A closer look at heroes, superheroes and superhumans

January 15, 2013

It was Bonnie Tyler who famously declared, “I need a hero!” in the song “Holding Out for a Hero” on the 1984 Footloose soundtrack. Today, we still look for those individuals who exhibit strength and bravery during times of need. But what exactly classifies someone to be a hero? Is it a cape? Superpowers? How about simply courage? Must heroes be exceptional? How does heroism differ in terms of gender, race, culture and periods?

Project Humanities at Arizona State University will launch its spring kickoff series “Heroes, Superheroes, and Superhumans,” Feb. 10-16 to examine what constitutes heroes and heroism in pop culture and everyday life. Covering everything from comics to power struggles, the week will feature conferences, keynote addresses, and film screenings and panel discussions with faculty, students and community members across disciplines Download Full Image

"Certain individuals and their acts and behaviors capture our attention and seem almost transcendent and beyond the everyday. Whether through behaviors or actions – imagined or real – our fascination with comics, animation, digitalization and technology, our awareness of heroes and heroism lends itself to diverse and impactful critical conversations,” said Neal A. Lester, associate vice president for humanities and arts in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and director of Project Humanities.

Events are free are open to the public.

Monday, Feb. 11:

"Heroes, Leaders, Failings, and Flaws:  What do we expect in, of, and from, those to whom we give power and responsibility?" 5-6 p.m., Turquoise Ballroom, Tempe campus

Tuesday, Feb. 12:

Comics and Beyond the Human, 4:30-5:30 p.m., SS 107, Tempe campus

Wednesday, Feb. 13:

"Superheros in Narrative: Comics Come of Age in Print and Film" a talk by Teague von Bohlen, assistant professor of creative writing at University of Colorado Denver, 2-3 pm, Feb. 13, Cooley Ballroom A, Polytechnic campus.

 “Superheroes and American Pop Culture” a conversation with Tony Parker, Marvel and DC Comic artist, and professor of art at Phoenix College, 7-8 p.m., Biodesign Auditorium, Tempe campus.

Thursday, Feb. 14:

"Science Fiction TV Dinner Series: “Biotic Woman,” 6-7:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Century Hall, Polytechnic campus

Friday, Feb. 15:

"Vital Voices: Veteran Voices", 6:30-8:30 p.m., First Amendment Forum, Cronkite Building, Downtown campus

For more information or to join the conversation, please visit humanities.asu.edu.


ASU hosts filmmakers for an insider look at movie making

January 15, 2013

The film buzz at ASU continues, as students now have a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about the making of 2008 indie darling "Juno" from the director, screenwriter, studio officials and other key filmmakers in a face-to-face daylong discussion – all part of the Anatomy of a Feature Film series.

The film's director, Jason Reitman, and screenwriter Diablo Cody, among a host of film professionals, will be on hand Saturday, Jan. 26, to talk with students studying the art and craft of filmmaking at the School of Theatre and Film in ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts about the business of making movies. Download Full Image

"Juno" is a low-budget independent film that went on to win multiple accolades, including Best Screenplay at the 2008 Academy Awards.


Due to a limited number of seating, the event will be livestreamed online, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (MST), and is free to anyone who wants to watch.

"The program is a unique opportunity for students to hear how a film was conceptualized, produced, marketed and distributed – from the people who actually made it happen, complete with the hindsight of a successful release," said Adam Collis, professor of practice at the ASU School of Theatre and Film, who helped create the program.

Interviews with guests lined up for the event will be broadcast to ASU via video conference provided by Cisco Systems. The ASU School of Theatre and Film is expanding the interactive teleconference program to include students at Duke University, the University of California Los Angeles Anderson, the University of Montana, and Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and the San Francisco Film Society.

A limited number of seats will be available to ASU students and the general public but only students enrolled in the daylong class are able to direct questions to the participants. Film producer Judd Payne ("As Cool as I Am," 2013; "Bernie," 2011) will host at the UCLA site.

“This program is just one of the ways in which we are bringing both a first-rate education and an understanding of the realities of film and media production to film students at the ASU School of Theatre and Film,’’ said F. Miguel Valenti, founder and director of the film and media production programs, and Lincoln Professor of Ethics and the Arts at the school.

“We are a young program, founded on principles of narrative storytelling and ethical decision-making. We are pleased to bring this special Anatomy of a Feature Film event to our colleagues in film programs across the country and we hope to expand the program in the near future," Valenti said.

The events are set to take place all day at the Marston Exploration Theater in the School of Earth and Space Exploration, Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB4); 850 S. McAllister Ave., Tempe, Ariz.

There is a screening of "Juno" at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 24 (come at 7 p.m. for pizza) that is also free and open to the public at the Marston Exploration Theater. The screening is part of the ASU School of Theatre and Film's Hollywood Invades Tempe series.