By Film Threat Staff | November 3, 2004

The documentary film will be the subject of an annual event presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The inaugural John Huston Lecture on Documentary Film, named in honor of the late Oscar-winning writer-director, will present its first program, titled “Documentaries of Dissent,” on Wednesday, November 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan will host the evening, which will include discussions with noted documentary filmmakers Peter Davis, producer of the 1968 Oscar-winning documentary feature “Hearts and Minds;” Penelope Spheeris, producer-director of the 1981 documentary “The Decline of Western Civilization” and two subsequent sequels; Rob Epstein, producer-director of two Oscar-winning documentary features, “The Times of Harvey Milk,” which won in 1984, and “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt,” which won in 1989, and Barbara Trent, producer-director of “The Panama Deception,” which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature of 1992.

For many, this year’s bumper crop of controversial documentaries playing in theaters nationwide seemed like a sudden explosion of riches in the genre. History shows, however, that documentaries questioning the status quo have in fact been an integral part of our culture for generations, giving film artists and audiences a means to express their particular, and sometimes contentious, points of view. Politics, civil rights, labor, punk rock, the Blacklist – these and other topical issues have found their way into movie houses and into the minds of viewers through documentaries, sometimes changing the very conditions they were investigating. “Documentaries of Dissent” will examine some of these controversial films from the early 1940s through the 1990s.

A second installment of “Documentaries of Dissent” will be held in 2005 and will focus on a selection of theatrical documentaries released in 2004 that have played a role in the current debates over political and social issues.

For more info, visit the Academy website.

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