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Take a Sneak Peak at the 2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival

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How do traditions help cultures survive and thrive, even in the face of adversity? Answering that question from a variety of perspectives is at the core of the 2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival. Themed “Past Forward,” the 2014 festival explores how cultural touchstones needn’t be trapped in amber but can serve as important guides for modern life, during its 2014 program from October 23 to October 26. Featuring a broad spectrum of creative storytelling—including interactive documentaries, performances, and a multi-media installation—the Margaret Mead Film Festival strives to illuminate the diversity of peoples and cultures from around the world, and offers intimate forums for discussion with filmmakers, film protagonists, and world-renowned scholars.

This year, the festival’s selections—more than 40 films from 30 countries—will focus on the tension between tradition and its relevance in a contemporary context. Tickets will be on sale in early September.

Among the festival’s wide selection of films this year are:

 

Buckskin, directed by Dylan McDonald (US Premiere)

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The Kaurna people of South Australia were pronounced extinct in 1931, but almost a century later, a cultural and linguistic revival is underway, thanks to Vincent “Jack” Buckskin, whose efforts are captured gracefully by indigenous filmmaker Dylan McDonald. Buckskin has spent his 20s traveling the country, teaching seminars in the Kaurna language, offering hundreds of young people access to their roots and reopening questions of aboriginal identity in urban Australia.

The Darkside, directed by Warwick Thornton

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Take a plunge into the hereafter with The Darkside, a stunning documentary hybrid that gathers indigenous ghost stories from across Australia and sets them elegantly to film. The tales are delivered verbatim in monologue form by some of Australia’s most beloved actors, framed by lush and fussily composed backdrops with a cinematographic flair that conjures Wes Anderson.

Let’s Get the Rhythm, directed by Irene Chagall (World Premiere)

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Through wars, through migrations, across language barriers and oceans, young girls connect with each other through thousands of hand clapping variants, which are as ancient as they are global. Let's Get the Rhythm chronicles the rhythmic and recreational practices of girls on playgrounds around the world, as guided by three eight-year old informants from diverse cultural backgrounds in the New York area.

 

My Prairie Home, directed by Chelsea McMullan

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By turns melancholy, meditative, and playful, this feature documentary about the transgender Canadian singer-songwriter Rae Spoon is a road movie, a coming-of-age story, a musical, and, at the same time, a clever subversion of all these genres. Impressionistically combining interviews, performances, and delicately rendered musical sequences, the film reveals Spoon as a deeply soulful individual whose perspective and situation is at once unique and speaks to the universality of human experience.

Walking Under Water, directed by Eliza Kubarska

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Walking Under Water follows a Badjao compressor diver, Alexan, as he teaches his 10-year-old nephew, Sari, everything he knows—from dangerous fishing techniques to wisdom about the underwater world. While Alexan refuses to accept that the world of his ancestors is gone, Sari is torn between his longing to be a fisherman and the tug of the new world in the form of a nearby resort.

Sepideh—Reaching for the Stars, directed by Berit Madsen

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When Iranian teenager Sepideh discovers an unquenchable interest in astronomy, she finds more than a few barriers between her lifestyle in the countryside and her professional aspirations—including an aggressively conservative uncle, marital expectations, and financial struggles. Yet she is able to peek through the clouds of circumstance at the great beyond, expressing herself in a series of letters to her late hero, Albert Einstein.

Tags: Film

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