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Higher Education
Lamar University offers Film, TV, and Literary Festival with focus on Southeast Texas
News Release
Monday, February 26, 2018

The Lamar University Department of English and Modern Languages and the Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast are coming together to present a Film, TV, and Literary Festival with events Feb. 27-28, and March 26, to provide interested Lamar students the opportunity to meet with experts from all three fields.

On February 27, a panel with producer-screenwriter J.D Feigelson, producer-director Gordon Williams, and actor-professor (and local film historian) David Hooker, and director-professor O’Brien Stanley will discuss film, Southeast Texas and the connections between regional history and film. The event will be held 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., University Event Center, 8th Floor, Mary and John Gray Library.

Feigelson has extensive film experience both as a writer and producer, and has written for movies and television alike. He is best known for his writing on “The Twilight Zone” and “Chiller,” but he has also produced a movie called “Houston: The Legend of Texas” that pays homage to Sam Houston and highlights Texas’ important and unique cultural and historical background. William, Hooker and Stanley are all professors at LU and, alongside their own independent success, have worked alongside Lamar students to help them gain real work experience through broadcasts such as LUTV.

On February 28, writers and producers Lee Goldberg and Phoef Sutton will be sitting on two panels to discuss their careers and answer student questions.

The first panel, which will take place at 2:20 p.m. in rooms 113A and 113B at the Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, will focus on television producing, screenwriting, and the television and film business. The second panel, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the room 120 of the Reaud Honors Building, will focus on mystery and genre writing, co-writing, and publishing.

While the Center for History and Culture sponsors similar talks every year, this is the first year that the Department of English and Modern Languages has partnered with them to expand the event.

“This semester, the Center for History and Culture has one talk on film in Southeast Texas, and another talk on fiction in Southeast Texas,” said Jim Sanderson, English department chair and one of the event’s organizers. “In the meantime, because I know Lee Goldberg and Phoef Sutton, I invited them to appear,” Sanderson said of the idea to join the two events.

Goldberg is an accomplished writer and producer who has worked both on novels and television shows for more than 30 years. He attended UCLA and put himself through school by working as a freelance journalist for a number of publications, such as The Washington Post and Newsweek, and actually published his first book, “.357 Vigilante”, while still a student. He has since published close to 75 novels, often co-writing with other talented writers, such as the Fox & O’Hare series Goldberg co-wrote with mystery writer Janet Evanovich. On top of his other accomplishments, Goldberg also founded his own publishing company, Brash Books.

Although the majority of his works are mystery or suspense, Goldberg has also written a number of non-fiction books based on his experience working in the television industry. His first experience writing for television was with a freelance script written for the show “Spencer: For Hire”. Goldberg has credits as both writer and producer for shows such as “Monk,” “Baywatch,” and “Diagnosis Murder.” His two passions, television and novels, have converged on multiple occasions in the form of series of original novels based on television shows he has produced.

Sutton is a decorated playwright, novelist and producer who has been honored with two Emmys, a GLAAD award, a Writer’s guild award, and many other awards throughout his career. He got his start as a playwright at James Madison University and found great success with his plays both as a student and after graduation. The thrill of seeing his works performed and enjoyed around the country inspired Sutton to pursue a career in television writing on shows like “Cheers,” “Boston Legal,” and “Newhart.” In addition, Sutton continues writing for the stage and recently co-wrote the musical “Songs From the Tall Grass.”

Sutton has also expanded his talents to writing novels as well, working with Goldberg’s publishing company, Brash Books. Works such as “Midnight Special,” “15 Minutes to Live,” and “Crush” have earned Sutton the title of New York Times Bestselling Author and the opportunity to co-write two series with Janet Evanovich. Although his most acclaimed novels are mysteries, Sutton has also explored the supernatural, romantic thriller and horror genres.

“They have one foot in the TV, Hollywood, and the film world and another foot in writing and publishing, so they have a lot of experience,” said Sanderson. “Hopefully students will go and say, ‘Hey, I might be interested in this writing thing.’ If you enjoy writing or if you think of it as a career, I think we can help out students by letting them see the field broadly, not narrowly.”

On March 26, a panel discussion from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the University Reception Center, 8th Floor of the Mary and John Gray Library, will be offered focusing on literature, Southeast Texas, and the connections between regional history and fiction. Panelists include author Lisa Sandlin, author and assistant professor Gretchen Johnson, and author and professor Sanderson. Discussions will include Sandlin’s book “The Do-Right,” Johnson’s “Single in Southeast Texas,” and Sanderson’s “Nothing to Lose.”

Sandlin’s novel “The Do-Right” is a mystery novel set in Beaumont, and captures much of the town’s character and culture in the 1970s. The novel was praised by the Beaumont Enterprise when it came out in 2015, and Sandlin is currently working on a sequel. Both Johnson and Sanderson are professors at LU who work in the Department of English and Modern Languages and, alongside writing and publishing their own works centering on Southeast Texas, help encourage students with a passion for writing to do the same.

For more information, contact Jim Sanderson at

Remembering Jim Guidry

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