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Thursday, November 10
 

7:00pm

Grande Hotel

2011 | 70 min | Belgium, Mozambique
Filmmaker in Person | New York Premiere

The Grande Hotel in the East African seaside town of Beira is a monument to the grandeur and folly of Portuguese colonial rule. Once billed as Africa’s most luxurious resort, it was later used as a headquarters in Mozambique’s revolutionary war. Belgian filmmaker Lotte Stoop weaves in and out of the 120-square-meter complex, while off-camera, locals, former guests, and revelers recount their experiences of the hotel’s storied past. These memories clash with the black-and-white visuals as Stoop’s camera exposes the living conditions of the hotel’s new residents. Landings of staircases are converted into single-family dwellings, elevator shafts become dumps, expansive hallways are makeshift marketplaces, and the pool a rainwater laundry. Long since stripped of its valuable fixtures, the building’s glass windows, water pipes, the very cement holding it together are scavenged for scrap. Living in this outsize shell of former luxury, the squatters manage to create a self-enclosed community as the place they call home crumbles around them. As one voice in the film says, the history of the hotel is the history of the country itself.

Co-presented by Flanders House


http://www.amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/grande-hotel

Filmmakers

Thursday November 10, 2011 7:00pm - 8:15pm
LeFrak American Museum of Natural History

8:30pm

Opening Night Reception

Ticket includes admission to our Opening Night Film:

Grande Hotel

Lotte Stoops

2011 · 70 min · Belgium, Mozambique
Filmmaker in Person · New York Premiere

The Grande Hotel in the East African seaside town of Beira, Mozambique, was once the most opulent resort on the continent. Now, it is home to an estimated 3,000 squatters. Living in this outsize shell of former luxury, those on the margins of society create a self-enclosed community as the place they call home crumbles around them. As one voice in the film says, the history of the hotel is the history of the country itself.

Co-presented by Flanders House

Ticket includes admission to our Opening Night Film:


http://www.amnh.org/calendar/event/Opening-Night-Screening-and-Reception:-Grande-Hotel-/Margaret-Mead-Film-Festival/


Thursday November 10, 2011 8:30pm - Friday November 11, 2011 12:00am
Hall of Minerals and Gems
 
Friday, November 11
 

5:00pm

Retrospective Shorts Program

Jero on Jero: A Balinese Trance Séance Observed
Patsy Asch, Timothy Asch, and Linda Connor
1980 | 17 min | Indonesia, United States

The third film in the Asches’ series about Jero Tapakan. Jero on Jero documents the first time the Balinese medium sees herself possessed. Sitting with Australian anthropologist Linda Conner, Jero comments on A Balinese Trance Séance, shot two years earlier during a consultation with a family trying to communicate with a dead son.

Les maîtres fous (The Mad Masters)
Jean Rouch
1955 | 36 min | France, Niger

Banned by the British colonial government in Niger and decried by African intellectuals upon its release, Les maîtres fous is Jean Rouch’s dramatic and disturbing film about the annual trance ceremony of the Hauka, a religious sect that spread throughout West Africa in the early 20th century. Adherents roll their eyes and foam at the mouth, eat a sacrificed dog (in violation of taboo), and burn their bodies with torches as they are possessed by various spirits associated with the Western colonial powers: the governor general, the engineer, the doctor’s wife, the wicked major, and the corporal of the guard.

Trance and Dance in Bali
Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead
1952 | 22 min | Indonesia, United States

One of the earliest ethnographic films made by trained anthropologists, Trance and Dance in Bali was shot in the 1930s by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Edited years later by Mead, it is a remarkable record of the Balinese ceremonial kris dance, which depicts the struggle between the death-dealing witch and the life-protecting dragon and captures imagery of the dancers turning daggers against their chests.



Friday November 11, 2011 5:00pm - 6:30pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

6:00pm

Planet Kirsan (Planeta Kirsan)

Magdalena Pięta
2010 | 50 min | Poland
New York Premiere

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was president in name and potentate in action of the Republic of Kalmykia from 1993 to 2010. A former chess champion, Ilyumzhinov issued a decree in 1996 calling for the establishment of Chess City and the creation of a mandatory chess curriculum in elementary schools. Now, throughout the tiny domain, a part of the Russian Federation, young school kids shout out the first rule of the game—“The king is the most important piece!”—alongside their Cyrillic ABCs. Two young players exhibit promise under the guidance of their demanding taskmaster who educates them in the Machiavellian tactics of the board game—“Your opponent must be finished off in the first move!” When the 13-year-old Alekhan goes to a national children’s tournament, we watch to see if he has what it takes to one day fulfill the Kalmykian collective dream of becoming a chess master.

Co-presented by CEC Artslink , Polish Cultural Institute


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/planet-kirsan


Friday November 11, 2011 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History

6:00pm

Memoirs of a Plague

2011 | 77 min | Australia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Tanzania
Filmmaker in Person | U.S. Premiere

With an opening reminiscent of a 1950s horror flick, Memoirs of a Plague brings the conventions of science-fiction bug movies to documentary. Visiting entomologists and sage locals track locust invasions in Ethiopia, Egypt, and Australia, looking for evidence of the dreaded insect in the landscape and in weather patterns. Bracing for the inevitable, farmers hunt down early signs of them in fertile seedbeds and dry riverbeds, scientists study their life cycle in the lab, schoolchildren learn early to hate them, and pilots wait for orders to drop insecticide bombs to kill them. Meanwhile, tales are told about the last time the unwelcome swarms ravaged crops and darkened the skies. Robert Nugent’s camera waits at each horizon line for the coming onslaught as preparations are made with a mishmash of outdated science and enduring folklore. Told with a storyteller’s relish for suspense, Memoirs of a Plague mixes archival footage of past plans to eradicate locusts with Nugent’s own remarkable macro-photography of the misunderstood and maligned “hopper,” which, after all, is only doing as nature intended.

Co-presented by Australian Consulate General           


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/memoirs-plague

Filmmakers


Friday November 11, 2011 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History

7:00pm

The Observers

2011 | 69 min | United States
Filmmaker in Person

High above the world on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the wind is a constant companion. It whips violently around the mountaintop, craggy in winter from hardened snowfall and in summer from the brown rocks beneath. The sun rarely makes an appearance, bursting occasionally through the thin crack between thick cloud cover and the distant horizon. At the last human-operated weather observatory in North America, the shifts in wind speed, visibility, barometric pressure, and temperature have been measured hourly since 1932. By reenacting this solitary work, filmmaker Jacqueline Goss draws our attention to its repetitive and anachronistic nature and to the subtle forces acting on this dramatic landscape.

Co-presented by Anthology Film Archives


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/observers

Filmmakers


Friday November 11, 2011 7:00pm - 8:30pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

8:00pm

Convento

2011 | 54 min | Portugal, United States
Filmmaker and artist Christiaan Zwanikken in Person

Prima ballerina Geraldine, photographer Kees, and their two boys, Christiaan and Louis, left Holland in 1980 to take up residence at the Convento São Francisco de Mértola. Strategically situated at the convergence of two rivers in southeastern Portugal, this vacant monastery was left decaying for centuries until the Zwanikken family arrived and transformed it with their eccentric and earthy endeavors. In the airy studio converted from the estate’s chapel, son Christiaan builds kinetic sculptures from discarded electronics and the skulls and bones of deceased wildlife. Combining the family’s home movies with his own observant photography, filmmaker Jarred Alterman casts these fantastical creatures as supporting characters in the film, as they literally move across the landscape, animating the ancient grounds.

Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York and Rooftop Films


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/convento

Filmmakers


Friday November 11, 2011 8:00pm - 9:00pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History

8:00pm

Space Tourists

2009 | 90 min | Kazakhstan, Romania, Russian Federation, Switzerland
Filmmaker in Person

How much does a dream cost? For Anoushesh Ansari, an Iranian American billionaire weaned on the glory days of American and Soviet space exploration, no price is too high. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formerly secret installations are now open to the public with enough money to fund their space travel fantasies. In 2006, Ansari paid $20 million for her trip to the International Space Station. While she lives her dream high above the Earth, Magnum photographer Jonas Bendikson takes a ground tour of remote Kazakhstan where the shuttle launches are tracked by scrap metal scavengers and free-falling toxic rocket debris is cobbled together by farmers and shepherds for roofs, tools, and temporary shelters. By juxtaposing these parallel stories, filmmaker Christian Frei recasts the question: How much do such dreams cost the world?

Part of the series Dreams of Outer Space in conjunction with Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration

Co-presented by the Documentary Channel and the Consulate General of Switzerland


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/space-tourists

Filmmakers


Friday November 11, 2011 8:00pm - 9:30pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History
 
Saturday, November 12
 

1:00pm

Cinema and the Future of Space

From Georges Méliès’s whimsical portrayal of astronomers landing on the soft-cheese surface of the moon in 1902’s Le voyage dans la lune through the action-packed apocalypses of more recent movies, filmmakers have always had something to say about outer space. If there is a lesson to be learned from these fictional prophecies about the nature of interplanetary and interstellar travel, it’s that technology rarely advances in the direction predicted on screen. Depictions that come closest to reality are based in physics and mathematics, and a few are remarkably prescient. Astrophysicist and Museum Curator Michael Shara tests this hypothesis with a clip show covering 100 years of science-fiction cinema. Shara will also speculate about what our descendants’ trips out of Earth’s orbit might look like, inviting audience predictions about what the future holds for space exploration.

Part of the series Dreams of Outer Space in conjunction with Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration 

 


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/cinema


Saturday November 12, 2011 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History

1:00pm

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

1993 | 119 min | Canada
Filmmaker in Person

Alanis Obomsawin, a Native American of the Abenaki nation raised in Quebec, began her career as a singer in the folk clubs of New York City, influenced by the aboriginal songs learned as a child. Invited by the National Film Board of Canada to make a film on native culture, Obomsawin directed Christmas at Moose Factory (1967), which became the first of 30-plus documentaries she has directed about First Nations people. In the summer of 1990, when the Mohawks outside Montreal protested a neighboring town’s efforts to extend a nine-hole golf course into their sacred piney woods and a 78-day siege ensued, Obomsawin documented the entire struggle from the inside. As riveting as it is disturbing, Kanehsatake not only offers a history lesson in the centuries-long land swindle perpetrated by whites on the natives but also demonstrates the camera as a tool of resistance.


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/kanehsatake

Filmmakers


Saturday November 12, 2011 1:00pm - 3:15pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History

1:30pm

Hula and Natan

Robby Elmaliah
2010 | 55 min | Israel

Two brothers live in an Israeli settlement on the edge of Gaza. One brother has been divorced for 13 years, while the other hides out from his wife and kids. Spending most of their time together in the scrap yard they own, Hula and Natan fix the occasional automobile and sell parts from stripped cars to neighbors on both sides of the border. Threatened with constant eviction by the authorities, the brothers are also permanently locked in battle with each other—over dinner shared with cats, over who owns what, but mostly over nothing of much importance. As epithets fly across the cluttered room, Qassam rockets and fighter jets fly overhead. Hula has sympathy for the Palestinians—“I know Arabs. They have honor.”—while Natan cheats them—“If an Arab comes in, I’ll stick him with it.” Neither brother forgets for a minute that they all live on contested ground.

Co-presented by the Consulate General of Israel in New York


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/hulanatan


Saturday November 12, 2011 1:30pm - 2:45pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

4:00pm

To the Light

2011 | 69 min | China, United States
Filmmaker in Person | U.S. Premiere

The father of two, Luo originally became a coal miner to pay off the fine for violating China’s One Child Policy. Young Hui, son of another miner, prefers to be coal-train driver than take work far from home. For many families, coal mining has become a principal source of income and the only alternative to factory jobs in distant cities. But the mines are notoriously dangerous and, every year, claim an estimated 5,000 lives. Taking his camera deep underground, Yuanchen Liu exposes the perils faced by these miners, the slim rewards, and dire consequences when things go wrong. In spite of the risks, the working poor continue to flock to the mines, unable to heed the warning that earning a living wage may also mean dying for it.

Co-presented by Asia Society

Preceded by 

Extraction

Myron Lameman
2011 | 15 min | Canada | U.S. Premiere

A son of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation crafts a quiet plea to save his people’s territory, which is threatened by tar sands oil extraction.



http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/to-the-light

Filmmakers


Saturday November 12, 2011 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History

4:00pm

We Still Live Here (Âs Natayuneân)

2010 | 56 min | United States
Filmmaker in Person | New York Festival Premiere

Hyannis. Narragansett. Sippewisset. Shawmut. Chappaquiddick. Algonquin. These names litter the signposts of New England and are spoken with little thought to their origins. For Native Americans, these words are all that remain of languages that once rang out across the Massachusetts seaboard. Anne Makepeace, director of Coming to Light (2000) about Edward S. Curtis’s photography of western tribes, follows Martha’s Vineyard islander Jesse Littledoe Baird, who was called by a vision to return the Wampanoag language to its people. Baird reconstructs it using the only tools available, a Bible translated into Wampanoag by the British missionary John Eliot and official deeds, letters, and petitions of the colonial era, which form a collective history of how the tribe’s land and culture were stolen in the first place. Laced with evocative silhouette animation, We Still Live Here shows how the Wampanoag people have resurrected a part of their culture with the very devices once used to defeat it.

Co-presented by Endangered Language Alliance and Film and Video Center, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/we-still-live-here

Filmmakers

Saturday November 12, 2011 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History

4:30pm

Jaguar

Jean Rouch
1967 | 93 min | France, Niger

Three Nigerien men leave home to seek wealth and adventures on the Gold Coast of Ghana in 1953. A chronicle of their travels, Jaguar was shot before the availability of portable synchronized-sound equipment. More than a decade later, Rouch assembled the silent footage into a feature in collaboration with Damouré Zika, one of the travelers in the film. He then asked Damouré and the other two main characters, Illo and Lam, to improvise their own narration while watching the edited footage. The resulting soundtrack is a lively combination of invented dialogue, jokes, and observations that bring the viewer closer to an understanding of these men than any traditional narration could ever do. A watershed figure in cinema who helped define documentary’s cinema verité movement, Rouch was revered by ethnographers and embraced by the French New Wave. His loose shooting style and close relationship with his subjects make Jaguar a classic across genres, as engaging today as when it first screened.


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/jaguar

Saturday November 12, 2011 4:30pm - 6:30pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

6:00pm

Shorts Program

Guañape Sur
János Richter
2010 | 23 min | Italy, Peru

Hundreds of workers descend on Guañape Sur off the coast of Peru to harvest the excrement of the island birds, hardened over the course of 11 many years by the locale’s unique weather patterns.

Co-presented by Pachamama Peruvian Arts, and Rooftop Films

 

Voice Unknown
Jinhee Park
2011 | 33 min | South Korea, United States
Filmmaker in Person | New York Premiere

An elderly woman shuffles around the neighborhood grocery store where she works, attending to the mundane tasks of shopkeeping. Her face is obscured to protect the family she left behind as she describes her harrowing escape from North Korea. Through her disembodied voice, a universal story unfolds, one of loss, exile, and cultivating roots in a new land.

Co-presented by Asia Society and Rooftop Films

 

White Elephant (Nzoku ya Pembe)

Kristof Bilsen
2011 | 34 min | Belgium, Democratic Republic of Congo, United Kingdom
U.S. Premiere

At Kinshasa’s central post office, an ossified remnant of the Congo’s colonial past, employees sit idle in vast rooms built for more bustling times. Sixty years since achieving independence from Belgium, and the country’s hopes for a prosperous and just future are unrealized but not abandoned.

 Co-presented by Museum for African Arts and Rooftop Films


Filmmakers


Saturday November 12, 2011 6:00pm - 7:30pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

6:00pm

The Creators

2011 | 80 min | South Africa, United States
Filmmaker in Person | New York Premiere

Mthetho taught himself to sing in Italian by playing the music a phrase at a time and sounding out the lyrics until he had learned the whole song. Now, in his untrained, heartfelt tenor, he can belt out tear-inducing renditions of “Santa Lucia” and “O Solo Mio.” This young man is just one of the many dedicated Cape Town artists and musicians profiled in Laura Gamse’s pastiche documentary about art in hard times. Rappers, b-boys, graffiti artists, jazz and blues musicians share their work and describe how post-Apartheid South Africa has served as both agent and obstacle to the act of creation. Shot with the intensity of breaking news footage, The Creators reminds us how urgently the world needs its artists.

Co-presented by the Museum for African Art

Preceded by
Deus Ex Boltanski

Robert Gardner

2010 | 11 min | France, United States
 Filmmaker in Person | New York Premiere

Robert Gardner’s précis of the manpower and machinery used to mount French artist Christian Boltanski’s Personne exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2010.



http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/creators

Filmmakers


Saturday November 12, 2011 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History

6:30pm

All for the Good of the World and Nošovice (Vše Pro Dobro Světa a Nošovic)

2010 | 82 min | Czech Republic
U.S. Premiere

Czech provocateur Vit Klusák is at it again. Co-director of the 2004 documentary comedy Czech Dream about the opening of a fake hypermarket, he has turned his sardonic attentions to another micro-front in the globalization skirmishes. In September 2009, Hyundai inaugurated its latest factory at the foot of the Beskid mountains in a Czech village of cabbage fields and pasturelands with less than one thousand inhabitants. Nošovice’s bucolic heart was carved out when the Korean automobile manufacturer pit neighbor against neighbor and forced the principle landowners to sell and make way for the mechanized behemoth. Motivated as much by activism as by a sense of the absurd, Klusák gains unprecedented access to the shiny new plant and to the now altered lives of the Nošovice villagers. Combining cinematic flourishes normally reserved for feature films, Brechtian techniques of participatory drama, and old-fashioned journalistic muckraking, Klusák shows how Hyundai broke its corporate promise to contribute “all the best for the world.” Stick around through the end credits for the director’s hilarious sauerkraut commercial.

Part of the series Inventing Home 

Co-presented by the Czech Center New York

 


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/all-for-the-good

Saturday November 12, 2011 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History

7:30pm

Radiolab Listening Party: Space

Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich in Person

Since 2005, WNYC’s Radiolab has been piquing the childlike wonder in adults with its radio show that explores the esoteric and essential of our universe. With its unique reporting style and inventive sound designs, Radiolab epitomizes the new kinds of documentary storytelling the Mead Festival is dedicated to showcasing. Join hosts Jad Abumrad (recently named a MacArthur Fellow) and Robert Krulwich in AMNH’s Hayden Planetarium for an immersive Radiolab “listening party” charting humanity’s paradoxical relationship with space exploration, from wide-eyed romanticism to cynical fear. While Radiolab conjures expert aural wonders, the Zeiss Mark IX projector conjures brilliant starscapes under in the Hayden Dome. The show includes interviews with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, Brian Greene, host of NOVA’s The Elegant Universe, and Hayden Planetarium  Director Neil deGrasse Tyson. Abumrad and Krulwich will be on-hand to share behind-the-scenes anecdotes about their program and field questions from the audience.

Part of the series Dreams of Outer Space in conjunction with Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration

Co-presented by WNYC


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/radiolab

Saturday November 12, 2011 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Hayden Planetarium American Museum of Natural History

8:00pm

Empty Quarter

2011 | 71 min | United States
Filmmakers in Person | New York City Premiere

A series of tableaux in black and white, Empty Quarter is a 16mm portrait of Lake, Harney, and Malheur counties in southeast Oregon, a region that represents one-third of the state’s landmass yet holds less than two percent of its population. Portland filmmakers Alain LeTourneau and Pam Minty alternate extended takes of the economy in motion—cows crowded in a stockyard, cowboys preparing for a rodeo, workers packing onions for transport—with local voices describing their histories, struggles, and pleasures. As the images and stories accumulate, the quiet beauty of the landscape and rich diversity of the communities belie the monotonous mechanisms that have come to dominate their daily lives.

Co-presented by Anthology Film Archives

Preceded by
The End of the World (Kres Swiata)

Mateusz Skalski


2010 | 9 min | Poland | U.S. Premiere

Only a handful of elders remain in a remote Polish village, where they fill the hours waiting for the bread truck to arrive.



http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/empty-quarter



Saturday November 12, 2011 8:00pm - 9:30pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

8:30pm

Kinder (Kids)

2011 | 65 min | Germany
Filmmaker in Person | U.S. Premiere

As the Sun’s rays stream through the palatial Bavarian woods, four young boys dart among the trees, engrossed in a joyful game of hide-and-seek. These brief moments of innocent abandon provide a stark contrast to the reality of their lives in a German children’s home, which is rife with aggressive teasing, loneliness, and unfocused anger. First-time filmmaker Bettina Büttner spent three months observing a selection of interned boys, capturing them in moments of startling candor. Intrigued by the preternaturally thoughtful 10-year-old Marvin, she continues to follow him after he returns home, where he tries to fit in among the family who left him scarred. Shot in crisp black-and-white, Kinder expresses the indelibility of a dysfunctional childhood and the resilience of a young mind.

Co-presented by Goethe-Institut, New York


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/kids

Filmmakers


Saturday November 12, 2011 8:30pm - 9:45pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History

8:30pm

The Bengali Detective

2011 · 90 min · India, United Kingdom
Filmmaker, Producer, Editor, and Rajesh Ji in Person

In India, 70 percent of murders go unsolved. With the police force overwhelmed and corruption pervasive, victims look to common citizens turned private detectives as their last hope for resolution. Based in Kolkata, Rajesh Ji of the Always Detective Agency comes face to face almost daily with the lowest forms of human depravity, as family members are suspected of murdering their own and bodies are dumped on train tracks to be forgotten. Rajesh, however, remains unflappable, bolstered by the singular joy of Bollywood dancing. Hoping for the chance to become a star, he enlists the other investigators in his firm to enter a television competition. Engrossed in his improbable dream, Ji transcends the despair that pulsates through his life, demonstrating popular culture’s power to light up even the darkest corners of the human experience.

Co-presented by HBO Documentary Films


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/bengali


Saturday November 12, 2011 8:30pm - 10:00pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History
 
Sunday, November 13
 

1:00pm

N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman

John Marshall and Adrienne Miesmer
1980 | 59 min | Namibia, United States

Co-founder of the distributor Documentary Educational Resources, John Marshall created an unprecedented body of work about the Ju/’hoansi of Nyae Nyae in the Kalahari. His first film, The Hunters (1957), is culled from footage shot on a family expedition in the 1950s. In subsequent years, he shot more than one million feet of film of these nomadic people, tracing the changes to their culture over half a century. N!ai,The Story of a !Kung Woman falls in the middle of this work and takes us from when N!ai was a young girl gathering berries into her 30s making a living as a film subject for anthropologists. Addressing the camera directly, either in song or conversation, N!ai guides us through her own story and that of the Ju/’hoansi as they adjust to government imposed restrictions on their movements and a changing economy. Marshall, who died in 2005, made many more films about life in the Kalahari, including the five-part series A Kalahari Family, which premiered at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in 2002.


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/nai-kung-woman

Sunday November 13, 2011 1:00pm - 2:00pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

1:30pm

Space Sailors
 (Fliegerkosmonauten)

2010 | 87 min | Germany, Hungary
Filmmaker in Person | U.S. Premiere

When his capsule touched back to Earth, Bulgarian Aleksandr Aleksandrov was met with parades and songs and rewarded with a high-ranking position in the National Assembly. His acclaim was both intense and short-lived as part of the Soviet Union’s Intercosmos Program, which, between 1978 and 1988, sent 13 “space sailors” from Soviet-allied countries on highly publicized weeklong missions to outer space. Hailing from Afghanistan to Vietnam, each man became a state-sponsored emblem of the socialist ideal. However, when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, “everything was swept away,” as filmmaker Marian Kiss notes, “including the heroes.” A Hungarian with fond memories of her country’s own space sailor, Kiss tracks down 10 of the travelers to find out where they landed after the collapse of the U.S.S.R.

Part of the series Dreams of Outer Space in conjunction with Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration

Co-presented by the CEC Artslink


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/space-sailors

Filmmakers

Sunday November 13, 2011 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History

2:00pm

Skydancer
Filmmakers


Sunday November 13, 2011 2:00pm - 3:45pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History

2:30pm

A Wife Among Wives

David MacDougall and Judith MacDougall
1982 | 72 min | Australia, Kenya

Husband-and-wife anthropologist team David and Judith MacDougall spent 14 months in the early 1970s living alongside the Turkana, semi-nomadic camel herders in Kenya. Their stay resulted in the Turkana Conversations Trilogy, three classics of ethnographic filmmaking. The last in the series, A Wife among Wives, was edited in 1981 and focuses on the women in the tribe and their views on polygyny, the practice of men taking more than one wife. While the women talk openly about their lives, the filmmakers track down the rumors that another wedding is about to take place. By preserving traces of their original encounters in the final film, the MacDougalls reveal as much about their own perceptions of the Turkana as they do of the Turkana themselves. The MacDougalls were among the first to subtitle tribal languages, allowing the indigenous peoples to speak for themselves and the audience to identify more closely with them. The Margaret Mead Film Festival has presented the couples’ work numerous times over the years, including a retrospective in 1980.


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/wife


Sunday November 13, 2011 2:30pm - 3:45pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

4:00pm

Small Kingdom of Lo

2010 | 54 min | Italy, Nepal
Mazza and Tedeschi in Person | U.S. Premiere

The village of Tsarang seems to exist in another time. Against the immense backdrop of clouds sculpted by the day’s weather and Himalayan peaks sculpted by the ages, life goes on as it has for centuries. The fields are plowed by cows, bricks are handmade out of mud, and goods are transported on mule-back. But modernity has also shaped the village, with the arrival of a motorized tractor, Bollywood reruns on the communal television, and polyester soccer jerseys. Set to the rhythms of this world, the film portrays an old trader who accepts things as they are, a Buddhist nun who longs for more schooling, and a young man who wants to buy a car. Soon, a new road will connect Tsarang to Nepal, paving the way for only some dreams to come true.

Co-presented by Rubin Museum of Art

Preceded by
Moroloja

Alexander Ingham Brooke
2011 | 10 min | Italy, United Kingdom
U.S. Premiere

Alexander Ingham Brooke revisits Martano, Italy, the setting for Cecilia Mangini’s 1962 documentary Stendali (Suonano ancora), which reenacted the pagan funeral rites practiced by female mourners in the town’s Greek enclave.


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/small-kingdom



Sunday November 13, 2011 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History

4:30pm

Blue Meridian

2010 | 80 min | Belgium, United States
Filmmaker in Person | New York Premiere

Following the Mighty Mississippi as it flows from Cairo, Illinois, to Venice, Louisiana, where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico, Blue Meridian encounters the diverse people and places along America’s fabled waterway. A forgotten blues singer performs a soulful song. A couple that runs a soup kitchen discuss the importance of going to church. A prison warden complains about the growing number of prisons. A New Orleans poet recites an angry poem. A nature conservationist explains the power of kudzu. These and many others bear witness to the turbulent history, natural disasters, and economic misfortunes that have affected the communities along the riverbank. Belgian filmmaker Sofie Benoot stays just long enough at each depot to take a brief impression or record a song and then, like the river she traces, meanders on her way.

Co-presented by Flanders House


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/blue-meridian

Filmmakers


Sunday November 13, 2011 4:30pm - 6:00pm
People Center Theater American Museum of Natural History

4:30pm

How Do We Look? A Panel Discussion

The objective of the Margaret Mead Film Festival has always been to champion films that portray culture in innovative and surprising ways. From its inception in 1977, when the Festival honored the work of the groundbreaking French anthropologist and filmmaker Jean Rouch, it has been alert to originality in the field, from postcolonial and indigenous documentary work to poetic experiments in cross-cultural expression. The Mead has also endeavored to keep pace with revolutions in media-making technologies that have enabled new relationships between filmmakers and subjects, democratizing access for people who had traditionally been the object of the ethnographic gaze. Looking at the ground covered over 35 years and with an eye to the territory ahead, panelists will discuss “What can the innovations in the genre over the last four decades—in terms of the ethics, aesthetics, and politics of ethnographic documentary—help us understand about the future of this kind of work in a rapidly transforming media landscape?” In doing so, we hope panelists and audiences can ask simply: “How do we look—inside the Festival, outside the walls of the Festival, and into the future?"

Co-presented by The Center for Media, Culture and History, NYU


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/how-do-we-look

Sunday November 13, 2011 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Professional Development Space

5:00pm

Rainmakers

2009 | 70 min | China, The Netherlands
Filmmaker in Person | U.S. Premiere

Filmmaker and journalist Floris-Jan van Luyn is on the front lines of modern China, depicting the country’s major historical shifts as they occur using through the experiences of the individuals living through them. In Rainmakers, he introduces us to four ordinary people who have become environmental activists out of necessity. Kept awake at night by the noxious fumes of a garbage incinerator, a Beijing woman unites her neighbors in a mass protest. A fisherwoman in a southern province circulates a petition to clean up the river polluted by a nearby paint factory. A tough-minded housewife from Hunan writes letter after letter to officials demanding the shutdown of a nearby factory poisoning her village’s groundwater. A small community of shepherds in Inner Mongolia devise a plan to reclaim desiccated pastureland. While the government pays lip service to green economic policies, these hopeful citizens brave bureaucracy, cynicism, greed, and violence in their fight for the most basic of human rights: clean air and clean water.

Co-presented by Asia Society

Preceded by
Broad Channel

2010 | 13 min | United States
Filmmaker in Person | New York Premiere

Along a narrow band of shore on Jamaica Bay in Queens, New York, man and water meet across the seasons.



http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/rainmakers

Filmmakers

Sunday November 13, 2011 5:00pm - 6:15pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History

6:30pm

At Night, They Dance (La nuit, elles dansent)

2010 | 90 min | Canada, Egypt
New York Premiere

Belly dancing’s origins are unknown, but its roots reach as far back as 12th century BC Persia and 14th century BC Egypt. For some, it is a complex form of female expression, for others a fertility dance designed to seduce men. For the matriarch Reda, who lives amid Cairo’s urban sprawl, it is a way for her and her daughters to earn a living. Whether negotiating with disreputable thugs or arguing with her disapproving mother, Reda exhibits the slippery logic and shrewd instincts that have allowed her and her daughters to survive thus far. Sought after by the closed society of men, these women are marginalized by society as a whole, while still managing to pass down this ancient art to the next generation of girls.


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/at-night-they-dance


Sunday November 13, 2011 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Linder Theater American Museum of Natural History

7:30pm

Flames of God

2011 | 62 min | France, Macedonia
Filmmaker in Person | Introduced by Darren Aronofsky | New York Festival Premiere

Muzafer Bislim comes up with some of his most insightful songs while sitting on the floor, recording lyrics into a cassette recorder bought at a flea market. A poet and songwriter who collaborates with the biggest names in Romani music, the 54-year old lives a life of modest means with his family in Shutka, Macedonia. Stored in the corner of his one-room house is a tottering, ceiling-high stack of handwritten, 25,000-word, multi-dialect dictionary of the oldest and most obscure words in the Romani language, which he has painstakingly collected over 35 years. When he’s invited to the International Biennial of Poets held in Paris, he sees the trip as an opportunity to have his dictionary published. A testament to the endurance of a people who have been scattered across Europe, the dictionary is not only a work of art but also a rare link to a divided past. Punctuated by Bislim’s poetry and original songs, some of which we hear at the moment of their creation, Flames of God immerses the viewer in the literary and musical traditions that this extraordinary artist is committed to preserving.


http://amnh.org/programs/mead/2011/films/flames

Filmmakers

Sunday November 13, 2011 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Kaufmann Theater American Museum of Natural History

8:45pm

Closing Night Reception and Award Ceremony

Ticket includes admission to our Closing Night Film:

Flames of God

Meshakai Wolf

2011 | 62 min | France, Macedonia
Filmmaker in Person | Introduced by Darren Aronofsky | New York Festival Premiere

Muzafer Bislim comes up with some of his most insightful songs while sitting on the floor, recording lyrics into a cassette recorder bought at a flea market. A poet and songwriter who collaborates with the biggest names in Romani music, the 54-year old lives a life of modest means with his family in Shutka, Macedonia. Stored in the corner of his one-room house is a tottering, ceiling-high stack of handwritten, 25,000-word, multi-dialect dictionary of the oldest and most obscure words in the Romani language, which he has painstakingly collected over 35 years. When he’s invited to the International Biennial of Poets held in Paris, he sees the trip as an opportunity to have his dictionary published. A testament to the endurance of a people who have been scattered across Europe, the dictionary is not only a work of art but also a rare link to a divided past. Punctuated by Bislim’s poetry and original songs, some of which we hear at the moment of their creation, Flames of God immerses the viewer in the literary and musical traditions that this extraordinary artist is committed to preserving.

Copresented by Macedonian Arts Council


http://www.amnh.org/calendar/event/Closing-Night-Screening-and-Reception:-Flames-of-God/


Sunday November 13, 2011 8:45pm - Monday November 14, 2011 12:00am
Hall of the Universe