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by Bryce J. Renninger
October 1, 2010 5:46 AM
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Margaret Mead Launches 34th Edition with "Plug and Pray," Ends with "Garden of Sounds"

An image from Jens Schanze and Judith Malek Mahdevi's "Plug and Pray."

The 34th Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, a leading event for ethnographic film and video, has set its program taking place November 11 through Sunday, November 14 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The fest's opening and closing films coincide with the museum's new "Brain: The Inside Story" exhibition. Jens Schanze and Judith Malek Mahdevi's "Plug and Pray," about artificial intelligence will open the event, while Nicola Bellucci's "In the Garden of Sounds" will close out the festival.

"Sounds" tells the story of Wolfgang Fasser, a blind musician and physical therapist who uses sounds to work with developmentally disabled children. Also tied in to the "Brain" exhibition is Nadav Harel's "The Electric Mind," which profiles a number of subjects who undergo experimental brain surgery for their brain disorders.

The festival will also program a series of films by John Cohen about world music, including 1963's "The High Lonesome Sound," 1972's "The End of an Old Song," "Carnival in Q'eros" (1991), and the world premiere of his new film "Roscoe Holcomb: From Daisy Kentucky." The Cohen event will be capped off with a special performance from Cohen's band The Dustbusters. Other highlights form the fest include: Aaron Schock's circus family doc "Circo," Harun Farocki's study of the brick "In Comparison," and Zed Nelson's "Shelter in Place," about the Texas petrochemical industry.

Commenting on this year's offerings at Margaret Mead, the fest's Artistic Director Ariella Ben-Dov noted, "Documentary filmmakers offer some of the best expressions of art, culture, and history generated today. The Mead Festival transports our audiences to far-flung corners of the globe and provides a personal adventure forging new cultural connections and understanding."

The festival will screen 38 films over the long weekend. The fest honors the spirit of one of the founders of modern anthropology, Margaret Mead, with films from across the world. This year's fest will feature films produced in thirty different countries.

For more information and the complete lineup, visit the Margaret Mead website here.

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