Film Presentations

Strangers In Town

Saturday, April 27, 6:00pm

Free screening and discussion with Director Steve Lerner
and KSU Professor Matthew Sanderson

A film by Steve Lerner & Reuben Aaronson

tells the story of how global migration unexpectedly transformed and enriched Garden City, Kansas. It brought great challenges to the community, including demands for housing, social services, education, and infrastructure. For the current students at Garden City High School, the town’s remarkable diversity is all they’ve ever known. STRANGERS IN TOWN gives new meaning to the city’s motto: “the world grows here,” and provides an inspiring view of human possibility in the face of change.           

About Steve Lerner
Steve Lerner is a psychologist, filmmaker, and musician. He got his start in filmmaking under the guidance of his childhood friend Reuben, when they collaborated on a film in 1972 called Cycle. To their surprise, the film won Honorable Mention at the Marin County Film Festival, and was used for years by noted psychologist Erik Erickson in his teaching.

In 1985 Steve founded Menninger Video Productions at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka. There he produced and directed more than a dozen educational films for mental health professionals. In 1992 after leaving Menninger, he founded Equal Partners Productions where he continued to make educational films for the mental health field.

Steve's 2009 film Tras Bambalinas (Behind the Scenes) won Best Documentary in the Kansas/Missouri Short Film Festival. The next year, he directed La Pizza y El Amor, a humorous look at the relationship between food and love, shot in Mexico. His film Florence, Kansas was an official selection at the Kansas City Film Festival in 2012. His next film, This Old Guitar (La Guitarra Vieja), won Best Director at the 15 Minutes of Fame Festival in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

About Matthew Sanderson
Matthew Sanderson is the Randall C. Hill Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work and Professor of Sociology at Kansas State University.  He is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Hugo Centre for Migration and Population Research, University of Adelaide, Australia.  A good deal of his past research has focused on international migration.  As a social scientist, he has investigated the motivations for migration and the consequences of migration for migrants themselves, and for their communities, both the ones they leave behind and the ones that receive them.  Dr. Sanderson leads courses on international migration and development from the undergraduate level to the PhD level.  He is a Kansan by birth, and by choice, having returned to Kansas for his position at KSU.
Director Statement

We believe that Garden City has something to add to the regional and national dialogue on immigration, which has become so polarized. Here is a town from southwest Kansas that has embraced immigration and diversity, creating policies and resources that have helped the community grow and thrive. Many from much larger communities that have never heard of Garden City might have something to learn from this Kansas town.