Alumna Filmmaker Chronicles Life of A Photographer

Hanna Sawka ’96 will screen her latest film, Beyond Iconic: Photographer Dennis Stock, at Amherst Cinema in Amherst, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with the director.

Earlier in the day, Smith students will have a chance to see the film’s trailer and talk with Sawka about filmmaking at a lunch meeting from noon to 1 p.m. at the Campus Center, room 103/104. To register, contact Colleen DelVecchio, director of alumnae engagement, at cdelvecchio@smith.edu.

Stock’s work is instantly recognizable, capturing the Golden Age of Hollywood, the best of the American Jazz scene, the turmoil of the 1960s and quintessential moments of American life through the years. A photojournalist since the early 1950s, he has snapped iconic photos of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Billie Holliday and Louis Armstrong, among many others. Sawka’s film follows Stock shortly before his death in 2010, as he talks about his life and photography as a social force, art form and historical record.

“Having a screening in the Five College area is exciting,” says Sawka. “The area is a hub of intellectual and cultural activity, with an element of strong female representation with two women’s colleges. I’m certain my film will have one of its more interesting audiences.”

Sawka, the daughter of the late artist Jan Sawka, produced, directed and edited Beyond Iconic. She was an English and theater major at Smith, and holds an M.F.A. in theater and directing from the Polish National Film, TV and Theater School in Lodz, Poland. She has directed segments for a Polish National Television prime-time crime show and has written, produced and directed a number of short films, both fiction and documentary, which together have garnered nominations and awards at 16 festivals around the world.

Tickets for the Amherst Cinema screening are $7.75 for students and 65-plus; $8.75 for adults; and $6.50 for members of Amherst Cinema Arts Center.