Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival

For those in the New York area, the Margaret Mead festival offers a terrific-looking lineup this year:

Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
November 12-15, 2009
Located at the American Museum of Natural History
website

Once again, the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival brings together a collection of gripping stories told from unique perspectives. For our 33rd edition, we continue to honor the legacy of famed anthropologist and American Museum of Natural History curator Margaret Mead, showing documentaries that increase our understanding of the complexity and diversity of the peoples and cultures that populate our planet. The Mead Festival has also expanded its horizons to reflect the ever-evolving art of storytelling. New technologies and greater access to all the longitudes and latitudes of our interconnected world have amplified the possibilities for film made in the documentary tradition.

Steeped as we are in our daily lives, the Mead gives us a chance to step outside our own struggles and routines, to consider not only what divides us but also all that connects us. We are also reminded of how our lives affect those half a globe away. A Native Alaskan community comes together to mourn the impending loss of their land to climate change. We follow the length of a race track through Africa, pausing to become acquainted with the communities along the way. A school in Brooklyn becomes a battlefield in the War on Terror.

Beyond the stories are the way they are told, and the filmmakers featured this year marshal their talents to employ new modes of storytelling. Claymation sequences illustrate the epic struggles of indigenous Bolivian female wrestlers. Staged readings and dramatic re-creations expose the wretched secret of the Ukrainian Holodomor. An intimate camera and innovative editing evoke the rigorous schedules of overachieving high school students in China. Rather than relying solely on traditional documentary techniques—archival footage, interviews, voiceover narration—these filmmakers embrace poetic observation and reenactments, humor and subjectivity. They allow their cameras to linger on their subjects and the surrounding landscapes, permitting the narrative to reveal itself.

We invite you to sit back and watch. From the dilapidated communal apartments of St. Petersburg, Russia, to backyard tiger breeders in Flat Rock, Indiana, these 33 films will enlighten you, hearten you, and enrich you. We hope you’ll join us.

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