National Endowment for the Arts Announces World Premiere of
Washington, DC -- On March 14, 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the National Archives, will present the world premiere of Muse of Fire, a new documentary film about wartime writing and the creative process that was inspired by the groundbreaking National Endowment for the Arts initiative, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. The film features compelling readings and interviews with troops and their families who participated in the program. Muse of Fire also includes renowned writers who taught writing workshops for the initiative, such as best-selling novelist Jeff Shaara (The Rising Tide) and award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson (The Fields of Praise). Award-winning actor and director Kevin Costner (The Guardian) is featured, as is actor Stephen Lang (Gods and Generals). Muse of Fire is directed by Lawrence Bridges of Red Car Productions.
The film is the latest component of the NEA's Operation Homecoming, which brought distinguished writers -- including Tobias Wolff, Tom Clancy, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Mark Bowden -- to 25 domestic and overseas military installations to conduct writing workshops from April 2004 through July 2005. Operation Homecoming also offered an open call for writing submissions to troops who have served since 9/11, along with their families. That call resulted in nearly 2,000 submissions.
In September 2006, Random House published Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. The anthology, edited by the award-winning author Andrew Carroll, includes nearly 100 letters, poems, stories, and memoirs of service and sacrifice on the front lines and at home. The Boeing Company, which funded the Operation Homecoming program, supported a book tour to more than 30 venues, including military bases, libraries, bookstores, and cultural centers nationwide.
Muse of Fire was developed in partnership with Arts Midwest, a non-profit regional arts organizations that connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. Director Lawrence Bridges' film team included Executive Producer Jan Wieringa and Producer Minor Childers.
After the film premiere, a panel discussion with NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, Andrew Carroll, and Jeff Shaara will address the Operation Homecoming program and the preservation of wartime writing. Carroll and several contributors will also sign copies of the book, available for purchase at the event. Copies of Muse of Fire also will be donated to nearly 500 military base libraries, schools, and education centers worldwide. The film will be screened on military bases and at select film festivals.
Muse of Fire at the National Archives
The world premiere of Muse of Fire takes place on Wednesday, March 14 at 6:30 pm at the National Archives William G. McGowan Theater, at the special events entrance on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. This event is free and open to the public, however seating is limited. For more information, contact the National Archives at 202-357-5000.
Other Operation Homecoming resources
In addition to the Random House anthology, Operation Homecoming will preserve all submissions in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, a federal government archive. A second television documentary on Operation Homecoming, directed by Richard Robbins, will air on PBS on April 16, 2007 as part of the "American at a Crossroads" series. The NEA also has produced educational resources to encourage troops and their families to write about their experiences. Information on Operation Homecoming, essays on writing, streaming video of writing workshops, and audio clips are available at www.OperationHomecoming.org.
Operation Homecoming has been administered by the NEA in partnership with the Southern Arts Federation. The initiative was made possible by generous support from The Boeing Company, which has helped the NEA bring numerous quality arts and arts education programs to military communities nationwide and overseas.
Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest combined manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft. With additional capabilities in rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems, the company's reach extends to customers in 145 countries. In terms of sales, Boeing is one of the largest U.S. exporters.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts -- both new and established -- bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.
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National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency
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