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Tanya HamiltonTanya Hamilton
Award Winning Director

Ronald SimonsRon Simons


NYS Writers Institute, February 13, 2015

7:00 p.m. Film screening and discussion | Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown Campus

[Note early start time]

Tanya Hamilton, award-winning African American film director and screenwriter, and African American film producer Ron Simons, winner of three Tony Awards for his work on Broadway, will speak following the screening of their film NIGHT CATCHES US(2010), starring Kerry Washington and Anthony Mackie, on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. [note early start time] in Page Hall on the University at Albany downtown campus, 135 Western Ave., Albany. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice’s Civility, Surveillance and Public Spaces Film Series.

A screening of the acclaimed film, NIGHT CATCHES US (2010, 90 minutes, color) --about a former Black Panther who returns to his old inner city neighborhood --will be followed by commentary with award-winning director and screenwriter Tanya Hamilton, and Tony Award-winning film and theatre producer Ron Simons.

A finalist for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, NIGHT CATCHES US, starring Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, and Jamara Griffin, is a powerful evocation of the American inner city in 1976. A former Black Panther returns to his old Philadelphia neighborhood, where he confronts the unresolved problems of his past.

Night Catches UsPeter Travers of Rolling Stone said, “Tanya Hamilton’s first feature as a director is something to cherish…. She lets her mesmerizing movie sneak up on you and seep in until you feel it in your bones…. Hamilton manifests her vision of what politics can do to individual thinking with subtlety and sophistication. Remember her name. She’s a genuine find.” Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer called the film, “A remarkable feature debut with smoldering performances from Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington.” The Miami Herald called it a “rich and satisfyingly multi-character drama about the intersection of the personal and the political.”

A former Fellow at the Sundance Screenwriter and Filmmaker Lab, Tanya Hamilton received a prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts Grant for Night Catches Us (the only screenwriter to ever receive the award), as well as the Gordon Parks Screenwriting Award. In 2010, Hamilton was recognized for “This Year’s Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Film Industry” by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Hamilton was also honored for “Best Screenplay” by the African-American Film Critics Association and at the Black Reel Awards Festival (where it was also named Best Film). Hamilton’s 1995 short film The Killers was awarded best short film at the 1996 Berlin International Film Festival and the 1997 New Line Cinema award. That same year she also received the Director’s Guild of America Award for Best Female Director.

Ron Simons, producer of Night Catches Us, is also a three-time Tony Award winning Broadway producer for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Best Musical, 2014), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Best Play, 2013) and Porgy & Bess (Best Revival, 2012). Simons also produced the all-black 2012 Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.  He is the founder of the production company, SimonSays Entertainment whose stated mission is to “focus on narratives that dig deeply into the outsider’s struggle for dignity and acceptance.” Two of his most recent films as producer debuted at Sundance:  Blue Caprice(2013) and Mother of George(2013). Trained as an actor, Simons also holds an MBA from Columbia University’s Business School.

A continuation of the Justice & Multiculturalism in the 21st Century film and speakers series, the Civility, Surveillance and Public Spaces Film Series represents an ongoing partnership between the University at Albany’s School of Criminal Justice and the NYS Writers Institute. The current series addresses issues relating to policing, civility, public behavior, civil liberties, security and privacy.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.