Intercultural Intersections Looks at Prison Writing Project

KNOXVILLE –- “What I Want My Words to Do to You” — a film about a writing workshop held at a women’s prison — will be the featured film at Intercultural Intersections at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, in the Hodges Library Auditorium.

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.

A PBS review of “What I Want My Words to Do to You” says the film “offers an unprecedented look into the minds and hearts of the women inmates of New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.” The film goes inside a writing workshop led by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, consisting of 15 women, most of whom were convicted of murder. Through a series of exercises and discussions, the women delve into their pasts and explore the nature of their crimes and the extent of their own culpability. The film culminates in an emotionally charged prison performance of the women’s writing by acclaimed actors Mary Alice, Glenn Close, Hazelle Goodman, Rosie Perez and Marisa Tomei.

“‘What I Want My Words To Do To You'” documents both the wrenching personal journeys undertaken by the inmates to find the words that tell their own stories, and the power of those words to move the outside world.”

Upcoming Intercultural Intersections films include:

• March 30 — “Bride and Prejudice,” the Indian version of “Pride and Prejudice” written by Jane Austen. The story is set in India and gives the classic novel an international twist.

• April 6 — “Quinceanera,” the story of girl from a Mexican-American family living in Los Angeles. On the brink of her 15th birthday, she finds out she is pregnant and must deal with life, family and the coming of age.

• April 13 — “Bend It Like Beckham,” the story of a girl from an orthodox Sikh family who wants to play soccer. A discussion afterward will be facilitated by Assistant Professor of UT Libraries Donna Braquet and Assistant Athletics Director Jenny Moshak.

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/.

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Contact:

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