Film Series Continues at Gallagher

In its second year, the Film Series at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center exposes audiences to a variety of independent films and documentaries. Just like live productions, film is an art form that allows for expression and creativity. Janelle Darst, Marketing Director at the GBPAC, explained that the staff chooses some films that are entertaining and others that are more thought-provoking. This year, the films relate to Reaching for Higher Ground’s theme, the American Dream.

Reaching for Higher Ground was an idea that emerged from the Laramie Project, which involved two plays in the fall of 2012 based on interviews of people in Laramie, Wyoming in the wake of Matthew Shepard’s death. Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming who was attacked in October 1998 because he was openly gay and died from the resulting injuries. The first play portrayed those interviewed shortly after Shepard’s death and the second portrayed those same people interviewed ten years later.

The GBPAC first introduced Reaching for Higher Ground as “Standing for Higher Ground,” but the concept soon extended beyond the performing arts center to include the entire campus. Executive Director Steve Carignan first reached out to the university president, provost, and the deans of colleges, who embraced the idea and agreed upon the current name. The word “reaching” indicates that pursuing higher ground is a continual process, rather than a goal that has already been achieved. The concept turned into a committee of individuals across all of campus in an effort to work together as part of an integration conversation. Instructors and other organizations at the university are encouraged to host events that align with the theme each year.

January’s film, Including Samuel, will be shown Tuesday, January 22nd at 7pm. It is an award-winning film that gives an in-depth look at the life of Dan Habib, a photojournalist who has a son with cerebral palsy. It is an honest portrayal of a father’s efforts to seek inclusion every day for his son Samuel. It has been featured on Good Morning America and in the Washington Post and Boston Globe. Tickets are free for UNI students and $5 for the general public. For more information, visit For the full Film Series list, go to, click Upcoming Events, then select Film Series.

Samuel Dan airplane

Photo Credit: Dan Habib/

Written by Clarissa McPheron


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