The American Museum of Natural History will be hosting its 34th Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival from November 11–14 ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The American Museum of Natural History will be hosting its 34th Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival from November 11–14

In the Garden of Sound is the Closing Night Film at AMNH's 34th Annual Margaret Mead Film and Video FestivalThe 34th annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival is the longest-running showcase for international documentaries in the United States. The Festival screens documentaries that increase our understanding of the complexity and diversity of the peoples and cultures that populate our planet. Encompassing a broad spectrum of non-narrative work the Mead presents the best in documentary, experimental films, animation, hybrid works, and more.

For me, the highlight of this year's festival is 2009 Swiss film Nel Giardino Dei Suoni (In The Garden of Sound). This film closes the Mead Festival and includes a reception with film maker Nicola Bellucci.

Bellucci's documentary tells the extraordinary story of Wolfgang Fasser, a blind musician and soundscape artist who works with severly handicapped children, helping them to find a place in a world. On his own way into darkness, Fasser discovered the world of sounds, a parallel universe to our visual world. His far-reaching explorations of sound's effect on body and mind led him to the field of musictherapy. Today the Swiss native lives and works in a beautiful mountain village in Tuscany. Most of his young patients have multiple disabilities; some are blind and can't speak, others seem to be completely oblivious to the world around them. Step by step, through the use of all kind of sounds, Fasser establishes a dialog with the children and dramatically improves their capabilities of expression and perception. In his free time, Fasser often hikes alone or with his dog through the vallies of Tuscany, recording soundscapes with his digital recorder. For him, these recordings are like post cards, he says, because it's through sound that he sees and remembers the places he visits. Nel Giardino dei Suoni is a film with an engaging story and strong images. It won the prestigious Prix de Soleure 2010.

Films that will have U.S. premieres at the Mead Festival and feature the filmmakers in person following the screenings include:

· Roscoe Holcomb: John Cohen uses intimate footage as well as interviews with family and community members to trace the life of this seminal banjo player’s early years. Roscoe was featured in Cohen’s first film The High Lonesome Sound, which will also be shown during the festival. (world premiere). Cohen will also play live music with his band the Dust Busters at the after-screening discussion.

· Eisenwurzen: Das Musical (A Mountain Musical): Filmmaker Eva Eckert tells the humorous and fascinating story of how the Austrian tradition of yodeling is carried on in the warbling of an aging population.

· The Electric Mind: Nadav Harel’s film is an intimate portrait of an octogenarian widow, a middle-aged artist, and a pre-teen girl looking for relief from their brain disorders through cutting edge technologies and “awake” brain surgeries.

· My Beautiful Dacia: On a road trip from communism to capitalism, filmmakers Stefan Constantinescu and Julio Soto follow different generations of Romanians with one common love: the Dacia car.

· Tankograd: Directed by Boris Bertram, the film tells the story of Chelyabinsk, Russia. Once the site of a top-secret Cold War atomic bomb factory, the town is now the most radioactively polluted city in the world. But it’s also the unlikely hometown of a unique cultural institution: the vibrant, inspiring Chelyabinsk Contemporary Dance Theatre.

The Mead Festival films will be shown in the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater, Kaufmann Theater, Linder Theater, and People Center at American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West at 79th Street). Tickets are available by phone at 212-769-5200, online at, or at any of the American Museum of Natural History admission desks.