Series to screen daughter's film about prankster father

Documentary director Jenny Abel will screen “Abel Raises Cain,” a film commemorating her prankster father, in the fifth installment this season of SUNY Oswego’s On Screen/In Person program Tuesday, March 5, at Oswego Cinema 7.

Abel, who was producer and co-director, with Jeff Hockett, will answer audience questions after the 7 p.m. screening at the cinema, 138 W. Second St. in Oswego.

A young Jenny Abel, left, poses in front of the White House with prankster father Alan Abel“Abel Raises Cain” provides a glimpse into the life of Alan Abel, a prolific media prankster for over 50 years. Among Abel’s best-known hoaxes was a phony press conference in front of 150 reporters about the Watergate scandal that included an actor pretending to be the mysterious news source Deep Throat. He also staged a mass fainting during “The Phil Donahue Show,” fabricated the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, faked his own death and concocted many other well-publicized pranks.

In his book, “The Confessions of a Hoaxer,” Abel—who in his 80s continues to poke fun at the media’s complicity, fallibility and blind rush to scoop a salacious story—said his pranks are designed to engage people emotionally and intellectually. “The audience gets involved and has to decide for itself what’s going on and what’s to be learned from the experience,” Abel wrote. “Everybody is a participant.”

“Abel Raises Cain” (2005) is Jenny Abel’s first feature documentary. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in video and television production, and has helped produce 26 pictures with Nu Image and Millennium Films.

This screening is made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Touring Program, and presented by SUNY Oswego’s Artswego and the cinema and screen studies department, with support from Zurich Cinemas and the Oswego Film Club and Oswego Film Group.

Tickets for “Abel Raises Cain” are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3.50 for students. Tickets can be purchased at Oswego Cinema 7, in advance from any campus box office or online through

PHOTO CAPTION: Hoaxer extraordinaire—A young Jenny Abel, left, poses in front of the White House with prankster father Alan Abel, the topic of her documentary “Abel Raises Cain.” The producer and co-director will attend a screening of her film 7 p.m. March 5 at Oswego Cinema 7.

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(Posted: Feb 18, 2013)

Tags: on screen in person, cinema and screen studies, abel raises cain