Oscar-winning movie director John Avildsen, known for such major films as Rocky and The Karate Kid, will give a free lecture. His appearance is hosted by the Division of Film and Media Arts in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and is sponsored by the Vincent Lopez Serafino Jenevein law firm and the Sports & Entertainment Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association.
Known for telling stories about the triumph of the underdog, Avildsen is now working on the feature film Nate and Al about an elderly wisecracking Holocaust survivor who decides 60 years after the war to kidnap the Nazi criminal who killed his family. The story of Nate and Al is told against a backdrop of the impending deportation of Joseph Ivan Grondzik, aka “Ivan the Terrible,” a Nazi criminal who had been living secretly in Fresno, Calif. since the war ended. The film is inspired by the well-documented story of John Demjanjuk, an Ohio auto worker deported in the 1980s and tried for war crimes as a former concentration camp guard.
Avildsen will share the screenplay of Nate and Al with SMU film students in advance of his visit. During his presentation, students will have the opportunity to provide Avildsen with comments and suggestions for the movie.