Kennedy’s appearance is free and open to the public as part of the Wittenberg Series, an annual series of arts, entertainment and scholarship presented for the benefit of the whole community.
“American Hollow,” which premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, focuses on an Appalachian family caught between centuryold tradition and the demands of the modern world. The film, which Kennedy both produced and directed, went on to win Best Documentary prizes at both the Newport and Northhampton film festivals, as well as the Gold Hugo at the 1999 Chicago International Film Festival. The film’s broadcast premiere came in November 1999 as part of HBO’s “American Undercover” series. It was most recently nominated for a 2000 Emmy Award.
The topics Kennedy selects for her documentary films reflect her social conscience, dealing with the child-rearing problems of disabled mothers and pregnant women jailed for drug use. “American Hollow” was described as “richly atmospheric” by the New York Times for its portrayal of a year in the life of the Bowling clan of eastern Kentucky. Both an oral and visual history, Kennedy’s film provides insights on seven generations of Bowlings as they struggled against poverty.
In 1999, Kennedy produced and directed “Epidemic Africa,” a short film about the impact of AIDS on families in sub-Saharan Africa, which was screened for the U.S. Senate. She is currently developing a feature-length film on the same topic.
Following the presentation of the 90-minute film, Kennedy will answer audience questions. An artist’s reception will also be held after the event.
Ms. Kennedy is also the founder and president of Moxie Films Inc., a production company based in New York City, which recently merged with Firecracker Films to form Moxie Firecracker, Inc.
While Kennedy is steadily gaining renown for her filmmaking, she is best known to most Americans as the youngest child of Robert Kennedy, born six months after her father’s assassination. Her cousin John F. Kennedy Jr. was killed last year while trying to pilot his plane to Hyannis Port to take part in her wedding.
Kennedy’s social activism through her art is in keeping with the theme of the 2000-2001 Wittenberg Series, which throughout the year will explore “Individualism and Commitment in American Public Life.” Over the course of this year’s 13 events, the series will examine from many directions the dynamic tension between individual and community needs in public life, including issues such as the family, bigotry, violence, service, journalism and the arts.
While at Wittenberg, Kennedy will also meet with several literature classes and interact with students.