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Media Advisory/Press Release

“Family Matters” - A Collaboration of Psychology and Cinema

April 2, 2012–Boston (West Roxbury), MA––“Family Matters”, a collaboration of psychology and film, opens the Second Annual Hollywood Scriptures Film Series offered by the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) beginning April 12 through April 15.

“Everyone begins life in a family; it is where we learn about socializing, conflict and addressing life’s issues” says Jill Bloom, faculty member at MSPP and co-director of “Family Matters”, adding, “ In our film selections we want to look at family relationships and the challenges that we all experience.”

Four films representing family dynamics and behaviors have been selected for viewing at the MFA covering topics on divorce, unconventional relationships and cross-cultural experiences. “We invite the audience to think about these films in how they resonate in their own lives”, urges MFA film curator, Carter Long.

April 12 – “The Squid and the Whale”, 7:30pm (Remis Auditorium). Based on the true childhood experiences of screen-writer and director, Noah Baumbach and his brother, the film is a touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents divorce in Brooklyn in the1980’s. A critical success, the film won many awards including the Sundance Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination.

April 13 – “Viva Cuba”, 7:45pm (Alfond Auditorium). Viva Cuba is a Cuban independent film that explores emigration and the effects it can have on children who had to leave friends and extended families behind. It was the first Cuban film awarded the “Grand Prix Ecrans Juniors” for children’s cinema at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

April 14 – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, 3:00pm (Alfond Auditorium). A British-U.S. film, it is based on the 2003 novel of U.S. author, Lionel Shriver and relates to the mother of Kevin who struggles to come to terms with her adolescent son and the murders he has committed. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.

April 15 – “Circumstance”, 3pm (Remis Auditorium). Writer-director, Maryam Keshavarz, offers a taboo-busting snapshot of contemporary Tehran set in the unseen world of Iranian youth culture. It is the story of two vivacious, young girls struggling with their lesbian desires and the boundaries placed upon them by the strict political and religious authorities who hold the parents and family accountable. It is the 2011 winner of the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.

Film director, Keshavarz, will receive the Hugo Munsterberg Award for excellence in using film as a pathway to understanding human nature following the screening of “Circumstance” on April 15. Keshavarz, the actors and producers are not able to return to their native Iran in fear of their lives by the Iranian regime. Currently living in France, Keshavarz is involved in completing a project in Portugal.

Following each screening of “Family Matters”, panelists who are expert in their field will guide the audience in a conversation to expand the understanding of the family dynamics and issues represented in the film. “Presenters do not function as lecturers, but will draw attention to particular aspects of the film”, says Bloom. “Even if you have seen some of the films”, comments Carter Long, “it’s a rare opportunity to think about the film in relation to the insight of the panelists.”

The Second Annual Hollywood Scriptures Film Series is one of the artistic endeavors of the Hollywood Scriptures Film Academy created and setup a few years ago by Steven Nisenbaum, a psychologist and lawyer who passionately believes in cinematic arts as an avenue of understanding the human condition. In order to launch the blending of film and psychology, Nisenbaum first approached the MFA with the collaborative idea, followed by approaching MSPP.

The Hollywood Scriptures Film Series debuted last spring in a successful melding of film and psychology showcasing films representing “The Psychology of War.”

A devotee of cinema as the pinnacle of storytelling through the ages, according to Nisenbaum human beings have a narrative mind and film is the most sophisticated form of storytelling. “First came cave drawings, then mythology, followed by religious books, and now we’re utilizing film for storytelling for meaning and where we are in the universe”, he says.

As a psychologist, Nisenbaum integrates selected film segments in discussions with his patients and notes how quickly patients talk about their own life situations after viewing a film.

“Cinema is a universal language”, he adds, “and we have especially utilized this form of storytelling in selecting the films of the Hollywood Scriptures Film Series”, especially in the current series of “Family Matters”.

Film tickets are available through the MFA ticket line at 1-800-440-6975; for further information please go to

About MSPP—Founded in 1974 as an independent graduate school of psychology, MSPP provides unique training programs for mental health professionals at the doctoral, master’s and certificate level, each designed to immerse students in both academic study and real-life clinical experience. Constantly assessing and evolving to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and diverse society, MSPP currently offers programs to train highly skilled professionals to care for Latinos, veterans, children and adolescents and families in a variety of settings, including the schools, the courts, the community and the workplace, among others.

About MFA –The Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Film Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is funded by the Carl and Ruth Sharpiro Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Adobe Foundation. The media sponsor is The Boston Phoenix.

Updated 4/3/12

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