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Thursday, October 22
 

7:00pm

Opening Night: Circus Without Borders

Susan Gray, Linda Matchan, and Northern Lights Productions

2015 | 70 minutes | Canada, Guinea, U.S.A.

New York Premiere | Directors in Attendance


World-class acrobats and good friends Guillaume Saladin and Yamoussa Bangoura come from very different corners of the globe—the Canadian Arctic and Guinea, West Africa. Despite the distance, they share the same vision: to bring hope and change to their struggling communities through circus. Seven years in the making, this riveting and uplifting story of their two circus companies—Artcirq and Kalabanté—and  the culture-crossing collaborative performance that unites them has the propulsive drama of a gripping work of fiction. Wrapped up in the narrative swirling around these two driven, charismatic men are the parallel plights of the Inuit and Guinean youth they’re committed to helping—the suicide, poverty, and despair that haunts their isolated communities, and the resilience and joy that characterize the tenacity of their collective dream. 

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Thursday October 22, 2015 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Lefrak Theater

9:00pm

Opening Night Reception
$45 | Opening Night Film PLUS reception with the filmmakers

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Thursday October 22, 2015 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Hall of Gems and Minerals
 
Friday, October 23
 

4:00pm

Land of Songs - Preceded by The Ladies

Aldona Watts

2015 | 60 minutes | Lithuania, U.S.A.

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance

Inspired by their grandmother’s vivid accounts of her WWII-era childhood, first-time filmmakers Aldona (director) and Julian Watts (cinematographer and co-producer) travel to Lithuania with family friends. They arrive in Dainvana, a region known as the “Land of Songs,” where they meet a sprightly group of women who have kept their village’s folk-singing tradition vibrant and essential through decades of war, occupation, and youth flight. When the sibling filmmakers return years later, only five of the grandmothers are still alive. Land of Songs is a tender, poetic record of the lives of these remarkable women and an eloquent testament to heritage—and to the universal language of folk music. 


Preceded by: The Ladies

Tyler Zoanni

2015 | 13 minutes | U.S.A.

Director in Attendance

A group of Ukrainian women gathers in New York’s East Village, as they have for nearly 50 years, bound by the ritualistic preparation of dumplings for their church. This delightful observational documentary offers an evocative snapshot of a small but enduring segment of New York City’s always changing culture.

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Friday October 23, 2015 4:00pm - 6:30pm
Kaufman Theater

4:30pm

Double Happiness - Preceded by China Remix

Ella Raidel

2014 | 75 minutes | Austria, China

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance

The idyllic mountain village of Hallstatt, Austria, has been precisely replicated near Huizou, China. Residents of the original Hallstatt visit their recreated town, baffled but also fascinated to find that every detail, in some cases down to the furniture in their homes, has been re-created thousands of miles away—setting the stage for provocative questions about tradition and innovation, copying and creativity, and appropriation and authenticity. Director Ella Raidel presents a multifaceted film experience, at once a thoughtful and sumptuously-filmed visual feast and a docu-musical of sorts, evoking The Sound of Music(1965). The documentary gets at questions about fairy tales around Austrian culture, the perfect life, and what it means to find home. 


Preceded by China Remix

Melissa Lefkowitz and Dorian Carli-Jones

2015 | 29 minutes| China, U.S.A.

Directors in Attendance

Guangzhou is home to China's largest community of African immigrants and a burgeoning international hip-hop scene. The short film China Remix observes the lives of three African artists at this unique intersection as they face challenging labor and immigration laws hoping for a chance of success in this land of opportunity. 



Friday October 23, 2015 4:30pm - 7:30pm
Linder Theater

5:00pm

Banana Pancakes and the Children of Sticky Rice

Daan Veldhuizen

2015 | 93 minutes | Netherlands, Laos

New York Premiere  | Director in Attendance


As the monsoon rains lift, a remote village in northern Laos transforms from a sleepy hamlet into a tourist hotspot in a story that harkens back to Dennis O’Rourke’s classic, Cannibal Tours. Western backpackers arrive searching for less modernity and more authenticity, yet feast on banana pancakes—a Western delicacy paradoxically served by the local Laotians. Daan Veldhuizen films at the crossroads of these two groups and produces a delicate meditation on how we relate to others in a rapidly globalizing world. As the narrative evolves, he takes a more participatory role in the film, realizing that documentary-making, like tourism, is never an invisible presence. 

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Friday October 23, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Caribou Room

6:00pm

Mead Mixer
Continue the conversation! Meet filmmakers and share your Mead experiences with other festival-goers in our new daily happy hour. Food and drinks are available for purchase at the café.

Free with any 2015 Mead Ticket or Pass!

Friday October 23, 2015 6:00pm - 9:30pm
Cafe on One

7:00pm

Elephant's Dream

Kristof Bilsen

2014 | 74 minutes | Belgium, England, Democratic Republic of the Congo

New York Premiere | Director in Attendance


In Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the poetic stories of workers at three state-run institutions illuminate the struggle between the government’s “revolution of modernity” and the colonial legacy in Africa’s third largest metropolis. As a postal employee, two colleagues at a train station, and a group of firemen at the city’s only firehouse go about their routine, a nuanced portrait emerges of a country in transition. We see survival vying with boredom, government services on their last legs, and a pervasive breakdown of the basic structures of municipal life. Like characters in a Beckett play, the film’s protagonists wait: for change, for payment, for a fire to be extinguished. Amid the tedium, filmmaker Kristof Bilsen(White Elephant, 2011) finds small, hopeful flashes of change and revolution, and a sense of empathy that places the film’s protagonists in juxtaposition to their Western counterparts, slyly holding up a mirror to the developed world and questioning the usefulness of “modern” institutions. 

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Artists

Friday October 23, 2015 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Linder Theater

7:00pm

Sailing a Sinking Sea - Preceded by Flor de la Mar

Olivia Wyatt

2015 | 64 minutes | Myanmar, Thailand, Moken, U.S.A.

New York Premiere 


Sailing a Sinking Sea 
is an experimental documentary that delves into the lives and culture of the seafaring Moken, an ethnic group living on the Andaman Sea in Southeast Asia. As one of the smallest ethnic groups in Asia, the Moken have developed a unique society that relies on the ocean for every aspect of life; their belief system, education, and economic and social practices are all rooted in their relationship with water. Director Olivia Wyatt’s lyrical film documents Moken communities through breathtaking underwater footage, conversations about daily lives, and a swirl of traditional Moken music. Though technology and globalization encroach, the film’s main event is a celebration of a rich and remarkable place and culture.

Preceded by Flor de la Mar

Jorge Thielen Armand

2015 | 24 minutes| Venezuela, Canada

New York Premiere 

On a remote Venezuelan island lie the ruins of Nueva Cádiz, the first European city in the Americas. Abandoned by the Spanish in the 16th century, the island now has a population of 51—all descendants of the slaves who built the city. Recent attempts by the Venezuelan government to revitalize the historic island have been foiled by mismanagement and insufficient funding, and the local community of fishermen is left to protect the site and their way of life. 

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Friday October 23, 2015 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Hall of Ocean Life

7:30pm

The Invisibles

Benjamin Kahlmeyer

2014| 78 minutes | Germany

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance


Europe is in the grip of an immigration crisis: people from North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere are arriving in ever greater numbers as they flee war, oppression, and a lack of opportunity. Germany receives more asylum seekers than any other European country, but their welcome is less than warm. This timely and insightful film accompanies four migrants from varying backgrounds on their way through a temporary registration center in Eisenhüttenstadt—a surreal place on the outskirts of nowhere. Their daily existence of uneasy boredom in a transitional home provides rare insight into the black box of asylum law and into a particular moment in Europe. More universally, it reveals the bureaucratic mechanisms that stand in contrast to the hopes of people around the world trying to make a better life. 

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Friday October 23, 2015 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Caribou Room

8:00pm

Sneak Peek: Nari
A live mash up of film and music, NARI is the unsung story of the lives of Lakshmi Shankar and her daughter Viji, two extraordinary artists who helped bring Indian music to the West in the 1970s through their close collaborations with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison. Join us for select live performances from the piece as well as a Q&A with artists Gingger Shankar, Dave Liang, and Sun Yunfan.

This program is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Special Thanks to the Ford Foundation.

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Friday October 23, 2015 8:00pm - 9:30pm
Kaufman Theater

9:30pm

The Tentmakers of Cairo

Kim Beamish

2015 | 98 minutes | Australia, Egypt

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance


Amid the tumult of the Arab Spring in Cairo, vendors in a small souk observe the political upheaval while seeking to preserve an ancient tradition of fabric making. The result is a fascinating microcosm of a transitioning nation. In the wake of President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, street celebrations turn to conflict—shops burn to the ground, propaganda spreads, and the fraternal spirit of the marketplace is shattered. The Tentmakers of Cairotraces this story from the beginning and follows each character as they develop with the times. Filmmaker Kim Beamish captures some of the most remarkable close-up footage of one of the defining political crises of the decade.

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Artists

Friday October 23, 2015 9:30pm - 11:30pm
Linder Theater

10:00pm

East Punk Memories - Preceded by J'ouvert

Lucile Chaufour

2014 | 51 minutes | Hungary, France

U.S. Premiere 


Shooting on Super 8 in the early and mid-1980s, Lucile Chaufour captured a group of young punks chafing under communism; her documentation itself was a subversive act, undertaken in defiance of laws against illegal filming. “The film is about punk, life and, of course, politics,” writes director Chaufour. “Hungarian punk was highly political, as they were fighting against the regime with their own means.” Decades later, Chaufour returned to catch up with her subjects. Their musings and reminiscences, interspersed with the original material, throw Hungary’s evolution since the fall of the Berlin Wall into sharp relief. Shot through with prickly nostalgia and keen-edged observations, the film reaches beyond its Hungarian focus to illuminate the differences between punk’s meaning in the East and the West.

Preceded by J'ouvert

Philip Bell

2015 | 16 minutes | U.S.A.

World Premiere | Director in Attendance

Across the Caribbean, late-night Carnival celebrations kick off with J’ouvert, an anything-goes street party fêting the darker side of life. This lively short reveals Brooklyn’s own lesser-known version, which precedes the West Indian Day Parade: a 3 a.m. outpouring of percussion, music, costumes, dance, and history that brings together New York City’s West Indian community. 

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Artists

Friday October 23, 2015 10:00pm - 11:30pm
Caribou Room, Fifth Floor

10:00pm

Containment - Preceded by Snapshot Mon Amour and Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars

Peter Galison and Robb Moss

2015 | 80 minutes | U.S.A., Japan

New York Premiere | Directors in Attendance


Left-over from the Cold War and the production of nuclear power are some of the deadliest, most long-lasting substances ever produced: million gallons of radioactive waste. Containment, directed by Harvard physics and history of science professor Peter Galison and the award-winning documentarian Robb Moss, poses crucial, frightening questions about humankind’s impact on the planet in both the short- and long-term. Governments around the world, desperate to protect future generations from the waste, have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create warnings that could speak across time. But would they withstand the crucible of millennia to prevent release of dangerous chemicals? Filmed at weapons plants, in the ruins of Fukushima, Japan, after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, and deep within underground storage facilities—and innovatively structured as part observational essay and part graphic novel—the film weaves an uneasy present with an imagined, troubled far future, exploring the idea that nothing stays put forever. 

Preceded by Snapshot Mon Amour and Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars

Snapshot Mon Amour

Christian Bau

2015 | 6 minutes | Japan, Germany

Disasters can have subtle effects beyond visible destruction. In post-Fukushima Japan, a filmmaker investigates unforeseen linguistic fallout.

Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars

Tomonari Nishikawa

2014 | 2 minutes | U.S.A., Japan

Buried overnight in an officially "safe,” decontaminated area 15 miles from Fukushima, 35-millimeter film still picks up the beautiful but unsettling lights of residual radiation.

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Friday October 23, 2015 10:00pm - 11:55pm
Kaufman Theater
 
Saturday, October 24
 

11:00am

Emerging Visual Anthropologists

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and Dr. Pegi Vail, Graduate Program in Culture and Media, NYU.

Rootless


Alice Xue Yu

2015 | 25 minutes | China, U.S.A.

Director in Attendance


Mongolian culture in China is fading, traditional lifestyles giving way under the pressures of financial need, policy regulations, and the inexorable urbanization of the general population. In Barag Banner, Inner Mongolia, one family encapsulates the transformation: a son leaves the country for education in the city, a father remains behind in the grasslands to provide, and a wife and mother commutes between the old world and the new.

One Man's Trash

Kelly Adams

2015 | 17 minutes | U.S.A.

Director in Attendance


In an East Harlem garage sits the unusual museum: Treasures in the Trash. The museum is the life’s work of Nelson Molina, a 34-year veteran of the New York City Department of Sanitation and a collector of discarded ephemera of interest. The film follows Molina on his route as, with a keen eye and an open mind, he plucks gems from what others have thrown away and assigns new value to them.

El Cacao

Michelle Aguilar

2015 | 19 minutes| Panama, U.S.A.


Neoliberal ideology, human rights, and the economics of the global chocolate industry collide in this exposé of the dark side of Latin American chocolate production. Examining Fair Trade from the perspective of an Ngäbe farmer in Panama, the film highlights a pronounced disconnect between the rising demand for chocolate in developed countries and the over-promised, under-delivered incentives to small producers around the world.

Hajwalah

Rana Jarbou

2015 | 21 minutes | Saudi Arabia


A young man’s passion for the illegal practice of tahfeet—joyriding—provides a novel perspective on the rapidly growing desert metropolis of Riyadh. Looking through the window of a car hot-rodding around the streets, the camera captures small interactions that gradually reveal the highly regulated social interactions and structural economic stratification of the Saudi capital. 

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Saturday October 24, 2015 11:00am - 1:30pm
Kaufmann Theater

11:30am

Bering. Balance and Resistance - Preceded by Khonsay

Lourdes Grobet

2013 | 84 minutes | Mexico, U.S.A.

New York Premiere 


Straddling the International Date Line, the fabled Bering Strait, and the border between the United States and Russia are the Little and Big Diomede Islands. These remote outposts are home to a small Inuit community that has traversed these borders for years, for trade, hunting, and festivals.  In Bering. Balance and Resistance, Lourdes Grobet, one of Mexico’s most renowned photographers, takes a lyrical approach to the subject matter, closely following the day-to-day lives of the residents of Little Diomede (U.S.A.) as they balance a modern lifestyle with the preservation of ancient customs and language. Slow-moving, wide-angle cinematography makes for an immersive viewing experience of the punishing Arctic, one that invokes Flaherty’s classic, Nanook of the North

Preceded by Khonsay: Poem of Many Tongues

Bob Holman

2015 | 15 minutes | U.S.A.

Director in Attendance 

Both a celebration of the world’s languages and a call to action to preserve global linguistic diversity, Khonsay is a unique document: a motion poem written in 50 endangered languages, from Yiddish to Nuer (South Sudan) and Adnyamathanha (Australia). Compiled by the poet and activist Bob Holman, who calls it “a cento in film,” the work is tour de force of poetic styles and cinematic techniques, and its effect is at once delightful, melancholic, and mesmerizing.

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Artists

Saturday October 24, 2015 11:30am - 2:00pm
Caribou Room, Fifth Floor

11:30am

Leaving Africa: A Story About Friendship and Empowerment - Preceded by Juanita

Iiris Härmä

2015 | 84 minutes | Uganda, Finland

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance


In socially conservative Uganda, homosexuality has been criminalized and the Ethics and Integrity Minister recently suggested arresting any woman wearing a skirt that falls above the knee. Against the backdrop of this political environment, a Finnish doctor named Riitta has spent her professional life working tirelessly for birth control, sexual education, and gender equality alongside her Ugandan friend and housemate Catherine. After 25 years giving workshops that challenge priests, imams, and women and their husbands to discuss women’s rights to their own bodies, Riitta’s activism has finally caught up with her. Past retirement age and facing an unwanted return to Finland, she takes the measure of both her life’s work and her personal life. Leaving Africa offers a moving look at a unique relationship born in and defined by the fight against the continent’s population explosion.

Preceded by Juanita

Ximena Amescua Cuenca

2015 | 24 minutes | Mexico, Maya, U.S.A.Director in Attendance

Doctor, midwife, nurse, activist: Juanita is a practitioner of traditional Mayan medicine and the leader of an organization of midwives in the Yucatan, Mexico. This film offers a candid glimpse into her everyday life as she treats patients, forcing viewers to reconsider the terms “modern” and “traditional” medicine.

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Saturday October 24, 2015 11:30am - 2:00pm
Linder Theater

2:00pm

Killing Time

Lydie Wisshaupt-Claudel

2015 | 88 minutes | U.S.A., France, Belgium

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance


Nestled in the rocky Californian desert, a small military town called Twentynine Palms sits next to a large Marine Corps base that welcomes troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan all year round. On leave or already back in training, the young soldiers exist in a strange limbo. They kill time on base and in town, by themselves or among brothers in arms or family, but all in physical surroundings that constantly remind them of the war zones recently left behind. A deeply affecting study of the pains of returning from the battlefield, Killing Time juxtaposes soldiers’ inner turmoil with the banality of everyday life that may now seem forever foreign. 

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Saturday October 24, 2015 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Linder Theater

2:30pm

Exit Zero

Chris Boebel and Christine Walley

2015 | 94 minutes | U.S.A.

World Premiere | Filmmakers in Attendance


At the end of the Chicago Skyway, just off Exit Zero, lies southest Chicago, once a leading steel-producing region. The city’s steel mills spanned the shores of Lake Michigan, employed hundreds of thousands of workers, and fostered the growth of nearby communities. By the end of the 1980s, however, the industry collapsed and nearly every mill closed, leaving the neighborhoods with non-existent economies and toxic environments. Anthropologist Christine Walley was fourteen when the steel mill that employed her father closed. Walley narrates the personal impact of deindustrialization on her family and friends. Deep-seated feelings of cynicism and disappointment combine with hopefulness for the next generation in this quintessentially American story of a post-industrial city.

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Saturday October 24, 2015 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Kaufman Theater

2:30pm

The Redfern Story - Preceded by Songlines on Screen

Darlene Johnson

2014 | 57 minutes | Australia

U.S. Premiere 


In the late 1960s and early ’70s, the rundown Sydney suburb of Redfern became home to over twenty thousand Aborigines, when its affordability made it a natural choice for refugees. In this reinvigorated community, a small group of activists came together and formed The National Black Theatre—the first big step in the fight for Aboriginal equal rights and equal opportunities. These visionaries used theater, dance, and song as political tools to take control of their culture and provide a focal point for Aboriginal issues; within five years Redfern had transformed into a vibrant community for art and politics. The Redfern Story traces the history and formation of the National Black Theatre against a backdrop of a burgeoning civil rights movement. 

Preceded by Songlines on Screen

Ju Ju Wilson | 10 mins

2015 | 10 minutes | Australia

The director's 96-year-old grandmother, Granny Sheba Dignari, sings a story song about the brolga, a crane native to Australia, to children in Keep River National Park in Miriwoong country in northern Australia.

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Saturday October 24, 2015 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Caribou Room, Fifth Floor

4:30pm

Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World

Charles Wilkinson

2015 | 75 minutes | Canada, Haida Gwaii

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance

Eighty miles off the Northwest coast of British Columbia, the mountainous archipelago Haida Gwaii rises above the Pacific Ocean. These islands have been home to the Haida people since 13,000 BC, and it was here that they developed the world’s first totem poles. Though smallpox from European settlers killed a staggering nine out of ten residents and industrial overfishing and commercial logging have threatened them, a vibrant community thrives there today. In Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World, award-winning director Charles Wilkinson turns his camera on the fight to preserve the land, sea, and people of Haida Gwaii. The film celebrates the Haida chiefs, organic farmers, scientists, and local artists who have come together on the islands today to explore creative ways of building a sustainable society.

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Saturday October 24, 2015 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Linder Theater

5:00pm

Ever the Land

Sarah Grohnert

2015| 90 minutes | New Zealand, Aotearoa

U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance

Journey to New Zealand and experience the remarkable story of one of the world’s first Living Buildings—buildings that produce as much energy as they use in a year, and capture and treat rainwater for all their needs for at least 12 continuous months. After 150 years of contentious political battles and illegal land grabs, the New Zealand government returned native lands to Māori tribes such as Ngāi Tūhoe in 2014. As a monument to their values and vision of self-governance, the Tūhoe decide to construct the Living Building, which becomes the film’s unifying character. Sarah Grohnert’s observational documentary immerses us in a culture that is tightly woven into its land and an architecture that is defined by its intention.

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Saturday October 24, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Kaufmann Theater

5:00pm

The New Man

Aldo Garay

2015 | 79 minutes | Uruguay, Chile, Nicaragua

New York Premiere 


Observing more than two decades of Stephania’s life, award-winning Uruguayan filmmaker Aldo Garay delivers the personal story of one woman that resonates on a universal level. Born in Nicaragua and adopted by Uruguayan leftists, Stephania, then known as Roberto, later became a Sandinista activist, fighting for political, social, and educational reform. Forced to leave the country, she ended up in Uruguay, where 20 years later she scrapes together a meager existence guarding parked cars on the streets of Montevideo. The New Man is a rich character study of a woman, whose identity is as equally shaped by poverty, war, and communist theory as it is by sexual politics, facing all that life throws at her with grace and humor.

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Saturday October 24, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Caribou Room, Fifth Floor

5:30pm

Culture Labs

This year’s festival participants discuss the ways they have crossed the thresholds of diverse cultural worlds in their media, embracing and revealing many boundaries, borders, and breakthroughs of the human experience. These filmmakers have traveled with asylum seekers living in limbo between nations and  exposed the societal borders drawn by differences in class and gender. They have highlighted the political art and activism of Australia’s Aboriginal inner-city community Redfern, and helped audiences understand  the unique challenges faced by autistic teens. This discussion will also include Mongolian artist Tuguldur Yondonjamts speaking to the global, visual conversation seen in his festival installation, Between Two Giants

The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Faye Ginsburg, director of the NYU Center for Media, Culture and History, while the virtual reality cinematic documentary Herders will be introduced by the Center's associate director, Dr. Pegi Vail.


Saturday October 24, 2015 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Orientation Center

7:00pm

Mead Mixer
Continue the conversation! Meet filmmakers and share your Mead experiences with other festival-goers in our daily happy hour. Food and drinks are available for purchase at the café.

Free with any 2015 Mead Ticket or Pass!

Saturday October 24, 2015 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Wallach Orientation Center

7:00pm

Avant

Juan Alvarez Neme

2014 | 98 minutes | Uruguay, Argentina
 
U.S. Premiere | Director in Attendance


In 2010, Julio Bocca, one of the most revered ballet dancers of all time and a national treasure in his native Argentina, took over the Ballet Nacional Sodre of Uruguay. At the time, the company was in precipitous decline—performing in an unfinished theater, ignored internationally, and all but forgotten at home. Bocca committed himself to reviving the company and elevating it to prominence in the global cultural landscape, and his dramatic journey with the company is captured in this moving film. Art clashes with bureaucracy as the company strives for international significance and the tight-knit group of young dancers from varied backgrounds brim with hope and drama. Swirling around one of the most personally dynamic and talented artists of modern history, Avant creates a narrative tension while opening a unique and nuanced window into Uruguayan culture.  

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Saturday October 24, 2015 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Linder Theater

7:30pm

Love Marriage in Kabul

Amin Palangi  

2014 | 85 minutes | Afghanistan, Australia

U.S. Premiere 


Mahboba Rawi is a strong-willed Afghan-Australian woman dedicated to improving the lives of young people in need. The founder of the organization Mahboba’s Promise, she is a mother figure to thousands of orphans and widows whom her programs support. Abdul, one of these orphans in Kabul, is in love with Fatemeh, the girl next door. The two have been exchanging romantic letters for almost a year and hope to marry each other one day. Fatemeh’s father has other plans—and a dowry demand that goes far beyond Abdul’s means. As Mahboba intervenes on Abdul’s behalf, a drama unfolds that delineates the vulnerabilities of the disenfranchised in Afghanistan, the sometimes-cruel realities of traditional marriage arrangements, and the resilient power of love.

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Saturday October 24, 2015 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Caribou Room, Fifth Floor

7:30pm

The Shore Break

Ryley Grunenwald

2015 | 90 minutes | South Africa, Pondo

U.S. Premiere | Director(s) in Attendance


Pondoland’s Wild Coast provides a dramatic setting for a high-stakes saga that casts a new light, and accompanying shadows, across the landscape of South Africa. Spurred by an Australian mining company’s plan to exploit local titanium deposits, two cousins—one a tour guide committed to protecting the environment and culture of her home, the other an entrepreneur eager to usher in modernity and profit it will bring—clash in a vicious battle for the hearts and minds of their neighbors. As the national government intervenes with a plot to oust Pondoland’s eco-friendly royal family, tensions between the cousins and their supporters in the split community reach a fever pitch. Featuring an arresting score by a local musician, exquisite footage of Pondoland’s natural wonders, and ingenious interludes of sand animation that focus and amplify the drama, The Shore Break is a skillfully realized story that poses difficult questions about morality, idealism, and opportunism in the global economy.

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Saturday October 24, 2015 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Kaufman Theater
 
Sunday, October 25
 

12:00pm

Enter the Faun

Tamar Rogoff and Daisy Wright

2015 | 68 minutes | U.S.A.

New York City Premiere  | Directors in Attendance


An unexpected collaboration between veteran choreographer Tamar Rogoff and Gregg Mozgala, a young actor with cerebral palsy challenges the boundaries of art and medicine. As she trains him to become a dancer, they discover that her lack of formal medical training and his fears and physical impairments are not obstacles. The film charts their joyous if difficult journey toward an opening night performance, delivering small miracles along the way that speak to the human body’s astonishing possibility for transformation.

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Sunday October 25, 2015 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Kaufman Theater

12:00pm

The Last Refuge - Preceded by The Guide Boy, Lady Stone, and Minister of Papaya

Anne-Laure Porée and Guillaume Suon

2013 | 65 minutes | Cambodia, France


In the heart of Cambodia, the Bunong people have inhabited the forest for over two thousand years, practicing animism and living in close accord with their natural environment. Recently, though, the region has fallen victim to one of the world’s most aggressive deforestation campaigns, with 2.85 million hectares of Cambodian forest leveled for rubber cultivation. The Last Refuge, produced by celebrated Cambodian director Rithy Panh and directed by Anne-Laure Poreé and Guillame Soun, follows a young woman from the community as she returns to document the devastation of the environment and the resistance by the Bunong people. 

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Preceded by The Guide Boy, Lady Stone, and Minister of Papaya

The Guide Boy

Phally Ngoeum

2014 | 8 minutes | Cambodia

On a mountain known equally for its mythical associations and its history during the Khmer Rouge period, 12-year-old Chre works as a tour guide, eking out a meager living. Though his hardships seem insurmountable—his mother died when he was a toddler and his sister migrated to Thailand, leaving him the sole provider and caretaker of his sick father—his resilience is their equal, as he dreams of getting an education and improving his professional prospects. 

Lady Stone

Roeun Narith

2014 | 9 minutes| Cambodia

At the foot of the mountains in southern Cambodia, a woman scrabbles in the white dust to turn rocks into pebbles, which she will sell for 35 cents a sack. She once owned land, but malaria carried everything away: her money, her rice field, and her husband. Selling the pebbles with plans to seek employment in Phnom Penh, she tenaciously hangs on to hope and a new life in the big city. 

Minister of Papaya

Roeun Narith

2013 | 8 minutes | Cambodia

Armed with a brightly colored motorbike, a wide smile, and an engaging sense of humor, Mao Bora roams the streets of Phnom Penh selling papayas and bringing positive energy wherever he goes. This small but mighty film is a joyful reminder of how the simplest actions can produce hope and inspiration.


Sunday October 25, 2015 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Caribou Room, Fifth Floor

12:00pm

Albert Maysles Tribute
In honor of the iconic filmmaker Albert Maysles, who participated in the festival numerous times and who died on March 5, 2015, this year’s retrospective screening features three of the many projects he worked on over his long career.

Moth at the Mead Festival Untold Story: Documentary Filmmakers on the One That Got Away | 1999 | 10 mins
Maysles tells five mini-stories, including a behind-the-scenes retelling of the making of Orson Welles in Spain.

Orson Welles in Spain | 1963 | 10 mins
Orson Welles pitches a largely improvised bullfighting movie to wealthy arts patrons, expounding on the arts of both filmmaking and bullfighting.

Primary | Robert Drew | 1960 | 60 mins
This landmark cinéma vérité work—the first feature-length film Albert Maysles worked on—follows John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey during the 1960 Wisconsin primary.

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Sunday October 25, 2015 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Linder Theater

2:30pm

Kasheer: Art, Culture, and the Struggle for Azadi

Elayne McCabe

2014 | 52 minutes | India-controlled Kashmir, U.S.A.

New York Premiere 


Since the 1947 partition of the British Indian Empire into what is now India and Pakistan, Kashmir—which immediately became a disputed territory—has existed in a state of perpetual occupation. The region’s plight is illuminated through the work of three local artists living in the Kashmir Valley. A talented young political cartoonist offers biting satiric commentary on regional politics. A middle-aged artist reflects, through abstract ink drawings, on his childhood and the tragic changes the militancy brought to his neighborhood. A senior artist uses vibrant spiritual paintings to reveal his quest for inner peace in the midst of unending social turmoil. The film puts a distinctly human face on the nuanced complexities of life under military rule and reveals the power of creativity in even the most dire of circumstances.

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Sunday October 25, 2015 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Caribou Room, Fifth Floor

2:30pm

Drawing the Tiger

Amy Benson and Scott Squire

2015 | 96 minutes | U.S.A., Nepal

New York City Premiere


Drawing the Tiger
 tells the story of a rural Nepalese family that has lived for generations as subsistence farmers, today surviving on less than a dollar per day. A beacon of possibility shines upon the family when Shanta, the eldest daughter is given a full scholarship to attend school in Kathmandu. Shot over seven years, the film begins as a straightforward victory for Shanta and women’s education more broadly. However, as life unfolds, Shanta does not return to free her family from poverty as all imagined she would. The pursuit of this opportunity amid her perception of family pressure exacts an unexpected cost.

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Sunday October 25, 2015 2:30pm - 4:30pm
Kaufmann Theater

3:00pm

Driving with Selvi - Preceded by The Funeral Singer

Elisa Paloschi

2015 | 72 minutes | India, Canada, U.K.

New York Premiere 


At 18 years old, Selvi escaped an abusive marriage she had been forced into by poverty and patriarchal norms. Over the next decade, she embarked on an unlikely and stirring transformation: leaving a transitional shelter, finding work, fulfilling the almost impossible dream of getting her licenses to drive a cab and then a bus, and starting her own taxi company. Despite the tremendous hardships of her past, her unwavering spirit and sense of forward momentum enabled her quest to become South India’s first female taxi driver. Driving with Selvi is at once a scathing examination of women’s roles in India and a celebration of one exceptional woman’s desire to transcend, all set in the famously chaotic Indian traffic.


Preceded by The Funeral Singer


Thanh Hoang

2015 | 15 minutes| Vietnam, U.S.A.

New York Premiere | Director in Attendance

Anh chi Bay makes a living composing melodies for the recently deceased in a village in northern Vietnam. His task is to celebrate life and family through the process of death and grieving, and his relationship with mortality is intimate. Traditionally, he would pass on this unique role to his oldest son—but Anh chi Bay has only daughters. Through his eyes and those of his eldest daughter, The Funeral Singer explores how we find purpose in our work and how we understand our legacy.

Sold out

Sunday October 25, 2015 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Linder Theater

5:00pm

Matria

Fernando Llanos

2014 | 62 minutes | Mexico

New York Premiere 

Antolin Jimenez was one of Mexico’s most distinguished charros or horsemen. He fought alongside Pancho Villa, represented the state of Oaxaca in Congress, and was the president of the National Charro Association. In 1942, as rumors spread of a Nazi invasion of Mexico, Jimenez formed and trained a group of 100,000 fighters to repel the attack. Seventy years later, Jimenez’s grandson Fernando Llanos brings us the film Matria, tracing the director’s quest to understand more about his mysterious grandfather and the culture of charros in the mid-20th century. Deeply rooted family secrets are unearthed in the process, and what begins as a character profile becomes an entangled story of family lore and a window into the history of modern Mexico.

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Sunday October 25, 2015 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Caribou Room

5:00pm

How to Dance in Ohio

Alexandra Shiva

2015 | 88 minutes | U.S.A.

New York City Premiere | Director in Attendance


A first date, a first dance, a first kiss—these rites of passage for young people from all walks of life in America and around the world distill the excitement, embarrassment, and trepidation of the transition to adulthood. But for some teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum, the first steps towards social intimacy are a far more daunting proposition. This moving and entertaining film focuses on a group of young people as they prepare for an iconic event: a spring formal dance. Working with their psychologist, they bit by bit deconstruct fear and larger-than-life anxiety as they pick dates, dresses, and, ultimately, a king and queen of the prom. How to Dance in Ohio dramatizes with extraordinary poignancy the universal human need to grow, connect, and belong.

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Sunday October 25, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Kaufman Theater

5:30pm

The Room of Bones - Preceded by What Remains

Marcela Zamora

2015 | 52 minutes | El Salvador, Mexico


Across Mexico and Central America, the last twenty years have been plagued by a meteoric and troubling rise in desaparecidosor missing persons. Mass murder has become all too common, and the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown as the relationship between governments, gangs, and other criminal organizations is shrouded in mystery. As civil and legal systems have failed to thoroughly investigate the crisis, families of victims are left to seek closure and justice on their own. In The Room of Bones, El Salvadoran filmmaker Marcela Zamora follows a group of forensic anthropologists in her home country tasked with the noble but gruesome work of unearthing human remains and matching them with names of desaparecidos. The result is a harrowing portrait of a region in crisis.

Preceded by What Remains

Lee Douglas and Jorge Moreno Andrés

2014 | 30 minutes| Spain, U.S.A.

Director in Attendance

Though official records don’t exist, experts in Spain believe that at least 118,000 people were “disappeared” during Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s totalitarian regime. Since 2000, an estimated 2,000 bodies from the era have been exhumed from hundreds of mass graves—a gruesome and brutal legacy literally buried in the nation’s soil. What Remainsfollows two anthropologists as they aid one family’s attempt to overcome decades of silence and piece together their own history.

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Sunday October 25, 2015 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Linder Theater

6:00pm

Mead Mixer
Continue the conversation! Meet filmmakers and share your Mead experiences with other festival-goers in our daily happy hour. Food and drinks are available for purchase at the café.

Free with any 2015 Mead Ticket or Pass!

Sunday October 25, 2015 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Wallach Orientation Center

7:00pm

Mead Awards Ceremony

The Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award recognizes documentary filmmakers who embody the spirit, energy, and innovation demonstrated by anthropologist Margaret Mead in her research, fieldwork, films, and writings. The Mead Award winners will be announced in an awards ceremony on Sunday evening followed by an encore presentation of the winning film.

This year, the Mead will host a special presentation on awards night in honor of the 10th anniversary of Chicken and Egg Pictures.


Sunday October 25, 2015 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Wallach Orientation Center

8:00pm

Closing Night: In a Perfect World...
Daphne McWilliams

2015 | 75 minutes | U.S.A.

New York Premiere | Director in Attendance

Closing Night Film 

Daphne McWilliams, a filmmaker and single mother in New York City, observes the dramatic turn her relationship with her son, Chase, takes as he enters high school and begins to outwardly process a childhood without a father figure. In her first feature documentary, In a Perfect World…, McWilliams turns the camera on her family to document its painful history and transition. To illuminate some of the universal struggles of paternal absenteeism, she interviews a diverse group of men who were raised by single mothers, exploring the requisite dynamics of this family unit. Firefighters, artists, and politicians alike speak candidly about their experiences of being a man raised by a woman. In a Perfect World… is at once an American self-portrait and also an ambitious reflection on the modern family. 

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Sunday October 25, 2015 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Kaufman Theater

8:30pm

Icaros - Preceded by Earth's Children

Georgina Barreiro

2014 | 70 minutes | Argentina, Peru

New York Premiere 

Join Mokan Rono on a journey in the Peruvian Amazon to uncover the ancestral history and meaning of ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew used by Shipibo shamans. This meditative film delves deep into the lives of Shipibo indigenous people, who have lived for over two thousand years on the banks of Ucayali River in Peru and now carry many of their oldest traditions into the 21st century. On his journey, Mokan is mentored by his mother, a master healer as well as a local shaman. He finds himself immersed in the most deeply-held principles of Shipibo philosophy: there is a gap between the physical and spiritual worlds that can observed and all living creatures carry spirits.

Preceded by Earth's Children

Diego Sarmiento Pagán

2014 | 14 minutes | Peru

Created entirely by members of the Kechwa-Lamista native community of Chirigyako, in the Peruvian Amazon, as part of the Indigenous Amazonian Video Project, Earth’s Children follows a group of kids as they go about their day: picking bananas for breakfast, singing as they walk to their farm, working on the land, and playing at hunting. 

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Sunday October 25, 2015 8:30pm - 10:30pm
Linder Theater

8:30pm

Mead Award Screening
Sunday October 25, 2015 8:30pm - 10:30pm
Caribou Room