November 9, 2018

Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts presents a screening of Leave No Trace followed by Q&A with director/writer Debra Granik

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts at Princeton University will screen the film Leave No Trace on Wednesday, November 14 at 7:00 p.m. The screening of the film, the emotional story of a father and his teenage daughter who have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon, will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s Academy Award-nominated writer/director Debra Granik. The screening will take place in the newly renovated James Stewart Film Theater at 185 Nassau Street on the University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

father daughter

A scene from Debra Granik’s film Leave No Trace screening at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James Stewart Film Theater. Photo courtesy of Bleeker Street Media

Starring Ben Foster and 17-year-old newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Leave No Trace premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and tells the story of Will and his daughter Tom who have lived off the grid, blissfully undetected by authorities in a vast nature reserve on the edge of Portland, Oregon. When a chance encounter blows their cover, they are removed from their camp and put into the charge of social services. Struggling to adapt to their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a perilous journey back to the wilderness, where they are finally forced to confront conflicting desires—a longing for community versus a fierce need to live apart.

Written by Granik and Anne Rosellini, the film is based on the book My Abandonment by Peter Rock. Granik is best known for 2010’s Winter’s Bone, which starred Jennifer Lawrence in her breakout performance and for which Granik was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Granik’s first film, Down to the Bone, received the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Granik’s 2014 film, Stray Dog, a feature documentary, aired on Independent Lens and was nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award.

“Debra Granik has a gift for cinematic spaces that are vibrantly, palpably alive, and for putting you in places, whether modest homes or the great outdoors, that make you feel as if you’re standing right alongside her characters,” said a New York Times review of the film.

Leave No Trace is the third in a four-film series curated by Program in Visual Arts Director Martha Friedman celebrating the renovation and reopening of the James Stewart Film Theater following a five-month renovation. The changes include upgraded film projection capabilities with state-of-the-art digital projectors while preserving capability for 32 mm and 16 mm film, as well as a new screen, HVAC and electrical systems, new seating and interior finishes.

All films in the series are open to the public and feature a film screening followed by a conversation with one or more artists connected with the film shown. The final screening in the series is The Miseducation of Cameron Post with writer-director Desiree Akhavan on Wednesday, November 28, which will be followed by a Q&A.

The film series is supported through the John Sacret Young ’69 Lecture Series fund. Sacret Young is a 1969 graduate of Princeton and an author, producer, director, and screenwriter. He has been nominated for seven Emmy Awards and seven Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, winning two WGA Awards. He is perhaps best known for co-creating, along with William F. Broyles Jr., China Beach, the critically acclaimed ABC-TV drama series about medics and nurses during the Vietnam War, and for his work on the television drama The West Wing. Young has also received a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award, and his original mini-series about the Gulf War, Thanks of a Grateful Nation, was honored with his fifth Humanitas Prize nomination.

Earlier in the evening of November 14, the Program in Visual Arts will hold its Open Studios event at 185 Nassau Street. Juniors and seniors in the Program will open their studios to share and discuss their works-in-progress from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. This event is also free and open to the public.

For more information on the Program in Visual Arts and the more than 100 performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts and lectures presented each year by the Lewis Center for the Arts, most of them free, visit

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