skip to main content
School of Journalism and New Media
University of Mississippi

Filmmaker to screen Robert Penn Warren documentary Feb. 26 in Overby Center Auditorium

Posted on: February 23rd, 2020 by ldrucker

A veteran filmmaker who created a documentary about poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren will screen his film Wednesday, Feb. 26 at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

Tom Thurman’s film “Robert Penn Warren: A Vision” will be shown at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium inside Farley Hall. After the screening, the filmmaker will talk with professor Joe Atkins about the documentary. Thurman has also completed documentaries and projects about other notable figures, including actor Harry Dean Stanton.

Journalist Nick Tosches and Tom Thurman

Journalist Nick Tosches and Tom Thurman

“Thurman is a veteran filmmaker whose past work includes ‘Crossing Mulholland,’ a 2011 documentary about Harry Dean Stanton,” said professor Joe Atkins. “I met Tom, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky, while doing my research on the actor.”

Atkins book Harry Dean Stanton: Hollywood’s Zen Rebel is expected to be published by the University Press of Kentucky in October.

Tom Thurman

Tom Thurman’s documentary

Thurman has produced and directed 36 documentaries on art, film, music, sports and literary figures, including Nick Nolte, John Ford and Hunter S. Thompson.

As a producer/writer for Kentucky Educational Television in Lexington, Thurman produces documentaries for the series Kentucky Muse, a showcase for artists with Kentucky roots, including Stanton.

“In high school, I became interested in painting, drawing and writing,” Thurman said via email. “In college, these interests expanded to sculpture and film history. Filmmaking allowed me to collapse all of these interests into one creative process: the written word, color, composition, and storytelling. Documentary filmmaking seemed more intimate to me, and connected me closer to the oral history tradition that was a part of my (very) rural upbringing.”

On the surface, Thurman said his documentary is about Warren’s life, work and career. More pointedly, however, it is about The Civil War, Southern culture, race, and how a sense of place comes to inform the creative process.

“Ideally, viewers will be inspired to read Warren’s work: not simply his greatest book—All the King’s Men—but also his poetry, his literary criticism, and his journalistic pieces on his changing views of race relations as seen through the eyes of a Southerner born and bred in the early 1900s,” Thurman said.

Tickets are not required for the event. If you plan to attend and require accommodations for a disability, please contact Sarah Griffith at 662-915-7146 or For more information about our journalism or IMC programs visit

If you have a comment or question about this story, email

Tags: , , ,