BRANDON, MB – Disaster movies, from the 1930s to today’s blockbusters, will be the topic of a new course at Brandon University (BU). Disaster Movies: Fact vs Fiction will explore the science and the myths portrayed in epic productions including Towering Inferno (1974), Twister (1996), and Contagion (2011).
“We will examine the physical science, social science, and emergency management science as portrayed in famous disaster movies,” says John Lindsay, associate professor with the Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies (ADES) program, “and how the public’s perception of disasters and emergency management is defined by these representations.”
Lindsay says disaster movies have been shaping public perceptions since the earliest days of film. In Old Chicago (1937) is a fictionalized account of the great Chicago Fire of 1871, and San Francisco (1936), a musical based on the city’s 1906 earthquake, became the top-grossing film in the year of its release.
“Towering Inferno was an Oscar-winning film with an all-star cast,” says Lindsay. “These movies have enormous influence on how society perceives disasters and disaster response. It’s critical for our ADES students to understand those perceptions as they move into roles within emergency management.”
Disaster Movies: Fact vs Fiction begins in September, 2014. For more information or to register, please visit www.brandonu.ca/registration/. A similar course, Images of Disasters in Film and Media, has been offered since 2001 at the University of North Texas, and is recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.
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Associate Professor, ADES program