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War, Justice, and Democracy in the Films of Steven Spielberg: Lincoln

Admission is free. Reservations required. 



Led by Academy Award–winner Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role and featuring an all-star ensemble cast including Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, and James Spader, Lincoln chronicles the untold story of the final four months of the man regarded as America’s greatest President. The epic film explores Lincoln not just as the commander-in-chief of a country in chaos, but also as an individual with moral courage and hope, a progressive thinker who challenged the status quo.

Nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and winner of 2 Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Lincoln will be followed by a Zoom Q&A with screenwriter Tony Kushner, moderated by USC School of Cinematic Arts lecturer Luis Gabriel Moreno-Ocampo and professor Ted Braun

This event is part of a series of seven screenings and conversations hosted by Moreno-Ocampo and Braun examining how the films of Steven Spielberg have articulated and shaped global narratives of war, justice, and democracy in the 21st century.



About the panelists: 

Tony Kushner (screenwriter) has written plays including A Bright Room Called Day; Angels in America, Parts One and Two; Slavs!; Homebody/Kabul; the musical Caroline, or Change and the opera A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck, both with composer Jeanine Tesori; and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide To Capitalism And Socialism With A Key To The Scriptures. He has adapted Pierre Corneille’s The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky’s The Dybbuk, Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan and Mother Courage and Her Children; and the English-language libretto for the opera Brundibár by Hans Krasa. He wrote the screenplay for Mike Nichols’s film of Angels In America; the screenplays for Steven Spielberg’s films Munich, Lincoln, and West Side Story; and The Fabelmans, co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg. His books include Brundibar, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Kushner is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, an Olivier Award, an Emmy Award, three Oscar nominations, and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, among other honors. In 2012, he was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. He lives in Manhattan with his husband, Mark Harris. 

Luis Gabriel Moreno-Ocampo (USC School of Cinematic Arts) was the founding chief prosecutor of the new and permanent International Criminal Court from 2003–12. There are seven documentaries presenting parts of his work at the ICC, including Darfur Now and Kony 2012. Previously, he had a critical role during the transition to democracy in Argentina. He was deputy prosecutor in the trial against the military junta, a case depicted in the Amazon production, Argentina 1985, a 2023 Academy Award nominee for Best International Feature Film, and 2023 Golden Globe winner. Currently, he lectures at the USC School of Cinematic Arts on films and war, crimes, and justice. Previously he was a visiting professor at Stanford and Harvard University Law School. In November 2022, Oxford University Press published his book, War and Justice in the 21st Century, describing his nine years of practice as the ICC’s chief prosecutor. He is presently involved in private practice assisting Armenian people suffering a genocide in 2023. 

Ted Braun (USC School of Cinematic Arts) teaches screenwriting and is the Joseph Campbell Endowed Chair in Cinematic Ethics. Braun’s feature documentary, ¡Viva Maestro!, about conductor Gustavo Dudamel, premiered theatrically in 2022, was nominated for the WGA award for Best Feature Documentary, and is currently streaming on MAX. Set against unfolding violence and social unrest in Dudamel’s home of Venezuela, the film is an exploration of art in a time of political crisis. It’s his second film with Participant, which co-financed his feature debut Darfur NowDarfur Now was named one of 2007’s top five documentaries by the National Board of Review and won the International Documentary Association’s Emerging Filmmaker Award and the NAACP Image Award. His docu-thriller Betting On Zero received a WGA nomination for Best Feature Documentary of 2017, and a special jury mention for investigative work at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. In 2018, Variety named Braun one of the world’s Top Ten Teachers in Film and TV. 

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Presented by the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Outside the Box (Office), and USC Visions and Voices.

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