One of America’s longest running documentary fests, the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival has announced the slate of its 29th edition including the New York premiere of first-time director Petr Lom‘s “Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgystan.” The fest, which screens at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, will present 15 films from 16 countries November 3 – 6 with additional screenings of selected titles on November 12 and 13.
“Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgystan” takes a look at the traditional custom of bride kidnapping, which continues despite being illegal. The film gives a detailed account of four women’s stories documenting their abductions in detail. The subjects of love, marriage and divorce are also themes in other Margaret Mead films. “Land Mines: A Love Story,” by Dennis O’Rourke (“Cannibal Tours“), is the story of two land-mine victims living together in the Afghan capital of Kabul and their struggle to make ends meet, while the New York debut of Anat Zuria‘s “Sentenced to Marriage,” follows the struggle of three Israeli women trying to obtain divorces, but are thwarted by archaic Orthodox Jewish law. Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi‘s “Sisters-in-Law,” meanwhile, explores how judges and lawyers in one small Cameroon courthouse are helping to transform women’s and children’s lives by protecting them from domestic violence.
Other festival highlights include Natalia Almada‘s “Al Otro Lado” (To the Other Side) about an aspiring “corrido,” composer from a drug-ridden area of Mexico who faces the choice of trafficking in drugs or crossing the border illegally into the United States as ways to improve his life. “Children of the Decree” by Romanian filmmaker Florin Lepan spotlights the consequences of dictator Nikolai Ceausescu‘s Decree 770, which criminalized contraception and abortion for women under 40 unless they were already raising four children and Hubert Sauper‘s “Darwin’s Nightmare” examines the ecological aftermath of introducing the freshwater fish, the Nile perch into Lake Victoria.
The New York debut of Jeffrey M. Togman‘s “Home,” is the story of Newark, New Jersey single-mother Sheree Farmer and her struggle to buy her first home. The story is described by the festival as an “intimate and touching commentary on race, class and the future of America’s cities.” In Lynne Sachs‘ world premiere, “States of Un Belonging,” Israeli filmmaker Revital Ohayon is remembered. The director and mother was killed by a terrorist act on a kibutz near the West Bank. Additionally, the festival will present the U.S. premieres of a number of films from Russia, and will spotlight films about New Orleans, and will take an in-depth look at “What in the World?” and “Adventure,” two pioneering television shows in the 1950s that popularized scientific concepts for a national audience.
Closing the festival will be the New York premiere of American filmmaker Monica Haim‘s “Awake Zion,” which weaves music, interviews, history and performance to investigate the symbols, laws, culture and themes shared by Jews and Rastafarians. A discussion with the director as well as a performance by King Django, a Jewish pioneer of New York’s ska-klezmer fusion scene and Super Dane, a Jamaican Rastafarian MC from Crown Heights will follow.
The festival is named in honor of anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978), whose work and writings are credited with contributing significantly to the understanding of human history. The festival travels to film centers, college campuses and libraries throughout the year.
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