Oliver Stone coming to Stevenson High in May

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone will visit Lake County next month for a free, public screening of an episode of his documentary series "Untold History of the United States."

Stone - the controversial writer, director and producer behind films including "Platoon," "JFK" and "Wall Street" - will appear at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire with American University historian Peter Kuznick.

Stone and Kuznick cowrote the scripts for the 2012 series that examined American history since World War II. Stone also directed and narrated the episodes, which aired on the Showtime cable network and were presented at film festivals.

Stone and Kuznick cowrote companion books, too.

"We are very fortunate," said Stevenson teacher Greg Diethrich, the executive director of the Stevenson High School Foundation, which is sponsoring the event. "We're excited about this opportunity for our students and community."

Stone and Kuznick have discussed the series at universities and other venues around the world. The duo appeared at Highland Park High in 2013.

"We are doing everything we can to reach young people through our documentaries, books, and talks," Kuznick said. "Speaking at high schools has been rarer, but it's an opportunity we value very much."

The Stevenson appearance was made possible by Arie Serota, a Stevenson High alumnus who later was one of Kuznick's graduate students, Diethrich said.

Stone and Kuznick will show the series' third episode, "The Bomb." It focuses on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II and the consequences on the burgeoning Cold War with the Soviet Union.

"The real history of what happened has been shrouded in myth for 70 years," Kuznick said.

Stone and Kuznick will show the same episode the next day at the University of Chicago, a site that was critical to the development of the atomic bomb.

"(It also) was the site of the strongest efforts by scientists to try to prevent the use of the bomb during the war," Kuznick said.

The Stevenson High screening and a question-and-answer session are set for 7:30 p.m. May 4 in the school's west auditorium. Tickets aren't needed.

People who can't get seats inside the auditorium can watch the episode and discussion on closed-circuit TV in a nearby room, Diethrich said.

Stevenson spokesman Jim Conrey called the film screening "a reflection of our commitment to intellectual engagement."

"Part of the educational process is helping students to develop strong critical thinking skills, and not just pumping them full of facts that they can regurgitate on a test," Conrey said. "We want them to learn how to think. One of the ways to do that is providing them with opportunities to engage viewpoints on important subjects that may or may not coincide with their own."

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  Award-winning director Oliver Stone will visit Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire on May 4 for a film screening. Russell Lissau/ 2015
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