Mead Film Festival: Sunday

Sunday, May 12, 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.

Emerging Visual Anthropologist Showcase

11 am | Kaufmann Theater

A seated crowd of people watching the screen in the LeFrak Theater.
Roderick Mickens/© AMNH

In this special showcase, we present exciting new ethnographic documentaries from emerging visual anthropology students. This screening is co-hosted by Faye Ginsburg, director of NYU Center for Media, Culture, and History and Kriser Professor of Anthropology, and Pegi Vail, Center for Media, Culture and History and documentary professor, Program in Culture & Media. It will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

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Above and Below the Ground

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

A protester wearing a "No Dam | Rights of Rivers" t-shirt and baseball cap holds a sign with twenty plus additional protesters in the background.
Image: Above and Below the Ground

Indigenous women and Christian punk rockers form a surprising alliance as they join to thwart a multibillion-dollar megadam project imperiling the landscape of northern Myanmar. 

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23 Mile

4 pm | Kaufmann Theater
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance   

About ten people stand on the side of a road, some holding Trump 2020 campaign flags and one holding the "Thin Blue Line" American flag.
Image: 23 Mile

Filmmaker Mitch McCabe returns home to Detroit to capture the essence of a nation divided during and after the 2020 presidential election. With captivating scenes and unfiltered voices, the film challenges our preconceptions and urges us to confront our biases. 

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Rising Up at Night

5 pm | Linder Theater
US Premiere | Director in Attendance   

Two children sit in the dark holding objects with light that illuminate them.
Image: Rising Up at Night

In Kinshasa, a community fights to restore electrical power following the flooding of the Congo River. As residents raise funds to buy back stolen electrical cables, director Nelson Makengo captures their struggle for electricity as a symbol of hope. 

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Agent of Happiness

7 pm | Kaufmann Theater
New York Premiere | Directors in Attendance   

A Buddhist monk sits between two people in robes taking notes on the steps of a painted building, with two more monks behind them.
Image: Agent of Happiness

Discover Bhutan, the “happiest country on Earth,” through the eyes of Amber, a bureaucrat who measures the nation’s “Gross National Happiness.” As Amber treks the lush Himalayas, he assigns a happiness score to everyone he meets, from dairy farmers to urban dancers. 

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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.