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The Unreal Reality of Alan Rudolph

The Unreal Reality of Alan Rudolph: Conversations with the Filmmaker & Collaborators 

Quirky, off kilter, stylishly romantic and filled with moments of wry humor, Alan Rudolph makes movies with dreamy-eyed protagonists searching for love in all the wrong places. He often mashes up genres into something new and unique and peppers his films with elements not always beholden to realism. Rudolph began his four-decade career under the watchful eye of mentor Robert Altman, but he soon created a body of work that is clearly his own vision.

The Unreal Reality of Alan Rudolph: Conversations with the Filmmaker & Collaborators
 Symposium was held from Sunday, June 3 to Wednesday, June 5, 2018, and included panels of noted film scholars, critics, producers, and actors; screenings of a selection of Rudolph's films (as part of the Cinetopia Film Festival); an official opening of the Alan Rudolph Archive in the Special Collections Library; and a guest panel in the Spring Department of Film, Television, and Media class Women in Hollywood (FTVM 366).

Additionally, this symposium kicked off two exhibits: Still Images, Moving Pictures: The On-Set Photography of Joyce Rudolph in the Institute of the Humanities Gallery (June 1-7) and Nothing Makes Sense, Except Love: The Cinematic Musings of Director Alan Rudolph in the Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery (June 1 - August 19).

Sponsored by the Cinetopia International Film Festival, the U-M Library,
and the Department of Film, Television, and Media. 

The Unreal Reality of Alan Rudolph
Welcome and Opening Remarks 

(At left) Film Studies Librarian and Screen Arts Mavericks & Makers Collection Curator Phil Hallman welcomes symposium attendees and (at right) introduces the Katherine Altman Endowment that allows scholars to access the collection.

Panel: A Knack for the Unexpected:
Why Alan Rudolph's Films Matter 

On Monday, June 4, 2018, a panel of noted film scholars and critics discussed Alan Rudolph’s career and placed it in context of 1970s New Hollywood Cinema and 1980s-‘90s Indie Film Movement.

Panel participants included Krin Gabbard (Professor, Stony Brook University), Richard Ness (Professor, Western Illinois University), Dan Sallitt (Film Director and Critic), and Caryl Flinn (Moderator; Professor, University of Michigan).

Interview: Alan Rudolph: A Singular Perspective 

FTVM Associate Professor Matthew Solomon interviews Director Alan Rudolph about his career on Monday, June 4, 2018. 

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Alan Rudoph Archive &
Opening of Rudolph Exhibit

Symposium attendees witness the official opening of the Alan Rudolph Archive, University of Michigan Library, Special Collections, and the opening of the exhibition Nothing Makes Sense, Except Love: The Cinematic Musings of Director Alan Rudolph in the Hatcher Graduate Library on Monday, June 4, 2018.

Nothing Makes Sense, Except Love:
The Cinematic Musings of Director Alan Rudolph 

June 1 - August 19, 2018 - Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery 100.

This exhibit features materials reproduced from the Alan Rudolph Collection now part of the University of Michigan Library Special Collections Research Center. Told in Rudolph’s first-person voice, it chronicles his career.

Panel: Making Movies with Alan Rudolph:
A Behind-the-Scenes Perspective 

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, an outstanding array of guests shared their experiences of working with Alan Rudolph and provided an insightful look at independent filmmaking. 

Panelists included David Blocker (Producer), Bruce Chevillat (Assistant Director), Ira Deutchman (Producer and Director), Sondra Locke (Actress and Director), Carolyn Pfeiffer (Producer), and Joyce Rudolph (Set Photographer), Elliot Wilhelm (Director of the Detroit Film Theater), and Steven Wolfe (Prodcuer). 

(From top, clockwise) Producer David Blocker, Actress Sondra Locke, Producer Ira Deutchman, and Director of the Detroit Film Theater, Elliot Wilhelm

Still Images, Moving Pictures:
The On-Set Photography of Joyce Rudolph 
June 1-7, 2018 - Institute for Humanities Gallery 

An unsung art unto itself, still photography is an integral part of the motion picture-making process. Though an invisible presence on set, the still photographer frequently captures the most memorable images of a film, which often remain in the public consciousness long after it leaves theaters.

During her three-decade-long career as a still photographer, Joyce Rudolph has immortalized some of the most iconic movie characters and stars in American popular culture. Featured on magazine covers, movie one sheets, and newspaper advertisements, her distinct images reach beyond technical proficiency to capture intimate, artful portraits of their subjects.

This exhibit (curated by FTVM Alumna Katherine Sherry '18) showcases 32 photographs from the newly opened Alan and Joyce Rudolph Archive, a part of the Screen Arts Mavericks & Makers Collection at the University of Michigan. It is organized into five sections: Caught in the Act, Intimate Portraits, Picture in Picture, In Profile, and Unconventional Couples.


Alan Rudolph films screened in conjunction with the symposium follow: Ray Meets Helen (2018); Remember My Name (1978); Choose Me (1984); and The Moderns (1988). A Q&A followed the screening of Ray Meets Helen (see photos below). 

All films in conjunction with this symposium were screened at the Michigan Theater (as a part of the Cinetopia International Film Festival). 

(Below, from left to right ) Producer Ira Deutchman (Panel/QA Moderator), Director Alan Rudolph, Actor John Hawkinson, Actress ​Sondra Locke, and Producer Steven Wolfe address questions from the audience in a Question and Answer Session held after the Midwest Premiere of Ray Meets Helen at the Michigan Theater on Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Symposium Guests Visit FTVM 366: Women in Hollywood 

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, PhD Candidate Kaelie Thompson invited symposium guests Caryl Flinn (Professor, U-M), Krin Gabbard (Professor, Stony Brook University), Sondra Locke (actress), Carolyn Pfeiffer (Producer), Joyce Rudolph (Set Photographer), and Ame Simon (Producer) to speak to her Spring FTVM 366 class (Women in Hollywood) and discuss their experiences as women and professionals in the Hollywood film and television industries.

Photo credit for all Alan Rudolph Symposium photos above, Mary Lou Chlipala