A new film by Lynn Hershman Leeson

2007 75 minutes

graphics by timothy stock and warren heiss from the book alphabet city published by mit press.


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Tilda Swinton, Peter Coyote, Thomas Jay Ryan, Josh Kornbluth
and Steve Kurtz

Where to buy the film:

- Docurama
- Amazon


"I was blown away"

"One of the few works today to have true political relevance"

Official Selection Sundance 2007

Official Selection Berlin Film Festival 2007

Cinema of Conscience Award at the Wine Country Film Festival 2007

The surreal nightmare of internationally-acclaimed artist and professor Steve Kurtz began when his wife Hope died in her sleep of heart failure. Police who responded to Kurtz�s 911 call deemed Kurtz�s art suspicious and called the FBI. Within hours the artist was detained as a suspected "bioterrorist" as dozens of federal agents in Hazmat suits sifted through his work and impounded his computers, manuscripts, books, his cat, and even his wife�s body. Today Kurtz and his long-time collaborator Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, await a trial date.

Upcoming Screenings:

Laemmle Theatres, Los Angeles, CA - July 27-Aug 2

THE GUILD CINEMA, Albuquerque, NM - August 21-23

Facets Cinema, Chicago, IL - Aug 24-30

Maine Street Media Festival, Northampton, MA - Aug 29/30

Regent Square Cinema,Pittsburgh, PA - September 7-13

Market Arcade Film and Arts Center - Buffalo, NY - September 7-13

Benefit Screening - Market Arcade Film and Arts Center - Buffalo, NY - September 8

NW Film Forum, Seattle, WA - Sept 14-19

Minneapolis Film Arts, Minneapolis, MN - Sept 14,21, 28

Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael, CA - Sept 21-27 - www.cafilm.org

The Roxie Theatre, San Francisco, CA - Sept 21 -27

MoMA, New York, NY - Oct 1

Cinema Village, New York, NY - Oct 5-18

Wexner Art Center Oct 5,6 - http://www.wexarts.org/fv/index.php?eventid=2415

Reel Art Ways - Oct 5th - http://www.realartways.org/

For more information and articles:

Produced by Steven Beer, Lise Swenson and Lynn Hershman Leeson

Strange Culture will be released on DVD by Docurama New Video March 25, 2008.
Please check our site and Docurama Site for details.

Lynn Hershman hotwirelh@aol.com http://www.lynnhershman.com Lynn Hershman

Reviews of Strange Culture:

An artist's plight in the face of the War on Terror sounds the alarm for Americans to ponder the curtailment of freedom of expression.
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Nov 9 2007

The conflict between policies that support national security and those that protect civil liberties are embodied in the bizarre, terrifying story of Steve Kurtz, an artist, activist and State University of New York at Buffalo professor for whom a personal tragedy led to a Kafkaesque nightmare courtesy of the War on Terror.

The complete article can be viewed at:

The Boston Globe, "It�s fun to be 5"
April 22, 2007
By Ty Burr
In May of 2004 , artist Steve Kurtz woke to find his wife dead of heart failure and called 911. The police looked at his art installations, which involved harmless microbe specimens, and called the FBI. The FBI charged Kurtz with bioterrorism. Filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson spins an essay on art, government, play-acting, and paranoia; it's easily her best film yet. Actors Thomas Jay Ryan and Tilda Swinton play the Kurtzes, while Kurtz himself appears in interviews.

Panorama Berlinale, 2007
" 17 films, including 12 world premieres, will screen in the Panorama Dokumente. The opening film will set the tone: Strange Culture by celebrated American film essayist Lynn Hershman Leeson documents the extremely paranoid reaction of US security authorities in the case of Steve Kurtz."


The Hollywood Reporter

By Kirk Honeycutt
"Strange Culture: A strange and compelling Kafka-esque account of an American artist caught up in Bush's war on terror"

" Like last year's festival entry, 'An Inconvenient Truth,' the film needs a distributor that understands the solid business and
political reasons for releasing the film."


Film Threat "Strange Culture"
By Mark Bell
" 4 STARS" "'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."


CNET " Sundance holds screening in 'Second Life' for first time"
By Michelle Meyers
" ...a favorite among festivalgoers..."


IndieWire "Fest Within a Fest: Experimental Sidebar Re-Imagined at Sundance"
By Dennis Lim
" ...probably the best and certainly the most urgent film in the Frontier section..."


John Anderson
" younger filmmakers should be looking to Hershman Leeson for lessons on how to reinvent old forms while at the same
time telling an urgently topical story. The director not only breaks the fourth wall, she reduces it to plaster dust."


Time Magazine "7 Surprises from Sundance"
By Rebecca Winters Keegan
" Some of the hottest documentaries at the film festival employed actors to tell their tales...'Strange Culture' features Tilda Swinton
and other actors dramatizing events that lead to the arrest of a University of Buffalo professor on suspicion of bioterrorism."


Hewlett Packard "Review: Strange Culture"
Gena Crawford, Marketing Program Manager, HP.com
" Over the years...I�ve taken in films that have run the gamut...But this year, I saw a film that absolutely shook me to my core..."


Associated Press " Sundance Docs Draw Drama From Actors"
By David Germain AP Movie Writer
"In the latest Sundance documentaries, filmmakers are engaging performers to add an emotional depth that dusty photos and
third-person narration might lack..."


Netscape Blog 'The Work of Art in the Age of Poste 9/11"
Karina Longworth 'packs a stunning emotional and intellectual punch"


Wired Blog
� An historic filmic event with avatars, including Howard Rheingold, piping in during the Q+A session.


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