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Jan Thompson

Voices of Roosevelt theatre students featured in new documentary by Roosevelt alumna

Posted: 03/29/2013

The world premiere of a feature-length documentary, Never the Same: The Prisoner of War Experience, by Roosevelt alumna and documentarian Jan Thompson (above) will be presented at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, April 6 and at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7 at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center.

A project that has been more than two decades in the making and which stems from Thompson’s curiosity about her own father’s experiences as a World War II POW in Japan, Never the Same tells the story of survival of prisoners of war in the Phillipines during World War II through POW interviews and their diary entries, poetry, original drawings, cartoons, songs and even their recipes.

Jan Thompson doc

Narrated by two-time award-winning actress Loretta Swit, the documentary features performances by well-known actors Ed Asner, Alec Baldwin, Jamie Farr, Mike Farrell, Robert Forster, Christopher Franciosa, Robert Loggia, Christopher Murray, Don Murray, John O’Hurley, Kathleen Turner, Robert Wagner and Sam Waterson as well the voices of five Roosevelt University undergraduate junior acting majors in the Theatre Conservatory at Chicago College of Performing Arts.

 Roosevelt students in the new documentary include: Isabel “Isa” Arciniegas, Aaron Latterell, James Romney, Anthony “Adam” Marcantoni and Thomas “Ryan” Cangeloni.

“Through this work, I’ve given a voice to more than 60 different men who were starved, beaten, sick and brutalized as POWs but never lost their humor in order to stay alive,” said Thompson, who received a Bachelor’s in Communication in 1982, a Bachelor’s in Music Composition in 1983 and a Master’s in General Studies in Music, Theatre and History in 1988, all from Roosevelt University.

“I needed young voices to offset the older acting voices, and I’ve been quite impressed with the caliber of students I found at Roosevelt’s theatre conservatory,” said Thompson, a three-time Emmy Award-winning documentarian and documentary professor at Southern Illinois University who also produced the internationally recognized PBS food-history series on Food for the Ancestors, Hidden India, Hidden Turkey and Hidden Korea . The series features commentary by Roosevelt Professor Emeritus of History Bruce Kraig and is still in circulation for viewing on PBS.

For more information on the world premiere and tickets, visit: http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/neverthesame.