Educational Television at UMass Amherst Signs Contract with Cinema Guild

AMHERST, Mass. - UMass Educational Television, an outreach project of the University of Massachusetts School of Education, has just signed a distribution agreement with Cinema Guild, one of America’s leading distributors of films and videos.

Cinema Guild will distribute UMass Educational Television’s "Fine Print" series, which features many of the University’s leading writers, poets, and journalists. Among those included in the series are Judaic studies professor Julius Lester; School of Education professor Sonia Nieto; UMass Magazine editor Patricia Wright; and English department professors Noy Holland, Martin Espada, John Edgar Wideman, Jay Neugeboren, Dara Wier, and James Tate.

The series will be distributed nationally and internationally to schools, colleges, and libraries, and also will be made available via television, theater, cable, and satellite. As a leader in the industry, Cinema Guild has already distributed scores of award-winning films and videos by leading producers at prestigious organizations, including the American Film Institute, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the National Film Board of Canada, and the United Nations.

"This is a very exciting venture for us," says School of Education professor Liane Brandon, co-director of UMass Educational Television. "UMass is home to some of the finest writers in the country, and the School of Education is thrilled to be able to help bring them to such a large audience."

The format of the "Fine Print" series not only allows the writers to read from their work, but to speak in great detail about their experiences as writers, Brandon says. Speaking directly to the camera, they talk candidly about a variety of topics, including why they write, how they got started, how they react to editors and critics, and the joys and struggles of being a writer.

"Many of the writers profiled have told us how much they enjoyed this television experience," says series co-producer Scott Perry. "They appreciated the freedom to explore ideas not often covered in a typical interview format."

In the segment about James Tate for instance, the Pulitzer Prize-winner discusses whether suffering is essential to the experience of being a poet. And, in the interview with John Edgar Wideman, the two-time PEN/Faulkner Award-winner, and MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant recipient discusses how storytelling and the oral tradition in his family influenced his later life as a writer.

NOTE: For further information contact Liane Brandon at 413/545-0135.