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Have You Herd? February 2010 Temple Grandin

WTAMU to Screen HBO's ‘Temple Grandin’

It will be movie night at West Texas A&M University when the agriculture and mass communication programs host a special screening of the HBO film Temple Grandin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9 at the Alumni Banquet Facility on campus.

The movie premieres Feb. 6 on HBO and on Tuesday, WTAMU will host the special screening, along with appearances by two of the movie’s big players. Paul Lister, executive producer, and Chris Monger, screenwriter, will attend the screening and participate in a panel discussion and question-and-answer session following the movie. The event is part of the University’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

A reception, underwritten by Stanley and Geneva Schaeffer and featuring pitchfork fondue, also will be part of the evening festivities.

The HBO movie, starring Golden Globe winner Claire Danes in the title role, tells the story of best-selling author, animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin and reveals her strength to persevere against all odds. The film chronicles Grandin’s early diagnosis of a relatively still unknown condition called autism; her turbulent growth and development during her school years; the enduring support she received from her mother, aunt and science teacher; and her emergence as a woman with an innate sensitivity and understanding of animal behavior. With roadblocks thrown at her from every direction, Grandin managed to turn her unique talent into a behavioral tool that changed the face of the cattle industry and laid the groundwork for her career as an author, lecturer and pioneering advocate for autism and autism spectrum disorder education.

“I had the opportunity to screen this film in November in Los Angeles as an Emmy Fellow of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences,” Dr. Leigh Browning, associate professor of mass communication and director of broadcasting, said. “Once I saw it, I knew we had to bring it to the University for a screening—we are sitting here right in the cattle feeding capital of the world—what better place to see a movie about the lady who has had a major impact on that very industry.

“I immediately talked to the movie’s director and producer and asked them to come.”

Browning secured the screening date and brought in Dr. Lance Kieth, associate professor of agriculture education, to involve the Department of Agricultural Sciences. The Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA) has added its support to the event, and the University’s Department of Education as well as area teachers and autism advocates have been invited to the screening. The question-and-answer session following the screening will touch on topics ranging from the cattle industry and the humane cattle systems designed by Grandin to autism and the inspiration and hope Grandin offers to others. Panelists will include Lister, Monger, Dr. Gwen Williams, WTAMU assistant professor of education, and Jim Schwertner, president and chief executive officer of Schwertner Farms, Inc., director of the Texas Beef Council and a member of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

Lister is a former studio executive at Dreamworks, where he was responsible for the development and production of the studio’s slate including Gladiator, In Dreams, The Haunting, The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Last Castle. He most recently served as producer of the George Clooney movie Men Who Stare at Goats. Along with Clooney, Lister has worked with Clive Owen, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Cain and many others.

Monger brings an impressive list of credits to the table as screenwriter of the Grandin movie. He has written, directed and edited for films and television, and his list of awards includes a Discovery Award for Chica de Rio at the Hollywood Film Festival, a Christopher Award for his screen writing on the television film, Seeing Red and an Ecumenical Jury Award at the Moscow International Film Festival for The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, starring Hugh Grant. His credits for producing include Waiting for the Light starring Shirley McLaine and Terri Garr, Crime Pays starring Ronnie Williams and Voice Over with Ian McNeice. He is scheduled to direct his next feature this spring from his script The Amateur Photographer.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Browning at 806-651-2412.

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