Advance movie screening thanks to UE grads

Everybody is invited to attend an advance screening of the movie Bernie on UE's campus.

The screening, co-sponsored by UE and 14 News will take place at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, April 22 in Eykamp Hall (second floor of the Ridgway University Center). Doors open at 5:00 p.m., and $10 general admission tickets can be purchased online, at the door, or by phone at 812-488-2706. All funds raised at the Evansville premiere will provide scholarships for UE students.

Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey, Bernie is produced by Wind Dancer Films, an independent motion picture and television development, production, and financing company. UE theatre alumni Matt Williams '73 and David McFadzean '73 are principals in the company, and communications graduate Dete Meserve '84 is president. McFadzean and Meserve will attend the Evansville premiere of Bernie, which opens nationwide on April 27.

"The University of Evansville not only provides a quality education, instills a sense of discipline, a work ethic, and a strong ethos, it also creates and nurtures lasting relationships," said Williams. "David McFadzean and I were theatre majors and roommates while attending UE, and David was the first writer I hired when I created the television program Roseanne. He and I co-created (along with Carmen Finestra) the hit series Home Improvement, and have been partners at Wind Dancer since 1988."

 Based on a 1998 story in Texas Monthly magazine, Bernie traces the strange, complicated friendship between a mortician and a wealthy widow.

In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, Texas, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town's most beloved residents. He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir, and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependant on Bernie and his generosity, and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands. Bernie continued to handle her affairs, and the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie. The people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder.

Wind Dancer Films was founded by Williams and McFadzean, who have created and produced such television hits as Roseanne and Home Improvement. Wind Dancer has developed and produced such successful films as What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt (which earned $350 million in worldwide box offices), and Where The Heart Is, starring Natalie Portman. The company is in development and production on a number of television series for TV Land, PBS, Showtime, and other networks along with feature films with Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and others.

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