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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 1, 2004

Writer-Director Paul Schrader To Discuss Spirituality In Films During UI Lecture

Paul Schrader, one of America's most highly regarded screenwriters, whose scripts include "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "The Mosquito Coast," will discuss spirituality in films when he speaks on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. in Macbride Hall Auditorium.

Schrader's lecture, "Spirituality in Films: Not Likely," is sponsored by the Geneva Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public.

Schrader examined faith and movies early in his career, writing his landmark thesis "Transcendental Style in Film" as a graduate thesis at UCLA. The thesis is a pioneering examination of how film style works to convey religious experience.

His first screenplay, for "The Yakusa" in 1974, was critically praised and brought him to the attention of such directors as Sidney Pollock and Martin Scorcese. His relationship with Scorcese has been especially fruitful, as it led to his screenplays for "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull," both considered among the best movies ever made, as well as "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Bringing Out the Dead."

Among Schrader's other scripts are "Obsession," "Hardcore" and "American Gigolo." His directing credits include "Blue Collar," "Autofocus" and "Affliction," which earned an Academy Award for best supporting actor for co-star James Coburn in 1998.

He recently directed a version of the film "The Exorcist III," which debuted in August. However, his version of the film was rejected by the studio as being too thoughtful and not violent enough. Eventually the film was re-shot by a new director as a traditional blood and guts horror film and Schrader's contributions were all but eliminated.

Schrader lives in New York with his wife, actress and UI alumna Mary Beth Hurt, and their two children.

Founded in 1976, the purpose of the Geneva Lecture Series is to demonstrate the continuing relevance of the Judeo-Christian message to the life of the mind. To date, 60 nationally and internationally renowned speakers have been invited to speak at the University of Iowa.

For further information, contact Jason Chen at 319-341-0007 or by email

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,