2005 Rural Route Film Festival:

Rural Route staff clad in this year’s stylish green tees (except Mike)

The crowd licks their lips for the start of “Barbecue is a Noun”

Zeke Healey plays the Appalachian autoharp

Yee-haw, it’s a wrap! – Film fans, intelligent hicks, mountaineers, desert rats, and city folk came from far and near to take in four days of independent rural film and video for the 3rd annual Rural Route Film Festival at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. We watched a bear hunter’s emotional struggle, headphoned couples listen to Bright Eyes, Carolinian barbecues get rained out, a Dutch bird dance in the woods, Swiss cows head up the Alps with bells around their necks, and raver kids make for the Mojave. We saw the pioneering regional indie classic, “Spring Night, Summer Night”, for the first time in 35 years! Feature filmmakers came from blue states and red to give Q&A discussions after each screening.

Our opening night was amazing, thanks to a crisp 35mm print of “Dead Man” and the stellar freak folk performance by Akron/Family. In fact, the entire festival was full of music! We partied with good ‘ol boy Earl Pickens and The Trail of Tears, and music coordinator Tianna Kennedy lined up acts before each shorts program and webcasted them live on Free 103.9FM.

Our guests included filmmakers from Iowa City, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Kentucky, Boston, Nijmegen (The Netherlands), and Alberta (Canada). Brookie Williams (aka Faking/Brave) made the trek from Amsterdam to play some emo folk songs. We thank everyone for coming and for being a part of Rural Route 2005. We also want to thank all of our generous volunteers and our wondrous sponsors: The National Development Council, Heavy Light Digital, Horizon Organic, The Iowa Film Office, Kino International, Magno Sound & Video, Nature’s Path Foods, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Production Hub, and Free 103.9FM.

Best Narrative – Philip Dolin’s “B Movie”
Best Documentary – Mary Robertson’s “The Bear Hunter”
Best Experimental – Montieth McCollum’s “Lawn”

“SPRING NIGHT, SUMMER NIGHT is maybe the missing link between SHADOWS and THE LAST PICTURE SHOW… Rural Route has this ambivalent Minnesotan longing for New York.”

-Rob Nelson, Village Voice

“With beards back in and folk experiencing a new revival, we figure the sticks are the new city – which is what makes Rural Route Film’s pumped up 2005 programming more essential than ever.”

“A New Yorker…noted that she feels so many people are disconnected from places outside the city. And it’s not just American rural areas that are being explored in the festival’s films, but rural life worldwide.”
-Christina M. Hinke, NewYorkCool.com

“If sticky days in the city are starting to make you feel a little claustrophobic, head over to the Rural Route Film Festival, which is dedicated to all things country.”

click here for more photos by Chad Schneider at www.flickr.com

-Elizabeth Weitzman, NY Daily News

Indiewire gives a nice summary HERE

Thursday, July 21– Sunday, July 24

Dead Man (preceeded by Neil Young’s “Big Time” music video
Stranger with a Camera
Spring Night, Summer Night
B Movie preceeded by Dangerous Animal

Barbecue is a Noun – preceeded by Bonnie, Prince Billy “Horses” Music Video

Changin’ Old Ways
Euro Route
They Walk the Line
Hens, Drugs, n’ Techno

Akron/Family + Faking Brave – opening night concert

Four Ford Farming Films – between programs & projected behind band

Dead Man
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
( 35mm print! )

To be preceded by Jarmusch’s 1996 music video for Neil Young’s Big Time

Following the success of winning the Grand Prix at this spring’s Cannes Film Festival for “Broken Flowers”, the Rural Route Film Festival is proud to present Jim Jarmusch’s neo-classic “Dead Man” upon the tenth anniversary of its premiere at Cannes in 1995.

While Mr. Jarmusch has normally stuck to urban subjects in his accomplished career, “Dead Man” marked a departure from films like “Night on Earth” and “Stranger than Paradise” which were predominately set in metropolitan areas. Undoubtedly original, “Dead Man” is an ‘Acid Western’ set in Jarmusch’s existential version of the Old West, filmed in the deserts and forests of Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Oregon.

“The Western as a genre doesn’t interest me,” Jarmusch has often been quoted as saying. “I don’t like John Ford, for instance, because he idealizes his characters and uses Westerns to enforce some kind of moral code. It seems as if he’s telling nice American stories but his films actually reinforce all the worst things about America, and I don’t like that subterfuge.”

While most of John Ford’s movies are rooted in family drama, Jarmusch takes Johnny Depp’s William Blake character through an individual journey towards death. While both filmmakers do justice to the Western genre with beautiful, expansive shots of the natural American West and employ clover mise-en-scene storytelling, it is the ideas expressed within the genre that put the filmmakers on different sides of the Western coin. Ford’s movies tend to showcase traditional masculinity and violence. Jarmusch, on the other hand, presents a ‘hero’ who is clumsy and constantly surprised upon his journey. William Blake more or less takes things as they come, instead of self-induced traditional male missions such as ‘saving the town’ or ‘rescuing the girl.’ There is a definite awkwardness with the violence that occurs in “Dead Man”. Jarmusch’s use of violence is funny, not glamorous, yet serious because of how pitiful it cam come off.

The complex personality given to “Dead Man”’s Native American star—Nobody, played by Gary Farmer—is also a refreshing change. During casting, Jarmusch made his way to the rural area between Toronto and Montreal, in the bush where Farmer lives, to spend a few days walking through the hills, telling him about the story and Nobody’s character in traditional storyteller fashion. Nobody is intelligent and philosophical, unlike the typical one-dimensional cartoon Indians that populate most Westerns. “Dead Man” shows the White man as the bad guy, contrary to the sensationalized version of history that is all too often portrayed.

The Iowa Film Office Presents
Katherine Lindberg, 2001, 93 min., narr.
State Center, Iowa

American Gothic country serves as the backdrop for this tragic tale of lust, murder and redemption. Bound by a bevy of secrets, an isolated town begins to unravel when Tom, the prodigal sheriff, returns home after seventeen years to run for mayor, bringing with him his adulterous wife and juvenile son. Tom’s homecoming is not welcome by Audrey, with whom he shares a confidence, and Audrey’s daughter Ellen, with whom he shares a mysterious past. Ellen is stifled by her mother’s safekeeping and desperately seeks a way to cleanse herself from the decaying marriage that dominates her thoughts. The close-knit community becomes increasingly ensnared as its citizens try to steer themselves, and one another, off fate’s path, only finding they have landed more directly in harm’s way. The impending clouds, which ominously hang in the gray Iowa skies, ultimately give way, and a long-buried secret surfaces, bringing the film to its inescapable denouement. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, the film features Melora Walters, Jamey Sheridan and Diane Ladd.

A discussion with director Katherine Lindberg will follow the screening.

Stranger With a Camera
Elizabeth Barret, 2000, 58 min., doc.
Jeremiah, Kentucky

In 1967 Canadian filmmaker Hugh O’Connor visited the mountains of Central Appalachia to document poverty. While filming, a local landlord shot and killed O’Connor, resenting the presence of the filmmaker on his property and angry over the media images of Appalachia that had become icons in the nation’s War on Poverty. Kentucky native Elizabeth Barret uses O’Connor’s death as a lens to explore the complex relationship between those who make films to promote social change and the people whose lives are represented in those productions. Her film combines archival news coverage, O’Connor’s own footage, as well as interviews with eyewitnesses, family members and columnist Calvin Trillin, who originally covered the tragedy for The New Yorker in 1969. Through first-person accounts of the killing and the perspective of three decades of reflection, Stranger With A Camera leads viewers on a quest for understanding—a quest that ultimately leads Barret to examine her own role as both a filmmaker and a member of the Appalachian community she portrays.

Stranger With a Camera serves as an introduction to the 7:30 PM film, Spring Night Summer Night, which was shot in Appalachia during the period described in the Barret’s documentary.

Stranger with a Camera director Elizabeth Barret and producer Judi Jennings will be on hand for a discussion after their screening on Saturday.

Spring Night, Summer Night UNSEEN IN 35 YEARS!
J. L. Anderson, 1968, 83 min., narr.
Southeastern Ohio

Originally released under the unfortunate title Miss Jessica is Pregnant, this portrait of poverty-stricken Appalachia represents a unique moment in the history of the American Independent Film. Shot entirely on location in Southern Ohio, the story of a young couple, who may or may not share a father, marks the start of a movement in regional cinema that became increasingly popular through the 1970’s and 1980’s as filmmakers took up the task of exploring an America outside of Hollywood. Today the film allows viewers a unique glimpse back in time, to witness the concerns and constraints of the “New American Cinema” when it was first taking shape. That the film bravely confronts incest—the most taboo of all rural stereotypes—without prejudice makes it all the more singular.

A discussion with director J. L. Anderson and producer Franklin Miller will follow the screening.

Philip Dolin, 2004, 74 min., narr.
Narrowsburg, New York

Two overly dedicated park rangers take a fantastic journey into utopian society in this wildly witty spoof wrapped in a shoe-string mise-en-scene. After a couple of sexy sirens seduce the stranded rangers into joining their commune, our heroes have little hope of escaping back to their normal lives, at least, not without singing! That’s all well and good for the commune’s charismatic leader, The Professor, who’s creating a society with a new set of rules. Structured like the low budget sci-fi pictures of the 50’s and 60’s, B Movie successfully–with a healthy dose of irony and camp–makes some grand criticisms of modern media, law and order, and environmentalism. Featuring James Urbaniak, Dave Simonds and Missy Yager.

The feature presentation will be preceded by
German director Thomas Frick’s Dangerous Animal (shot in Tunisia).
Taboo! Down in the wadi, in a wooden box, as the bedouins told, is a dangerous animal. Superstition, the tourist says: we must catch it! Oh no, the bedouins cry: dangerous! If you are so afraid about it, why don´t you take a handgranate? And fate takes its way…

A discussion with B Movie director Philip Dolin will follow the screening.

Barbecue is a NounNEW YORK PREMIERE
Hawes Bostic & Austin McKenna, 2004, 75 min., doc.
North & South Carolina

The sauces are as varied and regional as the sides, but all of these open fire auteurs agree that barbecue is a pig roasted long and slow on an open wood fire. As one chef puts it, “If you use it as a verb, you can barbecue anything, but… barbecue is… roast pork.” This is the story of some very particular men who have their very particular types of barbecue. Their stories unfold in the small towns, strip malls, back yards, and farms of the Carolinas. Reputations are made, dreams are dashed and new legends are born from the fat-drenched embers of the blackened pit. Among the film’s subjects, Paul Long is something of a New York legend, making an annual appearance at the Big Apple Barbecue annual block party, and having made pit appearances in Williamsburg. His most noted fan is famous barbecue connoisseur and world renown tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

The feature presentation will be preceded by Braden King’s music video for Bonnie, Prince Billy’s “Horses”.
King has directed music videos and / or visual live concert accompaniments for Tortoise, Dirty Three, Low, Brokeback, Sparklehorse, Ken Vandermark and Paul Lytton, Tren Brothers and Giant Sand, among others. He has also directed several short-subject documentary films on the the Jungle Brothers, Steve Malkmus, Roni Size, Yo La Tengo, Cee-Lo and Super Furry Animals for Atomic Pop, Sony Online Entertainment and CIRCUIT DVD magazine. His works have been screened by the BBC, The Sundance Channel, MTV, and the U.K’s Channel 4, among others.

A discussion with Barbecue is a Noun director Hawes Bostic will follow the screening.

Changin’ Old Ways – Shorts Program #1

Sometimes small as a speck of dirt, sometimes big as a boulder, change is an ever present, inevitable part of life that we all need to deal with. Technology and civilization move into the countryside in Corn Cam, Fenceliners, and Rotation. A reunification and rebirth of love take place in the videos of Bonnie, Prince Billy and Bright Eyes. My Scarlet Letter’s teenagers rebel against stale small town traditions. A son resists the sale of his inherited family farm in Shifting Ground. Whether welcomed or resisted, change is abounding in Rural Route’s first shorts program of 2005.

Producers – Nancy Heather, Marlin Schram, Chris Gourley, 2003, 3 min., doc.
Prairieburg, IA

A short segment from Iowa Public Television’s Side Roads series, which features fun and unusual places to visit in Iowa. Host Paul Berge ventures out on a virtual Side Road where cameras record the corn growing in Prarieburg, IA for your internet viewing pleasure. www.corncam.com.

Chelsea Walton, 2002, 11 min., narr.
New Providence, IA and Sonoma County, CA

Move over cows, here come the Bradleys. Fenceliners unveils superficial attitudes of city folks moving to the “ideal” countryside as suburban developments devour farmland. The film combines director Chelsea Walton’s great grandmother’s original 1950s 16mm Kodachrome farm footage with modern day footage to create a hybrid mockumentary/personal film addressing the transformation of land space. www.chelseawalton.net

Bonnie, Prince Billy “Agnes, Queen of Sorrow” (Drag City Records)
David Shrigley, 2004, 3.5 min., music video
Glasgow, Scotland

David Shrigley’s animation sets the Bonnie, Prince Billy Nashville-ized tune to the story of a disconnected man and woman, who through time and patience find love again. www.davidshrigley.com



Erin Hudson, 2004, 3 min., exp. doc.

Mountain House, CA
As suburban development encroaches upon the rural hills of the California Bay Area, farmers Marianne and Gordon Griffith reflect on the changing landscape they call home. Rotation explores this couples’ resilient relationship to the land and to the wind. Director Erin Hudson just won a Silver Medal at the 2005 Student Academy Awards for her film, “Unhitched”.

My Scarlet Letter
Karen Carpenter, 2004, 10 min., narr.
New Bloomfield, PA

Marked as teen outsiders, Emily and her friends are searching for a quick escape from their small town on Friday night. The idyllic landscape that surrounds them serves as a thin disguise for the closed-minded oppression that pervades their community. A backwoods boy and his car finally provide a way out but as the night wears on, Emily realizes that no matter where she goes, she will always be from here.

The Endangered P-Money BirdWORLD PREMIERE
Erik Nelson, 2004, 3 min., exp.
Hoge Veluwe National Park, The Netherlands

The Endangered P-Money Bird was originally conceived as a dance by RR Award-Winning Alum/Dutch professional basketball player Erik Nelson and his wife, Priscilla. Erik shouted direction while Priscilla jumped up and down all afternoon in the middle of a Richard Serra sculpture. Flight was then achieved in the editing, where Erik clipped her at the peak of each jump, reversed it, copied and pasted it, peak to peak, ad infinitum. www.bottomunion.com

Bright Eyes “First Day of My Life” (Saddle Creek Records)
John Cameron Mitchell, 2005, 4 min., music video
New York, NY

John Cameron Mitchell was so overwhelmed when he heard Bright Eyes’ song about love and rebirth that he wondered what he looked like while listening to it. That’s how he came up with the idea of interviewing couples (friends and people he found through Craig’s List) about their relationships and then filmed them while they listened to the song for the first time. Mitchell, well known for his widely-acclaimed film, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, is currently wrapping production on a new movie in NYC.

Pretty Ladies, Fast Horses: Cowgirls of the 21st CenturyU.S. PREMIERE
Lorna Thomas, Terry Wynnyk, Lisa Miller, 13 min., 2002, doc.
Alberta, Canada

Introducing trick rider, 21-year old, Niki Cammaert, from Strathmore, Alberta who follows a long line of cowgirls that streches far back to the days of Annie Oakley and the Wild West Show. Niki makes her living traveling the rodeo circuit, and performing trick rides with her horse, Willy. She races around arenas, dangling precariously from the stirrups and standing straight up atop her horse as it careens around the course. Despite a recent accident that left her jaw broken and face in stitches, Niki is now back on the rodeo circuit. Rural Route presents one segment from the hour-long documentary available at: www.lornathomasproductions.com

Joanna Newsom “Sprout and the Bean” (Drag City Records)
Terri Timely, 5 min., 2004, music video
Berkeley Hills, CA

Raised in the tiny gold-rush town of Nevada City, California, Joanna Newsom began playing harp at the age of eight. She studied Celtic, Senegalese, Venezuelan, and Western Classical harp techniques. She sings about whalebones, sleep, grammar, mollusks, bridges and balloons. Terri Timely is Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey. www.dragcity.com

Meghann Artes, 2 min., 2003, exp.
Los Angeles, CA

Meghann Artes experiments with cross stitching under the camera. After building a holder out of a wooden frame that would register into place after each stitch was made, she started stitching away, creating a seamless, abstract, colorful and upbeat film: folk art for the big screen…

Montieth McCollum, 11 min , 2004, exp.
Barton, NY

Lawn explores our relationship with nature and our desire to control it. Filmed over a period of months it depicts an untamed yard living and dying. Throughout the film the voice of Sarah Little recounts stories and reveals the logic behind our desire to make lawns into a homogeneous bug-less plot. Lawn premiered this past winter at Slamdance, followed by a screening at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Montieth McCollum is the director of Hybrid, winner of numerous awards, and screened at last year’s Rural Route Festival.

Shifting Ground U.S. PREMIERE
Desmond Connellan, 19 min., 2003
Balranald, New South Wales – Australian Outback

‘Down Under,’ a son who has inherited the family farm struggles against its repossession by the bank. In doing so, he faces the question of his relationship to the land in the light of its expropriation through the process of white settlement. Shifting Ground was awarded the Cinevex Script writing Award and Erwin Rado Scholarship for outstanding achievement.

Euro Route
Route Route = En tur på landet (Swedish), Matka maale (Finnish), Vias Champestras (Rumantsch)

Thanks in part to tour screenings this past winter in Holland, along with a friendship made with the director of the Film Festival of the Whole of Sweden, Rural Route is seeing more classy, smart and innovative yet often Old World European work than ever. Over the past year we’ve discovered other rural film festivals in Austria (Festival der Neue Heimat Film) and the South of France (Festival Européen du Cinéma et du Monde Rural), and one (rural in location) on the Aland Islands off the southwest coast of Finland.

Like many other places around the world, the small family farm is fast becoming a thing of the past. Northern Europe is no exception, no thanks to new regulations imposed on small farmers by the recently formed European Union. The Yellow Tag studies the contrast between traditional pastoral idyll and the brutal requirements of contemporary meat production. The Happy Cow covers similar territory, albeit from a very different perspective. Pizzet explores the decades-long connection to the land that smalltime farmers develop, both physical and emotional. All three documentaries in this program manage to find a unique vision for bringing to light the sad and beautiful world of the European farmer in the modern era.

The Yellow Tag U.S. PREMIERE
Jan Troell, 2004, 5 min., doc.

In 1999, six cows were shot and killed as they grazed peacefully in a meadow. These cows were not suspected of having Mad Cow Disease or anything so sinister. Their only crime was not being marked with official EU ear tags.

The Happy Cow U.S. PREMIERE
Per-Ove Högnäs, 2003, 29 min., doc.
Bergö, Aland Islands – Finland

The Happy Cow tells the tale of Rune Jansson, seventy years old, bachelor and the only year-round human inhabitant on Bergö, a small island in Finland. Standing firmly outside the rules of the EU, Rune makes the lives of his cows as pleasant as possible and in turn finds companionship and happiness in this isolated land.


Pizzet (Maybe the Last Year) U.S. PREMIERE
Ivo Zen, 2004, 52 min., doc.
Val Müstair, Grison – Switzerland

The toponym Pizzet means “neither too big nor too small,” it is a mountain farm with five and a half hectares of land, located in Val Müstair, in Switzerland’s canton Graubünden. Through four seasons we follow husband and wife Tumasch and Antonetta as they reflect on the changing world of farming within the European Union and the complicated relationships we all have with the places of our origins. A daughter and grandchildren come to visit, but the old couple remains without successors. The children have chosen to set up a farm in Canada. Siblings drop in, songs are sung together, and everyone gathers for a family photograph in front of the imposing farmhouse.

To deal with the quietness of the isolated valleys of the Alps, one must have freely decided to experience it. Cameraman Milivoj Ivkovic’s stunning, precisely composed images of landscapes, farms and people cannot endure loud sounds. Director Ivo Zen (nephew of Tumasch and Antonetta) is guided by curiosity, precision and honesty in his quest to explore his family roots.

They Walk the Line – Shorts Program #2
The spirit of individuality is alive and well in this funny and moving batch of short films. From the one-man-band of Mole in the Ground to the vengeful geek in The Reasonable Man to the emotional tug-of-war experienced by a lifelong hunter in The Bear Hunter. These films feature people living life on their own terms with little regard for the expectations laid upon them by the outside world.

Two or Three Things I Know about Ohio NEW YORK PREMIERE
Dan Boord and Luis Valdovino, 2002, 2 min., exp. doc.

Two or Three Things I Know about Ohio is a charming parody of travel documentary and a quick funny American satire that pays homage to this Great Lakes state.


The Bear Hunter

Mary Robertson, 2004, 14 min., doc.
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Each November for 44 years Bob Chase has cleaned his gun, donned an orange cap, and set out into the Pennsylvania woods hot on the trail of the black bear. Each year he’s come home empty-handed, until now. The Bear Hunter is an intimate portrait of one man and the complications that come with success. www.thebearhuntermovie.com

I Ran with a Gray Ghost
Levi Abrino, 2005, 5 min., narr.
Curwensville, PA

An odd tale of a 10-year-old superhero and a stolen dog, I Ran with a Gray Ghost won the award for Best Student Film at the Magnolia Independent Film Festival. Director Levi Abrino is currently working on an MFA in Film from NYU.


Mole in the Ground: The Story of Phillip Roebuck and His One Man Band
Charles Cohen, 2004, 12 min., doc.
New York, NY

New York is filled with street musicians, but Phillip Roebuck and his one man band stand out with his pure country-cured voice, a fierce attack on his banjo and the drum on his back. Director/producer Charles Cohen is a Baltimore based freelance journalist who occasionally gets a piece in the New York Times. www.philliproebuck.com


Lightyear – A Trip Around the Sun NEW YORK PREMIERE
Dan Sokolowski, 2001, 3 min., exp.
South Gower (Kemptville), Ontario, Canada

A trip around the sun, as seen from 45° 1′ N, 75° 38′ W. In a world where our lives are seemingly controlled by exterior political and economic forces, it is easy to forget that we exist only because of a ball of fire 92.9 million miles away. http://sokcinema.ca


Tractor Promenade NEW YORK PREMIERE
Producer – Chris Gourley, 6.5 min., doc.
Nemaha, IA

In the small town of Nemaha, Iowa a new dance craze has emerged. All you need is a shiny red tractor with power steering. www.iptv.org


Bo Ramsey “Living in a Cornfield” (Trailer Records) NEW YORK PREMIERE
Sandy Dyas, 2000, 5 min., music video
Iowa City, IA

Iowa highways lined by eternal cornfields, small town bars, rows of tiny tin trailers, colored lights, cowboy boots and beer. Since the 1970′s, Bo Ramsey has been recognized as one of the Midwest’s most honest, hard-working musical gems. Aside from work with his own razor-sharp band, The Backsliders, Ramsey has been collaborator, sideman, producer and all-around co-conspirator to world-renowned singer/songwriters Greg Brown, Lucinda Williams, R.B. Morris, Kevin Gordon, Kate Campbell, Ani DiFranco, Teddy Morgan and Larry Long. Life on the road, working hard, making music — “Serving it up” as Bo would say. www.sandydyas.com

Perro Negro U.S. PREMIERE
Maria Florencia Alvarez, 2004, 20 min., narr.
Santa Anita, Entre Rios, Argentina

A rosary, a road, and a black dog help a country girl say goodbye to her recently departed Grandma. Perro Negro recently screened at the Buenos Aires 7th International Film Festival of Independent Cinema where it received “First Mention.” In addition, director Maria Florencia Alvarez’s short film Sobre la Tierra won Best Narrative Short award at the 2004 Rural Route Festival.

Beep Beep “Executive Foliage” (Saddle Creek Records)
Jason Kulbel, 2004, 3 min., music video
Omaha, NE

An office grunt finds refuge in the only natural thing in the sterile workplace – a plant. www.saddle-creek.com

The Reasonable Man WORLD PREMIERE
Colin Marshall, 2004, 14 min., narr.
Kennett Square, PA

A young man struggles to get his 1977 Plymouth Horizon back from a crooked small town mechanic… Getting ripped-off never felt so good. Director Colin Marshall is currently working towards an MFA in Film from Columbia University.


Hens, Drugs, ‘n Techno – Shorts Program #3
“Hens, Drugs, ‘n Techno” consists of three rural/urban crossover films. You’ll find San Franciscan chicken owners, a graffiti artist who tags the rural “colonia” areas along the south Texas/Mexican border, and a dramatic raver party in the Mojave desert. ‘Rurban’ or ‘ural’, they movies are unique intersections where stereotypes of city and country are cast aside. Heck – next thing ya’ know, they’ll be trying to grow corn in the Empire State Building!

Chickens in the City NEW YORK PREMIERE
Christie Herring, 2004, 8 min., doc.
San Francisco, CA

Somewhere beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars and the coffee bars, San Francisco is teeming with chickens, but are they pets or are they food? “Chickens in the City” is a chicken-level view of two backyard coops in San Francisco. Allison adopted Miss MoneyHenny from her neighbor who purchased the chicken to star in his audition tape for “Survivor”. Across town, Shawn tends Wacko and Kathryn-not to mention two ducks-in a high-tech chicken coop in his tiny backyard. The film playfully explores the ways in which keeping chickens has shaped the philosophies behind what and how urban chicken owners eat.

Sabrina Rubin & Keith Adler, 2004, 22 min., narr.
Trona Pinnacles, CA

Trevor joins his friends on a trip to the Trona Pinnacles area of the Mojave Desert to test out an experiment – creating algorithmic rave music from the earth’s seismic activity. The only cloud is the unexpected presence of his ex-girlfriend, Haley. The fragmented strands of his life hang about him and he focuses on one thing as being an escape: a secret new government-created drug called T19 that is supposed to make people connect. As the sun sets, the music surges to life and the party starts. That night, the drug’s effect is more powerful than Trevor or Haley could ever imagine.


Scribble’s Creations
Kathy Huang, 2004, 45 min., doc.
La Joya, TX

Fernando Paez, better known as “Scribble’s Creations,” heralded from a tagging crew named “Meant to Control” (M2C), is highly regarded among local graffiti artists for his lightning fast work and keen sense of color. 18-year old Fernando lives in a Texas colonia, an unincorporated settlement along the U.S.-Mexico border. A recent high school dropout and a father-to-be, Fernando must struggle to balance old habits with new responsibilities.

Through the travails of her former student Fernando, teacher-turned-director Kathy Huang reveals the world of the colonias to its fullest—from leaky ceilings and family squabbles to young love and unflagging optimism. The personal problems of Fernando and his girlfriend Janie sometimes compelled Ms. Huang to put her camera down and take up the role of counselor and friend.

Young God Recording Artists – Akron/Family w/Faking Brave Akron/Familyare four extremely nice, sincere and well-mannered young men from rural America who came to NYC (in 2002) to make music, hoping to find a thread of real magic still winding through this city’s music scene. They certainly did just that, but they did it by retreating into a tiny Brooklyn apartment, where they made their own world instead, in complete and stubborn isolation. They proceeded (while simultaneously growing alarmingly long beards and developing a playful but hermetic quasi-religious/sonic worldview/creed known as “AK” or sometimes “AK-AK”) to make several albums worth of recordings on crude home equipment – the material compulsively chopped, spliced, and orchestrated into fractal jewels of song and schismatically opposed atmospheres.Part of the booming “Freak Folk” movement, embodied by other artists such as Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhardt, and Angels of Light, Akron/Family bring psychedelic, experimental originality into long-standing folk/rock traditions. Banjo, guitar, drums, bells, whistling, pre-recorded bits, sounds from a television set, foot stomping, and multiple harmonious vocals are all elements of their extraordinary delivery.

Akron/Family is: Seth Olinsky (various instruments, vocals) from Williamsport, Dana Janssen (various instruments, vocals) from Williamsport Pennsylvania, and Miles Seaton (various instruments, vocals) from Porterville, Ca, and Ryan Vanderhoof (various instruments, vocals) from Union Springs New York.
Akron/Family’s performance will be accompanied by the visuals of “Four Ford Farming Films”, projected on the big screen behind the band.

Faking Brave is Brookie Williams of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Rural Route director Alan Webber was fortunate to meet the Brave during a Rural Route tour screening last winter at a squat on the Amsterdam bay. Rural Route is pleased to have him in NYC for this year’s festival. The music of Faking Brave is genuine, to the point, and to the heart. Sloppy (in a good way) and folky, Brookie Williams of Faking Brave is a passionate, bold, dyi/emo singer-songwriter.

Brookie was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, and moved to Amsterdam after receiving his PhD in String Theory from the University of California Santa Barbara. He is currently a National Science Foundation Fellow, doing postdoctoral research in String Theory at the University of Amsterdam.

Four Ford Farming Films
Dan Powley (finder)/ Jim Handy Productions, 1950s, 58 min., commercials
Dearborn, MI

Vintage Ford tractor commercials from the 1950s come to us by the way of Dan Powley in upstate New York, who got them from a man in Nova Scotia he met through ebay whose father was once a Ford dealer. In case you didn’t know it, antique tractor collecting is a worldwide phenomenon, along with all the literature, videos, and toys that go with it! Enjoy tise retro treat during Akron/Family’s performance, and before & between 2005 Rural Route programs.
Honorable Mentions:

Buffalo Bill’s Defunct: Stories from the New West
Eliza Fox & Matt Wilkins, 2004, 83 min., narr.
Sultan, WA

A gutsy new independent feature from Washington state, combining an old man’s mission to tear down a shed w/the hijinks of intoxicated, sex-driven youth. Watch the entire feature online! www.buffalobillsdefunct.com

Cabin Field
Laura Kissel, 2005, 40 min., exp. doc.
Crisp County, GA

A brilliant, original combination of experimental/art film and documentary explores a once-inhabited land in rural Georgia.

Tobacco Money Feeds My Family
Cynthia Hill & Charles Thompson, 2003, 88 min., doc.
Pink Hill, NC

While everybody knows tobacco kills millions annually, for some it is their livelihood. This remarkable documentary focuses on the people behind the crop instead of instantly condemning the entire industry.

Honorable Youth Mention – Younger
Nick Smith-Koblitz, 2004, 18 min., doc.
Berkshire County, MA

Teenager Nick Smith-Koblitz leads a clever, investigative adventure into a mysterious abandoned marble quarry in the Berkshire Mts.