2013 Winners Announced!: Best Narrative – “Tall as the Baobab Tree” Best Documentary – “The Mosuo Sisters” Best Experimental – “Magnetic Reconnections”
This year Rural Route features delicious food from some of Astoria’s best restaurants and live music throughout the entire fest, starting w/our Aug. 1 Kickoff Party at Strand Smokehouse.  We’ll also have food vendors and live music on-site all day Sat. & Sun. in the Museum of the Moving Image’s spiffy new outdoor courtyard.  Finally, we close things out w/low-fi electro-folk, fresh veggies, beer and roasted COFFEED at the scenic Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm.  Click here for more info. on our diverse musical line-up. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Thursday, August 1 – Kickoff Party 7-10PM at the Strand Smokehouse w/archival film projections, live music from 2/3 Goat, and tasty southern barbecue!
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— SATURDAY, JULY 27

Sourlands front cover 3PM @ Queens Library-Broadway Sourlands (Full Listing) NY Premiere! Global warming/environmental Q&A discussion to follow w/director + representatives from WITNESS and Global Kids! Between New York City and Philadelphia there is a forest that has survived the bulldozers of development, but a close examination reveals deep local threats that are relevant on a global scale.

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les Blank 7PM @ Museum of the Moving Image  (tix available via MoMI) Les Blank Tribute Program with Les’s son, filmmaker Harrod Blank, & archivist Mark Toscano in person. 16MM ACADEMY PRESERVED PRINTS! (Full Listing) Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe Dry Wood Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers We will toast garlic in the theatre for scent efx, like Les used to! Harrod Blank will also present a short preview of the biopic work-in-progress, Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 tallasboaobabtree22pm @ Museum of the Moving Image Tall as the Baobab Tree (Full Listing) Q&A w/director Jeremy Teicher to follow! In a Senegalese village poised at the outer edge of the modern world, a teenage girl hatches a secret plan to rescue her 11-year-old sister from an arranged marriage.  (Shot on location by a U.S. director who did work in the same region 2 years earlier, receiving an Academy Award nom. for a piece in which he gave locals cameras to film their own stories.) Live music from Brooklyn alt. folk duo, This Frontier Needs Heroes, 1-4:30PM. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 fitzcarraldo_poster4:30PM @ Museum of the Moving Image Fitzcarraldo – NEW DCP RESTORATION! (Full Listing) Herzog’s pictorially stunning epic classic stars Klaus Kinski as the deranged Fitzcarraldo, a European businessman obsessed with building an opera house in Iquitos, Peru. (Catch Les Blank’s ‘making of Fitzcarraldo‘ documentary, Burden of Dreams, the next night at Union Docs) Live music from Colombian Rumba Flamenco twin brothers, Gimagua, 5:30-7:30PM. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— SATURDAY, AUGUST 3  SAL-poster-web7:30PM @ Museum of the Moving Image Salt  (Full Listing)A Spanish film director obsessed with making a Chilean western decides to travel there in search of inspiration for his screenplay; a case of mistaken identity leaves him a marked man. (This gorgeous widescreen film pays loving homage to Sergio Leone while playfully subverting the old school western genre in modern South America.  Rougier’s feature film debut has been winning awards around the world, including Best Film at First Time Fest in NY earlier this year.) ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— SUNDAY, AUGUST 4 MosuoSisters2PM @ Museum of the Moving Image The Mosuo Sisters (Full Listing) Q&A w/director Marlo Poras + director of short film,Felt, Feelings and Dreams to follow! An intimate portrait of two spirited daughters from one of the world’s last remaining matriarchal societies in the foothills of the Himalayas.  One of the best docs we’ve seen in recent years! Live music from Bulgarian/Russian Acappella Folk Trio 1-5PM. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— SUNDAY, AUGUST 4 Baikonur_Posterartwork_hires5PM @ Museum of the Moving Image Baikonur (Full Listing) NY PREMIERE! A fairy-tale space romance, shot on location on the steppes of Kazakhstan and the Baikonur rocket-launch center… (With a fun, rich score by Goran Bregovic, clips of NASA space footage and a cameo by the granddaughter of Kazakhstan’s president, Baikonur is a film filled with irony, fantasy, and also touching moments. Many notable festival screenings include Busan and Berlin.) ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— SUNDAY, AUGUST 4 NestCams7:30PM doors:  7:45PM music, 8:30PM films @ the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm & COFFEED (tix available HERE!) Rooftop Farm ShortsClosing Night Party! Directors Yolonda Ross, Teresa Pereira and Valerie Bischoff in attendance! Live music on the roof from the Spookfish! Projections by Rooftop Films! Healthy treats, beer, fresh roast coffee via COFFEED & Brooklyn Grange! (Full Listing)Our annual closing night tradition since 2011 – some of our best short films on Brooklyn Grange’s flagship rooftop farm (just down the street from MoMI)! ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— #environmental


3pm GREEN SCREENING Queens Library-Broadway
Sourlands front coverSourlands. Dir. Jared Flesher. 78min. Documentary. 2012. Sourlands, NJ. NY Premiere! Q&A Discussion to follow w/Flesher + representatives from WITNESS and Global Kids! “Sourlands” weaves a provocative tale of ecology, energy, and agriculture through a deep forest surrounded by the sprawling suburbs of New Jersey. It’s a rampaging deer herd, invasive plants, and wholesale habitat destruction threatening the local ecosystem. Farmers in the surrounding valley struggle against high land prices, high property taxes, and increasingly erratic weather patterns; a local entrepreneur struggles to find a market for his innovative clean-tech product. But pay close attention, and the challenges facing this community look a lot like the challenges facing ecosystems, farmers, and visionary entrepreneurs everywhere. The message of cautious hope presented in the film is just as universal: to start solving complicated environmental problems, we need to forgo quick fixes and start restoring the natural world – and people’s connection to it – from the forest floor up. Director Jared Flesher is an award-winning reporter, photojournalist, and documentary filmmaker. His articles have been published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, Grist, The Huffington Post, The Columbia Journalism Review. His first feature documentary, The Farmer and the Horse, has aired more than 40 times on PBS and is distributed nationally by Chelsea Green Publishing and Passion River Productions.

preceded by: Stories of TRUST: Calling for Climate Recovery: Alaska. Dirs. Christi Cooper-Kuhn, Katie Lose Gilbertson, Kelly Matheson. 8min. Documentary. 2011. Kipnuk, Yup’ik Eskimo village, Alaska. One episode of a ten-part series, featuring the voices of daring youth from across the country who are going to court to compel the government to protect our atmosphere for future generations. Co-produced by WITNESS, Our Children’s Trust, the iMatter Campaign, and Montana State Univ. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— #lesblank

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2                                                                                                  

7pm Museum of the Moving Image
les BlankLes Blank Tribute Program with Les’s son, filmmaker Harrod Blank, & archivist Mark Toscano in person The great documentary filmmaker Les Blank (1935-2013) made poetic, vibrant films that captured the lives, culture, food, and music of people at the periphery of American society.  He was a true independent original, a maverick at the indie doc form decades before today’s crowded field.  This special tribute to Blank, who died this April, consists of three of his most beloved films, shown in beautifully restored 16mm prints from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This program is also part of a larger NYC Les Blank Tribute at other venues such as BAM, Spectacle, Barbes, the Jalopy Theatre, and Union Docs. the films – (all 16mm Academy preserved prints!): Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Dir. Les Blank. 22min. Documentary. 1979. Berkeley, CA. Yes, German film director Werner Herzog really does eat his shoe to fulfill a vow to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris — boldly exemplifying his belief that people must have the guts to attempt what they dream of. Dry Wood. Dirs. Les Blank, Maureen Gosling. 37 min. Documentary. 1973. Louisiana Delta. A fascinating look at black Creole life and cooking in French Louisiana, held together by the wild, insistent music of Bois-Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot. Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers. Dirs. Les Blank, Maureen Gosling. 51 min. Documentary. 1980. Gilroy, CA. A lip-smacking foray into the history, consumption, cultivation and culinary/curative powers of the ‘stinking rose.’  (We will toast garlic in the theatre for scent efx, like Les used to!) Harrod Blank will also present a short preview of the biopic work-in-progress, Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation.

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2pm Museum of the Moving Image tallasboaobabtree2Tall as the Baobab Tree. Dir. Jeremy Teicher. 82min. Narrative. 2012. Sinthiou Mbadane & Mbour, Thiès, Senegal. Q&A w/director Jeremy Teicher to follow! Coumba and her little sister Debo are the first to leave their family’s remote West African village, where meals are prepared over open fires and water is drawn from wells, to attend school in the bustling city. But when an accident suddenly threatens their family’s survival, their father decides to sell 11-year-old Debo into an arranged marriage. Torn between loyalty to her elders and her dreams for the future, Coumba hatches a secret plan to rescue her young sister from a fate she did not choose. “As Tall as the Baobab Tree” was shot on location by a U.S. director who did work in the same region two years earlier, receiving an Academy Award nomination for a piece in which he gave locals cameras to film their own stories. This is the first feature film in the Pulaar language, with a cast made up of local villagers playing roles that mirror their own lives: the two main characters are played by real-life sisters who actually are the first kids from their family to go to school. The actors’ improvisational approach culminates in a dramatic and uniquely authentic ensemble performance, with scenes often resulting in spontaneous truthful moments that blur the lines between fiction and reality. A highlight of this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival ‘Bright Futures’ section.

preceded by: Home Turf. Dir. Ross Whitaker. 14min. Documentary. 2011. Ballyduff, County Kerry, Ireland. A fascinating documentation of the ancient art of cutting turf by hand in the bogs of Ireland to use for winter fuel.  In recent years machines have been implemented to do this work, and soon the traditional methods, and the comradeship, will be lost. Beaver Creek Yard. Dir. Laska Jimsen. 6min. Experimental/Doc. 2013. Corvallis, Willamette Valley, Oregon. Savvy non-fiction filmmaker/Carelton College professor Laska Jimsen provides a poetic visual account of a Christmas tree processing facility, and also some insight into the human impulse to control, exploit, and profit from the natural world. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— #classic


4:30pm Museum of the Moving Image fitzcarraldo_posterFitzcarraldo. Dir. Werner Herzog. 158min. Narrative. 1982. Amazon Basin, Brazil & Peru. NEW DCP RESTORATION! (Catch Les Blank’s ‘making of Fitzcarraldo‘ documentary, Burden of Dreams, the next night at Union Docs) Herzog’s pictorially stunning epic classic stars Klaus Kinski as the deranged Fitzcarraldo, a European businessman obsessed with building an opera house in Iquitos, Peru. To come up with the needed money, he decides to enter the rubber business and exploit a parcel of fertile land that is cut off by a dangerous set of rapids deep in the jungle. Fitzcarraldo’s unconventional plan is to physically pull a 320-ton steamship over a muddy mountainside in order to return the rubber to market via a calmer river on the other side. Herzog famously embarked on the journey along with his fictitious character, holding steadfast against casting changes, reshoots, going over budget, internal fighting, crew illnesses, injuries, warring native tribes, and literally moving the boat over the mountain without special effects. Perhaps no one embodies the Rural Route spirit more than Werner Herzog, with a repertoire of 57 films shot in some of the world’s most interesting and remote locations, he has recorded a manifold of striking works on people, cultures and the human condition through narrative and nonfiction work.

  preceded by: goodMAGRECOweb Magnetic Reconnection. Dir. Kyle Armstrong. 12min. Exp. 2012. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. A film about the regenerative power of nature and the futility of mankind’s struggle against the natural processes of decay. Featuring an original score by Jim O’Rourke, narration by Will Oldham, and some of the most spectacular footage of the aurora borealis ever captured. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— #feature


7:30pm Museum of the Moving Image SAL-poster-webSalt. Dir. Diego Rougier. 112min. Narrative. 2011. Región de Tarapacá, Chile. Sergio is a washed-up Spanish director, obsessed with making a western in Chile’s Atacama Desert (the driest place in the world).  Producers in Barcelona tear his screenplay to shreds, sending him on a journey to northern Chile in search of the inspiration that will salvage his story. Once Sergio arrives, however, he is mistaken for the region’s long-lost gunslinger hero, pitting him up against thugs involved with ‘shady business’ across the Bolivian border. The local crime boss suddenly has an old score to settle with him, and apparently so does his attractive wife. Sergio will have a good script…if he leaves alive. “Salt” is the journey of an author becoming his own character and his impossible return. This gorgeous widescreen film pays loving homage to Sergio Leone while playfully subverting the old school western genre in modern South America. Rougier’s feature film debut has been winning awards around the world, including Best Film at First Time Fest in NY earlier this year.

preceded by: Free Door. Dir. Michael Schmidt. 8min. Narrative. 2012. Pickering, Ontario, Canada.  Rural Route’s former Co-Director presents a thoughtful comedy about seizing opportunities. Jim happens upon a door by the side of the road that’s marked “free,” but decides he should still ask if it’s ok to take it. Little Town. Dir. Michael Schmidt. 4min. Music Video. 2013. Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada. Schmidt directs an old western-style music video for Canadian band, Air Marshal Landing. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— #doc


2pm Museum of the Moving Image MosuoSistersThe Mosuo Sisters. Dir. Marlo Poras. 80min. Documentary. 2012. Yonning, Yunnan Province, China. Q&A w/director Marlo Poras + director of short film, “Felt, Feelings and Dreams” to follow! Juma and Latso are thrust into the worldwide economic downturn when they lose the only jobs they’ve ever known in Beijing. Left with few options, they leave for home, a remote village in the foothills of the Himalayas. But home is no longer what it was, as growing exposure to the modern world is changing the provocative traditions the Mosuo have built around ‘walking marriage,’ in which a couple is not officially unified and does not live together. Determined to keep their mother and siblings out of poverty, Latso sacrifices her dream of an education and stays home to farm, while Juma leaves again to try her luck in Lijiang and Chengdu. Ultimately, though, it’s the sisters’ relationship with one another that hangs in balance as they struggle to navigate the vast cultural and economic divides of contemporary China. With an intricate weave of real-time scenes and original interviews, “The Mosuo Sisters” serves as a rare window into a sibling relationship and a one-of-a-kind culture. Marlo Poras is an accomplished documentarian with prior wins at SXSW and critically-acclaimed work for HBO.  “Mosuo Sisters” had its N. American debut last fall at Doc NYC.

preceded by:  FeltFeelingsDreams_webFelt, Feelings and Dreams. Dir. Andrea Odezynska. 30min. Doc. 2013. Karasu & Saruu, Issyk Kul Province, Kyrgyzstan. **Director on hand w/shyrdak rugs! Since the Soviet Union collapsed, unemployment and alcoholism have ravaged the former Republic of Kyrgyzstan. “Felt, Feelings and Dreams” follows a small group of Kyrgyz women who pull themselves from crushing poverty by reviving ancient traditions of making shyrdaks (beautiful rugs composed of felt). Odezynska utilizes an assortment of folklore, food, music and fables to look deeper into the Kyrgyz culture.  
Cathedral. Writer/Dir. Clea Roberts. 2min. Experimental. 2013. Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. In the spirit of the zen practice of forest bathing, two women who have taken very different paths in life go for a walk together in the woods. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— #featurepremiere


5pm Museum of the Moving Image Baikonur_Posterartwork_hires Baikonur. Dir. Veit Helmer. 94min. Narrative. 2011. Cosmodrome & Almaty Province, Kazakhstan. NY PREMIERE! “I’ve rarely seen a feature film as offbeat as this fairy-tale space romance, shot on location on the steppes of Kazakhstan and the Baikonur rocket-launch center.” Bruce Sterling, Wired Magazine “Whatever falls from heaven, you may keep.” So goes the unwritten law of the Kazakh steppes. For the inhabitants of a small village, especially the youthful Iskander, living just downwind from the Baikonur Cosmodrome means that what “falls from heaven” is actually valuable space debris from Russian rockets. Iskander uses his radio expertise to follow launches and calculate where to find the cast-off materials, and when something goes wrong with the latest space millionaire tourist lift-off, he is there when a capsule crashes to rescue the beautiful French woman inside. He hides her in his yurt, and as she suffers from amnesia, Iskander is able to pretend they are engaged (much to the shagrin of local beauty, Gagarin, who has a colossal crush on him). Iskander has turned the ancient law of the steppes to his own advantage, but even the most romantic lie cannot remain undiscovered forever, and soon he no longer knows where he really belongs nor, more importantly, to whom. card With a fun, rich score by Goran Bregovic, clips of NASA space footage and a cameo by the granddaughter of Kazakhstan’s president, “Baikonur” is a film filled with irony, fantasy, and also touching moments. Many notable festival screenings have included Busan and Berlin. The first feature shot at the Baikonur launch station is German director, Helmer’s 4th full-length; he also co-wrote “A Trick of Light” with Wim Wenders.

preceded by: Reindeer. Dir. Eva Weber. 3min. Documentary. 2011. Karigasniemi, Utsjoki, Finland An impressionistic, haunting portrait of Sámi reindeer herding in the twilight expanses of the Lappish wilderness. German-born/London-based filmmaker Eva Weber is a recent Sundance Institute award recipient for development of a feature film, also based in Artic Finland. I Spy with My Little Eye.  Dir. Gunda Aurich. 15min. Narrative. 2012. Klein Leppin, Brandenburg, Germany. Following an argument with her boyfriend during their countryside getaway, Laura meets a mysterious stranger picking mushrooms in the forest. First-time filmmaker Gunda Aurich has been a stage director and actress at notable German venues such as the Schiller Theatre in Berlin. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— #shorts


7:30PM doors:  7:45PM music, 8:30PM films Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm Rooftop Farm Shorts  (buy tix HERE!) Directors Yolonda Ross, Teresa Pereira and Valerie Bischoff in attendance! Live music on the roof from the Spookfish!  Projections by Rooftop Films! Healthy treats, beer, fresh roast coffee via COFFEED & Brooklyn Grange! BreakingNightStillBreaking Night. Dir. Yolonda Ross. 10min. Narrative. 2012. New Orleans & St. Charles Parrish, LA. The experience of playing a documentary filmmaker on the HBO series “Treme” led actress Yolonda Ross (“Go for Sisters”, “The Phil Spector Biopic”) to step behind the camera herself to create this 70s-style music video drama. goodDerby_Kings_JIM Derby Kings. Dir. Valerie Bischoff. 12min. Narrative. 2012. Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation & Yerington, NV. Native American brothers collide as hardworking Jim struggles to get demolition derby die-hard Ace to attend his court date, or be thrown in jail. marcel, king of tervuren_filmstill02 Marcel, King of Tervuren. Dir. Tom Schroeder. 6min. Animation. 2012. Tervuren, Belgium. St. Paul, MN based animator Tom Schroeder draws up a sort of animated documentary about his friend’s pet rooster, who survives the bird flu, alcohol, sleeping pills, and the Oedipal assault of his son, Max. ForSilence_Still3 For Silence. Dir. Hans Christian Berger. 7min. Narrative. 2013. Cody, B.C., Canada.Part-documentary and part-fiction, Berger presents a hybrid storytelling experiment about the phenomenon of silence, featuring an existing ghost town  and merging it with a fictional character. goodStill_Here_3  Still Here. Dir. Tyler Evans. 22min. Narrative. 2013. Crossville, TN. John survives alone in the woods, living in what he believes to be a post-apocalyptic world. He broadcasts daily emergency messages – sometimes more as a radio journal than in an earnest attempt to contact fellow survivors. Little does he know, several local hikers are listening on the other side of his broadcasts. NestCams  Nest-Cams. Dir. Sam Easterson. 3min. Exp./Doc. 2012. U.S.A. Cameras in and around the nests of black-capped chickadee, red squirrel, house wren, horned lark, red-breasted nuthatch, black tern, brook trout, and song sparrow. Easterson has over a decade of experience collecting wildlife imagery from unique POVs for museums, web and TV. goodCropsStill Crops. Dir. Gerco de Ruijter. 3min. Exp. 2012. SW U.S.A., Google Earth. Dutch filmmaker de Ruijter captured over 1,000 still images of circular patterns in Google Earth. These circles fit precisely within the irrigation grid constructed by the U.S. Public Land Survey system – sections of one sq mile, 640 acres – ‘alien-looking’ man-made designs on our planet. MostofMay(1)Most of May / Some of June. Dir. Teresa Pereira. 23min. Exp. 2012. U.S.A. An 8,000-mile journey of U.S. landscapes via country roads, small towns, city lights, national parks, empty deserts, quiet rivers, and 70s land art — wanderlust indulgence through mobility and immediacy. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Dryland. Dir. Sue Arbuthnot & Richard Wilheim.68min. Documentary. 2013. Lind, WA.
A genuine doc. that captures the optimism, ingenuity, and gumption that two best friends harness to support an endangered rural town, preserve a family legacy, and win the annual Lind Combine Demolition Derby.
Guatemaya. Dir. Cassidy Rast. 80min. Documentary. 2013. Guatemala.
The only film to document the in depth culture of the Maya today exposing the propaganda campaign led around their culture in western media, and their true story and culture.
Skook. Dir. Ashley Pishock. 81min. Narrative. 2013. Skook, PA.
This well put-together micro-budget feature presents 20-year-old coed Amy, who returns home to unexpectedly fall for the guy who made her life hell in high school.
Our Time is Now. Dir. Erin Hudsn. 60min. Documentary. 2012. NM.
A coming-of-age documentary following six rural New Mexican teenagers as they strive to finish high school, wrestle with personal challenges, and pursue their dreams.
Witch Hazel. Dir. Sarah Moore Chyrchel. 34min. Documentary. 2012. Ozark Mountains, AR.
Witch Hazel Advent follows the life of John Rule, a poet and peace activist living off the grid in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.