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Whitworth’s annual film festival welcomes award-winning documentarian Helen Whitney Feb. 21

January 7, 2015

Photo courtesy of Flagler College
The seventh annual Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival at Whitworth University will feature Helen Whitney, an award-winning producer, director and writer of documentary films, and a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

The first 90 minutes of Whitney’s film, Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate, will be shown on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. in Whitworth’s Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. Following the film, Whitworth Professor of English Leonard Oakland will lead a Q&A session with Whitney; Oakland will also invite audience members to ask questions. This event is free and open to the public. For more information about Whitworth’s annual film festival and for the 2015 schedule, please visit the Leonard Oakland Film Festival.

Whitney's presentation is also one of Whitworth's 125th anniversary signature events. For a complete list of signature events taking place throughout the year, click here.

Forgiveness, Whitney’s most recent film, examines the power, limitations and, in rare cases, the dangers of forgiveness through emblematic stories, ranging from personal betrayal to international truth and reconciliation commissions. The three-hour documentary aired on PBS in April 2011, and it inspired Whitney to write a book of the same name with a foreword written by the Dalai Lama.

Whitney’s earlier documentaries cover a wide range of topics, including youth gangs, monasteries, presidential candidates, homosexuality, Pope John Paul II, class structure in Great Britain, and the photographer Richard Avedon.

Whitney has worked as a producer, director and writer for documentaries and feature films since 1971. Her work has appeared on ABC’s Closeup and PBS’s American Masters, as well as Frontline.

Her documentaries and features have received numerous awards and recognitions, including an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award, an Oscar nomination, the Humanities Award, and the DuPont-Columbia Journalism Award. Whitney earned an M.A. in Victorian literature from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.

For 35 years, the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program has brought prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders, and other non-academic professionals to campuses across the United States for substantive dialogue with students and faculty members. Through multi-day residential programs, Wilson Fellows create better understanding and new connections between the academic and non-academic worlds.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Tad Wisenor, campaign director in institutional advancement, Whitworth University (509) 777-4401 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or