Smithsonian Film Festival Celebrates Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

Fifth Annual Mother Tongue Film Festival Runs Feb. 20–23

The Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices Initiative will host a film festival that showcases films from around the world. Centered around the United Nation’s International Mother Language Day Feb. 21, the fifth annual Mother Tongue Film Festival will offer visitors the opportunity to see 21 films featuring 28 languages from 22 regions and hear from filmmakers who explore the power of language to connect the past, present and future. The four-day festival runs Feb. 20–23.

Vai looks on at her daughter Mata, filmed in Kuki Airani, one of seven Pacific Nations featured in Vai (2019). Photo courtesy of MPI Media

Recovering Voices is an initiative of the Smithsonian founded in response to the global crisis of cultural knowledge and language loss. It works with communities and other institutions to address issues of Indigenous language and knowledge diversity and sustainability. Recovering Voices is a collaboration between staff at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

The Mother Tongue Film Festival provides a forum for conversations about linguistic and cultural diversity,” said Joshua Bell, curator of globalization at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and director of the Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices Program. “It gives the public an opportunity to talk with directors, producers and scholars who devote their lives to documenting the human experience.”

Screenings will take place at multiple locations across the Smithsonian and Washington, D.C. A complete schedule of screenings, including times and locations, is available on the festival’s website. Doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. All screenings are free and open to the public, with weekend programming for families.

The festival kicks off with an opening reception Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Festival highlights include:

  • A performance by Uptown Boyz, a local intertribal drum group, before the screening of Restless River Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Potomac Atrium. The film is set at the end of World War II and follows a young Inuk woman as she comes to terms with motherhood after being assaulted by a soldier. It is based on Gabrielle Roy’s 1970 short novel Windflower (La Riviere Sans Repos). This film contains a scene of sexual violence that some viewers may find disturbing.
  • The world premiere of Felicia: The Life of an Octopus Fisherwoman Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. in the National Museum of Natural History’s Q?rius Theater. Felicia is one of the thousands of Malagasy fishermen and women on the Velondriake archipelago whose way of life is increasingly threatened by poverty and political marginalization. As an orphan and later as a mother, she turns to the sea as a means for sustenance, even when migration and commercial trawling threaten small-scale fishing operations. Like many other women in Madagascar, she embodies a steadfast willingness to keep moving forward in the face of major challenges.
  • The North American premiere of Ainu—Indigenous People of Japan Feb. 22 at noon in the National Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium. The film tells the stories of four elders from the declining Ainu population in Japan. It sheds light on their traditions, both past and present, and the efforts to keep the culture and language alive in Japan. A Q&A with the director will follow the screening.
  • Age-appropriate viewers can enjoy Québec beer courtesy of the Québec Governmental Office during a late-night screening of Blood Quantum Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. in New York University Washington, D.C.’s Abramson Family Auditorium. The dead come back to life outside the isolated Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague. The local tribal law enforcement officer must protect his son’s pregnant girlfriend, apocalyptic refugees and the drunken reserve riff raff from the hordes of walking corpses infesting the streets of Red Crow. This film contains strong bloody violence and may not be suitable for younger audiences.
  • A screening of One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. in Georgetown University’s ICC Auditorium. The film is set in April 1961 as the Cold War heats up in Berlin and nuclear bombers are deployed from bases in the Canadian Arctic. In Kapuivik, north of Baffin Island, Noah Piugattuk’s nomadic Inuit band live and hunt by dog team as his ancestors did. When an agent of the Canadian government arrives, what appears as a chance meeting soon opens the prospect of momentous change, revealing Inuit-settler relationships humorously and tragically lost in translation. The events playing out in this film are depicted at the same rate as the characters experienced them in real life.
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Michael Kors Unveils Exclusive Partnership And Capsule Collection With The 007 Franchise

In a first for the brand, Michael Kors has announced its partnership with the 007 film franchise. To celebrate the release of the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die, Michael Kors will be debuting a limited-edition capsule collection featuring the coveted Michael Kors Collection Bancroft satchel. The three-piece capsule will be available to shop in select Michael Kors stores around the world, on MichaelKors.com and on the franchise’s official online store, 007Store.com, starting late March.

MKC x 007 Bond Capsule Collection

Crafted in Italy and created exclusively for No Time To Die, the MKC x 007 Bond Bancroft satchel, Bond Carryall and Bond Duffel all channel the sophistication that is synonymous with the James Bond films. The Bond Bancroft satchel, crafted in luxe calf leather, exudes everyday elegance with its refined silhouette and roomy interior. A polished MKC x 007 plaque on the interior lining highlights the special collaboration. In the film, the satchel is seen on pivotal character Moneypenny, played by British actress Naomie Harris, a BAFTA and Academy Award nominee. Rounding out the capsule collection, the Bond Carryall, rendered in calf leather, and Bond Duffel, in luggage-hued cotton canvas, were designed for traveling in style, and feature an exclusive MKC x 007 leather luggage tag.

Jet set glamour, sophistication, speed, energy—these are all words that come to mind when you think about the world of James Bond,” says designer Michael Kors. “They’re also at the core of our brand DNA. This collaboration was really the perfect union of fashion and film.”

To celebrate the launch of No Time To Die and the unveiling of the MKC x 007 Bond Capsule Collection, Michael Kors will host a star-studded VIP party at its new Milan showroom, followed by a private dinner, during Milan Fashion Week in February.

Walker Art Center Presents Native-Directed Film Series INDIgenesis: Gen 3, Guest Curated by Missy Whiteman

INDIgenesis: GEN 3, A Showcase of Indigenous Filmmakers and Storytellers, March 19–28

Presented over two weeks, the series INDIgenesis: GEN 3, guest curated by Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo Nations), opens with an evening of expanded cinema and includes several shorts programs in the Walker Cinema and Bentson Mediatheque, an afternoon of virtual reality, and a closing-night feature film.

The ongoing showcase of works by Native filmmakers and artists is rooted in Indigenous principles that consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations. GEN 3 connects perspectives and stories from the past, present, and future to convey Indigenous truths, teachings, and values.

Indigenous artists use the creative process of filmmaking for revitalization and narrative sovereignty,” says Whiteman. “Our stories tell us where we came from, re-create our truths, affirm our languages and culture, and inspire us to imagine our Indigenous future. We come from the stars. How far will we take this medium?

Throughout the program, join conversations with artists and community members centered on themes of Indigenous Futurism, revitalization, and artistic creation.

Opening Night: Remembering the Future
Expanded Cinema Screening/Performance
Thursday, March 19, 7:30 pm Free, Walker Cinema

Missy Whiteman’s The Coyote Way: Going Back Home, 2016. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

Combining film, a live score, hoop dancing, hip-hop, and spoken word, a collective of Indigenous artists led by curator Missy Whiteman creates an immersive environment that transcends time and place. Guided by ancestral knowledge systems, traditional stories, and contemporary forms of expression, the expanded cinema program features performances by DJ AO (Hopi/Mdewakatonwan Dakota), Sacramento Knoxx (Ojibwe/Chicano), Lumhe “Micco” Sampson (Mvskoke Creek/Seneca), and Michael Wilson (Ojibwe). Archival found footage and Whiteman’s sci-fi docu-narrative The Coyote Way: Going Back Home (2016), filmed in the community of Little Earth in South Minneapolis, illuminate the space.

Missy Whiteman’s The Coyote Way: Going Back Home, 2016. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

View The Coyote Way: Going Back Home trailer

Indigenous Lens: Our RealityShort films by multiple directors
Friday, March 20, 7 pm, $10 ($8 Walker members, students, and seniors), Walker Cinema

This evening of short films showcases a collection of contemporary stories about what it means to be Indigenous today, portraying identity and adaptability in a colonialist system. The program spans a spectrum of themes, including two-spirit transgender love, coming of age, reflections on friends and fathers, “indigenizing” pop art, and creative investigations into acts of repatriation. Digital video, 85 mins

Copresented with Hud Oberly (Comanche/Osage/Caddo), Indigenous Program at Sundance Institute (in attendance).

Lore
Directed by Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians)

Images of friends and landscapes are fragmented and reassembled as a voice tells stories, composing elements of nostalgia in terms of lore. 2019, 10 min. View excerpt.

Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, Jackson Polys, and Bailey Sweitzer’s Culture Capture: Terminal Adddition, 2019. Photo courtesy the filmmakers.

Culture Capture: Terminal Adddition
Directed by New Red Order: Adam Khalil (Ojibway), Zack Khalil (Ojibway), Jackson Polys (Tlingit), Bayley Sweitzer

The latest video by the public secret society known as the New Red Order is an incendiary indictment of the norms of European settler colonialism. Examining institutionalized racism through a mix of 3D photographic scans and vivid dramatizations, this work questions the contemporary act of disposing historical artifacts as quick fixes, proposing the political potential of adding rather than removing. 2019, 7 min. View excerpt.

Shane McSauby’s Mino Bimaadiziwin, 2017. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

Mino Bimaadiziwin
Directed by Shane McSauby (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians)

A trans Anishinaabe man meets a young Anishinaabe woman who pushes him to reconnect with their culture. 2017, 10 min. View excerpt.

The Moon and the Night
Directed by Erin Lau (Kanaka Maoli)

Erin Lau’s The Moon and the Night, 2017. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

Set in rural Hawaii, a Native Hawaiian teenage girl must confront her father after he enters her beloved pet in a dogfight. 2018, 19 min. View excerpt.

Erin Lau’s The Moon and the Night, 2017. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.
Erin Lau. Photo courtesy the filmmaker. Photo By: Antonio Agosto

Shinaab II
Directed by Lyle Michell Corbine, Jr. (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians)

A young man seeks to honor the memory of his late father in a film that looks at Ojibwe ideas surrounding death and mourning. 2019, 6 min.

Daniel Flores’ Viva Diva, 2019. Image courtesy the artist.

Viva Diva
Directed by Daniel Flores (Yaqui)

This road trip movie follows Rozene and Diva as they make their way down to Guadalajara for their gender affirmation surgeries. 2017, 15 min. View excerpt.

Daniel Flores. Image courtesy the artist.

Dig It If You Can
Directed by Kyle Bell (Creek-Thlopthlocco Tribal Town)

An insightful portrait of the self-taught artist and designer Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa), whose satirical manipulations of pop culture for an Indigenous audience are gaining a passionate, mass following as he realizes his youthful dreams. 2016, 18 min. View excerpt.

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Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominees Return for Walker Arts Center Members

Get into the award season spirit with three weeks of free films just for Walker Arts Center members. The annual presentation of the Film Independent Spirit Awards nominees showcases creativity and innovation in visual storytelling with the best of indie cinema. Now is the perfect time to buy a mewmbership to get ahead of films sure to heat up the awards race in the next few months. The 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by actor Audrey Plaza, will be broadcast live exclusively on IFC cable channel at 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm ET on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards
January 14–29, Walker Cinema, Free
Walker, Film Independent, & FilmNorth Members Only

Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, 2019. Photo courtesy Annapurna Pictures.

Copresented with Film Independent and FilmNorth.

2020 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominees:

Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, 2019. L to R: “Jiang Yongbo, Aoi Mizuhara, Chen Han, Tzi Ma, Awkwafina, Li Xiang, Lu Hong, Zhao Shuzhen.” Courtesy of Big Beach. Photo courtesy A24.
Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency, 2019. Photo courtesy NEON.
Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life, 2019. Photo courtesy Fox Searchlight.

Best Feature

Uncut Gems, Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie
A Hidden Life, Terrence Malick
The Farewell, Lulu Wang
Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
Clemency, Chinonye Chukwu

Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems, 2019. Photo courtesy A24.
Michael Angelo Covino’s The Climb, 2019. Photo courtesy Sony Picture Classics.
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s The Mustang, 2019. Photo courtesy Focus Features.

Best First Feature

Booksmart, Olivia Wilde
Diane, Kent Jones
The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Joe Talbot
See You Yesterday, Stefon Bristol
The Climb, Michael Angelo Covino
The Mustang, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Stefon Bristol’s See You Yesterday, 2019. Photo courtesy Netflix.

Best Documentary

Gabrielle Brady’s Island of the Hungry Ghosts, 2019. Photo courtesy Autlook Films.

Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska
Apollo 11, Todd Douglas Miller
American Factory, Julia Reichert
For Sama, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts
Island of Hungry Ghosts, Gabrielle Brady

Todd Douglas Miller’s Apollo 11, 2019. Photo courtesy NEON.
Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov’s Honeyland, 2019. Photo credit Ljubo Stefanov, courtesy NEON.
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Walker Art Center Presents a Dialogue and Retrospective, Julia Reichert: 50 Years in Film

Independent documentary filmmaker Julia Reichert has been asking defining questions about workers’ rights, gender roles, taboos, and social change in America since the early 1970s. The pioneering Emmy Award–winner and three-time Academy Award–nominee comes to the Walker Arts Center for a retrospective of her distinguished body of work, Julia Reichert: 50 Years in Film, Feb 1–29, 2020 (at the Walker’s Bentson Mediatheque). Reichert will be on-site February 28 and 29, 2020 to discuss her career and her two recent, widely celebrated documentaries, American Factory and 9 to 5: The Story of a Movement.

Julia Reichert. Image courtesy the artist.

Indiewire on Julia Reichert
Women and Hollywood on Julia Reichert

Schedule of Events

Double Feature: Growing Up Female and Union Maids

Julia Reichert’s Growing Up Female, 1971. Image courtesy the artist.
Julia Reichert’s Growing Up Female, 1971. Image courtesy the artist.

Growing Up Female Directed by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein

Thursday, February 20, 7 pm Free

I wish every high school kid in America could see this film.” —Susan Sontag on Growing Up Female

Growing Up Female is the very first feature-length film of the modern women’s movement. Considered controversial and exhilarating on its release, the film examines female socialization through a personal look into the lives of six women, ages four to 35, and the forces that shape them—teachers, counselors, advertisements, music, and the institution of marriage. A time capsule of a generation’s feminist issues, sometimes intersecting with race and class, the film illuminates a complex system of institutions upholding internal and external oppression. Selected to the National Film Registry in 2011. 1971, DCP, 52 min.

Julia Reichert’s Union Maids, 1976. Image courtesy the artist.
Julia Reichert’s Union Maids, 1976. Image courtesy the artist.

Union Maids, Directed by Julia Reichert, Jim Klein, and Miles Mogulescu

Reichert interviews three “Union Maids” on their experiences as organizing women of the Labor movement. Fighting for humanitarian rights, these radical workers reflect on their lives filled with purpose and struggle. Frustrated by the privileged class’ participation in the women’s movement and caught up in race and gender discrimination within class warfare, their voices echo and contextualize many social justice issues today. 1976, DCP, 48 min.

Julia Reichert at her film editing table in 1973. Image courtesy the artist.

Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists, Directed by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein

Julia Reichert’s Seeing Red, 1983. Image courtesy the artist.

Friday, February 21, 7 pm; $10 ($8 Walker members, students, and seniors)

Reichert brings to light the forgotten history of Americans who joined the Communist Party and the high price many of them paid for their beliefs. Boldly countering traditional myths, the film presents engaging interviews and personal accounts that take on a new resonance in today’s charged political climate. 1983, DCP, 100 min.

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‘Just Mercy’ Announced As Closing Night At Austin Film Festival, Marking The Return Of AFF Screenwriting Winner Andrew Lanham

Meg And Lawrence Kasdan To Return To AFF Conference And Welcome The World Premiere Of Documentary , Last Week At Ed’s

The 26th annual Austin Film Festival (AFF) (October 24 – 31, 2019), the premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television, theatre and new media, will proudly present Just Mercy as its Closing Night film on October 31, 2019 at 9:15pm at The Paramount Theatre. Attending with the film is screenwriter Andrew Lanham, UT Michener Graduate and 2016 AFF Screenwriter to watch. Lanham has also been recognized by AFF previously as 2010’s Drama Screenplay Competition winner for The Jumper of Maine. (You can view the full sof films here.)

Directed and co-written by Destin Daniel Cretton, Just Mercy tells the true story of attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his fight to defend Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man wrongfully sentenced to death. The film made its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in September and will be theatrically released by Warner Bros. Pictures, beginning December 25, 2019. Cast member Tim Blake Nelson will also attend with the screening, joining Lanham for a post-film Q&A.

Authenticity is essential to capturing something so historic as this struggle for justice and humanity,” stated Casey Baron, Film Program Director. “It is an honor to welcome back a storyteller the Festival has watched grow and achieve over the past decade, with us to celebrate our Closing Night.”

Additionally, Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill, The Force Awakens) is set to return to AFF’s Conference for a conversation about the necessities for writing a successful screenplay. He and Meg Kasdan (Grand Canyon, Darling Companion) will co-present the World Premiere of Last Night at Ed’s alongside Kasdan, documenting the personal story of a beloved Hollywood establishment’s final days. The film will screen Saturday October 26, 2019 at 2 pm at the State Theatre, and Kasdan’s Conversation will take place Saturday October 26, 2019 at 4:45pm at the Central Presbyterian Church.

AFF will also be presenting Scandalous, an investigation into the sordid and larger-than-life history of the National Enquirer. Under the direction of Texas filmmaker Mark Landsman, the film dives into the infamous tabloid’s sensational coverage that captivated readers for decades. Scandalous screens October 27, 2019 at 5:30 pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Village.

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The 26th Annual Austin Film Festival To Open With The Us Premiere Of ‘The Obituary Of Tunde Johnson,’ And Announced Additional Titles Set To Screen At The Festival

Austin Film Festival banner

The 26th Annual Austin Film Festival (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing writers’ and filmmakers’ contributions to film, television, theatre and new media, announced its Opening Night feature, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, taking place October 24, 2019. Director Ali LeRoi will present the film alongside screenwriter Stanley Kalu. The film is LeRoi’s feature directorial debut, and Kalu’s first produced feature screenplay. Kalu won The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition in 2018, co-founded by Zachary Green and Jason Shuman. Along with receiving a $50,000 education grant and literary representation, Kalu’s film was produced by Green, Shuman and philanthropists Chuck and Marni Bond.

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson follows Tunde Johnson (portrayed by Steven Silver), a gay, black teenager trapped in a time loop that forces him to relive his own brutal murder at the hands of a police officer on duty. The film made its World Premiere at 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. LeRoi and Kalu will participate in a post-film Q&A following the screening and will also take part in programming as panelists at the AFF Writers Conference.

AFF also proudly announces an additional Marquee feature, Atlantics. Atlantics, a haunting romance set in Senegal, is the feature directorial debut of Mati Diop. The film was awarded the Sutherland Award at the BFI London Film Festival as well as the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The film will screen Sunday October 27, 2019 at 2:30pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. Atlantics will premiere in theaters November 15, 2019 and on Netflix November 29, 2019.

The Festival’s shorts programming blocks include Wanted: Strong Woman, in which a woman finds a new passion, Black Goat, the story of a girl’s dark coming of age ritual, Robu, a young man’s journey through Japan to recover a special manga, and Digital Series Brothers from the Suburbs, a comedy centered on three black high schoolers. The Festival is also screening short films The Shabbos Goy, a comedy from Paul Feig, Laura Fischer’s Powderkeg Fuse incubator, Bye Bye Body, an introspective look at body positivity, and family drama Jane. Other mentionable shorts include the University of Texas filmmakers’ Femenina, which tells the story of a wrestler’s grappling with his own sexuality, and Super Sonic, a romance cultivated beyond one man’s hearing-impairment.

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