This year’s edition of the Margaret Mead Film Festival comes a couple of weeks later in the calendar, running this Thursday, November 29 through Sunday, December 2. Hosted by the American Museum of Natural History, the US’s longest-running non-fiction event is organized this year around the theme “Whose Story Is It?”
The 36th edition of the festival opens with the world premiere of Sadia Shepard and Samina Quraeshi’s THE OTHER HALF OF TOMORROW, an omnibus of seven sections exploring the lives of Pakistani women changemakers. The remainder of the programming includes two dozen doc features, as well as retrospective tributes, shorts, special dialogues and events, a Mead Arcade in collaboration with Games For Change, and a Story Lounge with The Moth, POV, and Story Corps.
Among the doc features are a number of US premieres that should be worth checking out, including Giovanni Giommi’s BAD WEATHER, about a Bangladeshi island of sex workers facing the realities of climate change; Valérie Berteau and Philippe Witjes’ HIMSELF HE COOKS, observing the preparation of tens of thousands of free meals in a Sikh temple; Ram Devineni and Cano Rojas’ THE HUMAN TOWER (pictured), exploring the tradition of human tower building in Chile, Spain, and India; Adam Isenberg’s A LIFE WITHOUT WORDS, a provocative story about deaf Nicaraguan siblings raised without any means of communication; Pietra Brettkelly’s MAORI BOY GENIUS, in which a child prodigy finds the weight of his community on his shoulders; and Stefan Wittekamp and Suzanne Arts’ WHEAT AND TARES, a profile of various followers of Harold Camping, the Christian radio broadcaster who declared Judgement Day would arrive on May 21, 2011, as that date looms.
Additional films screening include Benjamin Kahlmeyer’s MEANWHILE IN MAMELODI, about life in a South African township against the backdrop of the 2010 World Cup; Aleksei Vakhrushev’s TUNDRA BOOK. A TALE OF VUKVUKLA, THE LITTLE ROCK, looking at the remote Chukchi people of the Arctic Circle; and Aaron Walker’s BURY THE HATCHET (pictured), on three of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs, a blend of African and Native American cultures.