AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY PRESENTS THE 2013 MARGARET MEAD FILM FESTIVAL, OCTOBER 17-20, 2013

FEATURED FILMS AND EVENTS INCLUDE:  SCREENING OF UPDATED 1923 ZUNI FILM NEVER BEFORE SEEN BY PUBLIC

U.S. PREMIERE OF MISS NIKKI AND THE TIGER GIRLS ON OPENING NIGHT, AND SNEAK PREVIEW OF VIDEO GAMES THAT DRAW ON NATIVE ALASKAN STORIES

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The 2013 Margaret Mead Film Festival—the preeminent showcase for contemporary cultural media and conversation in the unique setting of the American Museum of Natural History—will screen 39 outstanding films and host special events and performances from Thursday, October 17, through Sunday, October 20, 2013. The festival features 16 U.S. premieres, with subjects spanning the surprising ripple effects of tourism, the immigrant protagonist across cultures, the tension between the pull of globalization and the push to preserve traditional ways of life, and communities coping with environmental and economic catastrophe. The 2013 festival slate of films explores the theme “See for Yourself,” asking audiences to reflect on how we perceive culture through various artistic narratives and forms as well as on how our identities shape how we look and what we see.

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This year’s theme invites audiences to come to the Museum to engage in the powerful experience of seeing culture on film. It is an invitation to come to the festival to see new reflections of “your” ”self,” to have audiences understand themselves in relation to other individuals and to various communities. It invites viewers to reflect on ways of seeing—how we perceive visual culture and how our identities shape how we look and what we see. The theme also raises questions about what it means to authentically see something for yourself—do you need to be in a place physically to understand a place or its cultures? Or how can we be transported to “see for ourselves” through film?

In the spirit of filmmaking as a tool of cultural empowerment, the Museum will open its film vault and showcase a never-before-seen 1923 silent film Shalako Dance Ceremony, Zuni, New Mexico, which has been recently re-edited and narrated by modern Zuni tribal leaders who reclaim the record of this sacred ceremony as a cultural treasure. The festival also spotlights indigenous communities experimenting with storytelling through digital gaming in a festival dialogue on Sunday, October 20, and the process of visual ethnography, which visitors can observe over several days as an anthropologist live-paints portraits in the Museum’s Grand Gallery.

Its roots in Museum anthropology make the Mead Film Festival a unique cultural destination delivering a potent mix of artistic innovation, compelling narratives, and distinguished scholarship,” said Ruth Cohen, senior director of education strategic initiatives and director of the Center for Lifelong Learning at the Museum.

Audiences rave about the films’ unexpected topics, the opportunity to engage in the Museum’s collections as part of the festival experience, and, as one audience member put it, the opportunity to ‘learn something in a moving and memorable way.’ The Mead exemplifies the Museum’s mandate to offer lifelong learning opportunities both deep and wide, reflecting the past, present and future ideas that are the measure of the human experience.”

This year’s films shed light on contemporary culture through the work of filmmakers from countries around the world, including Belgium, Burma, China, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Rwanda, and Venezuela. With 20 filmmakers and film subjects in attendance, the festival’s post-screening discussions allow audiences to participate in rich, engaging, and intimate conversations.

Festival Opening Film and Closing Night Receptions

The opening-night film on Thursday, October 17, is the U.S. premiere of Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls, directed by Juliet Lamont. Initially packaged for pop stardom, all-girl group The Tiger Girls embark on a long and rocky journey toward self-expression, rejecting the sexist conventions of the modern Burmese music industry and boldly bankrolling an album of original songs with a surprising feminist edge. Part fun and giggly behind-the-scenes exposé and part insightful political and sociopolitical comment, the film ultimately tells two interwoven stories of remarkable change and courage.

 

Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls

Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls

 

In honor of the diverse set of Mexican films featured in this year’s festival (Calle Lopez, Three Voices), the closing-night celebrations on Sunday, October 20, feature a vibrant blend of old and new with a rousing performance by the electrifying Mariachi Flor de Toloache, the first and only established all-female mariachi band founded in New York. The 2013 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Jury will be introduced by Sevanne Kassarjian, Margaret Mead’s granddaughter, and the Mead Filmmaker Award winner will be announced during the closing-night reception.

This year’s films include:

Allan Baldwin: In Frame, directed by Tearepa Kahi Gyumri. Photographer-turned-historian Allan Baldwin’s magnificent pictures of Maori tattoos are a tribute to a dying traditional art form. (U.S. premiere)

And Who Taught You to Drive?, directed by Andrea Thiele

And Who Taught You to Drive?, directed by Andrea Thiele

And Who Taught You to Drive?, directed by Andrea Thiele. Three people’s humorous attempts to get driver’s licenses while living abroad—American Jake in Japan, German Mirela in India, and South Korean Hye-Won in Germany—create a sly, warmhearted exploration of cultural difference and acceptance. (New York premiere)

Chimeras, directed by Mika Mattila

Chimeras, directed by Mika Mattila

Chimeras, directed by Mika Mattila. An intense exploration of modern Chinese identity is told through the parallel stories of a rising photography star (Liu Gang) and an aging pop-art icon (Wang Guangyi). (New York premiere)

 

Finding Hillywood, directed by Leah Warshawski and Chris Toweyrected

Finding Hillywood, directed by Leah Warshawski and Chris Toweyrected

 

Finding Hillywood, directed by Leah Warshawski and Chris Toweyrected

Finding Hillywood, directed by Leah Warshawski and Chris Toweyrected

 

Finding Hillywood, directed by Leah Warshawski and Chris Toweyrected. As pioneers of Rwanda’s film industry bring locally made films to rural communities, thousands come for their first experience of cinema, watching in stadiums built next to mass graves. This unique and compelling chronicle of the very beginning of Rwanda’s film industry reveals the power of film to heal a man and a nation. (New York premiere)

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Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black

Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black

Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black. How do the Maya of today feel about their ancient ancestors’ conviction that the world would end in 2012? Six young Maya put forth an indigenous perspective in a film that forgoes narration to follow their daily lives. (New York premiere)

" Iceland Year Zero, directed by Sigurður Hallmar Magnússon.

” Iceland Year Zero, directed by Sigurður Hallmar Magnússon.

" Iceland Year Zero, directed by Sigurður Hallmar Magnússon.

” Iceland Year Zero, directed by Sigurður Hallmar Magnússon.

Iceland Year Zero, directed by Sigurður Hallmar Magnússon. Iceland after the financial collapse is a bankrupt nation where thousands who lost their assets are reassessing the value of capitalism. (U.S. premiere)

Queen of the Desert, directed by Alex Kelly. Starlady Nungari, a real-life Priscilla Queen of the Desert, is not your ordinary youth worker: with fabulous hair and outfits, she is training some of Australia’s most isolated teenagers in the art of hairdressing. (New York premiere)

" Tales From the Organ Trade, directed by Ric Esther Bienstock

” Tales From the Organ Trade, directed by Ric Esther Bienstock

" Tales From the Organ Trade, directed by Ric Esther Bienstock

” Tales From the Organ Trade, directed by Ric Esther Bienstock

Tales From the Organ Trade, directed by Ric Esther Bienstock. Every 60 minutes a human organ is sold illicitly. The shadowy world of international black market organ trafficking is a drama of endless moral and ethical complexity. (New York premiere)

This Ain’t No Mouse Music!, directed by Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling

This Ain’t No Mouse Music!, directed by Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling

This Ain’t No Mouse Music!, directed by Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling. Roots music icon Chris Strachwitz, founder of Arhoolie Records, has fought against what he calls slick “mouse” music since 1960. Join him for on a hip-shaking stomp from Texas to New Orleans, Cajun country to Appalachia, on a passionate quest for the musical soul of America. (New York premiere)

Three Voices

Three Voices

Three Voices (Diario a Tres Voces), directed by Otilia Portillo Padua. Three generations of Mexican women sit in their homes and reflect on love and sex in a rich visual world inspired by ‘40s Technicolor films. (New York premiere)

The Margaret Mead Filmmaker Awards

The Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award recognizes documentary filmmakers whose work

displays artistic excellence and originality of technique while offering a new perspective on a culture or community remote from the majority of the festival audiences’ experience. The 11 contenders for this year’s Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award, presenting U.S. premieres at the festival, are:

Gerardo Barroso and Lisa Tillinger for Calle López

Vincent Coen and Guillaume Vandenberghe for Cinema Inch’Allah!

Uli Gaulke for As Time Goes By in Shanghai

Sarah Gavron and David Katznelson for Village at the End of the World

Alicia Harrison for Taxiway

Lalita Krishna for Mallamall

Juliet Lamont for Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls

Sebastien Mez for Metamorphosen

Miriam Smith and Christopher Pryor for How Far is Heaven

Kesang Tsetan for Who Will Be a Gurkha

Pegi Vail for Gringo Trails

The Mead Filmmaker Award jury includes HBO’s Lisa Heller, Columbia University Professor of Professional Studies Jamal JosRichard Peñaeph (Drive By: A Love Story), Reel 13’s Richard Peña, and author and filmmaker Sadia Shepard (The September Issue). The Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award winner will be announced on closing night.

Other film highlights include a Dennis O’Rourke Tribute scheduled for Sunday, October 20.

In celebration of the life of Australian documentary filmmaker Dennis O’Rourke (1945-2013) and his critical contributions to the field of cultural storytelling and anthropology, the 2013 Mead Film Festival presents a tribute screening of O’Rourke’s classic Cannibal Tours preceded by the U.S. premiere of Framing the Other, a film directed by Ilja Kok and Willem Timmers with contemporary echoes of O’Rourke’s seminal work.

Cannibal Tours

Cannibal Tours

“Cannibal Tours”

Dennis O’Rourke

1988 | 70 minutes | Australia, Papua New Guinea

When tourists journey to the furthermost reaches of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea, is it the indigenous tribespeople or the white visitors who are the oddity? “Cannibal Tours” explores the differences, and the surprising similarities, that emerge when “civilized” and “primitive” people meet. Originally released in 1988 to much acclaim and controversy, the film remains an ageless and timeless meditation on cultural tourism. It is a pointed look at a strange phenomenon, set on a luxury cruise with a twist. Chock-full of dry humor and acute observations, “Cannibal Tours” is out to explode cultural assumptions.

Ilja Kok and Willem Timmers' Framing The Other

Ilja Kok and Willem Timmers’ Framing The Other

Ilja Kok and Willem Timmers' Framing The Other

Ilja Kok and Willem Timmers’ Framing The Other

Framing the Other

Ilja Kok and Willem Timmers

2011 | 25 minutes | Netherlands, Ethiopia

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance

The women of the Mursi tribe of southern Ethiopia wear lip plates and vibrant jewelry, a custom that has spawned a lively tourist trade as Western visitors pay to take photographs—the more embellished the adornment, the higher the price. This humorous and sometimes uncomfortable film follows a tour group visit to the Mursi, raising provocative questions about authenticity and the motivations and economics of “cultural tourism.”

This screening will be introduced with comments by Faye Ginsburg, Anthropology; Graduate Program in Culture and Media, New York University, and Pegi Vail, Center for Media, Culture and History, New York University. Co-presented by Anthology Film Archives

An Emerging Visual Anthropologists Showcase on Saturday, October 19, presents three of the finest shorts to come out of this tradition. Laura Murray’s A Kiss for Gabriela tells the story of Gabriela Leite, the first sex worker to run for Brazilian Congress, who in 2010 faced down 822 opponents and a male-dominated political system, becoming a cultural icon in the process.

A Kiss for Gabriela

A Kiss for Gabriela

Doing the Sheep Good, by Teresa Montoya, charts the life of the films and photographs in the series Navajo Film Themselves, made by Navajo youth who were taught to use cameras as part of a 1966 experiment by two anthropologists, as they are about to be repatriated to their community. Tonto Plays Himself, by the devoted cinephile Jacob Floyd, confronts the filmmaker’s anxieties about representations of Native Americans in film as he explores the 1930s and ‘40s career of his actor cousin Victor Daniels, a.k.a. Chief Thundercloud.

Doing the Sheep Good

Doing the Sheep Good

Doing the Sheep Good

Teresa Montoya

2013 | 26 minutes | U.S.

Director in Attendance

Doing the Sheep Good, by Teresa Montoya, charts the life of the films and photographs in the series “Navajo Film Themselves,” made by Navajo youth who were taught to use cameras as part of a 1966 experiment by two anthropologists, as they are about to be repatriated to their community.

Co-presented by New York University’s Program in Culture and Media, Department of Anthropology and Film and Video Center, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

tonto-plays-himself-2_1000_dynamic_lead_slide

Tonto Plays Himself

Jacob Floyd

2010 | 21 min | U.S.

Director in Attendance

Tonto Plays Himself, by the devoted cinephile Jacob Floyd, confronts the filmmaker’s anxieties about representations of Native Americans in film as he explores the 1930s and ’40s career of his actor-cousin Victor Daniels, a.k.a. Chief Thundercloud.

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with Noelle Stout, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Center of Culture and Media, NYU. Co-presented by New York University’s Program in Culture and Media, Department of Anthropology and Film and Video Center, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Mead Events

Free with a 2013 Mead ticket stub, special performances and other events around the Museum complement the slate of films in the festival and serve to further illuminate the cultures celebrated at this year’s Mead. Drawing its creative inspiration from Chinese jazz bands from the 1930s, The Shanghai Restoration Project presents a musical feast that blends Chinese sounds with Western hiphop and electronica, accompanied by rich original visuals (October 19 at 10 pm); Zuni recording artist Fernando Cellecion performs a series of songs from the Zuni pueblo (October 19 at 11:30 am), and an immersive video installation entitled People’s Park takes observational documentary to a glorious extreme with an unbroken journey into an urban park in Chengdu, Sichuan. The 78-minute film runs on a loop continuously during the festival.

Mead Dialogues

The festival will feature a series of provocative presentations and interactive experiences, allowing audiences to engage in the conversation and contribute their own voice. These special programs offer audiences a forum for dynamic conversations about festival themes, close looks at unique collaborations, and opportunities to engage with artists and scholars.

Dialogues include:

“Seeing Ethnography” with Zoe Bray

Presented by Ethnographic Terminalia

Date: Daily, Friday, October 18–Sunday, October 20

Location: Grand Gallery

Free with a 2013 Mead Ticket Stub

What does it mean to visually capture people and cultures? To spark that conversation, this year’s Mead Film Festival is collaborating with the art and anthropology collective Ethnographic Terminalia to put the anthropologist front and center. University of Nevada anthropologist and artist Zoe Bray will showcase her unusual and innovative style of ethnography by live-painting a local subject in the Museum’s Grand Gallery for the duration of the festival. Stop by to watch Dr. Bray at work, discover her visual research methods, and consider how ethnography is practiced.

Makers and Scholars Salon

Date: Saturday, October 19

Time: 5 pm

Location: Wallach Orientation Center

Free with a 2013 Mead Ticket Stub

The Mead has always been a destination for scholars, makers and audiences to meet, discuss, and consider the future of visual anthropology, new kinds of cultural storytelling, and the use of media in engaged anthropological practice. This year, we have invited artists, scholars, and media makers to discuss how their work explores the boundaries of art and anthropology.  Drawing on a significant historical tradition of ethnographic documentary, the panel participants will discuss how they are developing innovations in mediating culture both on and off screen through collaborative projects, new ways of interacting with audiences, and the possibilities offered by new media.

Introduced and moderated by Dr. Faye Ginsburg, NYU, Center for Media, Culture and History.

Firing Imaginations: Pioneering Traditional Storytelling Through Digital Games

Date: Sunday, October 20, 2013

Time: 4 pm

Venue: Wallach Orientation Center

Free with a 2013 Mead Ticket Stub

As a medium for storytelling, video games offer incredible potential—and now an exciting new partnership is looking to harness that power to bring Alaska Native culture to screens around the world. Leading game developer E-Line Media and Alaska’s Cook Inlet Tribal Council are collaborating on Upper One Games, the first game company owned by an indigenous community in the U.S., to develop commercial video games that draw on a rich, centuries-old storytelling tradition. Upper One Games CEO Gloria O’Neill and E-Line Media President Alan Gershenfeld will offer an inside view at the opportunities and challenges of bringing a culture’s stories, and wisdom passed down through the generations, to an interactive digital format.

Co-presented by Games for Change

Setting the Record Straight

Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013

Time: 1 pm

Location: People Center

Nearly a century after Museum anthropologists first recorded a sacred ceremony of the Zuni tribe, a rare archival film is getting its second life. Through a groundbreaking collaboration between the Museum’s Cultural Resources Office, Museum archivists and anthropologists and the Zuni A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, the 1923 silent film The Shalako Ceremony at Zuni, New Mexico has been updated with Zuni inter-titles and narration. View this never-before-seen community-edited version at a special screening, then hear from an expert panel moderated by Jim Enote, director of A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center about the history and repercussions of filming sacred ceremonies of the Zuni—and how repurposing archival films can create new, contemporary meanings.

Panelists include Dr. Peter Whiteley, Museum curator of North American Ethnology, Barbara Mathe, Museum Archivist and Curtis Quam and Octavius Seowtewa from Zuni.

The program will be preceded by a Zuni musical performance in the Hall of Birds of the World.

Festival Information and Tickets

All screenings take place at the American Museum of Natural History. Opening and closing night tickets are $15. All other screenings are $12. Members/students/seniors should call or check online for discounted rates. Shorter films may be grouped together in single programs. The Friend of the Festival Pass (opening-night film and reception for two, plus six other programs) is $99 (a $150 value). Tickets can be purchased by phone at 212-769-5200, online at www.amnh.org/mead, or at any of the Museum’s admission desks. For more information, the public should call 212-769-5305 or visit www.amnh.org/mead.

Support

The Margaret Mead Film Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The American Museum of Natural History gratefully acknowledges HBO, Inc. for its generous support of the Mead Films and cultural programming for New York City Public High Schools. Additional support provided by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany and India Tourism.

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY (http://www.amnh.org/”ORG)

The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as galleries for temporary exhibitions. It is home to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, New York State’s official memorial to its 33rd governor and the nation’s 26th president, and a tribute to Roosevelt’s enduring legacy of conservation. The Museum’s five active research divisions and three cross-disciplinary centers support 200 scientists, whose work draws on a world-class permanent collection of more than 32 million specimens and artifacts, as well as specialized collections for frozen tissue and genomic and astrophysical data, and one of the largest natural history libraries in the Western Hemisphere. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, it is the only American museum authorized to grant the Ph.D. degree. In 2012, the Museum began offering a pilot Master of Arts in Teaching program with a specialization in Earth science.

Approximately 5 million visitors from around the world came to the Museum last year, and its exhibitions and Space Shows can be seen in venues on five continents. The Museum’s website and collection of apps for mobile devices extend its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs to millions more beyond its walls. Visit www.amnh.org for more information.

Full film descriptions and trailers can be found online at www.amnh.org/mead. The public can purchase tickets and create a personalized film schedule at www.mead2013.sched.org. For festival highlights or daily updates, information can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MeadFilmFestival or Twitter using #MeadFilmFest. A festival trailer is available on amnh.tv and YouTube.

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