The Margaret Mead Film Festival introduces audiences to a wide variety of cultures. The films presented highlight our ever evolving and rapidly changing world. They aim to broaden one’s horizons and to help understand what it means to live in a truly diverse world. Besides film screenings, the festival also hosts debates, art installations, exhibits, and seminars. Tickets will be available beginning on September 7th.
Read on to learn more about this amazing event!
Margaret Mead and “Activate”
Over 40 selected films will be presented at this year’s festival. Many of them will also be making their Stateside premiere. The film festival is named after the iconic anthropologist who jumpstarted the American sexual revolution during the 1960s. Margaret Mead also worked at the museum for over half a century as a curator. This festival is dedicated to a woman who’s curiosity towards other cultures propelled the world forward.
This year’s festival takes on the theme of “Activate”. This stands for going outside your self-imposed comfort zones and venturing out into the unknown. It also symbolizes the courage required to be proactive during uncertain times like the ones we’re currently experiencing. To active yourself means to take the action necessary to provide a better tomorrow for the coming generations.
About the Festival
The Margaret Mead Film Festival excels at tackling issues that aren’t widely discussed in the mainstream media. The films shown spark conversations that can also turn into widespread movements. More than anything, it’s designed to be an interactive and also engaging experience between filmmakers and audiences.
The Margaret Mead Film Festival was the first to ever screen the revolutionary documentary “Paris is Burning”. It has also showcased films that have gone on to win the Oscar Award for Best Documentary. For example, “The Blood of Yingzhou District” took home the coveted statue in 2006. The festival was founded in 1977 and is also the longest running event of its kind. It continues to attract the best and boldest filmmakers in the industry.
Read on to check out some of most anticipated screenings from this year’s program!
Brimstone & Glory
October 19th at 7pm
“Brimstone & Glory” is the film selected to open this year’s festival. The film takes place in the town of Tultepec in Mexico. This small village is known for celebrating the anniversary of a saint called San Juan de Dios. During the festival, the town’s streets catch on fire as a parade of pyrotechnics marches on. The tradition culminates with the “burning of the bulls” in which the bravest participants run around floats that are designed to look like bulls. The bulls are also equipped with fireworks that go off as the participants surround the float. Director Victor Jakovleski chose to film the fireworks in slow motion to bring the audience into a state of trance. According to Jakovleski, he entered into a meditative mindset while observing the vibrant yearly tradition.
October 21st at 8pm
This unsettling documentary takes a close look at the inner workings of predictive technology. Is our future starting to look more similar to the one depicted in “Minority Report” and other sci-fi films? In today’s world, police are also using predictive software to detect potential criminals. They are allowed to access to a citizen’s criminal and mental health records. They can also track a citizen’s social media accounts and activity. Is this for our benefit? Or is this new state of hyper vigilance another danger for our privacy? “Pre-Crime” is a daring documentary that will also dare you to think outside the box.
October 22nd at 12pm
This emotive documentary follows the life of 17-year-old Ying Lang. We are introduced to Ying as she’s shadowing for a position as a mortician at a funeral parlor in China. She quickly starts to struggle adjusting to adult life as she finds her daily routine suddenly transformed. Ying’s struggle to come of age is a universal story we can all relate to. However, this is also a movie that’s ultimately about life, death, and the search for meaning in our lives. British filmmaker Carol Salter will also be attending the US premiere of her powerful piece of work.
A Queer Country
October 22nd at 2.30pm
“A Queer Country” offers an intriguing look into Israel’s LGBT rights. The city of Tel Aviv is home to the largest Pride parade in the world. Every summer, thousands descend upon the vibrant city to proclaim their sexual freedom. However, some of the country’s laws and policies don’t always seem to share the same level of liberty. The country adheres to Orthodox Judaism and some of it might be at odds with LGBT rights. The film also brings to light some of the contradictions that face Israel’s LGBT community. Is the country as accepting as it seems to be on the surface? Don’t miss the New York premiere of this poignant documentary filmed by Lisa Morgenthau.
Lust for Sight
October 22nd at 5pm
Award-winning director Manuel von Sturler is back with his most personal film to date. Sturler has been dealing with gradual blindness over the last five years. In this intimate documentary, he depicts what happens to a filmmaker after losing his ability to see the world’s beauty. “Lust for Light” is an honest portrayal that explores the importance of vision in the visual arts. Sturler is also a contender for the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award. The award is given to a filmmaker who’s innovative and displays a masterful level of artistry. The director himself will also be in attendance for the US premiere of his documentary.
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s largest museums. It houses 45 permanent exhibits, 28 buildings, a state-of-art planetarium, a library, and also many research facilities. The museum was founded in 1869. It’s best known for being featured in the hit 2006 film “Night at the Museum” starring Ben Stiller. The museum is also home to millions of plants, animals, fossils, meteorites, cultural artifacts, and many other items. More than five million visitors explore its vast halls every year. To learn more about the festival’s ticket prices and festival passes, click here.