This year’s Margaret Mead Film Festival, its 38th edition, opens tomorrow, Thursday, October 23, with THE LAST PATROL, Sebastian Junger’s study of the impact of war on soldiers and war correspondents. Before it wraps on Sunday, October 26, the festival – the longest-running doc event in the US – will present more than 30 features, in addition to shorts, panels, and interactive installations at the American Museum of Natural History. The following offers a spotlight on some of these:
Showcasing ethnographic and other nonfiction work from around the world, the festival offers work from the Americas, including: Irene Chagall and Steve Zeitlin’s LET’S GET THE RHYTHM (pictured), a comparative look at the universality of girls’ hand-clapping games; Christian von Tippelskirch and Simi Linton’s INVITATION TO DANCE, a personal exploration of disability and the disability rights movement in America; Lisa Jackson’s HOW A PEOPLE LIVE, a celebration of British Columbia’s Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nation people; Miguel Hilari’s THE CORRAL AND THE WIND, following the Bolivian filmmaker to his unfamiliar ancestral homeland; and Tiago Campos’ MASTER AND DIVINO, a chronicle of the friendship between a Catholic missionary and an indigenous activist in the Amazon.
Selections from Africa include: Angus Gibson and Jemma Jupp’s local version of Michael Apted’s popular series, 28 UP SOUTH AFRICA; and Emanuela Zuccalà and Simona Ghizzoni’s documentation of the abuses faced by Saharawi women, JUST TO LET YOU KNOW I’M ALIVE. The festival’s Australian titles include: Dylan McDonald’s BUCKSKIN (pictured), about a young indigenous activist’s mission to revive the culture and language of the Kaurna people of South Australia; and Pip Deveson, Ian Dunlop, and Fred Myers’ REMEMBERING YAYAYI, in which an aboriginal elder reconnects with her past by watching footage shot of her in the 1970s.
Finally, Asian, Asian Pacific, and South Asian subjects include: Daniel Ziv’s JALANAN (pictured), which follows three Indonesia street musicians; Tham N’guyen Thi’s MADAME PHUNG’S LAST JOURNEY, about a traveling group of Vietnamese crossdressing performers; the late Robert Gardner’s DEAD BIRDS and DEAD BIRDS RE-ENCOUNTERED, an 1964 ethnographic study of West Papuan people and a recent follow-up about a 1989 return; and David MacDougall’s UNDER THE PALACE WALL, a portrait of an Indian village focused on a palace turned hotel and the school which rests below it.