Annual Levine Lecture, Challenges of Storytelling: ESPN's "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and Other Celebrities

March 27, 2018 - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Award-winning documentarian Rory Karpf, whose most recent documentary work for ESPN, “Nature Boy,” focused on the complicated and controversial life of professional wrestling superstar Ric Flair, will deliver UNC Charlotte’s annual Levine Lecture on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. followed by the lecture at 6 p.m. and a reception at 7 p.m. at Levine Museum of the New South (200 E. Seventh St. Charlotte 28202). The event is open to the public without charge, but RSVPs are requested at:

Two-hour complimentary parking is available in the 7th Street Station parking deck (225 E 6th St. between 6thand 7th streets). Please bring your parking ticket to the museum for validation.

The 2018 Levine Lecture, part of the Storytellers series of events created by UNC Charlotte’s Center for the Study of the New South, will focus in part on how Karpf crafted a nuanced portrait of the outlandish professional wrestling legend and long-time Charlottean. Karpf’s talk will address the challenge of capturing Flair’s questionable lifestyle decisions and treatment of women without condoning these choices, resulting in a documentary described as “incredible,” “captivating,” and “triumphant.”

Discussion of this specific documentary will open up a broader conversation about how documentary and feature films can tell emotional and compelling stories while addressing complex, complicated and, at times, controversial subjects.

Karpf’s directing accomplishments include the critically acclaimed theatrical release “Dale,” based on the life of legendary racer Dale Earnhardt and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Paul Newman. The film became the highest-selling sports DVD of all time. Sports Illustrated said, "The film 'Dale' is terrific. It delivers such an intimate look at the driver that it feels as if we've all been invited out to the Earnhardt ranch to watch some home movies. 'Dale' covers it all, and it is an enjoyable and enlightening ride."

Karpf also directed films on the history of NASCAR; “Together,” about the tragedy that took the lives of 10 team members of the Hendrick Motorsports team in 2004, and “To the Limit” which tells the story of Tim Richmond, one of the first athletes to die of AIDS. He directed “Nature Boy” last year, exploring the life of Flair for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. It includes two candid interview sessions, 16 months apart, with Flair.

Karpf began his career at NFL Films where he worked as a director, producer, writer and editor. As a producer He has won four Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and has been nominated nine times. He lives in Charlotte.

The Annual Levine Lecture is presented by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Center for the Study of the New South in partnership with Levine Museum of the New South.