Franklin College welcomes Athens-native James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour, The Circle and Master of None) back to town this weekend to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Willson Center with an event at Cine:
Ponsoldt will introduce special screenings of Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 masterpiece The Last Picture Show at 3 p.m. and his critically acclaimed 2013 film The Spectacular Now, which was filmed in Athens, at 7:15 p.m. Between the two films, at 5:30 p.m., Ponsoldt will take part in a public conversation about an education, life and career in the arts and humanities with Nicholas Allen, Franklin Professor of English and director of the Willson Center. A public reception in the CineLab will begin at 5 p.m. and continue after the conversation, with refreshments from The National and book sales by Avid Bookshop.
Ponsoldt received his bachelor's degree from Yale University as well as an M.F.A. in directing from Columbia University. His other credits include the films Smashed and Off the Black. Films that Ponsoldt has written and/or directed have won multiple awards at the Sundance Film Festival, been nominated for Independent Spirit Awards and been honored by the National Board of Review. He co-wrote the graphic novel Refresh, Refresh (selected by Alison Bechdel for Best American Comics) and is developing films with Disney, A24, Fox and Plan B.
The Last Picture Show, based on the 1966 novel by Larry McMurtry, starred Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd, Jeff Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn and Ben Johnson. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards including best picture and best director, with Johnson and Leachman winning best supporting actor and best supporting actress.
Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now stars our very own Athens, GA as a setting as well as former UGA theatre and film studies student Kyle Chandler. A terrific filmmaker and all around great person, Ponsoldt is the perfect guest to celebrate the Willson Center and The Last Picture Show is truly and American classic. Space is limited in Saturday so get there early.
Image from The Last Picture Show