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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 23, 2009

Ida Beam Professors to present Emmy-winning documentary Oct. 1

The public is invited to a free screening of the award-winning documentary "A Walk to Beautiful" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Englert Theater, 221 East Washington St. in Iowa City. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film's producers, Steven Engel and Helen D. "Heidi" Reavis.

"A Walk to Beautiful" shares the stories of five Ethiopian women who experienced devastating childbirth injuries. Rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their communities, these women make the long and arduous journey to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in search of a cure and a new life. A short version of the film, which premiered on PBS's NOVA, won the 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Program-Long Format.

Engel and Reavis are visiting the UI Oct. 1-2 as Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professors. Their visit is co-sponsored by the Department of Neurology and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

In addition to winning the Emmy, this 85-minute documentary has been featured or won awards at more than 30 film festivals, including the International Documentary Association award for Best Feature Documentary. In addition to presenting the documentary screening and discussion, Engel and Reavis will participate in two additional public events.

--"Making the Unwatchable Watchable: A Discussion" at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at Dey House, 507 N. Clinton St. in Iowa City. During this interactive session, including film clips and participation from the audience, Engel and Reavis will discuss storytelling in film in the developing world, working in foreign cultures and under adverse conditions, and building bridges between science, public policy and art.

--Reception at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 2, in the Damasio Conference Room, Department of Neurology, 7th floor of UI Hospitals and Clinics. The event will include two presentations. Cate Bradley, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, will present "Obstetric Fistulas in the Developing World: A Problem of Neglect," and Anne Wallis, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology, will present "A Long and Dangerous Journey: Women, Pregnancy, and Death." Engel and Reavis will participate as discussants.

Prior to their visit to campus, Engel and Reavis also will participate in Iowa Public Radio's "Talk at Twelve" show on Sept. 24.

Engel is president of Engel Entertainment and executive producer of all of its projects. Previously, he co-founded and managed Engel Entertainment's predecessor companies: Engel Brothers Media (1995) and Cineworks (1978). He is a member of the Writers Guild of America and an experienced executive producer, director and writer. Engel received a bachelor's degree in political science from Columbia University and earned a law degree from New York University School of Law.

Reavis was the uncredited executive producer of "A Walk to Beautiful" and was intimately involved in the editing process, in addition to overseeing the business and legal affairs of the film. She is co-managing partner of Reavis Parent Lehrer LLP. Her practice concentrates primarily on intellectual property law and media transactions, and employment law, discrimination actions, and dispute resolution. A graduate of Smith College, Reavis earned a graduate certificate at the University of Lund in Sweden, and a law degree from the University of Chicago. She has served on several not-for-profit boards including Women Make Movies, the Friends Seminary School, and the Women's City Club of New York.

The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program was established in 1978-79 based on a bequest from the late Ida Beam of Vinton, Iowa, who willed her family farm to the UI Foundation. The proceeds from the farm's sale enabled the UI to establish a fund that brings top scholars in a variety of fields to the university for lectures and discussions.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate, please contact Tom Walljasper at 319-384-1745.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Media Relations, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, 319-356-7124,