Aussie Filmmaker Wendy Dent Serves as Visiting Scholar at University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, after guest-speaking at Harvard and Columbia

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Following guest-speaking engagements and screenings of her Zimbabwe human rights documentary at Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley and Columbia University, award winning Australian filmmaker Wendy Dent is now serving as Visiting Scholar at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Wendy Dent visits USC School of Cinematic Arts as guest-speaker on March 19

Wendy Dent visits USC School of Cinematic Arts as guest-speaker on March 19

I'd like to live an extraordinary life and make extraordinary films. Meeting with the cinema school's faculty, who truly strive to advance the School's extraordinary motto 'Reality Ends Here', assured me that USC is a place that would enable me to do that

Award-winning Australian filmmaker Wendy Dent is now serving as Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, after guest-speaking at screenings of her Zimbabwe human rights documentary at Harvard, Stanford, University of California Berkeley and Columbia University.

Earlier in the year the writer-director-producer was invited to present and discuss her body of work on March 19 as a guest-speaker for the advanced documentary course at the acclaimed USC School of Cinematic Arts, ranked by The Hollywood Reporter as the world’s top film school.

The professors' and students’ enthusiastic reaction to the director and her films led to the University of Southern California inviting Wendy Dent to serve as Visiting Scholar at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for the 2012-2013 Academic year.

In support of the prestigious placement, Dent has also been awarded highly honored grants from the American Australian Association’s Dame Joan Sutherland Fund and Australia’s Ian Potter Cultural Trust for artists of exceptional talent.

“Whilst visiting the School in March I had the opportunity to meet with several of the faculty’s Oscar and Emmy award-winning professors”, Dent comments, “and I left each meeting feeling nothing short of inspired. It is truly an honor to be invited to now contribute to the School’s community as Visiting Scholar, in the true spirit of exchange”.

Wendy Dent returned to USC in September following an enthusiastic response to Ivy League university screenings and discussions of ‘No News From Harare’, her Zimbabwe human rights documentary about the Robert Mugabe regime.

Harvard University's September 12 ‘No News From Harare’ event, with Wendy Dent as guest speaker, was co-presented by the Harvard Humanitarian Academy at the School of Public Health, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard’s Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research.

Dr. Claude Bruderlein, Negeen Darani and Charlie Clements, the executive directors of the three human rights institutes, were in attendance and spoke highly of the documentary, as did the students.

“This is a film about courage” was one of several lauds, referring not only to the bravery of the interviewees but also Dent’s own courage in producing the documentary about a regime notorious for imprisoning and torturing journalists.

Wendy Dent then dashed to New York to guest-speak the next day at Columbia University’s screening and discussion of the doc on September 13, marking its eighth university event. The event was co-presented by Columbia University’s Human Rights Master of Arts Student Council and the Institute for Human Rights.

Allison Tamer, President of the Human Rights Master of Arts Student Council commented that "it was a phenomenal documentary that educated the audience about the harsh political climate in Zimbabwe and moved the audience to get the word out about the Mugabe regime”. The director plans to return shortly to the East coast for further invitations to present and speak on her work.

In reflecting on the film’s journey, and her own journey from Australia to Zimbabwe, then on to Ivy league speaking engagements and a Visiting Scholar position at the top-ranked film school, Wendy Dent comments; “I produced 'No News From Harare' -and many of my other films -on a shoestring budget in some of the most dangerous conditions thinkable for an independent filmmaker. It proves that there is always hope. And anything is possible. I hope the same will prove true for Zimbabwe.”

As well as risking retribution from the Robert Mugabe regime, Dent has risked missile attacks shooting in the Middle East, upturned the underbelly of the gigolo trade in Bali, and filmed the inspiring side of life in the favelas of Brazil. She introduced the world to the modern day ‘Juliets’ in Verona, later profiled in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Letters to Juliet’.

She has also interviewed some of the most prominent people of our time, from the masters of jazz in New Orleans, to the exiled Cambodian opposition leader, as well as Hollywood icons Richard Gere and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Dent’s documentaries have been filmed around the globe and screened at over thirty international film festivals and universities, from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. She is hush-lipped about details of future projects, but reveals she has several upcoming documentaries, books, screenplays and web projects in the works.

“I'd like to live an extraordinary life and make extraordinary films" Wendy Dent says. "Meeting with the cinema school's faculty, who truly strive to advance the School’s extraordinary motto ‘Reality Ends Here’, assured me that USC is a place that would enable me to do that.”

Further information on Wendy Dent and 'No News From Harare' can be found at: http://www.wendydent.com and http://www.humanrightsonfilm.com

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