Virgil Bakken to present Honors Council lecture on Internet self-celebrity

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Virgil Bakken, assistant professor of mass communication at Bemidji State University, will present an Honors Council Lecture entitled “Documenting Ourselves: How Direct Cinema Made Celebrities of Us All” on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The lecture, which is free to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in Hagg-Sauer 112 on the Bemidji State campus.

During the 1960s and 1970s, new technology allowed film cameras to follow sports figures, politicians and rock stars on stage and off. We witnessed candid or “real” portrayals of non-actors. It was called cinema verité – “film truth.”

In the decades since, technology has raced forward at an exponential pace and people can now literally document each moment of their lives and publish them for the world to see on YouTube. Consequently, we are left with many questions about objectivity, representation of self and the true role of documentary film today.

Virgil Bakken came to Bemidji State in 2005 as an assistant professor of mass communications. He is an accomplished screenwriter, producer and director with over 20 years of experience in broadcast and film. His career began in 1982 as a writer and director with KITN 29 in Minneapolis, followed by a two-year stint at  the CBN cable network in Virginia Beach from 1985-87. He returned to Minnesota in 1987 as an executive producer and writer for TRIAD Communications. He moved to ProMedia Productions as a writer, producer and director in 1989, and in 1998 he left to form his own company, Montage Creative Group, based in St. Paul, which he still owns and operates. MCG is a network of media professionals working together to promote local and international non-profit and human service organizations through film and digital media.

From 2002-05, Bakken was a media studies instructor at Bethel University in Roseville, Minn.

Bakken received his bachelor’s degree from Evangel University in Springfield, Minn., and earned a master’s in arts in film from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. He is pursuing a doctorate at Regent University, doing dissertation research in the area of film satire and the role of comedy in social criticism.

Bakken’s lecture is the fourth of five Honors Council Lectures at Bemidji State this fall. The lecture series runs through Dec. 3.

2008 Fall Honors Lecture Series
* Sept. 9: “Ethics and Climate Change: Are We Going to Hell in a Handbasket?” Dr. Scott Borchers.
* Oct. 1: “Understanding the World of 3D Stereoscopic Imaging,” Dr. Barb Hanus.
* Oct. 14: “Brand Placement in Television Programs,” David Smith.
* Nov. 18: “Documenting Ourselves: How Direct Cinema Made Celebrities of Us All,” Dr. Virgil Bakken; Hagg-Sauer 112; 7:00 p.m.
* Dec. 3: “Cultural Representations of Work-Family Balance in the News Media,” Deb Peterson & Colleen Greer; Hagg-Sauer 112; 7:00 p.m.

Nov. 18
– 7:00 p.m. – Bemidji State University Honors Lecture: “Documenting Ourselves: How Direct Cinema Made Celebrities of Us All” presented by Virgil Bakken, assistant professor of mass communication, Bemidji State. Location: Hagg-Sauer 112, Bemidji State campus. Admission: free.