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Mead Film Fest at Little Theatre this weekend

April 3, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The Margaret Mead Traveling Film Festival will be at Western Michigan University, with nine films screening Friday and Saturday, April 4-5, in the Little Theatre.

Begun in 1977, the Margaret Mead Film Festival is the longest-running annual showcase for international documentary films in the United States. The film topics always encompass a broad spectrum, from indigenous community media to experimental non-fiction.

The traveling festival comes direct from the Museum of Natural History in New York City, where the main festival takes place each year. It is celebrated for its diverse and exceptional films, which address some of the most engaging and provocative issues of our time.

All shows are open to the public free of charge, presented by the WMU Anthropology Student Union. Seating is limited.

The Little Theatre is located at the corner of Oakland Drive and Oliver Street on WMU's East Campus. Free off-street parking is available behind the theatre. For more information, contact wmuasu@gmail.com, or call the Little Theatre movie line at (269) 387-8221.

Margaret Mead Traveling Film Festival

Little Theatre, Western Michigan University

Friday, April 4

6 p.m. Stranger Comes to Town (2007) 28 min.
This video re-purposes animations from the Department of Homeland Security, combining them with stories from the border, images from the online game World of Warcraft, and journeys via Google Earth, to tell a tale of bodies moving through lands familiar and strange. Goss focuses on the questions and examinations used to establish identity at the border, and how these processes in turn affect one's own sense of self and view of the world.

6:45 p.m. Village of Dust, City of Water (2006) 28 min.
A lyrical and chilling ciné poem about social exploitation over access to water in India, where rural water supplies are redistributed to serve booming cities and whole communities are displaced to create dams.

7:30 p.m. Gimme Green (2006) 27 min.
Gimme Green is a super-real look at the American obsession with lawns, and their impact on our environment, our wallets, and our outlook on life. From subdivisions in Florida to sod farms in the arid Southwest, Gimme Green peers behind the curtain of the $40 billion industry that fuels our nation's most irrigated crop - the lawn.

8:30 p.m. The Water Front (2007) 50 min.
In Highland Park, Michigan, local activists dealing with economic justice and welfare rights fight to keep their community's water from being privatized. Their battle engages the debate of how water, a valuable and essential public resource, should be managed in the midst of an economic crisis that silences claims to human rights. The story is an unnerving indication of what may be in store for residents around the world facing their own water struggles.

10 p.m. Promised Paradise (2006) 52 min.
Jakarta-based puppeteer Agus Nur Amal travels to Bali to call to account the individuals responsible for the terrorist bombing of a Balinese nightclub in October 2002. As in his theatrical performances, Agus uses humor to explore the complexities of these acts of hate. The results are both revealing and sobering.

Saturday, April 5

5 p.m. The Birthday (2006) 63 min.
Sexuality remains bound to tradition in modern Iran, and yet within this rigid structure, transsexuals find a government supportive of their desire to be reborn through surgery. This sensitive portrait offers a window into the complex issues of gender and sexuality in an Islamic society.

6:30 p.m. The Thread of Karma (2007) 52 min.
In 1991, filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam made The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche (Mead Festival 1992), which followed the search and discovery of a 4-year-old reincarnated lama, Phara Khenchen Rinpoche. Sixteen years later, the directors revisit the reincarnation at Drepung Monastery in South India. The film offers an intimate look at the life of a young lama as he aspires to live up to the reputation of his former incarnation. It also explores his moving relationship with the two people closest to him, his attendant and his spiritual master, both of whom were connected to him in his previous life.

8 p.m. Scream of the Stone (2006) 59 min.
Once the source of legendary wealth in colonial days, Potos''s now economically destitute silver mines have been opened as a tourist destination for visitors to Bolivia. Grito de Piedra follows a Potos' miner, Gavino, and his son, Pedro, a tour guide to the mines. Depicting their lives in the mines and as participants in a burgeoning cultural tourism industry, this film reveals the enduring power of colonial enterprise to shape life in South America.

9:30 p.m. Super Amigos (2007) 82 min.
Outfitted in the regalia of the Lucha Libre, five former professional wrestlers in Mexico City don the personas of superheroes to fight injustice and inspire others within their local communities. Combining live action and comic book-style animation, the film follows the caped crusaders - Super Barrio, Super Animal, Super Ecologista, Super Gay, and Fray Tormenta--on their mission to protect the underdog.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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