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Past Event

Jewish Cultural StudiesVisiting Writers

Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy

Director/ Producer: Haydn Reiss 

Beginning in 1994, Reiss has made a series of documentaries on writers and poets, including William Stafford & Robert Bly: A Literary Friendship and the award-winning Rumi: Poet of the Heart, which was narrated by Debra Winger. Both films aired on PBS.

In 2005, Reiss produced, How Democrats and Progressives Can Win: Solutions from George Lakoff’ Professor Lakoff, a noted expert in linguistics and political language, is showcased in a tightly knit program that explains how modern politics is waged through ideas like “framing” the debate, the way a party’s “values” influence voters and much more. At that time only the political right had made use of these cognitive techniques to gain political power and the film was made in response to that imbalance.

Reiss’ 2009 film, Every War Has Two Losers, a look at poet William Stafford’s years as a conscientious objector, was a 2011 winner at the Canadian International Film Festival and an official selection of the 2011 United National Film Festival. 

2015 brought the completion of Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy, the first feature documentary profile of the prolific and controversial poet and activist. Featuring Martin Sheen, Gary Snyder Mark Rylance, Jane Hirshfield, Philip Levine and many others from the world of art and literature. It is set for a PBS broadcast next year. 

In a previous life Haydn worked as  assistant on the psychological thriller Jacob Ladder and as assistant to the producer Alex Ho on Oliver Stone’s JFK.

Mr. Reiss has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Minnesota Film & TV, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the Westcliff Foundation and others.

There will be a Q&A with the filmmaker, Haydn Reiss, following the screening. This event is sponsored by the Visiting Writers Series and Jewish Cultural Studies.