It began as the American dream and ended as an American tragedy. The fascinating life of actress and activist Jean Seberg is the subject of the compelling documentary "Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg," which will be presented at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 in the University Union's Sandburg Theater. The event is open and free to the public.
Emmy-nominated filmmakers Garry McGee, and Kelly and Tammy Rundle, will introduce the film and hold a discussion session following the screening. A reception will be held in the Sandburg Lounge following the discussion. The three filmmakers will also speak to WIU film classes and students during the day.
Seberg's activism included issues pertaining to race relations and inequality, the interaction of celebrity and politics, and concerns over government overreach.
Her career began shortly after graduating from high school in Marshalltown, IA, when she was selected from among thousands of aspiring actresses by director Otto Preminger to star in his film version of George Bernard Shaw’s "Saint Joan."
After appearing in several other films, Seberg became an international star with the release of Jean-Luc Godard's seminal French New Wave film "Breathless."
Seberg became involved in political causes and her support of the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast Program, which provided hot meals to underprivileged children, led to Seberg being the target of a smear campaign by J. Edgar Hoover and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
WIU's Dr. Richard Ness was interviewed about Seberg's film work for the documentary.
"Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg" includes footage and interviews with members of Seberg's family and friends, as well as an interview with Elaine Brown of the Black Panthers. The documentary was shot in Marshalltown, IA, Los Angeles, CA, France and Macomb.
Although Seberg's death at age 40 was ruled a probable suicide, the film identifies discrepancies in the circumstances of her death.
Iowa filmmaker Garry McGee is the author of the biography "Jean Seberg – Breathless,” co-author of the books “Neutralized: The FBI vs. Jean Seberg” and “The Films of Jean Seberg.” He has also written books on Doris Day, Paul McCartney and Wings, and was co-writer and producer on the award-winning documentary "The Last Wright," dealing with the last standing hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Quad Cities-based filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle have produced a number of award-winning documentaries through their company Fourth Wall Films, including the "Lost Nation: The Ioway" series, "Villisca: Living with a Mystery," "Country School: One Room – One Nation" and the recent "Letters Home to Hero Street."
The screening and related events are co-sponsored by the WIU Department of Broadcasting, the Film Studies program, the Visiting Lecture Committee and the Council on Student Activities Funds.