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Amanda Murray Joins Berkshire Museum as Little Cinema Curator

PITTSFIELD ― Amanda Murray has joined the Berkshire Museum staff as the curator of the Little Cinema. In her new role, Murray will be choosing films for the weekly showings, as well planning special screenings, organizing film-themed talks and events, and improving the moviegoing experience for Little Cinema audiences.

“Coming from both the museum world and the independent-film world, I was so excited to learn that the Berkshire Museum is home to a thriving independent cinema. What a rare combination — and a rare opportunity for a film programmer,” said Murray. “In my own life, I’ve relished opportunities to see the latest independent films at festivals and historic, small theaters around the country, and it’s a joy to now be representing and programming such a unique venue for independent film.”

Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema has been showing independent and foreign films for 66 years in downtown Pittsfield. Little Cinema is a single-screen movie theater inside the museum; typically, one first-run independent or foreign film is shown each week.

As the film curator, Murray will be developing new initiatives, such as presenting films and film-related programs that complement the museum’s exhibitions and support its mission to create inspiring connections among art, history, and natural science. She also will be working to increase awareness and visibility of Little Cinema in the community.

“I’m so grateful for the Little Cinema’s audiences, for people in Western Massachusetts who seek out independent film and venues like ours,” she said. “I look forward to getting to know our existing and potentially new audiences and finding out more about what they like and want to see. I’m eager to explore community collaborations around special screenings and discussions. I’m especially excited to be a part of the museum’s broader effort to delight and engage visitors of all ages, and I look forward to planning film screenings and events that complement the museum’s eclectic and robust array of exhibitions and programs.”

Some of Murray’s first additions to the Little Cinema schedule include a special one-time screening of the documentary Dog Down, followed by a Q&A with the film’s producer, on Wednesday, July 15, at 7 p.m. A special series of screenings will be held as part of the 2015 Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival on Tuesday afternoons, July 14, July 28, August 4, and August 11, featuring films on the themes of slavery, its aftermath, and civil rights. Don Quinn Kelley will introduce each film and lead post-film discussions. For details, check the museum’s events calendar at www.berkshiremuseum.org.

With the independent production company Wicked Delicate Films, Murray produced the feature-length documentary The Search for General Tso, a 2014 Tribeca Film Festival premiere and 2015 Sundance Selects/IFC Films release. In 2013, she directed and produced World Fair, a documentary short about the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The film premiered and won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the 2013 Independent Film Festival Boston.

Murray has bachelor’s degrees in American Studies from the College of William and Mary and in public humanities from Brown University. Before diving into documentary film, she was a curator of the Places of Invention exhibition opening in July at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She has produced programs and multi-media for the Berkshire Museum, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the National Building Museum, the Providence Athenaeum, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

For more information about Berkshire Museum, visit www.berkshiremuseum.org or call (413) 443-7171.

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