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Acclaimed Documentary about Kurtz case | Sundance Channel

December 1, 2007  by: Dom

STRANGE CULTURE Airs on Sundance Channel December 2007

12/11 @ 9:35pm EST/PST
12/13 @ 12:35am EST/PST
12/14 @ 10:35am EST/PST
12/16 @ 3:35pm EST/PST

STRANGE CULTURE, selected to open both the 2007 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival and the documentary section of the Berlin International Film Festival, is directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson, and features Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton, Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Coyote E.T., Erin Brochovich, Thomas Jay Ryan Henry Fool, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Wallace Shawn The Princess Bride, My Dinner with Andre; Original score by The Residents.

STRANGE CULTURE details the surreal nightmare of artist and University at Buffalo professor Dr. Steven Kurtz. Dr. Kurtz was illegally detained and accused by the U.S. government of “bioterrorism” in 2004 after police became suspicious of common science materials used in his internationally renowned art practice. He now awaits trial on charges of “mail fraud”—charges which carry the possibility of a 20-year jail term under the USA PATRIOT Act. Since the ongoing nature of the case prevents Dr. Kurtz from discussing its details, Hershman Leeson has enlisted actors to dramatize parts of the story, skillfully interweaving dialogue with news footage, animation, interviews, testimonials, and footage of Kurtz himself.



“Hershman Leeson is as interested in reinventing the doc form as she is in publicizing Kurtz’s case. The director not only breaks the fourth wall, she reduces it to plaster dust.” – Variety

“…alternatively teasing and terrifying… a near perfect alignment of subject and form.” – The New York Times

“Strange Culture is an important heads-up to what is going on in our country right now in the name of national security, and a brilliant statement on artistic freedom and the dangers it faces. This film should be seen, should be discussed and is an important document on our times.” – Film Threat

“Strange Culture is a veteran artist’s thoughtful, indignant response to PATRIOT Act America.” – indieWire

“…one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance this year…”
– The Portland Mercury

“You don’t have to be paranoid for Strange Culture to scare the hell out of you.”
– Reuters

“…a brilliant and moving examination of fear and its manipulations.”
– The Nation

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