married to Fred K. Granade, who recently retired from law practice. They have three grown sons and four granddaughters.

For more information about Hollins’ 181st Commencement Exercises, visit the university’s commencement webpage.