New documentary on ticks and disease, Hidden in the Leaves, premieres June 4

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Additional screenings around Rhode Island throughout June

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 21, 2008 – A documentary film about ticks and Lyme disease, written and produced by faculty at the University of Rhode Island, will premiere at URI on Wednesday, June 4 and be screened at several other locations in the state throughout the month.

Called Hidden in the Leaves, the 24-minute film is a collaboration between entomology professor Thomas Mather, director of the Center for Vector-Borne Disease, and film media professor Mary Healy Jamiel, whose documentary Holy Water-gate: Abuse Cover-Up in the Catholic Church won a CINE Golden Eagle Award in 2004.

The June 4 premiere will take place at 7 p.m. in the Chafee Social Science Center on the URI Kingston campus. Additional screenings already scheduled include Tuesday, June 3 at 7 p.m. at the Charlestown Public Library; Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at Warwick Public Library; and Tuesday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Greene Public Library in Coventry. Each screening is free and open to the public, and will be hosted by Mather, Jamiel or a member of their tick outreach team to provide answers to audience questions.

In addition, the film will be broadcast on Rhode Island’s public television station, Channel 36 (Cox 8), on June 15 at 1:30 p.m., June 18 at 10:30 p.m., June 22 at 11:30 a.m. and June 27 at 7 p.m.

“This film asks the provocative question, ‘What do you see when looking out into your backyard?’” said Mather. “One infected tick can change your life, and we’re trying to get people to think about ticks and to take appropriate action. The first step in deciding to take action against ticks is to help them see all of the places in their yard where ticks are likely to be in abundance.”

Hidden in the Leaves includes interviews with Polly Murray, the first person to bring Lyme disease to the attention of public health authorities, as well as others who have been affected by the disease. The film also recommends solutions for ridding one’s yard of ticks and offers successful strategies for avoiding tick bites.

The documentary screenings are scheduled to coincide with Tick Control Awareness Day in Rhode Island, June 7, which will feature a wellness festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the URI athletics fields.

For further information about the scheduled screenings of the film, or to arrange a showing at another location, contact Erin at 401-874-9505. Additional information about the film, Tick Control Awareness Day, and tips for identifying ticks and avoiding tick bites can be found at