UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 09 Winter 18 Library
Zyahna Bryant & Katie Couric on the Paramount Stage. (Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for National Geographic)
Virginia Film Festival

Katie Couric and Re-Righting History

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On August 12, 2017, just after the authorities had shut down the Unite the Right rally, its participants spilled out onto Market Street where they would meet up with protestors, onlookers, and a media member for whom this was much more than an assignment. UVA alumna Katie Couric was slightly incognito when a rather angry participant asked her if she was in the media, then told her she couldn’t stand there. Her answer: “I can stand anywhere I want!” And during those three days in Charlottesville, that is exactly what she did, hustling around town to grab interviews with UVA history professors Gary Gallagher and John Mason, among many others, and ending up where she has spent so much of her career – in the very center of the action. Months later, on April 4, 2018, Couric would return to Charlottesville as a guest of the Virginia Film Festival for two preview screenings of the first episode of her six-part National Geographic television series America Inside Out with Katie Couric. The episode, entitled Re-Righting History, included interviews of key figures involved in, and exclusive footage of, the weekend’s tragic events. The first screening was for a UVA-only audience in UVA Drama’s Culbreth Theatre, and the second was to a packed house of community members in The Paramount Theater on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Both Film Festival events were presented free of charge and featured post-screening panel discussions moderated by UVA Center for Politics director Larry Sabato and featuring Couric alongside Gallagher; Mason; Charlottesville High School student and activist Zyahna Bryant, who wrote the initial petition to get the statues removed; Don Gathers, local activist and Chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Monuments and Memorials for the City of Charlottesville; and Seth Wispelwey, United Church of Christ minister and one of the leaders of Congregate Cville. Jody Kielbasa, Festival director and Vice Provost for the Arts, said, “We were honored to welcome Katie back and to give Charlottesville audiences a chance to get a first look at this extraordinary show and to participate in what is one of the most important conversations of our time not just for our community, but for our country.” 

(Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for National Geographic)
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