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Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin is the first feature documentary film about Ursula K. Le Guin, a singular writer who defiantly held her ground on the frontier of American letters until the sheer excellence of her work, at long last, forced the mainstream to embrace fantastic literature.
Viewers will accompany Le Guin on an intimate journey of self-discovery as she comes into her own as a major feminist author, inspiring generations of women and other marginalized writers along the way. To tell this story, the film reaches into the past as well as the future – to a childhood steeped in the myths and stories of disappeared Native peoples she heard as the daughter of prominent 19th century anthropologist Alfred Kroeber.
Le Guin’s story allows audiences to reflect on science fiction’s unique role in American culture, as a conduit for our utopian dreams, apocalyptic fears, and tempestuous romance with technology. Le Guin, by elevating science fiction from mind candy to serious speculation, has given permission to younger mainstream writers like Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, and Jonathan Lethem to explore fantastic elements in their work.
More than ever, we need to perform the kinds of thought experiments that Le Guin pioneered, to ask how we might behave as our technologies transform us beyond the wildest dreams of our grandparents. Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin explores what science fiction means to us now, and shares the story of the unassuming mother of three who showed us the limitless power of the imagination.
Arwen Curry is a Bay Area native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she studied documentary film with Jon Else (Cadillac Desert, The Day After Trinity). Curry’s first documentary, Stuffed, co-produced with Cerissa Tanner, took viewers into the lives and homes of compulsive hoarders to better understand our mysterious connection to the things we own. Curry is associate producer of the documentary Regarding Susan Sontag. She has worked with Academy Award-nominated director Justine Shapiro (Promises), and continues to work with Academy Award-nominated director Sam Green (The Weather Underground) on his “live documentary” Utopia in Four Movements. Curry has also worked in magazines and radio (including the WNYC syndicated show “Radio Lab.”