Director Peter Weir to talk at IU Cinema, attend special WWI film screening

  • Feb. 25, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Award-winning Australian director Peter Weir will appear at IU Cinema for a series of public talks and film screenings March 2 to 4.

"It's a great opportunity to have Indiana University and IU Cinema host Peter Weir, who has created a rich, compelling and movingly accessible body of work over more than 40 years of filmmaking," said Gregory A. Waller, a professor of film history in The Media School at IU Bloomington.

The master director is scheduled to attend screenings of "Witness" and "Picnic at Hanging Rock," and after each film he will respond to questions from the audience. He also will appear in a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture and will speak as part of a special presentation of "Gallipoli."

Weir's direction and scripting of films such as "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "The Last Wave" helped put Australia on the international map as a site for innovative cinema in the 1970s, Waller said.

In "Witness," "Fearless," "The Truman Show" and "Master and Commander," he went on to make ambitious use of Hollywood's technical resources and leading men.

"Peter Weir has consistently managed to create films that are at once ambitious character studies, fine-turned narratives and beautifully detailed evocations of particular times and places," Waller said.

"WWI: 100 Years Removed"

On the final day of the director's visit to the Bloomington campus, Weir will discuss his World War I-inspired film "Gallipoli." IU President Michael A. McRobbie will introduce the film, and after it is shown he will lead a question-and-answer session with the director.

"Gallipoli" will be presented free of charge as part of the "WWI: 100 Years Removed" film series and the university-wide remembrance and examination of the war.

"When I was asked by President McRobbie and Provost Robel to organize and coordinate the IU commemoration of World War I, we agreed to diversify ours to distinguish it from those at other academic institutions, where the focus has been mostly on scholarly matters," said Andrea Ciccarelli, dean of the Hutton Honors College.

"We have indeed invited some of the very best historians to our campus from institutions as diverse as Yale, Oxford, University of London and University of St. Andrews, but we also organized artistic events and exhibitions -- among them, a remarkable performance of the Benjamin Britten World War I Memorial by the Jacobs School of Music on Nov. 4 , as well as exhibitions in the IU Art Museum, the Mathers Museum and the Lilly Library," Ciccarelli said.

"Once a film series was established at the IU Cinema and Peter Weir's 'Gallipoli' was selected as part of the series, it became a logical conclusion to try to bring to our campus one of the most interesting, eclectic and acclaimed directors of our time. This was possible because of the generous support received from the president and the provost as well as the enthusiastic and essential cooperation of Jon Vickers, the director of IU Cinema."

"Full of Wonder: Films of Peter Weir"

IU Cinema is presenting a retrospective of Weir's work in conjunction with his visit. Tickets for upcoming screenings are $3 unless otherwise noted:

  • 9:30 p.m. Feb. 28, "The Last Wave" (1977) -- Waller will introduce this thriller about a lawyer who is drawn into Australia's Aboriginal culture and beliefs while investigating a murder. As the lawyer grows closer to his clients, he is plagued by bizarre dreams until he slowly unravels a doomsday prophecy.
  • 6:30 p.m. March 1, "Dead Poets Society" (1989) -- Working from an Oscar-winning script, Weir unleashed Robin Williams' full dramatic powers in this unforgettable film set in a New England boarding school. Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Josh Charles stand out as students. Carpe diem!
  • 3 p.m. March 2, "Witness" (1985) -- In Weir's first American-made film, Harrison Ford stars as a detective who retreats into an Amish community to protect a young boy who has witnessed a murder. After the film, audience members may participate in a question-and-answer session with the director.
  • 7 p.m. March 2, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" -- Russell Crowe stars as "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, a British naval captain who comes under fire during the Napoleonic Wars. This 2003 film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best director and best picture, and was awarded Oscars for best cinematography and best sound editing.
  • 3 p.m. March 3, "Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture with Peter Weir" -- The director's talk at IU Cinema will take place in the format of a 45-minute onstage interview, which will be led by Waller. Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lectures are presented free of charge. Tickets are not required for this event; however, seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • 7 p.m. March 3, "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975) -- In this captivating film set in 1900, three students and a professor disappear without a trace during a picnic in the Australian outback. One person turns up, but with no memories of the day. Weir is scheduled to be present for the screening; a question-and-answer session with Weir will follow.
  • 4 p.m. March 4, "Gallipoli" (1981) -- IU President Michael A. McRobbie will introduce this film, which is part of the film series "WWI: 100 Years Removed." Following the screening, McRobbie also will lead a question-and-answer session with Weir. Mark Lee and Mel Gibson play enlisted Australian soldiers and inseparable friends who are swept into the 1915 assault on Gallipoli, Turkey. Tickets are required, but free of charge.
  • 8 p.m. March 4, "The Truman Show" -- Jim Carrey stars as a man who does not realize his entire life has been constructed for the camera, as the subject of a television show. Today the 1998 drama seems an eerie premonition of the havoc reality shows can bring into the lives of the people who participate in them.

Tickets are required for all films at IU Cinema, and can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the cinema one hour before any screening; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

Weir's visit is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, IU Cinema and the School for Global and International Studies. His Jorgensen Lecture is made possible by the generous support of the Ove W Jorgensen Foundation. Special thanks also go to Andrea Ciccarelli and the World War I centennial commemoration committee.

Related Links

Director Peter Weir

Director Peter Weir is coming to IU Cinema March 2 to 4. | Photo by Getty Images

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Gallipoli film still

Mark Lee and Mel Gibson portray Australian soldiers in Weir's World War I drama "Gallipoli." | Photo by Paramount/The Kobal Collection

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Witness film still

In "Witness," Harrison Ford is a detective who enters the Amish community to protect a woman, played by Kelly McGillis, and her son. | Photo by Paramount/The Kobal Collection

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Media Contacts

Jon Vickers

  • IU Cinema
  • Office 812-855-7632