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Oscar-nominated 'Precious' director Lee Daniels to speak at ETSU

Contributed — ETSU • Feb 14, 2014 at 1:47 PM

“An Evening with Filmmaker Lee Daniels” will be held at East Tennessee State University on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center’s Martha Street Culp Auditorium.

In his talk, Daniels will discuss his films and his career in the entertainment industry. The event is free and open to the public, and ETSU students will have priority admission. Doors will open at 7 p.m. for students with ID, and the general public will be admitted beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Daniels’ public lecture, sponsored by the ETSU Diversity Events Committee, INtopFORM and Student Government Association (SGA), is the culmination of “A Weekend with Lee Daniels,” which includes screenings of three of his films and a semi-formal dance.

The most recent film by the acclaimed producer, actor and director is “The Butler,” which was released in August 2013 and held the number one box office spot for three consecutive weekends.

His film “Precious,” based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, won numerous awards in the Sundance Film Festival and NAACP Image Awards. It was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and six Academy Awards, including nominations for Daniels in the category of “Achievement in Directing” and “Best Motion Picture of the Year” and wins in the categories of “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Mo’Nique) and “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.” Daniels became the first African American to be nominated for a Director’s Guild of America Award for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film” for his work with “Precious.”

“Monster’s Ball,” the first film Daniels created through his own production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, starred Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry and the late Heath Ledger. Berry won the Oscar for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” for her work in this film, which was released in 2001.

Daniels, a native of Philadelphia, is a graduate of Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Mo. Before working in the entertainment industry, he was employed by a nursing agency and started a nursing agency of his own by age 21. After selling his agency, he began his career in entertainment as a casting director and manager.

Each free public film screening, sponsored by Buctainment and Diversity Educators at ETSU, will be held in room 311 of the Sherrod Library and will be followed by a discussion. The films are “Precious” on Friday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m.; “Monster’s Ball” on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 3 p.m.; and “The Butler,” Feb. 22, at 6 p.m.

The semi-formal dance on Friday, Feb. 21, begins at 10 p.m. and features music by DJ Nize. This free event is sponsored by the Black Affairs Association (BAA) as part of Black History Month.

In addition to the Diversity Events Committee, INtopFORM, Buctainment, SGA and BAA, ETSU sponsors of “A Weekend with Lee Daniels” include the Office of Equity and Diversity, Honors College, Office of Multicultural Affairs, ETSU Foundation, Women’s Studies Program, Division of Theatre and Dance, Film Studies Minor, ETSU Libraries, and Pauline Douglas.

For more information, call the Student Organization Resource Center at (423) 439-6633 or Student Affairs at 439-4210. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.

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