After 10 years putting together her investigative documentary, Judit Helfand showcased the product of her labors, "Cooked," to students yesterday.

"Cooked" investigates the social causes for the 739 deaths that resulted from the Chicago 1995 heat wave.

An award-winning documentarian, Helfand examines how and why certain groups—namely African-Americans, the elderly and the poor—were hit harder than others.

Professor of Sociology Susan Bell, a longtime associate and friend of Helfand, expressed excitement about Helfand coming to Bowdoin.

"It's a very exciting and unusual way to see a documentarian at work [in the middle of the filmmaking process]," said Bell. "Judith uses a lot of humor and compelling camera angles, I'm really looking forward to seeing what she has done with the project."

Bell went on to further explain the sociological import.

"It's a social autopsy of the Chicago heat wave...examining how and why could 739 people in one of the most developed, wealthy cities in the world die," she said.

She explains how the heat wave revealed gross flaws in the social system.

"Mortality depended on where residents lived, whether they lived alone, whether their neighborhood fostered community life or whether the neighborhood fostered loneliness and fear," said Bell.

After screening a 22-minute clip from her documentary, Bell said Helfand will interact with students across different disciplines.

"My [Introduction to Sociology] students will talk with her, see how the documentary is made....later in the day she will show the clip and talk with people from Environmental Studies classes, English, sociology, anthropology and films about the filmmaking process and the implications of her research," said Bell.