LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
A community screening of Out in the Silence, described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "a stunning documentary," is scheduled for Tuesday, September 21st at 6:30 pm in the Greenberg Auditorium in Lock Haven University’s Health Professions Building. The film was produced in association with Penn State Public Broadcasting and the Sundance Institute and is an Official Selection of the 2010 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival.
The screening will be followed by a Q & A session with filmmaker Joe Wilson and aimed at engaging the audience in a conversation about fairness, equality, and inclusion for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people in rural universities and small towns such as Lock Haven and across the country.
Exploring topics ranging from religion, safe schools and economic development, to discrimination, tolerance and understanding, Out in the Silence offers a compelling model for civic engagement and dialogue and is an ideal tool for bringing people of all ages together to begin the process of building bridges rather than walls on issues that have divided our communities for far too long.
After Wilson’s own same-sex marriage announcement ignites a firestorm of controversy in Oil City, the small western Pennsylvania hometown he left long ago, Out in the Silence follows the stories of a mother who takes a courageous stand for her gay teenage son, an evangelical pastor and his wife who befriend Wilson and begin to rethink their most deeply held beliefs, and local residents who must decide what their cherished small town values really mean.
Wilson is working with grassroots groups, colleges, universities and a variety of civil and human rights organizations to take the film to small towns and rural communities, where GLBT people often continue to live in fear and isolation.
“What better places to promote dialogue and mutual understanding,” said Wilson, “than in public libraries, churches, schools, colleges and universities, community centers and local theaters, those great institutions where families, friends and neighbors in small towns and rural communities come together to talk about and develop solutions to the most challenging issues of the day?”
Wilson is hoping that the events attract people from across the spectrum ready and willing to engage in constructive dialogue, including students, parents and educators, clergy, health and social service providers, civic leaders, and all those concerned about the well-being of all in their communities.
Previous community and campus screenings of Out in the Silence have been highly successful. For example, after a program at the University of Pittsburgh-Titusville, Professor Mary Ann Caton wrote: “Several of our students have been deeply touched by the film. I've learned that several who went into the auditorium that night went in with some hostility toward the gay community. But these students have begun to rethink their positions as a result of seeing the film and engaging in conversation with the filmmakers and others in the audience.”
At Marlboro College in Vermont, Student Affairs Coordinator Chris Lenois commented that: “Out in the Silence demonstrates that polarizing issues are best handled when people are willing to listen to opposing viewpoints without lashing out or retreating into their own moral corner, which is probably the most valuable lesson any young person could learn."
A very encouraging event took place recently at the First United Methodist Church in Lancaster, PA. Sponsored by nearly 20 religious congregations in the area, the screening was attended by more than 200 people and was followed by a rich and respectful dialogue. A clip of that conversation can be seen on the project's Facebook page: http://Facebook.com/outinthesilence
The screening is organized by the President’s Commission on LGBT Affairs and Safe Zone at Lock Haven University. According to Dr. Rick Schulze, the event is “aimed at helping students, faculty and staff listen to views around lesbian and gay issues.”
The filmmaker and Dr. Rick Schulze are available for interviews.
Filmmaker Contact: Joe Wilson, email@example.com 202 588 5785 (w), 202 320 4172 (c)
Organizer Contact: Dr. Rick Schulze, firstname.lastname@example.org 570-484-2155