Public Engagement

General Public

DOC TALK: Persons of Interest Screening and Q&A with Alison MacLean

Monday, November 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm to 3:50 pm

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium (Room N101), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 66 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10003


By Alison Maclean and Tobias Perse                                

2004, 63 min.

Screening and Q & A with filmmaker


One of the significant documentaries of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival was Persons of Interest, a film that portrayed the human cost of the U.S. government’s anti-terrorist campaign in the days and months after September 11.  A collaboration between dramatic fiction filmmaker Alison Maclean and writer-producer Tobias Perse, the film centers on the fate of over 5,000 Arab-American citizens and residents who were detained indefinitely in abrogation of their civil liberties under the National Security Act.  Detainees were subject to arbitrary arrest, solitary confinement, deportation and were frequently denied legal representation and communication with their families. To convey in heightened but minimalist cinematic form the chilling experience of these wrongly suspected detainees, the filmmakers constructed a space, a bare, stripped-down set, in which individuals could tell their stories of confinement and interrogation -- the embodied memories of their prison experience.

Alison Maclean, a Canadian filmmaker who grew up in New Zealand, is an independent writer-director who has worked mainly in fiction, directing the acclaimed Jesus’ Son in 1999, adapted from a Denis Johnson short story; and, most recently, The Rehearsal, based on the book by New Zealand Man Booker-prizewinner Eleanor Catton, which screened at the 2016 New York Film Festival.  Maclean made her directorial debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989 with her provocative surreal first short, Kitchen Sink, which won eight international awards, and returned to Cannes in 1992 with her first feature, Crush, a feminist neo-noir satirical drama.  However, in the aftermath of September 11, Maclean turned to documentary to give dignity to a saga of wrongful detention and imprisonment which has prescient implications for the current moment.

Please join us for this Doc Talk presentation with singular filmmaker Alison Maclean and her cinematic act of conscience, the documentary film Persons of Interest.

Hosted by Deanna Kamiel, Assistant Professor and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies Program. Sponsored by the School of Media Studies.

Recent Activity

Getting Here

Detailed Directions

By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.