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Award-Winning Documentary About New York Times Obituary Writers at Husson University’s Gracie Theatre

Published on: November 10, 2017

BANGOR, MAINE - The public is invited to the Gracie Theatre at Husson University on Thursday, November 9 for a free screening of the documentary film, OBIT at 6:30 p.m. The film is about the obituary writers at The New York Times.

Many consider the obituaries that appear in The New York Times to be some of the best writing in journalism. “In essence, they are first drafts of the people who made contemporary history,” said Jeffrey Hope, journalism instructor at Husson University’s New England School of Communications. “Obituaries detail the lives for both the famous and the infamous for future generations to remember.”

Longtime obituary editor of The New York Times William McDonald, and past and present staff writers on the desk are featured. They include Bruce Weber, Margalit Fox, William Grimes, Douglas Martin and Paul Vitello. The Times' century-old archive, appropriately called “the morgue,” and its last remaining full-time archivist, Jeff Roth, are also featured.

The writers de-emphasize death, and tell stories of lives lived in extraordinary ways, often below the radar. With this comes uncommon insights into the passage of generations, the astonishing cycle of life, the ebb and flow of time, and culture as it appears to accelerate and vanish at the same time.

OBIT is a recipient of a 2015 NYSCA Artist Grant, and received support from IFP and Made In NY Media Center. The film has won awards in a variety of film festivals including the Philadelphia Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival and AFI Docs sponsored by the American Film Institute.

The film screening is being sponsored by the Maine Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and Husson University’s New England School of Communications (NESCom). The screening will be hosted by Maine Public Radio’s Irwin Gratz. NESCom gratefully acknowledges the assistance of River City Cinema in making this screening possible.

For more information about the screening, contact the box office at The Gracie at 207-941-7888 or visit

This film is another example of the slate of innovative and thought-provoking presentations that audiences can experience at Husson University’s Gracie Theatre. Information about other upcoming performances is available on the theatre’s website, Facebook page, or by calling the box office.

Completed in October of 2009, the Gracie Theatre is Husson University's center for the fine and performing arts. This beautiful 500-seat theatre is quickly earning a reputation as one of Maine’s premier performance venues. In addition, The Gracie also serves as a learning platform for students from the New England School of Communications in digital audio, sound mixing, set design and construction, lighting, acting and electronics.

For more than 100 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells, and Northern Maine provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit

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