The Help: The Power of Film to Create Social Change There is a vibrant tradition in American cinema of films that tackle compelling social issues. Seminal films, including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Norma Rae” remind everyone that the smallest acts of courage can inspire social change. This tradition continues with the recent film “The Help,” which examines the relationships between black maids and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi. The film reminds audiences that popular culture has the power to affect change and illuminate the plight of those without a voice.

ABOUT “THE HELP”: Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, “The Help” stars Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (“Doubt”) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed—even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. Deeply moving, filled with poignancy, humor and hope, “The Help” is a timeless and universal story about the ability to create change.

The ensemble cast also features Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emmy® Award winner Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Oscar® winner Sissy Spacek, Academy Award® nominee Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel.

From DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment, in association with Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi, “The Help” is directed and written for the screen by Tate Taylor, based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett, and produced by Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan.

ABOUT USC SCHOOL OF CINEMATIC ARTS: The mission of the USC School of Cinematic Arts is to develop and articulate the creative, scholarly and entrepreneurial principles and practices of film, television and interactive media, and in doing so inspire and prepare the women and men who will become leaders in the field.

With the school’s launch, USC became the first university in the country to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in film. The school’s founding faculty included Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, William C. DeMille, Ernst Lubitsch, Irving Thalberg, and Darryl Zanuck, among others. Since its founding, the School of Cinematic Arts has had a profound impact on feature and independent film, television, film studies, animation, documentaries, commercials, and most recently, interactive media. USC has over 10,000 living alumni include scholars in teaching institutions throughout the world, artists, technicians, writers, directors, and industry executives, many operating at the highest levels in their fields. These men and women have been honored with every major award available in the motion picture and television arts, ranging from Oscars and Emmys to accolades presented by American and international film festivals, and associations representing alternative and independent cinema. The school continues to build upon its legacy by redefining its curriculum to fit the changing spectrum of media arts and technology and strives to lead the way in every aspect of motion picture and television production, education and scholarly study.

EVENT: “The Power of Film to Create Social Change” Panel Discussion
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

LOCATION: Landmark Theatre
10850 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

HOST: USC School of Cinematic Arts

• Reverend James Lawson – Pastor Emeritus Holman United Methodist Church, Legendary Civil Rights activist
• Rabbi Allen I. Freehling – Rabbi Emeritus, University Synagogue. Former Exec. Director Human Relations Commission, City of Los Angeles, and longtime social justice advocate
• Ai-jen Poo – Director, Co-Founder, National Domestic Workers Alliance
• Michael Taylor, Producer, Chair of Film and Television Production, USC
· Octavia Spencer (Actress, “The Help”)
• Tate Taylor (Writer/Director, “The Help”)

MODERATOR: Cari Beauchamp. Beauchamp is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Scholar, and award-winning author of “Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and The Powerful Women of Early Hollywood.”

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