PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —Rory Kennedy, the Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker whose more than 30 films have explored everything from poverty and drug addiction to the War on Terror, will deliver the 18th annual Casey Shearer Lecture at Brown University on Wednesday, April 18.
Kennedy, who graduated from Brown in 1991, will give a presentation titled “Social Impact and Storytelling through Documentary.” The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching’s Room 001.
The co-founder of Moxie Firecracker Films as well as a governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Kennedy is known for telling complex stories about difficult subjects through the stories of individuals.
Her films include “Pandemic: Facing AIDS,” which follows the lives of five HIV-positive people in five different countries, and “A Boy’s Life,” which tells the story of an emotionally disturbed boy in rural Mississippi. In 2007, Kennedy landed a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Documentary for “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” which examined the 2004 torture and abuse scandal at the prison in Iraq.
Eight years later, “Last Days in Vietnam,” which documents the efforts Americans made to evacuate South Vietnamese allies as they left Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.
Most recently, Kennedy completed “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow,” which covers 60 years of the space program and how it has altered our view of the universe and ourselves. It is slated to broadcast on the Discover Channel in October 2018.
The lectureship, sponsored by Brown University and the Goldway-Shearer family, was established in memory of Casey Shearer, a promising young writer and aspiring sportscaster who died in May 2000, days before he was to graduate from Brown. Previous speakers have included filmmaker Ezra Edelman, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Joe Morgenstern, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, ABC analyst Cokie Roberts, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson, food activist Curt Ellis and writer Pico Iyer, among others.
The lecture will be preceded by a presentation of the 18th annual Casey Shearer Memorial Awards for Excellence in Creative Nonfiction.
Casey Shearer, a member of the Class of 2000, was a vibrant and talented member of the Brown community. An economics concentrator, he also studied Spanish, political science, and literature, and helped revive Brown Student Radio (WBSR). He was best known on campus as the station’s play-by-play sports announcer and as the author of the weekly sports column “On the Case,” published in the College Hill Independent.
Shearer was born and raised in Santa Monica, Calif., where his mother, Ruth Goldway, once served as mayor. He graduated from high school in Finland, where his father, Derek Shearer, an Occidental College professor, served as U.S. ambassador. A top student at Brown, Shearer was a member of the economics honor society and received his magna cum laude pin the Friday before he was to graduate. That same day, during a regular pickup game of basketball, Shearer’s heart stopped and he collapsed. Four days later, he died of an undetected heart virus, two months before his 22nd birthday.