School of Performing Arts and Cinema announces speaker series

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 25, 2008 – The Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts and Cinema announces their new Speaker Series that starts Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m., at the Dumas Center in Roanoke with filmmaker Louis Massiah. The speaker series will include three events each semester.

Louis Massiah is an independent filmmaker whose films often explore historical and political subjects. A MacArthur Foundation fellow, his works include W.E.B. Du Bois - a Biography in Four Voices and Louise Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words, a biography of the activist and organizer. His current project for public television, Haytian Stories, examines the complex relationship between the United States and Haiti.

He has used the documentary as a tool for exploring community histories in The Bombing of Osage Avenue, on the 1985 Philadelphia police bombing, and as a producer/director of Power! and A Nation of Law?, two films done for the PBS series Eyes on the Prize II.

Massiah is the founder, and executive director of, the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, a media arts organization that provides low-cost workshops and equipment access to emerging video/filmmakers. Currently, he is conducting the Precious Places Citywide Community History Project, a series of short documentaries produced collaboratively with 40 neighborhood organizations in and around Philadelphia.

Massiah has received awards from Columbia-DuPont, the Global Village Documentary Festival, the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, and fellowships from the Pew Trust and the Rockefeller Foundation. Aside from teaching at Scribe, Massiah has been a lecturer and resident artist at the Princeton University Atelier, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Co-sponsoring the first event with the School of Performing Arts and Cinema is the Roanoke Public Library.

The second event is scheduled for Oct. 3 at the Squires Studio Theatre with Tom Igoe speaking on "Physical Computing and Performance." The third in the series will be on Oct. 16 in the Squires Recital Salon and will feature Tim Ries speaking on "Funding the Arts Through Rock and Roll."

Planning for the School of Performing Arts and Cinema’s Spring Semester Speaker Series is underway and details are available on the school’s events webpage.

All events are free and open to the public on a space-available basis. The Dumas Center is located at 108 1st St. NW, Roanoke, Va., 24016.