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Spring Convocation features evening of music and cinema

By Christina Steube

University of Mississippi

This year’s Spring Convocation for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College will bring a live cinematic experience featuring acclaimed artists to the University of Mississippi.

Titled “Live Cinema,” the event features a series of short films along with live narration and music. It includes Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Green; acclaimed animator Brent Green; Dan Nuxoll, artistic director of New York City’s Rooftop Films; and Bruce Levingston, the university’s Chancellor’s Artist-in-Residence.

The performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The free event is open to the public.

“We are so thrilled to have these renowned artists join us for a wonderful evening of cinema and music,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College. “Bruce Levingston has assembled an incredible team of gifted artists for our SMBHC Spring Convocation.

“This performance will cast an imaginative light on many of the emotions just below the surface of our day-to-day lives. We are grateful to these extraordinary artists for this opportunity to explore fundamental questions through the arts.”

For “Live Cinema,” Sam Green has created what is known as a “live documentary,” where a video clip and photos are narrated live by him and accompanied by musical performances.

“Sam Green and Brent Green, though not related, are both known for their unique performances that combine cinema, musical accompaniment and live narration,” Levingston said. “These two celebrated and incredibly innovative artists tell stories about families, rural America, the woman who sewed a spacesuit for the first dog sent into space, music legend Louis Armstrong and even the last person listed in the San Francisco phone book.”

This special collaboration also features live performances by musicians Brendan Canty, James Canty, Becky Foon and Kate Ryan, along with Levingston, in conjunction with cinematic shorts.

“It is so elastic and so sensitive,” Sam Green said in an interview with The Observer. “If you make a movie, a traditional movie — and I’ve made a lot of them — you put it out in the world and it is done.

“The world changes and your movie doesn’t, and suddenly it just doesn’t work in the same way that it did. I like doing it this way because it is very nimble. It is a sensitive and organic kind of work.”