UI student organization promotes film discussion


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University of Iowa junior film student Jenna Lester enjoys viewing free screenings at the Bijou. So, she wanted to get involved in a program, such as React to Film, that contributes to the variety of films shown at the theater.

"I am eager to see how the socially charged themes of these documentaries affect both me and other students," she said. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help promote the screenings across campus."

More than 20 colleges and universities across the country will join the organization to screen the documentary film Sing Your Song; the Iowa City screening will take place at 6:30 p.m. today in the Bijou. Admission is free.

The React to Film organization is a nonprofit that shows films on campuses before their official releases. The selected films are among the best documentaries produced in the United States. They often deal with socially controversial topics that are commonly ignored in mainstream media.

Sing Your Song tells the story of Harry Belafonte's life from his point of view. Audiences will see him as a young boy in Harlem, growing up in Jamaica, and then becoming what many would call a music legend.

The film also addresses his role in the civil-rights movement and his push for human rights.

This documentary will be the first React to Film screening this semester and the first in which Lester will participate.

"Harry Belafonte has led a tremendous life, and I look forward to discovering the details of such an inspiring man, both as a performer and a public figure," she said. "There is much to be learned from a man who has spent his life doing what he loves and standing up for what he believes in."

Bijou board member Kasia Plazinska, who runs the UI's React to Film chapter, said Sing Your Song is the second screening that she has organized.

For this documentary, the M.F.A. graduate student in film looked for organizations and departments at the UI to help sponsor the event.

The Women's Resources and Action Center, Black Student Union, and the History Department are among the supporters of the project.

Plazinska also hopes that a professor from the School of Music will give a lecture on the topics covered in the film.

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