Conference on World Affairs
The Conference was founded in 1948 by Howard Higman, a professor of Sociology at the University. He ran the conference until he retired, shortly before his death in 1995. The Conference resumed in 1996, and is currently directed by Professor James Palmer.
Content and panelists
The conference started out as a forum on international affairs, but, under Higman, morphed into a discussion on a multitude of topics. The core of the conference consists of panel discussions, usually with 3-6 panelists, on topics such as music, art, literature, environmental activism, business, science, journalism, diplomacy, technology, spirituality, the film industry, pop culture, visual arts, politics, medicine, and human rights. Half of a panel typically consists of experts on that panel's subject, and half with people having no professional connection to the topic, who offer fresh perspectives and insight. Only a one-line topic for the panel is announced two or three weeks before the conference. The panelists are given no other direction or guidance about what they should say.
Each year the conference hosts over 100 panelists, and conducts over 200 sessions. The panels are free and open to the public (except for a $1 service fee for ticketing of the jazz concert due to overflow demand) and are held in rooms varying in capacity according to anticipated popularity, from 50 seats to 2000. The total annual attendance of all the events at the 62nd Conference on World Affairs (in April, 2010) was estimated to be over 92,000. Numerous distinguished people have served as panelists over the years, including Patch Adams, Betty Dodson, Buckminster Fuller, Adam Hochschild, Arianna Huffington, Andy Ihnatko, Molly Ivins, Henry Kissinger, Paul Krugman, George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Yitzhak Rabin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Studs Terkel, and Ted Turner.
Panelists travel to the conference at their own expense, and are paid no fees for coming. They are housed as guests in the homes of Boulder residents who volunteer to take them in. In addition to the panels, there is a keynote plenary address kicking off the conference on Monday at 11:30 a.m. and a Tuesday evening jazz concert.
The most popular event of the conference is the Cinema Interruptus, hosted for many years by film critic Roger Ebert. Ebert selected one movie and showed it late afternoon at the beginning of the week, in a normal, uninterrupted way. Then, for a total of 8 hours spread over the following four afternoons, the movie was dissected almost on a frame-by-frame basis. Ebert, or anybody else in the audience, could pause the movie at any point, and comment about any aspect: plot points, acting or directing techniques, camera movement, frame composition, etc.
Roger Ebert moderated Cinema Interruptus from 1969-2006. In 2008, he shared an explanation on the program's beginnings:
"This all began for me in about 1969, when I started teaching a film class in the University of Chicago's Fine Arts program. I knew a Chicago film critic, teacher and booker named John West, who lived in a wondrous apartment filled with film prints, projectors, books, posters and stills. "You know how football coaches use a stop-action 16mm projector to study game films?" he asked me. "You can use that approach to study films. Just pause the film and think about what you see. You ought to try it with your film class."
I did. The results were beyond my imagination. I wasn't the teacher and my students weren't the audience, we were all in this together. The ground rules: Anybody could call out "stop!" and discuss what we were looking at, or whatever had just occurred to them. A couple of years later, when I started doing shot-by-shots at the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado Boulder, the conference founder, Howard Higman, described this process as "democracy in the dark." Later he gave it a name: Cinema Interruptus. Perhaps it sounds grueling, but in fact it can be exciting and almost hypnotic. At Boulder for more than 30 years, I made my way through a film for two hours every afternoon for a week, and the sessions had to be moved to an auditorium to accommodate attendance that approached a thousand."
While Ebert was recovering from cancer surgeries in 2007 and 2008, RogerEbert.com founding editor and CWA participant, Jim Emerson, stepped in to moderate during his absence. Ebert returned for 2009 and 2010, but mainly as a contributor, using his computer as his voice in order to participate. In 2011, Ebert announced that he would not be returning, and Emerson would carry on as moderator.
|1975||Citizen Kane||Mon-Fri||Boulder's Fox Theater||Persona|
|1976||Notorious||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Fox Theater||How to Read A Movie||first Uninterruptus/Interruptus|
|1977||The Third Man||Mon-Fri, 12pm||University of Colorado's
|Decoding a Movie|
|1978||8½||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Memorial Forum||Analyzing a Film|
|1979||La Dolce Vita||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Memorial Forum||Analyzing a Film||first of plan to study La Dolce Vita at least once every decade|
|1980||Amarcord||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Memorial Forum||Analyzing a Film|
|1981||Cries and Whispers||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Memorial Forum||Films|
|1982||Taxi Driver||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Memorial Forum||Analyzing a Film|
|1983||La Dolce Vita||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Memorial Forum||Analyzing a Film||second of every decade study|
|1984||Day 2: God's Angry Man &
Day 3: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
Day 4: My Dinner with Andre
Day 5: Gates of Heaven &
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe
|Tues-Fri, 12pm||University of Colorado's
|Film(s)||Ebert did not arrive until Tuesday (Day 2)|
|1985||Casablanca||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Memorial Forum||Film|
|1986||The Treasure of the Sierra Madre||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Memorial Forum||Film|
|1987||3 Women||Mon-Fri, 12pm||University of Colorado's
|Analyzing A Film|
|1988||The Third Man||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Macky Auditorium||Analyzing A Film|
|1989||Out of the Past||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Macky Auditorium||Film|
|1990||Raging Bull||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Macky Auditorium||Film|
|1991||Citizen Kane||Mon-Fri, 12pm||Macky Auditorium||Analyzing A Film|
|1992||The Silence of the Lambs||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||Film|
|1993||JFK||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||Analyzing A Film|
|1994||La Dolce Vita||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||Analyzing A Film||third of every decade study|
|1995||no CWA this year|
|1996||Pulp Fiction||Mon-Fri, 7pm||University of Colorado's
|series titles stopped being used|
|1997||Fargo||Mon-Fri, 7pm||Macky Auditorium|
|1998||Dark City||Mon-Fri, 7pm||Macky Auditorium||film selection changed after the CWA program went to press -
the program says Vertigo
|1999||Vertigo||Mon-Fri, 7pm||Macky Auditorium|
|2000||Casablanca||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium|
|2001||Fight Club||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium|
|2002||Mulholland Drive||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium|
|2003||Floating Weeds||Sun; Tues-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||Uninterruptus was on Sunday
on Monday, the movie Tokyo-Ga was shown at 4pm
|2004||The Rules of the Game||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium|
|2005||La Dolce Vita||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||fourth of every decade study|
|2006||The Long Goodbye||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium|
|2007||Chinatown||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||Jim Emerson moderated the discussion|
|2008||No Country for Old Men||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||Jim Emerson moderated the discussion|
|2009||Chop Shop||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||with guest director, Ramin Bahrani|
|2010||Aguirre, the Wrath of God||Sun; Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||with guest director, Werner Herzog
Uninterruptus was on Sunday
|2011||A Serious Man||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||Jim Emerson made official moderator
Official name of program changed to Ebert Cinema Interruptus (Ebert Interruptus, for short)
|2012||Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium|
|2013||One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest||Mon-Fri, 4pm||Macky Auditorium||Hosted by Terrence McNally|
- Higman, Howard. "Higman: A Collection", edited by Tom Adams and Betty Brandenburg. Foreword by Roger Ebert. Copr. 1998 Thomas Berryhill Press. ISBN 0-9648638-5-5.
- Annual Conference on World Affairs - Information