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Exhibitions and Events

Sayles Pitch: John Sayles, Author, Auteur, Independent

John Sayles exhibit photo by Mariam Negaran

John Sayles exhibit photo by Mariam Negaran

In October 2013, writer and independent filmmaker John Sayles and his longtime producing partner Maggie Renzi donated some 230 boxes of archival material spanning Sayles’ entire career, from his 1979 directorial debut “Return of the Secaucus 7” through “Go for Sisters,” his most recent release.

In spring 2014 students in the Screen Arts & Cultures program mined the archive to produce the walk-through exhibit, “Sayles Pitch: John Sayles, Author, Auteur, Independent.”

The exhibit is on display in the Hatcher Graduate Library through July 10. It the creative, technical, and logistical processes that define the Sayles oeuvre:

  • The first section examines the film “Honeydripper” as a case study in Sayles’ outside-the-studio-system process.
  • The second documents some of Sayles’ work across genres as a writer, credited and uncredited, on films ranging from the monster movie “Alligator” to the space thriller “Apollo 13.”
  • The third considers his approach to the social, political, and economic realities of the people and places so intimately portrayed in his films.
  • The fourth is a video display of multiple scenes, overlaid with an audio commentary track.

In addition, props, costumes, and other artifacts are displayed in the library’s Audubon Room.

Sayles’ archive joins those of filmmakers Robert Altman and Orson Welles in the library’s “American Film Mavericks at Michigan” collection, and includes scripts, production documents, legal documents, photographs, storyboards, correspondence, personal journals and props.

For more information please visit the Hatcher Graduate Library website at:

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