FESTIVAL GUESTS - FILM SCREENINGS               Panelists & Special Guests

Inspired by the writer/directors with whom she worked throughout her career as an actress, Joey Lauren Adams wrote her first screenplay, Come Early Morning, based on the stories that influenced her while growing up in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Aside from writing and directing, she has appeared in films as varied as Dazed and Confused; A Cool, Dry Place; Harvard Man; Big Daddy; and, most recently, The Break Up. In 1997 Adams earned a Golden Globe nomination as best actress for her work in Chasing Amy.

Michael Barker
is the Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics - a company that distributes, finances and produces independent films from America and around the world. Recent successes include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Pollock, Sweet and Lowdown, All About My Mother and The Tao of Steve. Previously he co founded Orion Classics in 1983. He and his partners have been associated with films that have been nominated for a total of 67 Academy Awards,
winning 17.

He has worked with some of the world's greatest filmmakers including: Ang Lee, Woody Allen, Francois Truffaut, Akira Kurosawa, Louis Malle, Pedro Almodovar, Wim Wenders, R.W. Fassbinder, Lily Tomlin, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Linklater, Zhang Yimou, Merchant Ivory, John Sayles, John Boorman, David Mamet, Neil LaBute, Errol Morris, Sally Potter, Don Roos, Gary Oldman, Allison Anders, Hal Hartley, and Mike Figgis.

Born in Nuremberg, Germany, Mr. Barker holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas.

Most recently, Bellows completed principal for Dimension Films’ “Quebec” starring opposite Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly, written and directed by Steve Conrad, and also starred in Aria Films’ “Kill Kill Faster Faster.”  In 2005, Bellows was seen in Paramount Pictures “The Weatherman” opposite Nicolas Cage.  That year he also starred in The Channel 4 ten-part miniseries “Terminal City.”

Bellows gained attention among filmgoers and critics for his portrayal of an inmate with a penchant for knowledge in the critically lauded “Shawshank Redemption,” opposite Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.  Shortly after, Bellows starred opposite Renee Zellweger in “Love and a .45” and with Sarah Jessica Parker in “Miami Rhapsody.”  His additional film credits include “The Substance of Fire,” “Richard III,” directed by Al Pacino, “The Assistant” with Joan Plowright and Armin Mueller-Stahl, “Dinner at Fred’s” with Parker Posey, “Judas Kiss” with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, “Chasing Sleep” opposite Jeff Daniels and “Beautiful Joe” opposite Sharon Stone.  

He is widely recognized for creating the role of ‘Billy Alan Thomas’ in the Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning FOX series “Ally McBeal.”   
On stage, Bellows appeared in Manhattan Class Company’s production of “A Snake in the Vein” in the Playwrights Horizon production of “Flaubert’s Latest” and UBU Repertory’s “Best of Schools.”  He is a founding member of the Seraphim Theater Company in New York for whom he starred in “True West,” “Road,” and “The User’s Waltz.”  He was also a member of the Act One Repertory Company of the prestigious Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts.

David Bordwell is Jacques Ledoux Professor Emeritus in Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. He has taught film history and film aesthetics since 1973, and is the author of several books, most recently THE WAY HOLLYWOOD TELLS IT: STORY AND STYLE IN MODERN MOVIES. He has a special interest in Hong Kong and Japanese cinema, as well as classic Hollywood filmmaking. He has been a guest of universities and film festivals in the US, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, he thinks that Yasujiro Ozu is the greatest director who ever lived; on other days, his favorite changes.

Steven Conrad is a Chicago based screenwriter and director. He wrote the screenplays of Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1994), directed by Randa Haines starring Robert Duvall and Sandra Bullock; The Weatherman (2005) directed by Gore Verbinski starring Nicolas Cage; and The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) directed by Gabriel Muccino, starring Will Smith.  He just directed the feature film Quebec (2007) currently in post-production.

Fatoumata is the lead actress in the film Moolaade. She makes and broadcasts programs on women and women's health issues at ORTM (Malian Radio and Television Station) in Bambara, the national language of Mali.

Born in Holland and settled in Australia, Cox is an auteur of international acclaim. His illustrious film career began with his first full-length feature ILLUMINATIONS in 1974, which gave name to his Melbourne based production company Illumination Films. Throughout his career, Cox has received numerous international awards and retrospectives for his excellence in film, including a major retrospective at the Lincoln Center in New York. He is currently in the post-production stages of his twenty-second feature film, SALVATION.

ANDREW DAVIS -  (Producer/Director) is a filmmaker with a reputation for directing intelligent thrillers, most notably the Academy Award®-nominated box-office hit, THE FUGITIVE, starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.   The film received seven Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture and earned Jones a Best Supporting Actor award.   Davis garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director and a Directors Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Direction.

Davis is the son of parents who met in a repertory theater company in Chicago, where he was raised.  (His father, Nathan, played Stanley’s Grandfather in HOLES.)   He received his degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and began his work in motion pictures as an assistant cameraman to renowned cinematographer and director Haskell Wexler on the 1969 classic MEDIUM COOL.  Wexler’s ultra-realistic approach was to have a great influence on Davis.

Davis made his directorial debut in 1978 with the critically acclaimed independent musical, STONY ISLAND,  which he also co-wrote and produced.  It was followed by the thriller THE FINAL TERROR  for producer Joe Roth, which starred then-newcomers Darryl Hannah, Joe Pantoliano, Rachel Ward and Adrian Zmed.   Davis then co-wrote the screenplay for Harry Belafonte’s rap musical BEAT STREET  before moving into the director’s chair full-time for Mike Medavoy with CODE OF SILENCE.  Davis directed, co-produced and co-wrote ABOVE THE LAW, Steven Seagal’s feature debut.  Davis then directed “THE PACKAGE,  starring Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones.  In UNDER SIEGE,  Davis teamed Steven Seagal with Tommy Lee Jones, resulting in fall 1992’s top grossing picture.
Davis’ other directorial credits include COLLATERAL DAMAGE, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; A PERFECT MURDER, starring Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Viggo Mortensen; CHAIN REACTION, starring Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman; and STEAL BIG, STEAL LITTLE, starring Andy Garcia and Alan Arkin. Mr. Davis directed and produced HOLES,  the adaptation of Louis Sachar's Newberry Medal and National Book Award-winning children's novel.  Starring Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Patricia Arquette.

Davis recently completed the Disney / Touchstone feature film THE GUARDIAN  that was released on September 29, 2006.  The film examines the true heroes of the ocean, the U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers committed to the personal and physical sacrifices it takes to save the lives of those left stranded helplessly in the sea.

Rudi Dolezal began collaboration with Hannes Rossacher in 1976, co-producing and co-directing shows for ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) under the moniker DoRo--a name that would become a symbol for high-quality music videos, documentaries and TV programming.

Dolezal and Rossacher were pioneers in the area of music video, long-form video and documentaries, working with international stars such as Queen, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, and others. DoRo also produced and directed the video for “Rock me Amadeus” with Austrian pop star Falco.

DoRo has stepped beyond their focus on music related shows by also working with Harry Belafonte on a human rights project, with Placido Domingo on a classical music project, and with Quincy Jones on a new project about the Montreux Jazz Festival. Further collaborations include many well known composers, actors, fashion designers and movie directors.

After producing a youth variety program in Austria, they have gone on to produce and direct shows for most of the world’s important broadcasting channels (including BBC / London, PBS / USA, ARTE / France & Germany, RTL, SAT 1 / both Germany, MTV / USA & Europe, RAI / Italy, CBC / Canada to name just a few).

Over the years, DoRo has established a truly international reputation by producing music videos and documentaries worldwide with artists who represent the top in each country.  Dolezal and Rossacher have received numerous international film, TV and video awards, including two GRAMMY nominations. They have won numerous other international awards for their directing of film and music videos, including “Freddie Mercury: ­The Untold Story”, which US-Film- critic Roger Ebert called, “One of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen!” and “The Joel Files”, a brave documentary on the injustice which happened to the family of Billy Joel during the Nazi-dictatorship in Germany. Both films received excellent reviews in the US.

Their latest work “GET UP STAND UP”, the Story of Pop and Politics,” a six-part documentary-series, five years in the making, produced in cooperation with ARTE / ZDF (Germany / France) and PBS(USA.) The film not only won “Best Director in Documentaries” and “Best Documentary” at the “New York Festival” (2005), it is being broadcast all around the world. In six chapters DoRo interviewed the “crème de la crème” of pop, rock and protest music;  as well as human rights activists, members of the anti-war-movement such as Pete Seeger, Tim Robbins, Martin Sheen, Peter, Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Kris Kristofferson, Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez, and many more.

Andrew began his career working as a photographic assistant to Lord Snowdon. He worked as a professional photographer for the magazine press, publishing, music and advertising industries on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has been exhibited in leading galleries in New York and London.
In 1991 he moved into film, directing music video and then television commercials. He is now one of the top commercial directors in the world, and was nominated “Best Commercial Director 2004” by the Director’s Guild of America. His success is attributable to his distinctive style, which manages to be both timeless and entirely contemporary.
Andrew is now concentrating on combining his visual sensibilities with his story-telling instincts, and developing a number of theatrical, documentary and feature-film projects. Already completed is a Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus’, an idiosyncratic documentary commissioned by BBC TV’s Arena, which will be released theatrically in the US and Canada in July this year. This film won the Seattle Film Festival’s Jury Award for Best Documentary, and also won him the prestigious Royal Television Society’s 2004 award for Best Cinematography for Non-Fiction Films.
Projects currently in development include Underground, from the award-winning novel by Tobias Hill; A World of Me, the true story of an Italian bank robber whose greatest triumph – the biggest robbery in UK history – is his greatest disaster; The People Next Door, adapted from the stage play by Henry Adam, a black comedy about what happens when someone else’s global problem becomes your local one; Gideon’s Band, the harrowing story of the Jubilee Singers, who brought soul music to a wider world, and Becoming Ho, a revisionist view of Ho Chi Minh.

Andrew recently made his feature directorial debut with the recent US and international box-office hit, MGM’s The Amityville Horror.

Samba Gadjigo is a Professor of French and the Literatures of the French-Speaking World at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.   His film “The Making of Moolaade” (2004) is distributed by New Yorker Films.  He is the co-editor of Ousmane Sembene: Dialogue with Critics and Writers, published by the University of Massachusetts Press, and he is a leading scholar on African cinema.  He received his PhD. in Expanded French Studies from the University of Illinois in 1986.

Werner Herzog (real name Werner H. Stipetic) was born in Munich on September 5, 1942.
He grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria and never saw any films, television, or telephones as a child. 

He started travelling on foot from the age of 14. He made his first phone call at the age of 17. During high school he worked the nightshift as a welder in a steel factory to produce his first films and made his first film in 1961 at the age of 19. 

Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than forty films, published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas.

This is Steven Larsen’s twelfth season with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony and he is serving his sixteenth season as the conductor of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra as well. The Illinois Council of Orchestras has recognized his work with both orchestra’s by twice naming him “Illinois Conductor of the Year,” in 1999 and 2006.

When Steven Larsen became the Music Director of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony in 1995 he implemented a Pops Series which now has grown to include a Family concert.  A recipient of many awards, in 2005, along with his wife Martha Bein, Larsen received the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s Star of Excellence Award.

Larsen is a native of Chicago and a graduate of Northwestern University, where he received that institution’s first Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting degree. After conducting studies there with Bernard Rubenstein, he became a student of the Russian conductor Kyrill Kondrashin in the Netherlands, receiving a diploma from the Nederlandse Omroepi Stichting Conducting Course. From 1976 to 1982, he served on the faculty of the American Conservatory of Music.

A significant portion of his career has been devoted to opera. For thirteen consecutive years, he led productions for Chicago Opera Theater, ending his tenure there in 1992 after serving as Artistic Director. For three seasons, he held the position of Music Director of the Opera Theatre of San Antonio, and served as Interim Artistic Director for the Dayton Opera. For six years, he taught at Chicago Musical College as a lecturer in Opera Performance. Guest conducting engagements have taken him to the opera companies of Honolulu, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Detroit, Westchester, and Dayton.

Marcia McBroom-Small began her career as a dancer, actress and fashion model. She studied with Katherine Dunham and taught the Dunham technique as part of a special program in association with Southern Illinois University.  In addition, Mrs. McBroom-Small performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York for five seasons in the production “Aida.”  She traveled with Mrs. Dunham to Paris.  She later danced with Ellen Stewart’s La Mama Theatre production of “The Cotton Club.”

Mrs. McBroom’s face graced many album, magazine, and book covers in the 1970s. She starred in a very popular commercial for LUX soap, which ran in Nigeria and several other English-speaking African countries, from which she became known as Susie Martins.  The success of that character gave her the idea of creating a poster to promote breast feeding to counteract the prevailing corporate agenda to have women in lesser developed countries (LDCs) use commercial baby formulas, which had dire consequences.  She donated the poster to UNICEF, and they distributed it worldwide. She soon received a request from the New York State Department of Health to place the poster in clinics and Women, Infants & Children (WIC) centers throughout the state.

After appearing in several movies between 1970 and 1976, including “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and “Jesus Christ, Superstar,” Mrs. McBroom-Small turned her attention to education and activism directed at improving the lives of people she has seen suffering needlessly around the world.

During her travel to 35 countries throughout Africa, North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, Mrs. McBroom-Small realized how much many of us take for granted, and has dedicated a significant portion of her life to grassroots efforts to encourage young people to see themselves as Global Citizens, and to empower people to make simple changes that can improve the quality of their lives.   As a result of these travels and activities, Mrs. McBroom-Small created the For Our Children’s Sake Foundation, and acts as its president.

Marcia McBroom-Small, a James Madison Fellow, has worked tirelessly as an educator and activist to promote her vision of global awareness and international cooperation. She currently serves as a consultant for the New York State Department of Education. She has received many honors for her efforts to create a more compassionate world. These honors include the James Madison Memorial Fellowship,  a UNICEF Award, Teacher of the Year in 1995, Who’s Who of American Teachers, Warrior Womyn’s Award to name a few. She has served on many boards, including The Metropolitan Committee for UNICEF, the United Nations Association of New York, the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York, the NY Metropolitan Board of UNIFEM.  Mrs. McBroom-Small was also a Goodwill Ambassador to Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire for UNICEF.

Her human rights initiatives include creating the first Human Rights Committee on a Community Board (6) in the history of New York City, the Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee “Blankets for Ethiopia” campaign, the Apartheid Awareness Campaign for High School Students, and the “Discover Burkina Faso” campaign.  For Our Childrens’ Sake Foundation is currently working on a benefit concert for the women of Darfurwhich will be held at Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem on June 13th, 2007.  The concert will feature several young artists and our special guests, “Sweet Honey In the Rock”.

Jacqueline Reich is an Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, Stony Brook University.  Dr. Reich’s areas of expertise are media, film, gender and cultural studies, with a specialization in Italian cinema. Dr. Reich is the author of Beyond the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni, Masculinity, and Italian Cinema and is co-editor of Re-viewing Fascism: Italian Cinema, 1922-1945.  At Stony Brook, she helped create the successful Cinema and Cultural Studies major, one of the few programs in the country that integrates the study of film with literature, art, television, music, and theater. 

Dr. Reich received her B.A. in Romance Languages from Dartmouth College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Italian from the University of California at Berkeley.  She has taught at Berkeley, Trinity College in Hartford, CT, Queens College, and at Stony Brook. 

Dr. Reich has been interviewed on her work in The New York Times, WABC Radio, and the National Public Radio program “Odyssey,” and has given talks on her research all over the United States and abroad.  At present, she is working on a new book on bodybuilding and Italian culture.  She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York with her husband and two sons.

Alan Rickman’s stage career has included work at The Royal Shakespeare Company and The National Theatre as well as two Broadway seasons in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and “Private Lives,” winning Tony Award® nominations for both performances.

He also directed “The Winter Guest” at London’s Almeida Theatre and “My Name is Rachel Corrie” at the Royal Court Theatre in London’s West End and in New York.

His screen career began in John McTiernan’s “Die Hard,” and subsequent films include Anthony Minghella’s “Truly, Madly, Deeply,” Tim Robbins’ “Bob Roberts,” Neil Jordan’s “Michael Collins”, Ang Lee’s “Sense & Sensibility,” Kevin Smith’s “Dogma,” Dean Parisot’s “Galaxy Quest,” Richard Curtis’ “Love Actually,” and the Harry Potter series.

For HBO’s “Rasputin,” directed by Uli Edel, he received Emmy, Golden Globe®, and SAG Awards, and an Emmy Nomination for Joe Sargent’s “Something the Lord Made.”

He directed the film version of “The Winter Guest,” which was an official selection at the Venice Film Festival, winning three awards.

Apart from tonight’s screening of Tom Tikwer’s “Perfume”, this year also sees the release of Marc Evans’ “Snow Cake” and Randall Miller’s “Nobel Son.”

Alan is currently filming “Sweeney Todd,” directed by Tim Burton.

Michael Shamberg is a partner in Double Feature Films with Stacey Sher.  Shamberg and Sher recently completed production on "World Trade Center" directed by Oliver Stone.  "World Trade Center" is based on the true story of John McLoughlin and William J. Jimeno, the last two men rescued from Ground Zero, their families,  and the rescuers who found them.  The film is set to be released in August 2006.   Sher and Shamberg are also producing "Freedom Writers" starring Hillary Swank as a young teacher who inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.  "Freedom Writers" will be released in January of 2007.  Their third movie in production this year is "Reno, 911" based on the hit Comedy Central series which they produce.

Michael has produced such Academy Award nominated films as "Erin Brockovich," "Pulp Fiction," and "The Big Chill." In 2005, he and Sher produced the feature "Be Cool," the sequel to "Get Shorty," starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, The Rock, Cedric the Entertainer, Vince Vaughan Steven Tyler, Danny DeVito, Christina Milian, and Andre 3000.  They also recently produced "The Skeleton Key" starring Kate Hudson, Joy Bryant and John Hurt.

In 2004, Shamberg and Sher produced the hit comedy "Along Came Polly" starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston as well as indie hit "Garden State" starring Natalie Portman and Zach Braff.
In 2003, Michael and Stacey produced the critically acclaimed feature, "Camp" by writer/director Todd Graff.

Shamberg has also produced such films as the acclaimed "Out of Sight," "Reality Bites," "Eight Seconds," "Get Shorty," "Sunset Park," "Fierce Creatures," "Matilda," "Feeling Minnesota," "Gattaca," "Living Out Loud," "Man on the Moon," "The Caveman's Valentine," "How High," and the Oscar winning, "A Fish Called Wanda."

Michael and Stacey were recently honored by the ACLU for their commitment to films
and television that are empowering, inspirational and thought provoking, dealing with issues from public safety to education,  social  justice to censorship.

Michael currently resides in Los Angeles.

Peter Sobczynski saw his first movie at the age of three (Dumbo) and he hasnt stopped going on about them ever since. Currently, he is a free-lance film critic based in Chicago whose reviews can be regularly read at eFilmcritic.com and heard on the nationally syndicated Mancows Morning Madhouse radio show. His work has also appeared in The Daily Herald, The Gary Post-Tribune, Entertainment Today, Playboy.com, NYFA Current and anyone else willing to pay him to sit through the likes of Norbit. Questions, complaints, job offers, threats and Milla Jovovichs phone number can be sent to him at petersob@efilmcritic.com

Peter has interviewed the directors of two films in this years festival, "Come Early Morning" and "Perfume".  Read his interview of Joey Lauren Adams and his interview of Tom Tykwer.

With this hilarious moniker and a resilient #1 record, "Incense and Peppermints", It seems that our link to the 60's, the "summer of love", and flower power will never be broken. So be it. We might as well embrace it. For the first time in almost 40 years all the original band members will reunite at The Roger Ebert Film Festival (Ebertfest) in Champaign, Ill. on April 29th at the Virginia Theater.
The band formed in 1966 and was originally known as Thee Sixpence. When UNI records were about to sign the band to a singles deal they prompted us to change the name....The result; STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK!

It was then 1967. The most exciting single year the music business has ever seen! The SAC released four albums between 1967 and 1970. The second single, "Tomorrow" reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100! Amidst all the excitement of the era was a crooked underbelly that destroyed many a career....the SAC's being one of those derailed by the powers that be. This was not however, before the band was able to play on some heralded tours and appear in two feature films (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls & Psych-Out) and dozens of T.V. shows, such as the debut of "Laugh-In" and the Jonathan Winter's Show, and a handful of appearances on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. SAC toured extensively with The Beach Boys, and The Buffalo Springfield, doing their Thanksgiving 1967 and Easter 1968 tours! Other bills were shared with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Byrds, The Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, Love, Big Brother & the Holding Co., Herman's Hermits, The Doors, and many others.
Since that time:
Original lead guitarist, Ed King went on to Lynyrd Skynyrd where he co-wrote the Southern Anthem "Sweet Home Alabama"!
Lee Freeman original lead vocalist and guitar - went with Ed doing Skynyrd's stage design and played harmonica on their first live LP. Lee went on to Donna Summers after that.
Mark Weitz original keyboardist and co-writer of Incense and Peppermints - kept his fingers on the keys but stayed out of the business until now.
George Bunnell original bass player - has played in dozens of bands, and is currently in a band called Gredog.
Randy Seol original drummer and vibraphonist and lead singer- has been teaching drums and playing with dozens of bands as well.
Steve Bartek original flutist and songwriting partner of George - went on to be the lead guitarist/producer of Oingo Boingo! He now does film scores and orchestrations. His work is on all the Danny Elfman composed film scores!
Paul Marshall guitar/bass/lead vocals - Paul was in the SAC for the 5th LP "Changes" and the movie soundtrack of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Paul wrote and sang Girl from the City and I'm Coming Home. He appeared in the movie with Ed and Lee. Paul is currently in a band called; I See Hawks In LA!
Howie Anderson lead guitar - Howie is the newest member of the SAC. He joined us back in the late 1980's doing some 20 year reunions of the Summer of Love...he played with Lee and George and Randy all around the country. Howie also teaches "rock band" to eighth graders....a real life "school of rock"!

Joseph Turrin’s music has been commissioned and performed by the some of the worlds
leading orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists. His work encompasses many varied
forms, including film, theater, opera, orchestral, chamber, jazz, electronic, and dance.
Several of his films and recording projects have been nominated for Emmy and Grammy
Awards. His works have been recorded on: RCA, EMI, Teldec, Summit, Klavier, Cala,
Albany, Crystal, and others. Not only a recipient of several commissions from the New
York Philharmonic, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, and Live from Lincoln
Center, his works have been championed by such noted musicians as: Kurt Masur, Zubin
Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Wynton Marsalis, Beverly Sills, and others. In 2006 he was
awarded an honorary Master of Humane Letters from the Eastman School of Music and
the University of Rochester.

“I grew up down South with a good heart and a bad mind, trying like hell to do right, but most times messing up and doing wrong instead.”

“Alt Country” singer/songwriter Jim White grew up in Pensacola, Florida, enamored with the sounds of the white-gospel music that he heard on the Gospel Jubilee TV series. White was the last of five kids, born late to an itinerant, middle-class military family. Conceived on a cross-country journey; he’d traversed the US no less than six times by the age of five, when his family put down roots in Pensacola. “This is one hell of a churchy town,” Jim notes. A fact confirmed by statistics recognizing Pensacola as the leader in the US for the density of churches per capita.

Of his inevitable experience in the church White recalls, “I’d got messed up with drugs real young, and saw my friends all hollow-eyed and dead looking, so I figured, if I was going to be strung out, it might as well be on Jesus.” But ever the outsider, the church was a poor fit for White’s quirky, irreverent character, although it would prove a key influence in his music.

While White’s music would later reveal a deep affection for the south and its people, his twenties saw him leave the south and travel the world, trying many careers before his music would eventually make his fortune. Explains White, “At a certain point, there in my twenties, when it all just got too damned complicated for me in this small town, what with my church background and my drug background and all these different people’s expectations of me, I got fed up, packed my car and took off.”

White briefly entertained a career as a professional surfer, followed by a period in Milan as a fashion model, but always writing song lyrics and experimenting with his own unique musical sound on the side. A carpentry accident, which resulted in a maimed left hand, seemed to end White’s hopes as a musician. But after writing a collection of simple songs on his guitar, a friend convinced him to record a demo, which ultimately made its way to the offices of the Luaka Bop folk label. After re-recording the songs, White issued his debut album in 1997, Wrong Eyed Jesus, a collection of atmospheric, oddly spiritual country-folk performances.

This unique blend of “Alt Country” and metaphysics was instantly acclaimed as a classic of the burgeoning ‘sadcore’ scene, a point which amuses the Florida-based song writer. “For 20 years I’d written these dark little songs,” he notes dryly. “Every once in a while I’d play them for someone and they’d shout Stop! That sucks so bad it makes my ears pop! Then a thing called Alt Country came along, and boom, all of a sudden everyone’s hollerin’, Jim, you’re a friggin’ genius! I mean, what happened?”

White’s music was to come to the attention of an international audience when British trip-hop mavens, Mocheeba, heard a demo that he had made a promptly volunteered to produce the track. “They understood that I didn’t have the slightest clue as to how to make a living in that oxymoron known as the music business, and they offered to help me in any way they could.” The chemistry was such that they took time out from their own recording schedule to produce several more tracks, which form the backbone of White’s 2001 release, No Such Place.

Steeped in the influence of Flannery O’Connor and Tom Waits, Wrong-Eyed Jesus revealed White as a spiritual anatomist of the American south. No Such Place upped the ante, revealing a broader, more diverse collection of songs about rage and redemption, depravity and dreams, dead cars and broken hearts. White’s third CD, Drill a Hole in that Substrate and Tell Me What You See, was one of the most widely acclaimed albums of 2004.

From his spectacular motion picture debut in 1967 in two of the motion picture industry's classic films, “In the Heat of the Night” for director Norman Jewison and “In Cold Blood” for Richard Brooks, Scott Wilson has consistently achieved the highest industry and critical response. The key to Wilson’s success has been the careful selection of material and his association with many of the film industry’s most illustrious directors. Such perceptive directors as Jack Clayton, Ridley Scott, Tim Robbins, Walter Hill, Steve Kloves, Phil Kaufman,  William Peter Blatty, Sydney Pollack, Robert Aldrich and Krzysztof Zanussi have cast Wilson in important roles.

Wilson recently completed a role in the Farrelly Brothers/Ben Stiller comedy, “The Heartbreak Kid” and is featured in the Korean hit film “The Host.” He appeared in “Junebug” directed by Phil Morrison, in “Monster” with Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci directed by Patty Jenkins, and and has also been seen as Sam Braun in occasional episodes of CSI. In addition to “Come Early Morning,” Wilson also co-stars in indie films “Open Window,” “Behind the Mask,” and “Sensation of Sight,” and has just completed a cameo role in “The Eye,” directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, based on the Korean film “Jian Gui” starring Jessica Alba and Alessandro Nivola.  Wilson lives in Los Angeles and has been married for 29 years to his wife, Heavenly, attorney, artist and writer. 

Scott will be honored this year with the 2007 Ralph Morgan Award, in honor of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) founder, which is given annually by SAG to a member who has given distinguished service to his fellow actors.