Office of Public Affairs

(315) 312-2265

Oct. 15, 2003

CONTACT: Robert O'Connor, 312-2610


    OSWEGO -- People from the community and campus are invited to the Oct. 30 local premiere of the Miramax Pictures film "Buffalo Soldiers," based on the award-winning book of the same name by Robert O'Connor, associate professor of English at SUNY Oswego.

    The movie stars Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn and Anna Paquin, with Gregor Jordan directing. It centers on complications befalling Elwood (played by Phoenix), a savvy but troubled soldier stationed in Germany around the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In the movie, O'Connor said, the characters are watching the wall coming down on television, "meanwhile their lives are kind of coming apart."

    A 7 p.m. screening at Oswego Cinema, 138 W. Second St., will be immediately followed by a gala champagne and dessert reception at King Arthur's Steakhouse, 7 W. Bridge St., that will benefit the college's English writing arts program.

    A package of $25 per person or $40 per couple will allow admission to the 7 p.m. showing and gala reception fund-raiser. Reservations for this package must be made by Oct. 23 to Tyler Hall box office by calling 312-2141 or e-mailing

    An earlier screening, at 4:30 p.m., will be followed by a talk-back session with O'Connor discussing the project and fielding audience questions. For this session, tickets are $5 for the general public, $3.50 for SUNY Oswego students.

    O'Connor saw value in the opportunity to support Oswego's English writing arts program because that is where he received his start. He graduated from SUNY Oswego in 1982 and began teaching at the college in 1985.

    "I came here because, of all of the colleges I looked at when I was beginning my undergraduate work, Oswego was the only one that seemed to have a coherent view of what it took to become a creative writer," he said. "It's still one of the few programs in creative writing around that focuses its efforts on undergraduates."

    Brad Korbesmeyer, coordinator of SUNY Oswego's English writing arts program, said he appreciates how O'Connor has been very active in making the local screening and benefit possible.

    "I'm excited about it because it's great for Bob and great for the program," Korbesmeyer added. "Sometimes we don't stop to celebrate achievements enough. I think people who are creating works need to take time to celebrate. Things like this don't happen every day."

    In giving the film two thumbs up, critic Roger Ebert expressed appreciation for the movie's boldness and "spot-on performances" by its star cast while partner Richard Roeper enjoyed the film's "dark edge."

    Luke Y. Thompson of the Los Angeles New Times hailed it as "brilliantly made" and "one of the year's finest films." Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer recommended it as "definitely worth catching," while Claudia Piug of USA Today lauded its "tight story construction" and found it "enriching to have one movie like this around."

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