New York State Writers Institute - Classic Film Series

a modern cannibal tale

March 21, 2002 (Friday) at 7:00 p.m.
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown campus
(Free and Open to the Public)
(American, 2000, 93 minutes, color, 35mm)
Directed by David Shapiro and Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Followed by Q&A with Director David Shapiro

Subtitled A MODERN CANNIBAL TALE, this film presents the strange but true story of Tobias Schneebaum, a Jewish abstract expressionist painter from New York who disappeared in the Amazon rainforest in 1955. Presumed dead, Schneebaum reemerged a year later covered in body paint, having lived among the Amarakaire Indians. Much later, Schneebaum wrote of his adventures in a memoir, Keep the River on Your Right (1969). The book details the artist's homosexual liaisons among the Amarakaire, as well as his participation in a single act of cannibalism. After Peru, Schneebaum went on to become a noted cultural anthropologist and explorer of erotic folkways in remote communities. Directors David and Laurie Shapiro join Schneebaum as he revisits the places and people that changed his life.

Winner - 2000 IFP Truer than Fiction Award/Independent Spirit Awards
Official Selection - 2000 Toronto International Film Festival
Special Jury Award - 2000 International Film Festival
Special Jury Award - 2000 Los Angeles International Film Award
Best Documentary - 2000 Hamptons International Film Festival

"Two thumbs up!" - Ebert and Roeper
"First rate." - The Nation
"Engaging and colorful!" -The New York Times
Tobias Schneebaum Died: 9/22/05

David Shapiro, co-director of KEEP THE RIVER ON YOUR RIGHT, will provide film commentary and answer questions immediately following the screening. A graduate of UAlbany with a B.A. in English, David Shapiro is a visual artist and writer as well as a filmmaker. He is currently a guest lecturer at UAlbany. Shapiro collaborated on the Schneebaum documentary with his sister, Laurie Gwen Shapiro. The film marks the feature directorial debut of both siblings.

David Shapiro will also hold an informal seminar on filmmaking on

"Navigating the Documentary"
Thursday, March 20th
4:15 p.m.
Standish Room, New Library

UAlbany Uptown Campus

Keep the River on Your Right