2012 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Announced

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Director Adam Isenberg received the 2012 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award for his film A Life Without Words (Una Vida Sin Palabras) on Sunday, December 2, as part of the the closing celebrations of the 2012 Margaret Mead Film Festival. 

Filmed in 2011, Isenberg's film A Life Without Words (Una Vida Sin Palabras) follows two deaf siblings in rural Nicaragua, who reached adulthood with no written, spoken, or signed language. When an aid worker tries to teach them their first words, the drama that unfolds poses provocative questions about the meaning and nature of language, of aid work, and of documentary film.

The 2012 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award jury included filmmaker Judith Helfand (The Uprising of ’34), founder and executive director of the New York African Film Festival Mohan Bonetti, executive director and co-founder of Impact Partners Dan Cogan, and director and anthropologist Patricia Cardoso (Real Women Have Curves). 

For the first time, the jury also selected two Margaret Mead Film Festival Special Mentions: Giovanni Giommi for Bad Weather and Miyarrka Media’s Paul Gurrumuruwuy, Fiona Yangathu, Jennifer Deger, and David Mackenzie for Manapanmirr, in Christmas Spirit.  

Filmed in 2011, filmmaker Giovanni Giommi's film Bad Weather documents a tiny island in the Bay of Bengal that is being destroyed by climate change...

The film follows the extraordinary story of three sex workers in a battle for their homes, the future of their families, and even their quests for true love. Says Giommi, "I think that our mission as filmmakers is exactly this: look around, choose a story (or be chosen), and tell it honestly before it disappears and is erased from the memory of the world.”

Miyarrka Media's film Manapanmirr, in the Christmas Spirit follows the complex sorrows and joy of Christmas in northeast Arnhem Land, one of the most isolated First Nations lands in Australia; it is narrated by Yolngu director Peter Gurrumuruwuy.

A Life Without Words was co-presented by Inclusion in the Arts and NYU Council for the Study of Disability

Bad Weather was co-presented by the Asia Society

Manapanmirr, in the Christmas Spirit was co-presented by Center for Religion and Media, NYU