Dr. Douglas Fraleigh, chair of Fresno State’s Department of Communication and a Freedom of Speech scholar, will be part of a panel discussion about the importance of free speech and the arts following a free screening of the movie “1984” on Tuesday, April 4.

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Media Access Collaborative, at 1555 Van Ness Ave. in downtown Fresno.

CMAC is one of more than 180 independent movie theaters across the country in 165 cities, 43 states, as well as screenings in Canada, England, Sweden and Croatia participating in a multi-national screening of the 1984-version of the movie “1984” in support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

fraleigh“This screening of ‘1984’ across the U.S. and Canada is a reminder of the vital role the arts and humanities play in our culture, not only for their aesthetic value, but also for their role in advocating for a just society,” Fraleigh said. “April 4 is an important day for Winston in ‘1984’ and it is also a great day to reflect on the importance of exercising our own First Amendment freedoms.”

Other panelists include Catherine Campbell, a civil rights attorney and and Fresno Filmworks Advisory Board member; and Peter McDonald, Fresno State’s Dean of Library Services.

Directed by British filmmaker Michael Radford, “1984” is the second film adaptation of the George Orwell novel. Winston Smith (John Hurt) is a government employee whose job involves the rewriting of history in a manner that casts his fictional country’s leaders in a charitable light. His trysts with Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) provide his only measure of enjoyment, but lawmakers frown on the relationship — and in this closely monitored society, there is no escape from Big Brother.

April 4 was chosen because it’s the day George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith begins rebelling against his oppressive government by keeping a forbidden diary.

This screening is presented with support from CMAC, Fresno State CineCultureWomen’s International League for Peach and Freedom, Fresno Center for Nonviolence, Fresno Filmworks, Dr. Sarah Minasyan, Dr. Jason Marengo, Arte Américas and Peace Fresno.

More information about the national event can be found here; information about the screening and panel discussion at CMAC is available here.