Robert Kennedy daughter’s film to screen at Peninsula College

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Rory Kennedy’s documentary film, titled simply “Ethel,” about her mother, Ethel Kennedy, will be shown twice this weekend, courtesy of the Peninsula College Foundation.

In an unprecedented move, the foundation will host the Little Theater screenings at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, instead of planning for an “American Conversations” dinner and speaker later this year.

Admission will be by donation at the theater at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

“We’ve been putting [American Conversations] on since 1998. We go and get sponsors,” said foundation Executive Director Mary Hunchberger.

“The speakers’ cost has been going steadily up . . . We wanted a year off to rethink it.”

Last year, Rory Kennedy, youngest daughter of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy, was the American Conversations speaker Oct. 4.

Born six months after her father was assassinated in 1968, she grew up to be a documentary filmmaker.

Her company, Moxie Firecracker Films, has produced the Emmy Award-winning “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” among many other pictures exploring tough subjects from AIDS to poverty in Appalachia.

Kennedy never thought her mother, now 85, would agree to a documentary about her extraordinary life as a political wife, widow and matriarch.

But when Rory asked, Ethel said yes.

“Why?” was the daughter’s next question.

“Because you asked me. I would do anything for you,” Ethel replied.

“Ethel,” shown at the Sundance Film Festival and on HBO in 2012, is a 95-minute portrait of a woman who fought for social justice, Rory Kennedy has said. The mother of 11 taught her children that a life of service is not an obligation, but a gift.

‘Blessed’ family

“The whole premise with the Kennedys is that they were blessed with what they had,” said Hunchberger, “and they gave back in volunteerism and philanthropy.”

At this point in the Peninsula College Foundation’s history, Hunchberger hopes community members will consider the organization worthy of direct support.

“Besides students needing help [with tuition], the foundation funds programs like the writers-in-residence, the Maier Hall Concert Series and help for faculty and staff,” she said.

“They can apply for money to go to conferences and get advanced degrees.”

Instead of spending some $20,000 on the American Conversations event, the foundation may host smaller fundraisers such as a summer barbecue and concert on the green, Hunchberger added.

“We’re about getting people up here on campus to enjoy cultural events.”

The screenings of “Ethel” are two of those events. For more information about such events and the Peninsula College Foundation, visit www.PenCol.edu.

“It will be really cool,” said Hunchberger, “to see it on the big screen.”

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 30. 2013 5:52PM
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