Cinetopia is thrilled to collaborate with the University of Michigan’s Department of Screen Arts & Cultures and the University Library to honor legendary filmmaker Robert Altman, the director of M*A*S*H, The Player, Gosford Park and dozens of other acclaimed films. In celebration of the official opening of the Robert Altman collection, UM Library’s largest archive, the Robert Altman Symposium will bring Altman collaborators and scholars from around the globe to Ann Arbor to discuss what made him unique, and will include screenings of Nashville; Secret Honor; the pilot episode of Tanner ’88; and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. Altman has strong ties to the area; UM houses his archives and he taught classes, directed a Stravinsky opera, and filmed Secret Honor at the university.

The Robert Altman Symposium is sponsored by the Department of Screen Arts & Cultures, Sheldon Cohn Fund, Department of History, Program in American Culture, Department of Composition, University Library, Institute for the Humanities, UM School of Art & Design, Office of Vice-President for Research, Rackham Graduate School, College of Literature, Science and the Arts, the Michigan Theater, and Cinetopia International Film Festival.

The symposium is free and open to the public, although attendees must purchase tickets to view the three Cinetopia films. See below for the symposium itinerary.


Conversations Celebrating the Opening of the Robert Altman Archive

Location (unless noted otherwise):
Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery, Room 100
913 S. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Friday, June 7

9:00 am
Opening Remarks
Frank Beaver, Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan

9:30 am – 11:30 am
Acting and Performance
That so many featured players in Altman’s films returned to work on multiple projects is a testimony to the director’s ability to raise the craft of filming performance to a fine art. This panel considers some of the performances Altman committed to film from the perspective of cinematography and acting itself.

Virginia Wright-Wexman, Professor, University of Illinois, Chicago
Michael Murphy, Actor
Pierre Mignot, Cinematographer
Terry Lawson, Retired Film Critic, Detroit Free Press, Moderator

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Sound and Music
Altman’s innovations in sound and music recording and editing are among his greatest achievements as director. Participants of this panel discuss those innovations from their perspectives as scholars, and as sound editors and composers with whom Altman collaborated – including on an opera production at UM when Altman was a visiting artist and instructor.

Eliza Paley, Sound Editor
Gayle Magee, Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign
William Bolcom, Composer
Krin Gabbard, Professor, Stony Brook University
Caryl Flinn, Professor, University of Michigan, Moderator

4:00 pm
Official Public Unveiling and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
(Paul Courant, Dean, UM Library, and Kathryn Altman)

5:00 pm
Cinetopia Film Screening: Secret Honor (1984) & Tanner ’88: “The Dark Horse” (1988)
Includes a post-screening Q&A with Michael Murphy (Actor), Pierre Mignot (Cinematographer), Eliza Paley (Sound Editor), Matthew Seig (Producer), and Kathryn Altman.
Angell Hall, Auditorium A

Saturday, June 8

10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Roundtable: Altman in the Archives
This roundtable promises a vibrant, lively discussion among students and international film scholars and film makers who have already enjoyed hands-on study of resources in the Robert Altman Collection at UM’s Library.

Ron Mann, Documentary Filmmaker, Toronto
Nathan Koob, PhD candidate, University of Michigan
Daniel Blim, Adjunct Professor, Drew University
Doris Piller, Scholar, Vienna
Dimitri Pavlounis, Graduate Student, University of Michigan
Greg Brown, Undergraduate Student, University of Michigan
Katherine Sherry, Undergraduate Student, University of Michigan
Matthew Solomon, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Moderator

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
American Maverick
Robert Altman remains a titan in the rich American tradition of “maverick directors.” Family members, scholars and close colleagues offer their personal and professional reflections on a prolific and versatile master.

Alan Rudolph, Director
Joyce Rudolph, Photographer
Kathryn Altman
Robert Self, Professor Emeritus, Northern Illinois University
Frank Beaver, Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, Moderator

4:30 pm
Cinetopia Film Screening: Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
Includes a post-screening Q&A with Pierre Mignot (Cinematographer), Matthew Seig (Producer), and Kathryn Altman.
Michigan Theater

Sunday, June 9

12:30 pm
Cinetopia Film Screening: Nashville (1975)
Includes a pre-screening Q&A with Michael Murphy (Actor), Alan Rudolph (Director), Joyce Rudolph (Photographer), and Kathryn Altman.
Angell Hall, Auditorium A