Margaret Mead Doc Fest To Present 27 Films In New York
by Ali Gitlow
New York's American Museum of Natural History will house the 27th Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival from November 6-9 with some repeat screenings on the 15th and 16th. The festival boasts a lineup of 27 films from 17 countries. The opening-night film, Tom Zubrycki's "Molly and Mobarak," is set in Australia and tells the story of an Afghan refugee unable to choose between loves for his homeland and an Australian woman. The closing-night film is Hart Perry's "Valley of Tears," about a Texas town still dealing with repercussions of a 1979 strike of Mexican-American onion farmers.
The festival, which is the country's longest-running exhibition of documentaries, will showcase films that cover a wide variety of themes. Two films focus on the roles of African women in their society. Kim Longinotto's "The Day I Will Never Forget" explains new laws concerning female circumcision. Idrisou Mora-Kpai explores female roles in his home village in "Si-Gueriki" (The Queen Mother). There are four films about unique creative individuals. "Flashback" chronicles Latvian director Herz Frank's own heart surgery as well as his wife's dealings with a life-threatening illness. Dee Henoch's "Joe Chaikin's Life in Theater" reflects upon this recently-deceased legend's achievements and includes interviews with Edward Albee and Susan Sontag. Other films of this nature are Carin Goeijers' profile of a Dutch musical performer in "I Soeni" (The Dream), and Jay Rosenblatt's "I Used to Be a Filmmaker," about the life-altering effects of fatherhood.
Following the Saturday screening of Longinotto's "The Day I Will Never Forget," the festival will host a roundtable discussion with experts in anthropology, women's studies, African studies, and female genital mutilation.
Rare and restored films will also be shown at the festival. Bill Morrison attempted to re-edit and reconceived the 1926 silent film "The Bells," starring Boris Karloff and Lionel Barrymore, in "The Mesmerist." The 1955 film "Wakamba" by Edgar Monsanto Queeny was shot in Kenya and tells of the price a husband must pay for his betrothed.
[ For details on the screenings, visit http://www.amnh.org/programs/mead/. ]