NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
HENRY KAISER, FILM PRODUCER, AND SAMUEL BOWSER, ANTARCTIC RESEARCH SCIENTIST, TO DISCUSS THEIR ROLES IN WERNER HERZOG’S FILM, “ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD"
NYS Writers Institute, September 22, 2010
7:00 p.m. Film screening with commentary | Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Werner Herzog’s film, “Encounters at the End of the World” (2007), about life at an Antarctic research station, will be screened on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on the University at Albany’s downtown campus. Immediately following the screening Henry Kaiser, the film’s producer, and Samuel Bowser, Wadsworth Center cellular biologist who provides expert commentary in the film, will discuss their roles in the film and answer questions. The event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the School of Public Health in celebration of its 25th Anniversary.
“Encounters at the End of the World” (U.S., 2007, 99 minutes, color) is maverick director Werner Herzog’s nonfiction meditation on life in Antarctica—the region’s terrifying natural wonders and peculiar fauna, as well as the scientists, support staff, eccentrics and obsessed individuals who have chosen to sojourn there, under cramped conditions, for long periods of time.
Henry Kaiser produced the film, served as underwater photographer of its breath-taking sequences beneath the Antarctic sea ice, and composed its haunting soundtrack. A guitarist and key figure of the musical movement known as “free improvisation,” Kaiser received a 2001 artist’s grant from the National Science Foundation to compose a music CD about Antarctica. After falling in love with the south polar world, Kaiser became an avid ice diver and photographer whose work eventually lured Werner Herzog to explore the same environment. Kaiser served previously as cinematographer on Herzog’s Antarctic scifi drama, “The Wild Blue Yonder” (2005), and as contributor to the soundtrack of Herzog’s documentary, “Grizzly Man” (2005).
Samuel Bowser, research scientist at the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health, and former professor at the University’s School of Public Health, is one of the stars of Herzog’s film. A specialist in the ecology and evolution of protists, specifically Foraminfera, Bowser has spent three months of the year at research stations in the Antarctic since the mid-1980s. An advocate of science education, and of collaborations between the sciences and the arts, he was honored by the Science Teachers Association of New York for his exceptional contributions in 2006. As a frequently featured commentator in the film, Bowser is a cheerfully grim presence who studies “a horrible violent world” of tiny organisms that are, in his own words, “creepier than classic science fiction blobs ... worm things with horrible mandibles and jaws ... and bits to rend your flesh.”
“Encounters at the End of the World” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In addition to Samuel Bowser, the film features commentary by leading penguin scientist David Ainley, Smithsonian seal physiologist Regina Eisert, and Antarctic survival school instructor Kevin Emery. “Encounters” is narrated by Werner Herzog, the world-renowned director known for his lifelong preoccupation with obsessed and eccentric individuals (a fact that explains his attraction to the researchers and other characters featured in this film). Herzog’s many films include “The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call—New Orleans” (2009), “Fitzcarraldo” (1982), “Nosferatu” (1979), and “Aguirre: The Wrath of God” (1972).
The event is cosponsored by the School of Public Health in celebration of its 25th Anniversary.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620
or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.