URI features documentary A Woman Like That, Feb. 28

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KINGSTON, R.I. — February 10, 2011 — The University of Rhode Island has invited New York filmmakers Ellen Weissbrod and Melissa Powell to screen their documentary about the seventeenth-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, A Woman Like That, on Monday, Feb. 28. The two filmmakers will also spend a couple of days on campus meeting with students in art history, art, film media, Italian, and women’s studies.

Free and open to the public, the screening will be held at 7:30 pm at the Swan Hall Auditorium, Upper College Road, Kingston. The filmmakers will hold a question and answer session after the 90-minute film.

Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the most controversial artists of the Baroque era in Italy and probably the most well-known woman artist before the modern era. As a woman who defied conventions to paint Biblical and classical subjects, nude figures, and to challenge the man who raped her yet achieve international success as an artist, she has captured the imagination of art historians, art students, novelists, screen writers, and the public.

This outstanding unconventional documentary examines the life and art of Gentileschi and the truths behind her legend as well as what it means to be an artist, especially a woman artist, in any century. It follows Emmy-nominated filmmaker Ellen Weissbrod’s personal odyssey to seek information, to see paintings, and to explore the myths surrounding Gentileschi, an odyssey that takes her to Italy and a major Gentileschi exhibition in New York and St. Louis, including an academic conference at the St. Louis Art Museum in 2002. The film features interviews with notable art historians, curators, and artists along with exhibition visitors and art students.

Weissbrod brings the audience into close contact with Gentileschi’s paintings and words, filming in Italian museums, the Rome State Archives, and private collectors’ homes in Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples. A tribute to an exceptional artist, the enduring power of storytelling – in paintings, in films and in our lives – is revealed, as the filmmaker must overcome her own doubts and fears, travel the world and even go undercover to learn that who gets to tell the story matters. Additional information and a trailer are available on the website: http://www.awomanlikethatfilm.com/

This event is co-sponsored by the URI departments and programs of Art and Art History, Film Media, Italian, Women Studies, Fine Arts Center Galleries, Center for the Humanities, and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, contact Professor Wendy Roworth, Art and Art History, 874-2773, wroworth@uri.edu. Read more and see more links about the film and art at the Women Studies department website.

Ellen Weissbrod: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor

Although Weissbrod has been making documentaries for almost twenty years, A Woman Like That is her first personal, feature length film. Weissbrod’s previous work includes the IDA nominated Face to Face, a provocative portrait of thirty-eight year old conjoined twins Lori and Reba Schappell; the Emmy-nominated It Just Takes One and the Warner Brothers feature documentary, Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones, which premiered at the Edinburgh, Toronto and New York Film Festivals. Roger Ebert named it as one of the best films of 1990. Weissbrod has also made award-winning commercials for HBO and many music videos.

Melissa Powell: Producer, Writer, Editor

Melissa Powell has been making films for over thirty years. Her production credits include: Jill Godmilow’s Mabou Mines: Lear 87 Archive (Condensed), Aaron Copland for American Masters on PBS; and Xero, Maggie Greenwald’s first feature. Powell was the Line Producer on Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones and produced blessing directed by Paul Zehrer, which premiered at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. She co-produced Grind, directed by Chris Kentis, starring Billy Crudup and the late Adrienne Shelley.