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Filmmaker Tells About Craft

Emmy-winning Documentary Filmmaker to Speak at UC Riverside

Saul Landau Has Focused on Social Issues, Human Rights for 40 years

(May 25, 2006)

Saul Landau, photo courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona

Saul Landau, photo courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Filmmaker Saul Landau will visit UC Riverside at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, to share experiences gleaned from more than 40 years spent documenting social, political and historical issues worldwide.

Alongside his filmmaking, Landau has written 14 books. He received an Edgar Allan Poe Award for “Assassination on Embassy Row,” a report on the 1976 murders of Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt.

The free lecture, which is open to the public, will take place in the Special Collections Department on the fourth floor of Tomás Rivera Library, where Landau’s archives are housed.

A frequent speaker to university audiences, Landau said he connects with students more effectively through his films than his books — students are increasingly tuned into electronic media and technology rather than the written word, he said, so ideas on a big screen are more likely to grab their attention.

“You can’t know what people will respond to, though,” he said. “Someone might remember something you said 10 years later, and say, ‘Oh! That’s what he meant!’ and someone else will look back and say, ‘Well, that was stupid.’”
For this engagement at UC Riverside, Landau said, he has been asked to talk about himself and his career, which is a bit daunting.

“I’m not sure what I’ll say,” he said. “Make sure the lens cap is off -- that’s very important. Make sure the microphone is on, and get plenty of close-ups.”

Producer of more than 40 documentary films, from “Losing Just the Same,” a 1966 exploration of Oakland and San Francisco ghetto life, to 2004’s “Syria: Between Iraq and a Hard Place,” Landau is also a noted scholar and commentator. He has won the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, the George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting and the First Amendment Award, as well as an Emmy for 1980’s “Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang,” which exposed governmental suppression of the health hazards of low-level radiation.

Landau is director of Digital Media Programs at Cal Poly Pomona, where his recent projects include the documentary films “Cuba Today,” “Maquiladora: A Tale of Two Mexicos,” and “Same River Twice,” a telenovela drawn from current events in the Pomona Valley. The films will be available soon on streaming video through Mediavision.

Landau has been a senior fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., since 1972, and at the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam since 1974. He is also a political analyst and commentator for Pacifica Radio Network News, and host of “Hot Talk,” a series of interviews with prominent actors, filmmakers, journalists and political activists.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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