Lee Daniels, director of “The Butler,” to speak at UAB on Feb. 17

By on February 7, 2014

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Lecture Series will present “An Evening with Lee Daniels,” the Academy Award-nominated director of “The Butler,” on Monday, Feb. 17.

The 7 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public. It will take place at UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. The day before the lecture, a free screening of “The Butler” will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, in Room 102 in UAB’s Heritage Hall, 1401 University Blvd.

Daniels’ latest project, “The Butler,” follows the life of a White House butler who served eight different U.S. presidents over three decades. The film stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, John Cusack, Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr., among others. “The Butler” was released in August 2013.

Daniels turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material; he made the leap to directing with “Shadowboxer,” his directorial debut. His previous projects include “Precious,” “Monster’s Ball” and “The Paperboy.”

“Monster’s Ball” was the first film from Daniels’ production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment. The film marked Daniels as the sole African-American producer of an Oscar-winning and -nominated film.

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘PUSH’ by Sapphire” is the story of an overweight, illiterate girl raised in Harlem, sexually abused by her father and about to give birth to her second child, who salvages her future at an alternative school. “Precious” won two Academy Awards in 2010: Best Adapted Screenplay (Geoffrey Fletcher) and Best Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique). The film received a total of six Academy Award nominations, with Daniels nominated as Best Director, making him the second African-American director to be nominated for an Oscar.

The lecture is presented by the Office of the Vice Provost for Student and Faculty Success, UAB Student Life, and the UAB Lecture Series. The UAB Lecture Series Committee includes students and faculty members that come together and invite producers, authors, community activists and other notable figures to discuss current events, leadership, social responsibility and history. Past speakers include Ralph Nader, Jocelyn Elder, Maya Angelou, Max Brooks and Sapphire.

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