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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Award-winning documentary “little man” to be shown at URI during a visit by writer/director Nicole Conn

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 5, 2006 -- The University of Rhode Island will present the award-winning documentary “Little man” and host a visit by the film's writer/producer Nicole Conn at the Kingston campus. The film chronicles the struggles Conn and her partner, Gwen Baba, endured with the birth of their severely premature son, Nicholas. This will be the first time the film has been shown in Rhode Island.

Free and open to the public, the lecture and film will be presented on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium on Upper College Rd.

The 11-time best documentary winner presents all of the forces at play when Nicholas was born 100 days early to a surrogate mother and weighed only one pound. The film shows Baba and Conn working through opposing belief systems and explores the strength of family and the core of the human spirit. “Little man” questions the price of life as Conn and her crew capture footage while dealing with each daily crisis in her son’s life.

"This is the type of information that very few people talk about, yet it happens more often than anyone really realizes," said Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Kat Ellis who saw the film and was moved to contact the director. "I felt this was exceptional information for my students and others who are or will be working with children with special needs and their families.

Through her work, Nicole Conn is one of those people who have directly influenced my life, even though we have never met. I consider it a personal honor to have her coming to URI."

Conn had not originally planned to make a documentary of her experience. Her brother/co-producer, Brian Hoven, had videotaped some of their experiences during the first three months of her son’s life. After viewing the footage, she continued filming for the 158 days they remained in the hospital and ultimately created the documentary “Little man.”

“As a filmmaker and novelist I have spent the past twelve years writing and creating stories that speak about passion and romance, “ Conn said in 2005, “Never before could I dream that life would be so much more thrilling.

Now, as a filmmaker I want to share life at its most raw, its most brutal, its most divine.”

Conn is from Mesa, Az. and graduated with high honors from Elliot Business College in Portland, Oregon. She created her first film “Claire of the Moon” in 1991 and paved the way for lesbian-themed cinema. She has continued to create documentaries and films about love and romance and has also written five novels, a teleplay, and eight screenplays and produced two soundtracks.

This event is sponsored by the URI College of Human Science & Services and its departments of Communicative Disorders, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Physical Therapy, School of Education, Textiles, Fashion Merchandising & Design, the URI Office of Disability Services, URI Counseling Center, RI Equity Action, URI Office of the President, RI Developmental Disabilities Council, RI Institute for Quality of Life, and ISSP Parents.

The film has received the following awards: Best Documentary Audience Award, Los Angeles OUTFEST; Best Documentary Jury Award, New York NewFest; Best Documentary Audience Award, San Diego Film Festival; Best Feature HBO Audience Award, Miami G&L Film Festival; Best Documentary Jury Award, Philadelphia International G&L Film Festival ; Best of the Fest Award, Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival; Best Documentary Audience Award, Reel Affirmations (Wash DC); Best Documentary Audience Sward, Long Island G&L Film Festival; Best Documentary Audience Award, Reeling (Chicago); Top 10 Movies of 2005: The Advocate, Miami’s Weekly News, Murphy’s Movie Reviews.


NOTE TO EDITORS: Arrangements may be made to speak with Nicole Conn before the lecture. For more information, contact Jhodi Redlich at 874-4500.