Contact: Mary Doherty, WWU Alumni Association, (360) 650-3353; Mary.Doherty@wwu.edu
BELLINGHAM – Oscar-nominated director and Western Washington University alumnus TJ Martin is coming to Western’s campus for an exclusive screening of his documentary “Undefeated.”
Students, faculty and community members are invited to a special evening with TJ Martin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 1 in the Performing Arts Center Mainstage. Admission is free, but tickets are required by registering at the WWU Alumni Association website. A suggested donation of $5 to be applied toward Western student scholarships will be accepted on the registration page and at the door.
Martin could make history at the Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles the week prior to his return to Bellingham. If “Undefeated” wins the Oscar for Best Feature Documentary, Martin would be the first African American director of a full-length feature film to win an Oscar. John Singleton, Lee Daniels and Spike Lee have received nominations for directing full-length features, but none have won an Oscar statue.
"Undefeated" first received critical acclaim at its SXSW debut in March and was signed by The Weinstein Co. for distribution soon after.
Martin's second film, “Undefeated” documents the struggles of an inner-city Memphis football team as they attempt a winning season with their charismatic and devoted coach, Bill Courtney, at the helm. Faced with virtually every strike against them – from poverty to criminal behavior – this inspirational true story shows how a group of young men transformed into an academic and athletic team.
Martin credits his time at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies as prepping him for the next stage of his life – a move to New York and then Los Angeles to work in film.
“Fairhaven [College] allowed me to go off and dabble in the film world and integrate what I learned in my classes through the media.”
“You’ll fail a million times before you make one success,” he said. “Fairhaven and WWU created a comfortable environment for that to happen. It was a good stomping ground where I could experiment a lot and felt comfortable making mistakes.”
Martin will spend the day on campus talking to students, faculty and staff before the exclusive Bellingham screening.