2017 Margaret Mead Film Festival: Activate main content.

2017 Margaret Mead Film Festival: Activate

by AMNH on

News Posts

Mark your calendars: the 2017 Margaret Mead Film Festival is coming back on October 19, with more than 40 films, an art installation, a slate of special events and dialogues, a Mead Mixed Media Lounge featuring augmented and virtual reality, and more.


As always, the festival brings viewers fresh, cross-cultural perspectives, with international nonfiction films and stories that each offer a different take on this year’s theme, “Activate.”

On Thursday, October 19, Brimstone & Glory opens the festival with the vivid story of the pyrotechnics festival that transforms the small city of Tultepec, Mexico, into a blaze of sparks and flames every year. In the climactic “burning of the bulls,” the bravest participants run amid toritos, bull-shaped floats rigged with fireworks that rain burning ash and light on the city.


fire show at festival

On Friday, October 20, a special presentation of the film Lunar Tribute, about astronaut Charlie Duke’s travels in space and his 1972 Moon walk, will include a conversation with Duke, filmmaker Robert Lewis, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium. The film is presented with media partner MACH, the NBC News Digital tech, science, and innovation news source.


The Saturday, October 21, screening of Pre-Crime, also with media partner MACH, offers audiences an unsettling echo of Phillip K. Dick’s short story “The Minority Report.” Exploring the legal perils of ubiquitous surveillance that’s amplified by new technologies, the film asks viewers to consider the consequences of unprecedented access to citizens’ criminal records, mental-health records, and social-media activity on the internet. 


The festival wraps on Sunday evening, October 22, with an encore screening of the film directed by the winner of the 2017 Margaret Mead Filmmaker Awards, which will be announced at the awards ceremony that night. This year, 13 filmmakers whose feature-length documentaries are making their U.S. premieres at the festival are vying for the prestigious award, which recognizes artistic excellence and originality of storytelling technique that offers a new perspective on a culture or community remote from the majority of the festival audiences’ experience.

To see all of the 2017 Margaret Mead Film Festival offerings, visit amnh.org/mead for trailers, program descriptions, and the full schedule of screenings and events. Be sure to join our mailing list for festival updates and to be among the first to receive notice when tickets go on sale in September by selecting "Film at the Museum" at this link.