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This Week: Art and Politics
This Week
August 6, 2004

This week on NOW:

This fall, John Sayles, one of America's most celebrated independent filmmakers, releases his 15th feature film, SILVER CITY, a tale of a corrupt candidate for governor. "Do we expect our candidates… to actually be people who know anything, who can govern, who have a vision, who know that Africa is not a country," he asks. "Or do we expect them to just be mascots for the people who are really running things?" His landmark RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN, a bittersweet look at a reunion of 60's political activists won the LA Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay and helped launch the American independent film movement. As a novelist, short story writer, and filmmaker, Sayles has received the John D. MacArthur Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Steinbeck Award, the John Cassavettes Award and the WGA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jehane Noujaim's controversial documentary "Control Room" about Al-Jazeera called into question the prevailing images and positions offered up by the U.S. news media about the Iraq war and explores whether the U.S. is radicalizing or stabilizing the Arab world. "If we become this close-minded place here, where we don't understand other cultures, what's happening outside of our borders is affecting the rest of the world, I think that's extremely dangerous for us," she says. Jehane Noujaim began as a photographer and filmmaker in Cairo, Egypt, where she grew up. As an undergraduate at Harvard University, from which she graduated magna cum laude, Noujaim was awarded the Gardiner fellowship under which she directed Mokattam, an Arabic film about an Egyptian garbage collecting village. Noujaim has produced for the MTV documentary series, UNFILTERED, as well as produced and directed STARTUP.COM, the feature length, highly acclaimed documentary has won numerous distinguished awards including the DGA and IDA Awards for best documentary.

Activist, poet, and playwright, Sarah Jones is currently starring in BRIDGE & TUNNEL, a one-woman show about the experiences of fourteen immigrants traveling the roads of assimilation and revealing the story of an often unseen America. "Every artist who's ever sat down and been moved to create something, has been living in a context--a political moment that's most often reflected in their work," says Jones, "I believe that there is no separating art from politics." The show has received numerous accolades, including the Obie Award, Theatre World Award and Drama League Award. Her three previous solo shows, SURFACE TRANSIT, WOMEN CAN'T WAIT, and WAKING THE AMERICAN DREAM have garnered numerous honors including a Helen Hayes Award and HBO's Aspen Comedy Arts Festival's Best One Person Show Award. Jones' shows have been presented for such audiences as the United Nations, the Supreme Court of Nepal, and members of the U.S. Congress.

In Depth

WPA Living Newspaper on Stage

Art and Politics in America

Who's Laughing Now? Political Satire

Filmmaker John Sayles on SILVER CITY

Sarah Jones in Bridge and Tunnel
Sarah Jones' One-Woman Show, BRIDGE AND TUNNEL

The History of Political Theater

Censorship in 21st Century America

Al Jazeera anchor
CONTROL ROOM Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim

Al Jazeera and Arab Press Online

America in the Eyes of the World


Talk about the election on the message boards.


Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

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