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AETN, Hendrix College host Community Cinema; free advance screening of 'Pushing the Elephant'

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and Hendrix College invite the public to a free screening of “Pushing the Elephant” as part of Community Cinema Thursday, March 31, at 6 p.m. at the Murphy Building on Hendrix’s campus in Conway.

“Pushing the Elephant,” a film by Beth Davenport and Elizabeth Mandel, tells the story of Rose Mapendo who lost her husband and her home during the ethnic violence that engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s. When war came to Mapendo’s village, she was separated from her five-year-old daughter, Nangabire. Mapendo managed to escape with nine of her 10 children and eventually resettled in Phoenix, Ariz. Over a decade later, mother and daughter are reunited in the U.S., where they must face the past and build a new future.

The film follows Mapendo and Nangabire over the course of two years as they make up for lost time. Mapendo struggles to find balance in her life as a mother of 10 and a full-time advocate for refugees. Her speaking engagements have her traveling around the world, from the White House to the United Nation Refugee Agency in Geneva to grassroots meetings with survivors like herself in Congo. Meanwhile, Nangabire, now 17, must adapt to America and discover how she fits into the sprawling Mapendo family. As mother and daughter get to know one another, they must come to terms with a painful past, and define what it means to be a survivor, a woman, a refugee and an American.

The screening will be held in the Murphy Building on the Hendrix campus, and parking is available in lots adjacent to Bailey Library located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Winfield Street in Conway. A community discussion will follow the screening, and refreshments will be provided.

“Pushing the Elephant” will air Wednesday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. on AETN-3 PLUS/World and Sunday, April 3, at 10:30 p.m. on AETN-1.

Community Cinema, a free monthly screening series engaging communities through film produced by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), features monthly screenings followed by panel discussions with leading organizations, local communities and special guest speakers. The program is designed to help people learn about and get involved in the social issues raised in the documentaries.

Hendrix, founded in 1876, is a selective, residential, undergraduate liberal arts college emphasizing experiential learning in a demanding yet supportive environment. The college is featured in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 371 colleges, was identified as the nation’s top “Up and Coming” liberal arts college for 2010 by U.S. News and World Report, and is ranked among 44 “Best Buy” colleges by the 2010 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas’s statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit www.aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at www.aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).

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