Award-winning Documentary Filmmaker Will Spend Week with Students At Southwestern

Peter Frumkin

It’s not very often that Southwestern Adventist University is visited by film makers, which makes this week’s visit by award-winning documentary film producer, director and writer Peter Frumkin very special. Frumkin will be staying on campus visiting communication and history classes and giving a presentation on his work at Thursday’s assembly. In addition, he will also be giving presentations available to the community and public during the evening hours.

“We’re very excited to have Mr. Frumkin on campus,” Michael Agee, chair of the communication department says about the visit. “We’ll have not only the opportunity to explore his documentary films, but we’ll be discussing the intersection of the media, our culture and society, as well as the media’s place in a democracy.  It should be a very enlightening week.”

Communication students will be getting a unique opportunity to talk with someone of Frumkin’s caliber and get advice on how to deal with the changes the media is constantly going through. “It’ll be very intriguing,” says Agee.

One of the history classes Frumkin will be presenting in is International Relations, where he intends to talk about “the role that media plays in developing democracies and the importance of developing a free and reliable media to democracy—and the reason that the United States and European Union (as well as private organizations) spend so much money and effort training journalists,” according to Frumkin.  

Dr. Steve Jones, the professor of the class, is excited to have Frumkin come to the class with his experience in media. “Now especially we need free, reliable, active media, both here and around the globe. It is essential to democracy. We’ve talked about this in class,” says Jones.

This opportunity is afforded to the university through The Council of Independent Colleges or CIC. “Our membership provides an opportunity to participate in the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program,” says Dr. Amy Rosenthal, vice president for academic administration. “The University is excited to partner with CIC to bring Mr. Frumkin to our campus.”

Frumkin will share his experience as a documentary film maker throughout the week, including two film screenings open to the community.

Frumkin will present a public screening of his film Typhoid Mary on Monday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in Wharton Auditorium. The next night, Tuesday, he will present his documentary Woodie Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home at 7 p.m. in Wharton Auditorium. Both films are free to the public.

“I accepted the invitation because I enjoy teaching and talking with students, and also because I don’t know much about Southwestern,” says Frumkin. “It’s a learning opportunity for me.”

Frumkin’s resume includes films about American military veterans with AboutFace, a website about post-traumatic stress disorder and Caring for Your Parents, a documentary that follows five Rhode Island families dealing with caring for their elderly parents. Frumkin is also a member of the Directors Guild of America and president of Peter Frumkin Productions, LLC.  

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