Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, IU Cinema pair to present sci-fi film series

Ray Bradbury in 1975 | Photo by Alan Light

Ray Bradbury in 1975 | Photo by Alan Light

Ray Bradbury, one of the best known science-fiction and fantasy writers of our time, will be the focus of a special four-day film series at IU Cinema on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus beginning March 24.

Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” is intended as an exploration and celebration of his works on screen. The series, which includes lectures and panel discussions, was programmed by the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Oskar Werner starred in the 1966 film adaptation of "Fahrenheit 451." | Photo by Anglo Enterprise/Vineyard/The Kobal Collection

Oskar Werner starred in the 1966 film adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451.” | Photo by Anglo Enterprise/Vineyard/The Kobal Collection

In addition to being the author of such enduring books as “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Dandelion Wine” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Bradbury was a successful screenwriter whose works were also adapted for film and television by other writers.

IU Cinema, an internationally recognized center for the study, presentation and preservation of film, will offer the following events:

  • 7 p.m. March 24, “Bradbury TV and Shorts Program” — The series kicks off with a unique gathering of short subjects, including the 1962 Oscar-nominated “Icarus Montgolfier Wright,” scripted by Bradbury and George Clayton Johnson. This animated film showcases paintings by Joseph Mugnaini, the illustrator closely associated with Bradbury’s books. Other short items include Bradbury stories adapted for “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone.”
  • 7 p.m. March 26, “It Came From Outer Space” — Bradbury fans and scholars will have the opportunity to view the 1953 feature film based on an original Bradbury concept and screen treatment. Paper optic glasses will allow the audience to watch the film in 3-D — a unique opportunity to see this classic Jack Arnold-directed film as it was originally intended.
  • 6:30 p.m. March 27, “A Sound of Different Drummers” and 9:30 p.m. March 27, “Fahrenheit 451″ — This double bill showcases two adaptations of Bradbury’s classic novel “Fahrenheit 451.” The evening begins with “A Sound of Different Drummers,” an uncredited television adaptation of Bradbury’s novel for the 1957 season of “Playhouse 90,” followed by a screening of the well-known 1966 film adaptation by François Truffaut. The intermission will include a panel discussion of the fascinating history surrounding these two landmark productions. Separate tickets are required for each film.
  • 3 p.m. March 28, “Moby Dick” — On its final day, the series closes with two films that showcase the broad range of Bradbury’s own screenwriting talents. The first is John Huston’s 1956 production of the classic novel, which was an early success that secured Bradbury’s Hollywood reputation. A panel discussion will be held following this film and before the evening screening of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
  • 6:30 p.m. March 28, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” — Directed by Jack Clayton, this is the result of a 30-year arc of creativity that transformed an original Bradbury short story into a script, a novel and finally a successful film production.

IU Cinema director Jon Vickers has worked closely with Bradbury Center director Jonathan Eller and the center’s senior advisor, Phil Nichols, to develop the program for the Bradbury film series.

“Every session has fascinating cultural connections,” said Eller, an IUPUI Chancellor’s Professor who is also the editor of Bradbury’s early collected stories and the author of two Bradbury biographies. “The Academy Award-nominated ‘Icarus Montgolfier Wright,’ a story of our quest to reach the moon, was screened in the Kennedy White House just as those dreams were beginning to move toward reality.”

The Bradbury Center has preserved Bradbury’s master 35mm reel of that animated film, along with thousands of other Bradbury artifacts, books and papers.

“The highlight of the week may be the chance on Friday to view John Frankenheimer’s masterful direction of ‘A Sound of Different Drummers’ as a prelude to the screening of Truffaut’s adaptation of ‘Fahrenheit 451,'” Eller said. “The uncredited ‘Playhouse 90′ adaptation led to legal actions and appeals that Bradbury eventually won, but these events are outweighed by the unique opportunity to compare the Truffaut film with Frankenheimer’s seldom-seen television precursor. Frankenheimer was not involved in the legal actions, and his acknowledged mastery of television drama would soon translate into a major Hollywood film career.”

“These screenings offer the first curated overview of Bradbury’s legacy in film and television,” said Nichols, a well-known Bradbury media scholar on the Faculty of Arts at the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom. “Selecting the films for this event has been a challenge, because of the range and diversity of Bradbury’s work.”

In discussion panels March 27 and 28, Nichols will reveal some of the findings from his research among the papers in the Bradbury Center.

All “Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” events are free and open to the public, but tickets are required for IU Cinema film screenings. Due to expected demand and limited seating, tickets should be secured in advance.

Tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order. If seats remain, tickets also will be available in the IU Cinema lobby 60 minutes before each screening.

“Ray Bradbury: From Science to the Supernatural” is sponsored by IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies; IU Bloomington’s College Arts & Humanities Institute; IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute; IU’s Advanced Visualization Lab; Science on Screen, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; and IU Cinema.

The symposium and series will take place at the IU Cinema, a 260-seat, THX-certified cinema that is dedicated to the scholarly study of film and the highest standards of exhibition. IU Cinema is one of a small percentage of theaters still able to project 35mm and 16mm films properly, as well as using the latest digital technology.

Bradburymedia blog

Reading at the Table presents Dr. Jonathan Eller with Ray Bradbury Unbound

Jonathan Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI, with a few pulps featuring Bradbury's stories from the center's archives.  Photo: Nuvo

Jonathan Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI, with a few pulps featuring Bradbury’s stories from the center’s archives.
Photo: Nuvo

The Office of Academic Affairs and the Faculty Club invite you to attend the Reading at the Table presentation scheduled for Wednesday, December 10, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., when Dr. Jonathan Eller discusses his latest book in the Ray Bradbury series:  Ray Bradbury Unbound.

At the height of his powers as a poetic prose stylist, Bradbury shifted his creative attention to film and television, where new successes gave him an enduring platform as a compelling cultural commentator. His passionate advocacy validated the U.S. space program’s mission, extending his pivotal role as a chronicler of human values in an age of technological wonders.
Informed by many years of interviews with Bradbury as well as an unprecedented access to personal papers and private collections, Ray Bradbury Unbound provides the definitive portrait of how a legendary American author helped shape his times.
A buffet lunch is available for $13, including taxes and gratuity.  Dessert and soft drinks are extra.  Please register in advance for this event.

Bradbury lecture celebrates master storyteller’s birthday and legacy

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Center for Ray Bradbury Studies Director Jonathan Eller with science fiction and fantasy magazines with Ray Bradbury stories, part of the Bradbury-Albright Collection.

Professor Jonathan Eller, director of IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, will present the inaugural Bradbury Lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.

The lecture, in the West Reading Room of the Indianapolis Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St., is free and open to the public.

“Ray Bradbury in the Twenty-First Century” draws on the unique and extensive archives of the Bradbury Center, which is home to the iconic author’s papers, his working library, and a lifetime of his awards and mementos. These materials, recent gifts of the Bradbury family and the author’s longtime friend and bibliographer, Donn Albright, are part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows a Ray Bradbury story,” Eller said. “Generations of school children and college students have read his work in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks; teachers and librarians continue to value his stories and his poetic, metaphor-rich style.”

Bradbury’s stories have a unique staying power in American culture.

“He published more than 400 stories,” Eller said. “And he wove them into such modern classics as ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ ‘The Golden Apples of the Sun,’ ‘The October Country,’ and two enduring titles that emerged from his Midwestern childhood: ‘Dandelion Wine’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ his classic cautionary tale of censorship and book burning, remains a perennial bestseller more than 60 years after publication.”

Eller’s illustrated presentation will focus on two intriguing questions: How did Ray Bradbury, a child of the Great Depression who never attended college, become one of the best-known American writers of his time? And why does this master storyteller of the 20th century remain a powerful cultural influence today?

The inaugural Bradbury Lecture falls during the author’s birthday week, and Eller plans to schedule subsequent lectures each August as Bradbury’s centennial year — 2020 — rapidly approaches.

Eller said, “He was born in 1920, when the Martian Canals of Percival Lowell and Edgar Rice Burroughs were still high in the American imagination; he passed away in 2012, just as the Curiosity Rover was about to land on Mars, at a site named in Ray Bradbury’s honor.” The center’s holdings include artifacts that have orbited the Earth, and Eller’s lecture will also assess the author’s lasting impact on the American space program.

The timing of the first Bradbury Lecture is especially significant. “Ray Bradbury Unbound,” the second volume of Eller’s three-volume study of Bradbury’s life and career, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in early September. At the same time, Kent State University Press will publish volume two of the Bradbury Center’s “Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury,” a series that recovers the seldom-seen original versions of Bradbury’s earliest published stories.

The Bradbury Lecture also kicks off a campaign to expand the Bradbury Center at IUPUI so that students, researchers and the general public can have better access to the archives and artifacts belonging to one of America’s premier storytellers.

The Bradbury Lecture is presented by the Indianapolis Public Library in conjunction with the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. Parking for the Indianapolis Central Library is available via Pennsylvania Street in the library garage for a fee.

For more information about the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, call 317-274-2173 or visit the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies’ website.

Ray Bradbury biographer to present lecture in the humanities

Legendary American science-fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury will be the subject of the 2012 John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities at IUPUI on Nov. 8.

“Becoming Ray Bradbury” author Jonathan R. Eller, professor of English and director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies in the Institute for American Thought, a research component of the IU School of Liberal Arts, will present the illustrated lecture, “Cry the Cosmos: Ray Bradbury and the American Imagination.”

The lecture will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Blvd. A reception precedes the lecture in the Campus Center atrium at 5 p.m.

“For more than 60 years, Ray Bradbury has been one of the most recognized figures in American literature and popular culture,” Eller says. “Between 1950 and 1962, he captured the American imagination with such enduring titles as ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ ‘The October Country,’ ‘Dandelion Wine’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ His increasing commitments to film, television and stage adaptations of his work led inevitably to his decline as a storywriter, but his early tales and media work soon combined to make him the nation’s most prominent public advocate of the Space Age — a role he fulfilled for the rest of his long life.”

Eller co-founded the Bradbury Center within the Institute for American Thought in 2007, and he became the center’s director in August 2011. He first met Ray Bradbury in 1989, eventually developing a working relationship that lasted until Bradbury’s death in June 2012. Since 2000, Eller has edited or co-edited several limited-press editions of Bradbury’s works, including “The Halloween Tree” (2005), “Dandelion Wine” (2007) and two collections of stories and precursors related to Bradbury’s publication of “Fahrenheit 451: Match to Flame” (2006) and “A Pleasure to Burn” (2010).

The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI hosts the Barlow Lecture in the Humanities in honor of Liberal Arts Dean and Professor Emeritus John D. Barlow. The lecture is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To RSVP, email LibaRSVP@iupui.edu with “Bradbury” in the subject line.

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