Margaret Mead Film Festival Celebrates 35-Year Anniversary With Exciting Program

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A still from We Still Live Here, featured in this year's Margaret Mead Film Festival.

Photo by J. Reed.

Much has changed in documentary filmmaking since the American Museum of Natural History organized the first Margaret Mead Film Festival in 1977 as a celebration of the pioneering anthropologist and longtime Museum curator.

A still from We Still Live Here, featured in this year's Margaret Mead Film Festival. Photo by J. Reed.

But the one constant has been the Mead Festival’s enduring distinction for bringing the public the best in innovative nonfiction films, a legacy that will be celebrated at this year’s 35th-anniversary program held from Thursday, November 10, through Sunday, November 13.

“Since I first began working in film, the Mead Festival had a legendary place among film festivals,” says Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky, who is leading the jury selection for this year’s Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award. “The films are always amazing.”

The festival will screen 31 outstanding films, including 11 U.S. premieres, culled from more than 1,000 international and domestic submissions, as well as a special presentation of space and sci-fi films by Curator Michael Shara, in anticipation of the Museum’s upcoming exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration.

Other festival highlights include a retrospective of the festival’s most influential features over the past three decades; a live performance by Mohawk musicians; an exhibit of kinetic sculptures portrayed in one of this year’s films; and a space-themed Radiolab listening party in the Hayden Planetarium dome. Post-screening discussions allow audiences rich, engaging, and intimate conversations with filmmakers and film subjects.

Full film descriptions and trailers can be found online at

Purchase tickets and create a personalized film schedule at

For festival highlights or daily updates, information can be found on Facebook at or Twitter at #MeadFilmFest.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Fall Issue of Rotunda, the Member magazine.