Mead Film Festival: Saturday

Saturday, May 11, 2024

This four-day celebration takes place from Thursday, May 9–Sunday, May 12, and will present storytelling, documentary films, and live performances from diverse voices near and far.


12 pm | Kaufmann Theater
US Premiere | Director in Attendance   

12 people, two adults and ten children, pictured from behind as they sit on grass beside a lake with mountains in the background.
Image: Ozogoche

In Ozogoche, filmmaker Joe Houlberg Silva draws a parallel between human and avian voyages and shows the annual migration of the mysterious “Cuvivi” sandpiper bird to the remote Andean lakes. Don’t miss this poignant story of cultural identity, trust, and the profound beauty of the Ecuadorian highlands. 

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Pure Unknown

12 pm | Linder Theater
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance   

A person's gloved hands wipe the hand of a cadaver.
Image: Pure Unknown

As thousands of migrants wash ashore every year in Italy, denied dignity in death, Dr. Cristina Cattaneo fights to restore their identities. Her quest to help the families of forgotten people find closure brings her to the highest halls of power in Europe. 

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Revolutionizing Representation: The Significance of Native-Led Stories in Today's Media Landscape

1 pm | Wallach Orientation Center

From left to right: Headshot of Erica Tremblay, Sterlin Harjo standing in wooded area, and headshot of Steven Paul Judd.
From left to right: Erica Tremblay, Sterlin Harjo, Steven Paul Judd

With the critical and commercial success of series like FX’s Reservation Dogs, AMC’s Dark Winds, and Disney+’s Echo, Native-led series with Native-centered stories are hitting a stride in popular culture. What is the significance of this moment in Native storytelling? What kinds of narrative change does the streaming era make possible? What work lies ahead? Moderated by Mead Advisor, Billy Luther, this discussion will include Erica Tremblay, Sterlin Harjo, and Steven Paul Judd.

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2 pm | LeFrak Theater 
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance   

Many pinned butterfly and insect specimens on a gridded surface.
Image: Nocturnes

High in the Eastern Himalayas, a team of biologists observes the mysterious world of moths. Through mesmerizing visuals and soundscapes, Nocturnes unveils the ecological importance and unexpected beauty of these resilient creatures. 



ᏓᏗᏬᏂᏏ (We Will Speak) 

2:30 pm | Kaufmann Theater
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance   

An adult points to a spot on a colorful map on a classroom wall for a child who is wearing a cloth mask around their chin.
Image: ᏓᏗᏬᏂᏏ (We Will Speak) 

With fewer than 1,500 fluent speakers remaining, Cherokee activists rally against time to safeguard their endangered language. Shot over three years following the 2019 declaration of a Cherokee language state of emergency, this gripping film captures the passion of those fighting to preserve the early written language of an Indigenous culture in North America.

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Mother Suriname - Mama Sranan

2:30 pm | Linder Theater
US Premiere | Director in Attendance   

Over twenty young children sit in rows, all wearing brimmed hats and dresses.
Image: Mother Suriname - Mama Sranan 

Abandoned at birth in 1905, Fancelyne Cummings lived out her life as a mixed-race washerwoman in Dutch-controlled Surinam. Her granddaughter, filmmaker Tessa Leuwsha, celebrates her and some of the other women who forged a national identity in the shadow of European colonialism.  

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The Buriti Flower 

5 pm | Kaufmann Theater 
New York Premiere   

A child in profile looks up at the center of the frame, surrounded by four other children in a forest.
Image: The Buriti Flower

The Buriti Flower weaves land disputes in 1940 into the scars of dictatorship in 1960 and the contemporary movement for Indigenous rights. A dreamlike narrative which echoes the oral traditions of Indigenous storytelling introduces us to the young protagonists carrying the stories and rituals of resilience and faith to a new generation. 

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This Is Going to Be Big 

5 pm | Linder Theater
US Premiere | Director in Attendance   

7 teenagers on stage, singing or playing instruments, while two more teenagers stand on the side on stage right.
Image: This Is Going To Be Big

Step into a world of friendship, courage, and creativity at a school outside Melbourne, Australia, for kids diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. Thomas Charles Hyland’s heartfelt documentary takes us behind the scenes of the rural school’s production of “The Time-Travelling Trio,” a musical retrospective on the life of Australian pop icon John Farnham. 

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6 pm | Wallach Orientation Center 
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance   

A person in a tree-filled yard walks on a slackline tied to a tree with their arms stretched out for balance.
Image: Meanwhile

Directed by Catherine Gund. Author Jacqueline Woodson narrates Meanwhile, a docu-poem about white supremacy and a community of artists who share visions of resistance. The screening and live performances will feature in-process works by artists from the film, including music, dance, and poetry. Meanwhile is composed by Meshell Ndegeocello and produced by Erika Dilday. 

The two-hour special event will feature in-process works by artists from the film, including dance by Shamel Pitts and Tushrik Fredericks, wisdom and cookies by Juli Vanderhoop, music by Mel Chin, and more. 

This program will be from 6–8 pm on the fourth floor of the Museum.

This film is supported in part by Ford Foundation/JustFilms, National Endowment for the Arts, and Brown University/CSREA. Aubin Picture's programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

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Porcelain War - Centerpiece Screening

8 pm | LeFrak Theater
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance   

A chipped porcelain figurine of an owl perched in an uneven hole in a wall partially destroyed by bombardment.
Image: Porcelain War

Meet Slava and Anya, porcelain artists whose ordinary lives are made extraordinary by the terrors of the war in Ukraine. Filmed entirely by Ukrainians resisting Russian occupation, this visually stunning documentary shows how, even in the bleakest moments, the flames of life and art burn bright. 

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ICE COLD: The Untold Story of Hip Hop Jewelry

All Day | Griffin Exploration Atrium, Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation

Two clasped hands covered in bling—a large ring on each hand and multiple, shining bracelets and watches on the wrists.

This four-part documentary series serves as an exploration of one of rap music’s most elaborate forms of personal expression—jewelry. ICE COLD delves deeply into the cultural significance and craftsmanship behind hip hop jewelry, exploring its evolution from a symbol of status to a form of self-expression. In celebration of the Museum’s opening of Ice Cold: An Exhibition of Hip-Hop Jewelry in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery within the Museum’s new Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, this documentary will be on view throughout the entirety of the Mead Festival.  

Please note: This film contains adult language that may not be suitable for children. Free with Museum admission.

Courtesy of Polygram Entertainment

Earth in Focus

All Day | Milstein Hall of Ocean Life

Through five family-friendly shorts, which will play on loop throughout the day, we celebrate the intricate relationship between humanity and the natural world and remember our duty to cherish, protect, and preserve the Earth for generations to come. Free with Museum admission.

Generous support for the Margaret Mead Film Festival has been provided by The Mead Trust.

A portion of the Margaret Mead Film Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Additional support for the Margaret Mead Film Festival is provided by National Geographic Documentary Films.