Intercultural Intersections: ‘In America’ Looks at Poor Irish Family Seeking Better Life

KNOXVILLE –- Intercultural Intersections will screen “In America” at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Hodges Library Auditorium at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Intercultural Intersections, sponsored by the Ready for the World initiative, is a series of Sunday afternoon events designed to help UT students, faculty, staff and the public explore cultures meeting across national, ethnic, racial, religious, political and sexual boundaries. Events will include films, forums and more.

Directed by Academy Award nominee Jim Sheridan (“My Left Foot”, “In the Name of the Father” and “The Boxer”) and starring Samantha Morton and Djimoun Hounsou, “In America” is a deeply personal and poignant tale of an Irish actor and his family searching for a new career and a new life. The story is seen through the eyes of the 11-year-old daughter, Christy. Christy and her sister, Ariel, find New York’s Lower East Side in the early 1980s, despite the drugs, AIDS and potential violence, to be a place of magic where anything can happen. Carried by the girls’ youthful hope and faith, and an unexpected friendship with a reclusive tenant in their ramshackle building, the family survives and learns to live with past sadness as well as new prospects.

Here’s a look at films that will be shown during upcoming Intercultural Intersections:

• Feb. 10 — “Ethnic Notions,” directed by Marlon Riggs, is a documentary that traces the deep-rooted stereotypes that have fueled anti-black prejudice.

• Feb. 17 — “Bamboozled,” directed by Spike Lee, is about a frustrated African American TV writer who proposes a blackface minstrel show in protest, but to his chagrin it becomes a hit.

• Feb. 24 — “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes,” directed by Byron Hurt, a former college quarterback-turned-activitst, is a personal and heartfelt documentary that explores gender roles in hip-hop and rap music.

• March 2 — “Wild Woman Don’t Have the Blues” looks at Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Mamie Smith and other great female blues performers of the 1920s who helped launched a craze for the genre.

• March 9 — “What I Want My Words to Do to You” focuses on a writing group led by playwright and activist Eve Ensler at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.

The goal of “Ready for the World: The International and Intercultural Awareness Initiative” is to transform the campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century. The initiative involves increasing the diversity among students, faculty and staff; infusing the curriculum with international and intercultural content; expanding study-abroad and work-study opportunities; and encouraging students to take advantage of all of these opportunities.

For more information about Ready for the World, see http://www.utk.edu/readyfortheworld/.

Contact:

Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu