2012 Festival

NEW!2012 Official ‘Warm-Up’ Screenings: (click here for more details)
July 4 @ Socrates Sculpture Park (w/Rooftop Films):  “A Short Film about Ice Fishing”
July 12 @ Flux Factory Arts Collective:  “Compound Eyes #1″ & “Painting John” (NY Premiere)
July 25 @ Socrates Sculpture Park (w/Rooftop Films): “Sacha the Bear” (N. American Premiere)
July 26 @ Queens Library/Astoria Branch:  “A Man Named Pearl”
July 27 @ Williamsburg Automotive High School (w/Rooftop Films): “Threadbare”
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2012 Creative Achievement award winners:
Narrative – “The Hunter” by Marieka Walsh
Experimental – “Morning Glory” by Robert Todd
Documentary – “Kā tev klājas, Rūdolf Ming? (How Are You Doing, Rūdolf Ming?)” by Roberts Rubins
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2012 CORE FESTIVAL:
 (including short films from “Thirteen Forsaken Fragments” by legendary ethnographic filmmaker, Robert Gardner, before each program at MoMI! **click here for more info!**)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 
3

7PM @ Museum of the Moving Image (tix available via MoMI)
Baraka in 70mm - OPENING NIGHT SCREENING
Preceeded by special short preview of Samsara & Robert Gardner’s It Could Be Good, It Could Be Bad.

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SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

2PM @ Museum of the Moving Image (free w/museum admission)
Upside Down (Khalti doka varti paay) – North American Sneak Preview
Entertaining & endearing Upside Down, suitable for family audiences, is about a child’s much-anticipated trip from rural Maharashtra to big Mumbai. Preceded by Robert Gardner’s Life Keeps on Passing.

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SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

5PM @ Museum of the Moving Image (free w/museum admission)
The First Season w/director Rudd Simmons in person
Rudd Simmons (producer, Boardwalk EmpireRoyal Tennenbaums) took to the country for his directorial debut, following a couple and their children through their first year as dairy farmers. Preceded by Old LadyHeadwaters: Phebel and Flora Wright. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

2PM @ Museum of the Moving Image (free w/museum admission)
Kā tev klājas, Rūdolf Ming? (How Are You Doing, Rūdolf Ming?) + Short Film Showcase
Roberts Rubins’ complex character study of a young, largely self-taught ‘outsider’ artist in rural Latvia.
Screens w/16mm prints of Our Summer Made Her Light Escape Morning Glory + CrosshairsCharlie Cline and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers Hauling Sharks.

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

4:30PM @ Museum of the Moving Image (free w/museum admission)
Now, Forager SPECIAL SNEAK PREVIEW before the theatrical release this fall
A film about love and fungi. Preceeded by Tibetan director, Pema Tseden’s The Grassland
(w/Tseden present for Q&A), George Thompson: Street Cleaner & Robert Gardner’s Salt.
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 SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

8 & 10PM @ the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm (tix available via Rooftop Films)
Rooftop Farm Shorts - CLOSING NIGHT SPECIAL PRESENTATION
Two programs of short films from Rural Route & our friends at Rooftop Films.
w/specially-curated installation films in the  downstairs foyer!
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 3

OPENING NIGHT SCREENING
7pm
Museum of the Moving Image

Baraka - 70mm print!
Dir. Ron Fricke. 96min. 1992. Exp. Documentary. 24 countries, 6 continents.
A true cinematographic masterpiece, “Baraka” is described by its director as “a guided meditation on humanity,” viewing the wonders of the world, without narration, through man’s and nature’s prisms of symmetry, savagery, harmony, and chaos.

Baraka in 70mm preceded by:                                                           

Samsara Preview                                                  
Dir. Ron Fricke.  2012. Experimental Documentary.
This rare screening of Baraka in 70mm will be preceded by a preview of its long-awaiting sequel, “Samsara”, which is being released Aug. 24 by Oscilloscope Laboratories.

It Could Be Good, It Could Be Bad
Dir. Robert Gardner. 6 min. Documentary. 1997/2011. Chilean Andes.
A breathtaking flight over the Chilean Patagonian Andes in a small craft piloted by filmmaker Robert Fulton.

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SATURDAY, AUGUST 4                                                                                                   

2pm
Museum of the Moving Image

Upside Down (Khalti doka varti paay)
Dir. Ajay Singh. 80min. Narrative. 2012. Pimple Poman, Maharashtra, India.
Internationally-acclaimed Iranian director Majid Majidi’s loss was young filmmaker Ajay Singh’s gain. When Majidi (Children of Heaven) was forced to turn down the opportunity due to unforeseeable circumstances, the producers turned to screenwriter Ajay (the scriptwriter himself) to first-time direct his story about a child’s much-anticipated trip from rural Maharashra to the big city of Mumbai. Khalti Doka Varti Paay (Upside Down)is a metaphorical revelation about the ways and means of everyday city life as seen through the eyes of a young boy from a distant village. The high-paced, glamorous, and at-times over-excited  norms of city behavior are nothing short of a spectacular circus in his eyes (and it is the circus he has been dying to go see).                                                                                  
This film is packed with all the right elements: comedy, drama, “Bollywood” – it’s entertaining and endearing. The characters, especially the young boy, are captivating. Upside Down plays with the duality of rural and urban in an idealistic and (perhaps) satiric way – the cityscape as ‘circus.’ That said, even w/themes that are realistic and heavy, it’s an easy watch with beautiful cinematography and great character development. Nandu (the boy in the film) is reminiscent of Spirit of the Beehive’s Ana – w/wandering thoughts and curiosities only childhood can provide.” – Teresa Pereira, Rural Route Submission Committee Juror

Upside Down preceded by:

Life Keeps on Passing
Dir. Robert Gardner. 4.5 min. Documentary. 1985/2011. Benares (Varanasi), Uttar Pradesh, India.
One of Gardner’s instincts while shooting for his masterpiece, Forest of Bliss, was to see and hear what poets had to say about their surroundings. These scenes work as an old-world Hindu music video, recounting some of their thoughts, floating down the River Ganges.
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SATURDAY, AUGUST 5

5pm
 Museum of the Moving Image 
(**Q&A with director to follow)

The First Season – NY PREMIERE
Dir. Rudd Simmons. 83min. Documentary. 2011. Sharon Springs, NY.
Paul and Phyllis van Amburgh, embracing the traditional American values essential to life on the small farm (honest toil, thrift, and dedication to family) take their life savings and buy a defunct dairy. With three children, plus a fourth on the way, and armed only with their principles and determination, they fight to defy the odds and become full-time farmers. Rudd Simmons (producer of narrative critical successes such as “Boardwalk Empire” & ”Royal Tennenbaums”) makes his directorial debut with this documentary, as he took to the country to follow the couple through their first year.                 
Through an intimate, unsentimental cinema verite style, “The First Season” bears witness to the Van Amburghs’ passionate struggle to build their version of the American dream despite never-ending labor, financial ruin, and the harsh reality of dairy farming. Simmons’ film presents a subtle, fresh take on contemporary U.S. agriculture, as it follows the sometimes trendy, contemporary storyline of folks packing up their city dwellings for life on the farm, but without propaganda. “The First Season” is a straightforward crossover between ‘up and leaving for the country’ stories and a document of the dying small family farm, as the van Amburghs walk right into the scenario that we’ve seen in many sad documentaries over the past ten years, determined to make it work.

The First Season preceded by:

Headwaters: Phebel and Flora Wright
Prod. Headwaters Television/Appalshop. 6min. Archival. 1982. Southeast KY.
This clip is from a half-hour program in which traditional musicians Phebel and Flora Wright are joined in their home by “Fiddle King of the South,” Marion Sumner for an old time jam session and discussion of their lives in music.   It was produced by Appalshop’s Headwaters Television, a “community directed” weekly series that covered folk arts, local affairs, and music for broadcast on a local NBC affiliate in Hazard, Kentucky.   The original ¾” Umatic videotape masters from the first five years of Headwaters production were preserved by Appalshop Archive in 2008 with a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. 

Old Lady
Dir. Robert Gardner. 3.5min. Documentary. 1958/2011. Namibia.
A wrinkled, ashen-faced old woman asleep in the Kalahari Desert.

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

2pm
 Museum of the Moving Image
U.S. PREMIERE


Kā tev klājas, Rūdolf Ming? (How Are You Doing, Rūdolf Ming?) + Short Film Showcase
Dir. Roberts Rubins. 60 min. Documentary. 2010. Talsi, Kurzeme, Latvia.
Thirteen-year-old Rudolf Ming has a near-obsessive passion for film and violence. Troubled and gifted, his hobbies include constructing booby traps and making explosives. However, his true calling appears to be an artist; he draws bloody scenes frame-by-frame on long, thin strips of parchment paper.  Rudolf adds live narration to the voice of every character in his scripts while simultaneously moving the homemade film strips in front of an old slide projector. Rubins’ complex character study shows Rudolf Ming as largely self-taught ‘outsider’ artist in rural Latvia where he`s misunderstood by his peers and the concerned adults around him. In an act of guidance, a Catholic priest, playing both father and antagonist, commissions Rudolf for a special film for a church screening. Intense and provocative, the film contemplates misfits, outcasts and the power of artistic expression.          

Kā tev klājas, Rūdolf Ming? screens with short films:

Crosshairs – NY Premiere
Dir. Mike Hoath. 12min. Narrative. 2011. Gidgegannup, Western Australia.
Two brothers from rural Western Australian are caught poaching a lamb on a neighboring property. When Beau refuses to go quietly his younger sibling becomes a pawn in a violent showdown. Script by award-winning writer/director, Peter Templeman.

Charlie Cline and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers
Prod. Mountain Community Television/Appalshop. 6min. Archival. 1977. Wise County, VA.
This performance by Charlie Cline and the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, featuring Cline’s wife, Lee, on electric bass, is from the 1977 Ralph Stanley Memorial Bluegrass Festival at Smith’s Ridge in southwestern Virginia. The clip features a sermon by Cline, who was also a baptist preacher. The festival in its entirety was taped and broadcast on Norton, Virginia cable access television under the title, Sunday Morning Gospel, which was preserved by Appalshop Archive in 2008 as part of its Mountain Community Television videotape preservation project.

Hauling Sharks
Dir. Robert Gardner. 9.5min. Documentary. 1968/2011. Shores of the Red Sea, Ethiopia (Eritrea).
The coastal Danakil in Northeastern Ethiopia (present-day Eritrea) have found an environmentally suitable way of life-netting sharks far out to sea, which they export to south Arabian states.

Our Summer Made Her Light Escape – World Premiere
Dir. Sasha Waters Freyer. 4.5 min. Experimental. 2012. Iowa City, IA.  16mm print
A portrait of interiority, maternal ambivalence and the passage of time. Children playing in the great American backyard.

Morning Glory – NY Premiere
Dir. Robert Todd. 15min. Experimental. 2011. Ashby, MA.  16mm print
A fantasy in ___ minor, in 4 movements, inspired by the reveries of an afternoon’s rest on the farm. The films of Robert Todd (camera & music) resound in an abstract world all their own, drawing emotion from such everyday domestic simplicities as a common view of the backyard and an unfamiliar perspective of the siding on a house.

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

4:30pm
Museum of the Moving Image 

**w/Pema Tseden’s Grassland

Now, Forager – Exclusive Sneak Preview screening prior to the film’s release at IFC Center this fall!
Dir. Jason Cortlund & Julia Halperin. 93min. Narrative. 2012. New Jersey woodlands, NYC.
Lucien and Regina are an atypical thirty-something couple, who live in Jersey City, but forage further into the garden state to hunt wild mushrooms that they sell to gourmet restaurants. Their lifestyle is simple, their income erratic. He is a monomaniac expert, she is more practical. As Regina seeks more stability as a prep cook at a trendy restaurant and Lucien wants to devote himself to full-time nomadic mushroom hunting cross-country, their marriage is put to a test.
Directors Cortlund and Halperin juxtapose the fictional story with accurate food preparation, pictures of the passing seasons and beautiful close-ups of mushrooms in the wild – from the deadly poisonous yet beautiful toadstool known as the Destroying Angel (amanita verna) to the bizarre-looking Bear’s Tooth (hericium erinaceous) and the delicious Porcino (boletus edulis).Refreshing, original supporting characters include machete-wielding Russians in the woods, trashy Basque restaurant owners, and a superb performance by Gabrielle Maisels as the wealthy wife of a conservative bigwig.                                   
A film about love and fungi,“Now, Forager” meshes perfectly with today’s Slow-Food movement.

Now, Forager preceded by:

The Grassland (Director will be present!)
Dir. Pema Tseden. 22min. Narrative. 2004. Amdo region, Nagqu, Tibet.
Tibetan-born director Pema Tsetan’s latest feature, Old Dog, just won Best Feature at the Brooklyn Film Fest (also selected for Rotterdam & Slamdance), and is being hailed as one of the most important films of the year by critics.  Here’s a chance to see his final student work at the Beijing Film Academy.  Like all of Pema’s films, Grassland is set in rural Tibet; it is a timeless allegory of an old nomadic couple searching for a stolen yak.

George Thompson: Street Cleaner
Prod. Mountain Community Television/Appalshop. 2.5min. Archival. 1977. Norton, VA.
In addition to being “the best street sweeper they ever had in the city of Norton,” Thompson was an accomplished, self-taught guitarist. MCTV was a cable access television project that aired locally in the coal mining region of southwestern Virginia from 1972-78. Programs featured homegrown craftspeople, musicians, events, and profiles of local citizens.   Following MCTV’s demise, the original b&w ½” open reel videotapes were deposited at Appalshop, where they were safeguarded, and in 2008 a large portion of the collection was preserved.

Salt
Dir. Robert Gardner. 2.5min. Documentary. 1968/2011. Dallol, Ethiopia.
One of Gardner’s filmic interests in Ethiopia was to see and film the salt trade between the Highlands and the Dallol Depression, a wondrous environment of unbearable heat and intense color. He managed a start only and these are the bits that emerged.

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

8pm
BROOKLYN GRANGE ROOFTOP FARM
Shorts on the Rooftop Farm with Rooftop Films – Click Here for Tickets and Details

Un Buen Hijo
Dir. Juan Gil Garcia. 20min. Narrative. 2011. La Misión, Baja, Mexico. NY Premiere!
A young man from rural Mexico with secret aspirations of being a drag performer is forced to choose between helping his hard-working farm parents and running for his dreams.

SEVEN DAYS IN THE WOODS (Peter Larsson | 6 min.)
The trees alongside the road, everything was blurry. There was a faint electrical buzz coming from somewhere. It was damp and raw, like the Stone Age.

THE FORT (Andrew Renzi | 11 min.)
A boy builds a fort in the woods. A man appears to help. The mist and chill are palpable, and the air is filled with eerie disquiet.

STICK CLIMBING (Daniel Zimmerman | 14 min.)
A contemplative walk spurs a desire to escape via a bizarre climbing tour.

PULL (Matthew Gustafson | 27 min.)
A naturalistic, light drama about sex, tractors, and the forces we exert upon each other.

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

10pm

BROOKLYN GRANGE ROOFTOP FARM
Shorts on the Rooftop Farm with Rooftop Films – Click Here for Tickets and Details

The Hunter
Dir. Marieka Walsh. 6min. Sand Animation. 2012. Australia.
A boy goes missing in the snow-covered wilderness, feared taken by wolves. A hunter undertakes a journey to find the him, but as he tracks the boy into the mountains, he discovers that his instincts can no longer be trusted. Here, far from civilization he must make decisions that will forever change his relationship with the wilderness he has always feared. The Hunter is an elegant & surprising stop-motion sand animation that tells a new timeless tale.

The Water’s Edge – NY Premiere
Dir. Chris Thomas. 14min. Narrative. 2011. Snowdonia, North Wales.
In the aftermath of an alien occupation of Britain, a lone man devotes his life solely to a myth that salvation can be found in the water. However, he must avoid the threats that surround him.

BOY (Topaz Adizes | 9 min.)
In this gentle but stark narrative, a child’s enthusiasm for father-son bonding has brutal and haunting consequences.

YOUNG BIRD SEASON (Nellie Kluz | 19 min.)
A rare look into a pastime fading from popularity, this intimate documentary exposes the obscure nuances and amusing cultural details among the flyers at New England’s Braintree Pigeon Racing Club.

THE ART OF CATCHING (Jessica Bardsley | 35 min.)
Based in the Florida Everglades, Rooftop alum Bardsley has crafted an autobiographical study of history and myth, decaying in the swamps. The mixed materials that make up this luscious and fascinating film have a tactile feel that personally invites you into a fertile but deadly land.

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

BROOKLYN GRANGE ROOFTOP FARM

INSTALLATION WORKS IN THE DOWNSTAIRS FOYER:  

Blueberryland
Dir. Melissa Davenport. 36min. Exp. Documentary. 2012. Blue Hill, ME.
In the manner of process films, Blueberryland shows the steps involved in the labor-intensive harvest of this popular fruit, while diverging from the traditional by stripping away narration and remaining observational in style.

Tear it Up, Son!
Dir. Ross Nugent. 9 min. Exp. Documentary. 2011. Yankee Lake, Brookfield, OH.
Milwaukee based Nugent presents backwoods ballyhoo straddling the Ahiah/Pennsyltucky border, sanctioned by $10 and a sign-yer-life-away waiver, this is Yankee Lake Truck Night.

Saskatchewan
Dir. Richard Wiebe. 18 min. Experimental. 2011. Saskatchewan, Canada.
16mm footage and Edison Voicewriter recordings from the 1940s introduce the Iowa City filmmaker to a family he never knew.

Up on the Farm
Dir. Diane Nerwen. 16min. Exp. Documentary. 2011. Queens, NY.
A meditation on urban green spaces and the post-industrial cityscape, Up On The Farm explores a one-acre rooftop organic farm in New York City.

Degress North
Dir. Dan Sokolowski. 65min. Exp. 2012. Dawson City, Yukon, Canada.
Beginning at Pelee Island (42 degrees north) and finishing at the Arctic Circle (66 degrees north), Sokolowski provides his trademark blend of live action photography, painting, animation, and music.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS:

GROW!
Dir. Christine Anthony & Owen Masterson. 2011. 60 min. Georgia.
Filmed on 12 farms throughout Georgia, GROW! takes a look at a new generation of sustainable farmers through the eyes, hearts and minds of 20 idealistic, passionate and fiercely independent young growers
Wiebo's War
Dir. David York. 2011. 93min. Alberta, Canada.
The story of a Christian community at war with the oil and gas industry. Wiebo Ludwig is the prime suspect in a recent string of pipeline bombings which echo a campaign of sabotage he undertook in the 1990's.
The Farmer and the Horse
Dir. Jared Flesher. 2010. 76min. New Jersey.
Three young farmers are going all the way with their alternative rural lifestyle - farming w/draft horses instead of tractors.
Give Me the Banjo
Dir. Marc Fields. 2011. 82min. USA.
Narrated by Steve Martin, Give Me the Banjo traces the colorful and contested journey of America's quintessential instrument from its African roots to the present, with performances and commentary by Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Mike Seeger, Abigail Washburn and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Grown in Detroit
Dir. Manfred Poppenk. 2009. 60min. Detroit, MI (Driehuis, Netherlands)
Teen moms becoming urban farmers in Detroit. Nature is taking over the city and the new generation is taught to harvest its profit.