at Athenaeum Theatre

John Safran: Murder in Mississippi

John Safran: documentary-maker, broadcaster, professional prankster. He’s been accosted by Ray Martin, arrested for driving a remote control seagull onto a cricket pitch, and exorcised on camera.

Safran specialises in surprising audiences – as he spectacularly proved at our expectation-exploding Sunday Sermon earlier this year. But his career is less about shock value than following the path of his relentless curiosity – and the unexpected insights it offers up, about his subjects, but also himself. In his first transition from the screen to the page, Murder in Mississippi, Safran delves deep into contemporary racism in the American South, through the lens of a bizarre court case lousy with contradictions.

Safran played a prank on white supremacist Richard Barrett for his TV documentary Race Relations. When he heard Barrett had been murdered by a black man, he was shocked but not surprised. But then he discovered Barrett had owed his murderer money – and propositioned him. And so he went to Mississippi to uncover the truth and cover the trial – talking to cops, racists, neighbours, lawyers, families … and even the murderer.

This will be a multimedia event, with video, audio and souvenirs from his trip. And in true Safran fashion, John will question everything – from the facts and significance of the case, to his role as a writer, and his interest in it all.

Presented by the Wheeler Centre and Token Events.


Portrait of John Safran

John Safran

John Safran is an award-winning documentary-maker of provocative and hilarious takes on race, the media, religion and other issues.

John first hit TV screens in 1997 on Race Around the World (ABC TV). Both John Safran's Music Jamboree (SBS, 2002) and John Safran vs. God (SBS, 2004) won Australian Film Industry awards for Best Comedy Series and Most Original Concept, and were also nominated for Logie Awards.

Other shows include John Safran's Race Relations (ABC TV, 2009), which was nominated for two awards at the prestigious Rose d'Or Festival in Switzerland, and Speaking in Tongues (SBS, 2005–6). John also co-hosted Sunday Night Safran, a radio talk show on Triple J with cranky but beloved Catholic priest, Father Bob Maguire.


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