March 2011

Last updated on March 1, 2011. Please check back later for additions.


The Cinema Lounge
Arabia: Q&A with Robert Lacey
The Environmental Film Festival
The Rotterdam International Film Festival
We Need to Hear From You
Calendar of Events

A printer-friendly version.

Last 12 issues of the Storyboard.

The Cinema Lounge

The next meeting of the Cinema Lounge will be on Monday, March 21 at 7:00pm. The topic to be discussed is "Winter Review/Spring Preview"

The Cinema Lounge, a film discussion group, meets the third Monday of every month at 7:00pm at
Barnes and Noble, 555 12th St., NW in Washington, DC (near the Metro Center Metro stop). You do not need to be a member of the Washington DC Film Society to attend. Cinema Lounge is moderated by Daniel R. Vovak, ghostwriter with Greenwich Creations.

Arabia: Q&A with Robert Lacey

By Annette Graham, DC Film Society Member

A screening of the new IMAX film Arabia 3D was held at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Johnson IMAX Theater on February 25. Robert Lacey, an advisor on the film, made introductory remarks and took questions after the film screening.

ARABIA 3D follows a young Saudi film student as he discovers his native culture and the roots of his country's ancient traditions.

[Opening remarks by Robert Lacey]: My name is Robert Lacey. I'm the author of a couple of books on Saudi Arabia, one called The Kingdom and one called Inside the Kingdom. It was my honor to be a script consultant on this movie you are about to see. It's the first movie ever shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. Lawrence of Arabia was short mostly in Spain. Five or six years ago my friend Khalid Alireza had the inspiration to invite MacGillivray Freeman, the world's leading makers of IMAX movies to come to Saudi Arabia and for the first time to make a movie there. I'm now going to hand you over to the voice of Helen Mirren. We thought it would be rather fun for this film about a male dominated kingdom to have a commentary by a woman. The woman in question is the Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren. You've probably seen her in the movie The Queen. That was actually based on some chapters of a book of mine about what happened after the death of Lady Diana. I'll now hand you over to the capable voice of Dame Helen Mirren.

After the screening and before taking questions, Mr. Lacey projected some maps and photographs, providing background on Saudi Arabia: Why does Saudi Arabia matter? Here we have a map [Note: you can find numerous
maps of Saudi Arabia] which gives us the obvious answer. Here is the Arabian peninsula and here are the oil fields in Eastern Saudi Arabia which contain as we heard in the film, 20% of the world's oil. Saudi Arabia is a country with larger oil reserves than any other country and third or fourth in gas reserves as well. And here on the west coast you have the other thing that matters to Saudi Arabia, what matters more to most Muslims in the world, the fact that here are located the holy places of Islam. Mecca--where we saw moving scenes from the pilgrimage, three million people gathering--as every Muslim tries to go once in their life to Mecca and then up there Medina, where the prophet Muhammed spent a lot of his early life and where the first mosque was built. So that's what you've got on the east, and there on the west you have the holy places and in the middle you have the city of Riyadh, the capital of the province of Nejd which is the home of the House of Saud who brought all of this together. I have to confess when I started writing about Saudi Arabia back in 1979, 30 years ago, I knew so little, I thought that Saudi Arabia meant Southern Arabia. I didn't realize that it was the name of the House of Saud who created the country, who own it to this day and whose job it is, since it is an absolute monarchy, to hold those two sides together. When people ask questions about what the future of the country, this map tells us what the key factors are. There you have the oil fields, coming in here, wealth, modernization as we would call it, westernization as many Saudis call it, changes in behavior, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, kids who answer back to their parents, the internet, women who don't dress modestly, all these things that are represented by increasing wealth. And here on the other coast you have the center, the bastion of tradition, and religious values, modesty, virtue, principles which can get so threatened by materialism and it is the job of the House of Saud in the middle, the government, to create a balance and manage change as we move into the 21st century.

This is the earliest photograph ever taken of the House of Saud. This is almost exactly 100 years old. [Note: you can find many interesting vintage photographs and maps on the Royal Geographical Society's website]. This photo was taken in 1911; it was actually taken by a compatriot of mine, a British adventurer called Captain William Shakespear, who was a descendent as it happened of the famous poet and playwright and whose good fortune it was to be named Bill by his parents. He was sent out by the British government in 1911 to find out what was going on in the heart of Arabia. He was the British agent in Kuwait. He looked after the interests of the British Empire there. He took this photograph with what you'd might call the early 20th century equivalent of IMAX. He took it with a glass plate camera. This photograph which you can see to this day in the archives of the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington in London. And he took this and developed as he went along. He had one camel that carried the camera, a huge plate glass camera and a chain of camels which carried his darkroom to produce it. He'd been sent to find out what was going on as the House of Saud expanded out. This photograph was taken in Eastern Arabia. There is the camel army, there is the flag of the house of Saud to this day, the flag of Saudi Arabia, a simple green flag, Arabic written on it: "There is no god but god and Muhammed is his prophet." That's all you have to say to become a Muslim. Saudi friends of mine often say, "Do you think there is no god but god?" And I say, "Yes, probably there is only one god." And they say, "Do you think Mohammed is a prophet of god?" And I say, "I certainly think he was A prophet of god." They say, "Well that's good enough. You just say that and you can come to Mecca with us." Because of course, as a Christian living in Saudi Arabia, I cannot visit Mecca. I drive down towards it, then I come to the checkpoint and then I have to go off around to the right, along something called the Christian Bypass. Those wonderful shots you saw of Mecca were taken in fact by Muslim cameramen and Muslim directors. Because only they were allowed in. This is another photograph taken by a British agent in 1917. Here is Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the father of the present king, King Abdullah, who we saw in the film, and also the father of all the kings who succeeded him after his death in 1953. This was taken in Riyadh in 1917 by another British agent, Harry St. John Bridger Philby. You might recognize that name; his son Kim Philby was notorious as a traitor to Britain during the Cold War. Harry St. John Bridger Philby went to Riyadh, he in fact became advisor to Abdul Aziz; he became a Muslim himself. This picture has a particular meaning for me, because when I first went to Saudi Arabia in 1979 to write the first of my books, The Kingdom, I was lucky enough to get an audience with King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz. "Bin" means son of, so Khalid bin Abdul Aziz, means son of Abdul Aziz. I wondered what I could give this man who had everything. I hit on the idea of making an album of these photographs which were then quite rare and that I was gathering to use in my book. I put in captions in English and Arabic and bore it into the royal presence. It was his "majlis," [council] his sitting time when he was receiving tribesmen. It's one of the great traditions of Saudi Arabia, that any man can go see the king or a member of the royal family, a prince, with his grievances or problems. There are majlises for women, when they can go visit the princesses. And he'd obviously had a few foreigners like me before and he very politely picked up the album I offered him, waiting to hear what favor I was going to ask him that he probably couldn't grant. And then when he opened the album and saw these pictures he came to life and particularly for this picture. He said, "I remember that picture being taken. We had to go out and stand in the sun." And I'm old enough to remember myself when you had to stand in the sun to have your photograph taken and you couldn't move. And he said, "I watched as a foreign gentlemen put his head under a blanket. And I've never seen the picture. But there it is now. That's me in the foreground." That is King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz and there's his elder brother beside him, Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz. And that picture summed up as you heard Helen Mirren say in the film, 70 years ago in Saudi Arabia, everyone lived in tents or in houses made of mud or coral rock. And there are many people in the west who criticize Saudi Arabia because it hasn't attained what we in the west consider to be perfection, the pefection of western values. I think we should remember the progress that this country has made in the last 70 years which is chronicled in the film. One last slide: This is a family tree of the House of Saud. [Note: you can see a family tree here.] At the top is Abdul Aziz, below are his sons, the mothers and different tribes. Where ever Abdul Aziz and his army occupied a particular area, he married into that tribe and the House of Saud represents all of Saudi Arabia. King Abdul Aziz had 35-36 sons, 35-36 daughters. Here you see the ones who have become king. I would point out one thing about this family tree. It's a horizontal family tree once you get below Abdul Aziz. That is another thing that is different from western family trees which are vertical and which go from father to eldest son or eldest born. The trouble with those family trees that we have in the west is that the vertical tree is what I call the idiot factor. If you go from father to son you get a George III or a Prince Char... (everyone laughs). You have to end up with what heredity gives you. Whereas the horizontal system which applies in Saudi Arabia and in other Arab sheikdoms, is that the family will decide. Here for example, King Saud reigned. He didn't reign his full term. The family decided he wasn't doing a good job. He was replaced by King Faisal. After his death along came King Khalid. Here is King Fahd who ruled for so many years at the end of the last century with his brothers, full brothers, below him, one of whom is Crown Prince Sultan and below that you find Crown Prince Nayef who is Second Deputy Premier at the moment. And then here is King Abdullah, the present king.

Question: How did you find the young man who was the filmmaker?
Robert Lacey: It was difficult to work out a story in 45 minutes. MacGillivray had the idea of meeting some Saudi students in America because this film is intended primarily for American audiences. As you heard in the beginning Hamzah says, "9/11 happened. Everyone thinks all Saudis are terrorists." MacGillivray went to DePaul film school outside Chicago and there was Hamzah [Jamjoon]. He's still there. He'll be becoming to Washington in a few days time. He's a young Jamjoon, a well known family in Mecca. He really did make that film and the IMAX cameras followed him around.

Question: Why did the film ignore the British in WWI?
Robert Lacey: My own reading of Saudi history isn't that at all. The British had a big role in WWI because of Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab Revolt. That is probably what you're referring to. But that didn't involve the House of Saud; that involved the Hashemite family. Faisal, better known to most of us as Omar Sharif (everyone laughs), was a member of the Hashemite family who ruled the Kingdom of the Hejaz. As Helen Mirren says in the film, until the House of Saud came along, Arabia was a patchwork of different sheikdoms and kingdoms. It was Nejd which was traditionally in the middle, where the House of Saud reigned. Up here is Ha'il where the House of Rashid reigned. Here the holy places had for many centuries been ruled by the Hashemites. And we the British, wanted to kick out the Ottoman Turks. The House of Saud kicked the Ottoman Turks out of Eastern Arabia. They did that on their own; we gave them some weapons, but they did that themselves. In WWI, T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) had the idea 'Let's kick the Turks out,' because the Turks were allies of Germany and also threatened to control the Suez Canal which mattered a lot to us because the Suez Canal and the Red Sea were a link to our empire in India. So the whole Arab revolt and the whole movie Lawrence of Arabia is that story. At the end of the war, the Hashemites had control of the Hejaz. We the British carved up the Middle East. We decided following the Balfour Declaration that we would create this Palestinian homeland to which the Jews could go and we created two kingdoms up here, Trans-Jordan as it was then called and Iraq. And to reward the Hashemite family for their help, we gave them Jordan and Iraq. Abdul Aziz al-Saud had nothing to do with this whatsoever. And they spoiled the plan because they came in 1925-6 conquered the Hejaz and kicked the Hashemites out and made that part of what became Saudi Arabia. In the 1930s they went down to the South and conquered here and if they'd been able, they would have liked to have conquered all the south. But there were mountains in Yemen and this is as far as they got. Where the Saudi armies reached, that represents the boundaries of modern Saudi Arabia. But I have to say, that Saudi Arabia is a country created by its own force. There was no patronage from outside. They did it and then in the 1930s out of the ground came oil which many fervent Muslims believe was the reward which god gave to the House of Saud for their work in creating the holy land.

Question: Do you think they will be able to transition their economy from an oil based economy to a more complex economy and will the Institute of Science and Technology be enough?
Robert Lacey: That is part of what has to be done. Half of the problem for Saudi Arabia and other oil rich countries is that oil produces great wealth but it is not labor intensive. And it is an enormous challenge that will face Saudi Arabia in the future, how to employ all the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who are now getting educated. In a way, the House of Saud is being very rash, very brave, it is putting great faith in education and I think there are 130,000 Saudis in America and Canada alone, on King Abdullah scholarships. What jobs await them when they go back is a very real challenge. Part of the plan is to create what I call "economic cities" in which foreign companies will come in and invest and create labor intensive work. Unfortunately just when these economic cities were created, the world crash happened and the investment level has not been what was expected. Already Saudi Arabia has very high youth unemployment and like all the Arab countries where we've seen unrest and change, it has an enormous proportion of young people. So that is a challenge. When King Abdullah came back recently just a few days ago from convalescence, he announced large economic measures to try and tackle some of this for the first time. In a way, the unemployment problem was acknowledged with unemployment benefits. There was also a fund set up so that young people can create their own jobs. This is a very big area we are getting into here. Part of the problem with Saudi Arabia as with other Arab countries is that many people prefer to get government jobs. They only want to work for themselves or for the government. There is the enormous problem of immigrant labor. In the last ten years, Saudi Arabia has in fact created eight million new jobs. Now That's more than enough for the two million young Saudis who need jobs. But unfortunately those seven or eight million jobs have gone to inexpensive immigrant workers. It's the same as in this country, it's the same as in my country. There are in the world, a fluid world, men and women all over the world prepared to work for very little money. And employers have to use them. It's very difficult if an employer in Saudi Arabia employs Saudis at the sort of money that Saudis expect. He's not going to produce an economic project. I'll just finish with a little anecdote. Recently the Minister of Labor in trying desperately to tackle this problem of youth employment, spent an afternoon in a McDonald's flipping hamburgers. And the point of doing that, as he said to Saudis, "This is to show you that it is not unworthy for a Saudi to work in McDonald's and flip hamburgers." And everybody laughed. I can't help feeling that if we did the same thing in Britain and the Minister of Labor flipped hamburgers and said It is a perfectly respectable thing for young Britons to do, to flip hamburgers, young Britons would laugh. Because that's what immigrants do. That's what people from other countries who are prepared to work for half price do. So Saudi Arabia faces a dilemma that is common to the whole world. And it is a challenge. There are other challenges. There are the challenges of housing. Because of Saudi laws about usury, it is not easy to have a mortgage system as in this country. Therefore there are comparatively few Saudis who own their own homes. And they say, "Why do we live in such a rich country and we don't own our own home?" And of course there is the problem, talked about in the film, about female employment. And that is another big issue for the future, and women's rights, although as we saw King Abdullah has done a lot of opening those up.

Question: How was the music chosen?
Robert Lacey: This film has already won many awards but numerous awards were given for its musical score. I know that MacGillivray did enormous research in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has a flourishing pop music business. It's one of the surprising things. Muhammed Abdu and other Saudi singers are really popular throughout the Middle East. [Note: there is a CD for sale.]

Sylvia Earle, Plastics, Energy and E.O. Wilson:

Environmental Film Festival Marks 19 Years in D.C.

The 19th annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, March 15 through 27, will present 150 documentary, narrative, animated, archival, experimental and children’s films selected to provide fresh perspectives on environmental issues facing our planet. The critical connections between energy and the environment are a major theme of the 2011 Festival, which features cinematic work from 40 countries and 80 Washington, D.C., United States and world premieres. Fifty-five filmmakers and 94 special guests will discuss their work at the Festival.

Renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle will appear with the portrait film-in-progress, Mission Blue. Distinguished biologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. E.O. Wilson will lecture on his two new books, “The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct” and “Kingdom of the Ants: José Celestino Mutis and the Dawn of American Natural History.” Canadian environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki will discuss Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie exploring his life and ideas.

Award-winning films from international festivals include the Russian psychological thriller, How I Ended This Summer and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, winner of the 2010 Palme D’Or at Cannes. The film, Sun Come Up, about climate refugees from the Carteret Islands, is a 2011 Academy Award nominee for best short documentary.

Oil Rocks-City Above the Sea. Thanks to the Environmental Film Festival for the photo.

Werner Herzog’s new film, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga and Chilean documentary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán’s film, Nostalgia for the Light are also among this year’s highlights. A special sneak preview of The Pipe captures the threat of oil pollution to the livelihoods of fishermen and farmers on the west coast of Ireland. Oil Rocks – City Above the Sea, a stunning portrait of the first and largest offshore oil city ever built, is this year’s winner of the Polly Krakora Award for artistry in film.

The impact of the BP Oil Spill on the lives and livelihoods of people living in the Gulf is explored Stories from the Gulf: Living with the BP Oil Disaster. The threat of mountaintop removal mining to the water, air and landscape of West Virginia is examined in two films: On Coal River and Burning the Future: Coal in America. The introduction of wind power in two small communities in the United States is shown in Windfall and Islands in the Wind. The film Into Eternity focuses on the world’s first permanent repository for nuclear waste in Finland.

The Washington, D.C. premiere of Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha’s new film, Elite Squad 2, from the Sundance Film Festival leads a strong showcase of Latin American films. The effects of the international border fence between Mexico and the United States are explored in two films, The Fence and El Muro. The IMAX 3D film, Arabia, provides a window into a unique and exotic culture and an environment of extreme challenge. Disorder and Ghost Town document the raw underside of life in China today.

The pervasive and pernicious impact of plastics on the environment is covered in three films: Plastic Planet, Bag It and Voyage of The Plastiki. The Light Bulb Conspiracy considers how industry can move beyond planned obsolescence to save earth from accumulating waste. The Waterkeepers with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. traces the growth of grassroots efforts to protect waterways in the United States.

A Community of Gardeners celebrates seven urban community gardens in Washington, D.C. and America’s Sustainable Garden: United States Botanic Garden introduces its newest outdoor garden, the National Garden. Four films on the Chesapeake Bay include The Runoff Dilemma, examining the effect of agricultural nutrient runoff on the Bay.

The lives of iconic conservationist Aldo Leopold and renowned zoologist George Schaller, the mysterious vanishing of honeybees, the artistic expression of the Bayaka pygmy people of Central Africa, the urban parks of Frank Law Olmsted, the legendary art historian Vincent Scully and unplugging teenagers from technology are among additional topics explored in the 2011 Festival. Winners from Britain’s Wildscreen Festival will also be shown.

The Environmental Film Festival has become the leading showcase for environmental films in the United States. Presented in collaboration with over 100 local, national and global organizations, the Festival is one of the largest cooperative cultural events in the nation’s capital. Films are screened at 60 venues throughout the city, including museums, embassies, libraries, universities and local theaters.

For a complete schedule,
visit the Festival Web site or call 202-342-2564.

The 40th Rotterdam International Film Festival

By James McCaskill, DC Film Society Member

Rotterdam XL was this year's symbol. The XL logo stands for the 40th annual international film festival and also Extra Large as they expanded the festival to 40 sites around this architecturally rich city. Long known for scheduling high quality South East Asian and Central European films, this year they have added a project that connected seven young African filmmakers with Chinese mentors, each tasked with making a movie. The films were screened along with talks by the filmmakers. Next year top Chinese directors will journey to African in an attempt to enrich their films.

Rotterdam has never highlighted stars and red carpets; rather their emphasis has always been on small art house fare. For this reason, the films have not been purchased in big numbers by distributors. The sad truth is that few of these high quality films will be screened in the US.

The USA was well represented with over 100 films screened in the feature length, short and animated sections. One film, New Jerusalem (R. Alverson, USA, 2011), filmed in Richmond, VA and neighboring communities had its World Premiere at IFFR. It looked at the friendship between two workers in a tire repair center. Sean (Colm O'Leary, who co-wrote the screenplay with Alverson), is an Irish-born veteran of the Afghan war who is struggling to come to grips with his conflict experience and finds support in his boss, a committed evangelical Christian who attempts to convert Sean.

Before movies could talk, Westerns were a staple of Hollywood and popularized around the world. The format was copied by the well known Spaghetti Westerns in Italy and the Gazpacho Westerns in Spain. Less well known are the Red Westerns of the former Communist countries. Both Stalin and Tito were ardent fans of the Shoot 'em Ups. The Soviet Red Westerns were enormously popular although politically tinged to have the correct heroes and villains. The best of these have been pulled together in a package called Red Westerns that screened at Rotterdam. All 17 will travel on to Goteborg IFF and later in Lintz, Wroclaw's New Era Horizons and ending with the Bratislava IFF. There are no plans to bring this to the US which is a shame.

One of the main topics at this festival, as at several festivals this year, is life after state funding. The coalition Dutch government is planning on deep cuts to all arts funding with film funding running out in 2012.

IFFR 2011 racked up 340,000 visits to its films, exhibitions, performances and events. Festival head Rutger Wolfson looked back with satisfaction on an energetic anniversary festival: “We bring together filmmakers from all over the world for ten days in Rotterdam. Introducing their films, the fruits of tremendous efforts, to a full auditorium can lead to beautiful and emotional situations especially with debut filmmakers. For me, this festival had many highlights, including the opening of the Out of Fashion exhibition, with the performance by Japanese artist Pyupiruu; the live wuxia performances in the Chinese Water Tiger Inn Tavern; the Not Kidding programme for the youngest generation of festival visitors; the Metropole Orchestra, opening the Red Westerns programme; the attendance by prominent filmmakers such as Lee Chang-Dong, Jan Svankmajer, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Ali Khamraev, Mathieu Amalric, Denis Villeneuve, Daniele Luchetti, Denis Côté and Tsukamoto Shinya, and actors such as Marisa Paredes, Stellan Skarsgård and Will Oldham.”

And the winners are...

Audience Awards
The Canadian feature Incendies by Denis Villeneuve won the Audience Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2011. The other award decided by the audience – the Dioraphte Award for Best Hubert Bals Fund-supported film – went to former CineMart Project If the Seed Doesn’t Die by Serbian filmmaker Sinisa Dragin.

Tiger Awards
Fourteen first or second films competed in the 2011 Tiger Awards Competition. The Jury consisted of Lucrecia Martel, filmmaker, scriptwriter and film producer (Argentina); Sandra den Hamer, director of the EYE Film Institute Netherlands and former IFFR director; filmmaker Andrei Ujica (Romania); Wisit Sasanatieng, filmmaker (Thailand) and Lee Ranaldo, vocalist, guitarist, composer and co-founder of noise rock band Sonic Youth (USA). Each Tiger Award comes with a prize of Euro 15,000 for the filmmaker.

  • Finisterrae by Sergio Caballero (Spain, 2010). ‘The outsider in this competition. Searching for the boundaries in this festival, for the edgy, the off-beat. Best animal performances in a film. The ghost of this competition.’

  • Eternity by Sivaroj Kongsakul (Thailand, 2010). ‘With a great sense of cinematic duration, this film builds its own universe, finding its own pacing, so consistently, to tell its particular story. A film that seems on the surface to be about death but which is really about love, a beautiful and delicate love story.’ Eternity is supported by IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund.

  • The Journals of Musan by Park Jung-Bum (South Korea, 2010). ‘A strongly constructed narrative. A survivor’s story. Throughout the film the character, immersed in an ethical disorientation, keeps a constant demeanor. A mature debut film for a new director. This social drama provides us with another dimension or perspective on the Korean situation.’

  • Gromozeka (Vladmir Kott, Russia, 2011). Three childhood friends and teen band players now in their forties live their every day lives of police officer, taxi driver and a surgeon. Over time they have lost track of each other. This film intertwines their lives in stories of betrayal, love and aging. Their paths cross and reunite in ways they don't realize even when their band Gromozeka reunites for a performance of a graduation reunion. "Time is the enemy," the director said at Rotterdam, "Time doesn't change, it stands still. It is the people who change. We have many dreams when we are young, but time passes and we betray our dreams."

  • Haru's Journey (Kobayashi Masahiro, Japan, 2010). Another original story by Masahiro that is full of love, pathos and humor. Tado had been a fisherman until he injured his leg and was forced to retire. His granddaughter, Haru, takes care of him. Haru decided to move to the city and tells her grandfather that one of his siblings needs to step in and take care of him as she is moving to the city. This is a journey of self discovery. The director said of this film, "It is the story of the extremely personal conflict between my father and me." Masahiro is a master craftsman and this film show his ability to build scenes.

  • King of Devil's Island (Marius Holst, Norway, 2010). Based on true events on a Devil's Island type penal colony near Oslo. The reform institute is for boys aged 11 to 18; some are criminals, some are only poor and rejected. The institute, under the direction of Stellan Skarsgard, tries to force them in line with harsh discipline and sadistic punishments. When 17-year old Ealing (Benjamin Helsted) arrives his only thought is to get off the island. He soon becomes the leader of the students and the conflict between the director and the prisoner leads to massive revolt. Skarsgard is not your typical villain but gives a rounded portrait of the institute's commandant who is making life miserable for his teenage charges. At the Q&A he said, "I got worried when I read it first because he's obviously the bad guy, and I don't believe in bad guys and good guys. So we started adding scenes that complicated his life. Then we realized his function had to be simpler, and so we had to work out other ways of making him richer. But developing those extra scenes was useful, when we took them away, the essence of them still remained to my acting."

    Off the Beaten Track. Thanks to the Rotterdam International Film Festival for the photo.

  • Off the Beaten Track (Dieter Auner, Ireland/Romania, 2010). The world of the Romanian shepherd has gone unchanged for centuries but today is struggling with profound change. Since Romania joined the EU they can now work as agricultural laborers and earn more in a month picking zucchini than in a year tending their flock and making cheese. This documentary focuses on Albin Creta, a teenage Romanian shepherd as he goes about his farm duties. I interviewed both Auner and Creta in Rotterdam. When I asked the director why he made this film, he replied, "You enjoy this life now but in 20 years this lifestyle will no longer exist. We know what we will gain when we know what we have lost. We will have lost a lot of community."

  • Silent Sonata (Janez Burger, Slovenia/Ireland/Finland/Sweden, 2010). The storyline is deceptively simple: A man stays alone with his children in a half demolished house in the middle of a desolate field. His wife is dead, killed by a grenade in a military battle. Instead of another attack a wandering caravan called Circus Fantasticus stops by. The circus' director is dying. Is it possible for anything beautiful to happen in a landscape of war and death? The film with its mix of poetry and war has been called one of the best Slovenian films of all time. Why a silent film, no dialogue? The director told me, "In time of war speech is useless. War is a form of show business, politics is show business." The beauty of Circus Fantasticus putting on a performance for their dying director is magic. Not having dialogue gave the director great freedom to choose the entertainers. "While I speak five different languages," he told me, "the cast spoke 18 languages." English was the language on the set. Burger was free to choose the best entertainers around. Several of the performers are alumni of Cirque du Soleil. Filming had to go against the odds as fire and storms almost ruined the set. Silent Sonata is a film to see and savor.

  • Small Town Murder Songs (Ed Gass-Donnelly, Canada, 2010). Life in a Canadian Mennonite community changes with the murder of an unknown woman. This is not a usual police thriller but a character study of the interwoven life in a small village. The film owes a lot to the music of Bruce Peninsula and the hard working actor Peter Stormare (discovered by Ingmar Bergman, is known for playing a variety of international parts, best known for his use of the wood chipper in Fargo). When I interviewed the director, he said, "This film came up fast. Started writing in January 2009, filming began in October 2009. Used the music of the band Bruce Peninsula and you feel the presence of religion without talking about it." Director Gass-Donnelly was inspired by the concept album Small Town Murder Scene by the Fembots. He has made a modern tale of crime and redemption.

  • Tyrannossaur (Paddy Considine, UK, 2011). Considine has made a film of two damaged people brought together by fate. Peter Mullan plays an unemployed widower, a drunk and someone whose violent temper and furious anger controls his life. Hanna (Olivia Colman) works in a charity shop and appears to have a happy life. Hanna is at first Joseph's (Peter Mullan) savior. As the film progresses and more is revealed about Hanna's life it is Joseph who saves Hanna. Both suffer terribly, but the film has a sense of hope for the two characters. Exceedingly strong performances by the two leads make this a film to see.

  • Circus Columbia (Danis Tanovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2010). Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1991: the communists have fallen from power and Divko Buntic returns to the small town where he grew up to reclaim his family home. After a 20-year exile in Germany. Divko arrives in his flashy red Mercedes with sexy young girlfriend, Azra, lucky black cat, Bonny, and a pocketful of Deutschmarks. Divko uses his money and connections to forcefully evict estranged wife Lucija, but he tries to reunite with 20-year-old-son, Martin. When Divko's beloved cat disappears, the whole town joins in a frantic search to get the cash reward. The grind of the search strains Divko's fragile relationship with Azra and opens up an unexpected but strong attraction between Azra and Martin. Busy fretting over everyday concerns, most of the townsfolk seem to disregard the rumbling political unrest: Croatia has seceded, all Yugoslavs are being forced to take side, and the Serbs begin bombing Dubrovnik. (Notes from press kit)

  • Dad (Vlado Skafar, Slovenia, 2010). It is a warm summer's day and near the Hungarian border a father and son are taking time to talk with one another. It begins simply enough with everyday talk about things in the young student's life. The child shares his views and dreams in this gentle film. What raises this film to the Excellent level is the coda showing the uprisings and harsh reality of life in Slovenia.

  • Journals of Musan (one of three Tiger award winners) (Park Jung-Bum, South Korea, 2010). Refugees from North Korea are not widely accepted in South Korea. Their identification cards are maked with the number 125 which makes it difficult to find a job. The story is based on the life of a close friend of Park's who died of stomach cancer two days after shooting stopped. Park cast himself in the lead in this neo-realist film charting Musan's attempts to find stability, productivity and emotional connection.

  • Love in a Puff (Pang Ho-cheung, Hong Kong, 2010). Since 2007 smokers in Hong Kong have had no choice. If you must smoke, you must go outside. More than gossip and idle chit chat occurs among the smokers in this light hearted romp. Cherie and Jimmy fall for each other and love blooms among the cigarette smoke.

  • The Mill and the Cross (Lech Majewski, Poland/Sweden, 2011). We have all seen the character filled paintings of Peter Bruegel the Elder's. His Road to Calvary, which now hangs in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, is filled with 500 characters. Majewski and Francis Gibson take 12 characters from the painting and combine their stories along with Bruegel's painting. The Passion of Christ is interwoven with the oppression of the Flemish by the Spaniards. In my interview with the director, I asked how he was got involved with such a complicated project. "Michael Gibson, the world's expert on Bruegel saw my film Angelus in Paris and wrote a letter asking to meet. He gave me his book, Mill and Cross. I read the book and was fascinated by it. I told him I saw a feature film. He said, 'You must be crazy. Impossible.' I like impossible." This is a brilliant, highly intelligent film by a master. Shortly after screening at Rotterdam the film was screened at The Louvre in Paris.

  • My Prestroika (Robin Hessman, USA/UK, 2010). "In Russia, it is the past that is unpredictable," is a Russian saying. The film looks at two teachers, who teach a different history than the one they knew growing in Russia, and two of their friends reminisce about the childhood they knew. They are children of a world that has disappeared. Their recollections and rare film footage of their childhood make this a fascinating documentary.

  • Pinoy Sunday (Ho Wi-ding, Taiwan/Phillippines/Japan/France, 2009). Wouldn't it be beautiful, Manuel muses, if there were a couch on the roof garden of his apartment. Manuel and his friend Dado are Filipino guest workers in Taipei. They work six days a week, only Sundays off. Manuel sees an abandoned red couch just sitting at the curb. The comedy centers on their struggle to bring it home. Abbott and Costello never had such troubles. (Adapted from festival catalogue)

  • Virgin Goat (Murali Nair, India, 2010). Kalyan Singh's greatest wish is that his rare goat become a mother. The goat does not have the same thing in mind. Singh drags her to a number of miracle doctors. The one day that the village is being visited by a most important person, the goat goes into heat. Security has blocked all roads. This comedy looks at not just one man's devotion to his goat but the problems of rural India adapting to the modern world.

  • Wasted Youth (Argyris Papadiritropoulos & Jan Vogel, Greece, 2011). Based on events during Greek's economic meltdown, Papadiritropoulos and Vogel have mixed the hot summer in Athens. A teenage skateboarder who is out for a lark with his friends, a middle-aged man who is struggling to support his family and who is in a job that he dislikes and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. In their hands this is a lethal combination. At Rotterdam the director said, "When we started we did not have a script, just a five page story that we could use for the purposes of the shooting. All we knew was that we wanted to work together. Wasted Youth is not about the riots of December 2008. It is inspired by them. The film is about Athens: a portrait of a city on the verge of a breakdown. It is the story of what young people do, not knowing that their future could be wasted."

  • Bleak Night (Yoon Sung-Hyun, South Korea, 2011). "People in South Korea don't live for themselves. They live for other people's expectations - parents, friends. They are very fragile. And if you're fragile, you're violent towards other people to protect yourself," director Yoon said in Rotterdam. His film follows three high school friends and their lives at the time that one of their friends, Ki-tae, dies. The film flashes back and forward throughout the final weeks of Ki-tae's life and the weeks after his death. "All the people in this story are very weak and very fragile, but they break each other. There's no black-and-white view of good and bad."

  • Essential Killings (Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland/Ireland/Hungary, 2010). See this film for the brilliant performance of Vincent Gallo. His speechless performance is brilliant. An Islamic fighter is captured in Afghanistan by Americans and taken to an unidentified, inhospitable European country from which he escapes and begins the long journey home. The film won a Special Jury prize and Gallo took home the Best Actor award.

  • A Little Closer (Matthew Petock, USA, 2011). In this visually powerful debut film, the young American director Matthew Petcock intercuts three stories about members of a family on the edge of society wrestling with the cruelty of love. The family's problems do not bring them closer together - Petcock cleverly makes the distance between them tangible. (Adapted from festival catalogue)

  • Majority (Seren Yuce, Turkey, 2010). Mertkan, a Turk, falls in love with Gul, a Kurd. Mertkan's father has no use for the Kurds and tells his son so. Director Yuce examines Turkish taboos and the complex father-son relationship in modern Turkey.

  • New Jerusalem (R. Alverson, USA, 2011). See above.

  • Year Without a Summer (Tan Chui Mui, Malaysia, 2010). This is a film of two parts. The first has the singer Azam returning to the village he eagerly fled years ago. He and a childhood friend, Ali, go night fishing with Ali's wife. The spend the night retelling old myths. The second part takes a retrospective look at their childhood. Fantasy and reality, the present and the past become intertwined.

    Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Grand Hotel, Le Grand Tour, Anyang, Characters, Imagine, the Sky, Noir Ocean, Tilua Ros.

  • Finisterrae (the third Tiger Award winner). I cannot see how this was an award winner. Guys wearing sheets riding around pretending to be ghosts. Too much like the KKK or 8 year old dressed up for Trick or Treating.

  • Water Hands. While the premise of a sailor and his girl friend reading their letters to each other has potential the execution is a mishmash. The voiceover, the couple is never seen, and the on-screen images rarely have anything in common. Car trips are there for no explained reason, a man rows a boat while the sailor talks about commercial fishing. It just does not make sense.

    Rotterdam XL? Rotterdam XL-ent it is.

    Visit the website.

    The 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam will take place from January 25-February 5, 2012.

    We Need to Hear From YOU

    We are always looking for film-related material for the Storyboard. Our enthusiastic and well-traveled members have written about their trips to the Cannes Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, the Palm Springs Film Festival, the Reykjavik Film Festival, the Munich Film Festival, and the Locarno Film Festival. We also heard about what it's like being an extra in the movies. Have you gone to an interesting film festival? Have a favorite place to see movies that we aren't covering in the Calendar of Events? Seen a movie that blew you away? Read a film-related book? Gone to a film seminar? Interviewed a director? Taken notes at a Q&A? Read an article about something that didn't make our local news media? Send your contributions to Storyboard and share your stories with the membership. And we sincerely thank all our contributors for this issue of Storyboard.

    Calendar of Events


    American Film Institute Silver Theater
    An Alfred Hitchcock Retrospective in three parts which began in February continues in March with The 39 Steps, Secret Agent, Sabotage, Young and Innocent, Jamaica Inn, The Lady Vanishes and the silent version of Blackmail. Parts II and III will come later this year.

    A two-part Jean Harlow Centennial Celebration features Platinum Blonde and Libeled Lady.

    "Backward and in High Heels: Ginger Rogers Centennial Retrospective" continues through early April. March films include Shall We Dance, Gold Diggers of 1933, 42nd Street, Carefree, Stage Door, Vivacious Lady, Monkey Business, Bachelor Mother, Roxie Hart, The Major and the Minor and Kitty Foyle with a few more in April.

    The AFI takes part in the Environmental Film Festival with How I Ended This Summer, Windfall, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, The Pipe, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, Submission and Tropical Malady.

    Special engagements include a new 35mm print of The Leopard, a new 35mm print for the 40th anniversary of The Conformist, filmmaker Harry Shearerl present for The Big Uneasy and Black Orpheus.

    The 2011 New African Films Festival takes place March 10-15 with opening night film The Athlete from Ethiopia, Arguba from Nigeria, Gugu and Andile from South Africa, Beyond the Ocean from Ivory Coast, State of Violence from South Africa, Screaming Man from Chad, "Congo in Four Acts," a quartet of documentaries from Congo/South Africa, Seasons from a Life from Malawi, and a double feature For the Best and for the Onion from Niger shown with Home Is Where You Find It from Mozambique.

    Freer Gallery of Art
    "Cruel Cinema: New Directions in Tamil Film" is a series of four films including I Am God (Bala, 2009) on March 4 at 7:00pm, Pudhupettai (Selvaraghavan, 2006) on March 6 at 2:00pm, Subramaniampuram (G. Sasikumar, 2008) on March 18 at 7:00pm and Paruthiveeran (Ameer Sultan, 2007) on March 20 at 2:00pm.

    On March 11 at 7:00pm director Christina Yao will introduce Empire of Silver, a historical film about merchants who once controlled China's economy.

    The Freer takes part in the Environmental Film Festival with two documentaries about current life in China: on March 25 at 7:00pm is Disorder (Huang Weikai) and on March 27 at 2:00pm is Ghost Town (Zhao Dayong).

    National Gallery of Art
    "Remembering Risorgimento" is a three-part series which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Italian unification movement. On March 12 at 2:30pm is Allonsanfan (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, 1974); on March 13 at 4:30pm is a new restoration of The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963); and on March 19 at 4:00pm is 1860: I Mille di Garibaldi (Alessandro Blasetti, 1933).

    Art films for March include A Woman Like That (2010) about 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi with director Ellen Weissbrod in attendance on March 5 at 1:00pm; For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism with director Gerald Peary present on March 5 at 4:00pm along with three critics to discuss the film; and the Washington premiere of Women Art Revolution-A Secret History (2010) on March 6 at 4:30pm with director Lynn Hershman Leeson in person.

    The Gallery takes part in the Environmental Film Festival with three films: on March 20 at 4:30pm is Over Your Cities Grass with Grow (Sophie Fiennes, 2010); on March 26 at 2:00pm is I.M. Pei: Building China Modern (Anne Makepeace and Eugene Shirley, 2010) and on March 26 at 4:00pm is Nostalgia for the Light (Patricio Guzman, 2010).

    Two Cine-Concerts in March feature live music: on March 19 at 1:00pm is The Italian (Reginald Barker and Thomas Ince, 1915) with music by Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton and "Art in Motion," abstract shorts and animation with music by Andrew Simpson and Barry Dove on March 27 at 5:00pm.

    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
    On March 10 at 8:00pm is Bill Cunningham New York (Richard Press, 2009), a documentary portrait about Bill Cunningham, the photographer whose work is featured in the New York Times' photo essays. On March 31 at 8:00pm DJ Spooky will discuss his picks from the Washington Project for the Arts.

    The Hirshhorn's Environmental Film Festival contribution is "Under the Volcano: An Evening with Semiconductor," a work in progress by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt who will discuss their work on March 24 at 8:00pm.

    National Museum of African Art
    Burning in the Sun (2009), about solar power, on March 19 at 1:00pm is part of the Environmental Film Festival.

    National Museum of the American Indian
    The Last Trek (Ramona Emerson, 2006) is a short film about a Navajo woman who makes an arduous journey to graze sheep, shown daily in March (except Wednesdays) at 12:30pm. Also daily except Wednesdays at 3+30pm is another short film My Name Is Kahentiiosta (Alanis Obomsawin, 1995) about the Quebec crisis.

    On March 25 at 8:30pm is We Still Live Here (Anne Makepeace, 2011) is about a language reclamation project. Note that the location is changed to the Carnegie Institution, 1530 P Street, NW.

    For the Environmental Film Festival is Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change (Zacharias Kunuk and Ian Mauro, 2010) on March 27 at 2:00pm, a documentary about Inuit environmental expertise, followed by Q&A with the filmmakers.

    National Portrait Gallery
    As part of the "Reel Portraits" and in conjunction with the Environmental Film Festival is Henry Wallace: An Uncommon Man (2011), a documentary about agricultural scientist and former Secretary of Agriculture and Vice President of the U.S., Henry Wallace. On March 27 at 1:00pm is a double feature of films about newspaper reporters: His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940) shown with All the President's Men (Alan Pakula, 1976).

    On March 31 at 6:30pm is "Remembering Lena Horne," a lecture and screening. Lena Horne's daughter Gail Lumet Buckley joins Susan Lacy, Dwight Blocker Blowers and Richard Golden in a discussion and the documentary Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice (Susan Lacy, 1996) will be shown at 8:00pm.

    Smithsonian American Art Museum
    In conjunction with the exhibit "Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow," is the classic sci-fi film Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) on March 31 at 6:30pm.

    National Museum of Women in the Arts
    Two programs are shown in conjunction with the Environmental Film Festival. On March 23 at 7:00pm is Olmsted and America's Urban Parks (2010), a documentary about Frederick Law Olsted, a visionary urban planner and landscape architect who designed many public parks. A discussion with filmmaker Rebecca Messner follows. On March 24 at 7:00pm is the world premiere of A Community of Gardeners (Cintia Cabib, 2011) about urban community gardens.

    Washington Jewish Community Center
    On March 3 at 7:30pm is Next Year in Bombay (Jonas Parienté and Mathias Mangin, 2010), a documentary about a 2,000 year old Jewish community in India. Discussion follows the screening.

    On March 13 at 3:00pm is Pushing the Elephant presented in conjunction with ITVS Community Cinema Cafe.

    On March 29 at 7:30pm is Beaufort, nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007. The film's director, Joseph Cedar will be present for discussion.

    Goethe Institute
    "A Deeper Look" showcases films by directors seen in January's "Film | Neu" festival. On March 7 at 6:30pm is Late Bloomers (Bettina Oberli, 2006), a comedy set in Switzerland and on March 14 at 6:30pm is Under the Sun (Baran bo Odar, 2006).

    A new film series "Helke Sander in Focus" focuses on Helke Sander, a feminist filmmaker and writer and the co-founder of the German feminist film journal "Women and Film." On March 21 at 6:30pm is The All-Round Reduced Personality (1977) and on March 28 at 6:30pm is The Trouble with Love (1983) with two more in April.

    As part of the Environmental Film Festival is The Toxins Return: How Industrial Poisons Travel the Globe (Inge Altemeier, 2009) and on March 16 at 6:30pm is The Fourth Energy Atonomy (Carl A. Fechner, 2010), about renewable energy.

    National Geographic Society
    In conjunction with the exhibit "American I Am" are documentary films: on March 6 at 11:00am and 1:00pm is Richard Wright-Black Boy (Madison D. Lacy, 1994) about the best-selling author. On March 12 and 13 at 1:00pm is Billy Strayhorn-Lush Life (2007), about Duke Ellington's co-composer and arranger. On March 12 and March 13 at 11:00am is Brother Outsider-The Life of Bayard Rustin (Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer, 2002), about the civil rights worker. One more in April.

    The All Roads Project and The Environmental Film Festival present several films in March. On March 18 at 7:00pm is the DC premiere of Summer Pasture (Lynn True, Nelson Walker and Tsering Perlo, 2010), a documentary about a nomadic couple living in the high grasslands of eastern Tibet. The three filmmakers will discuss their film after the screening.

    Other Environmental Film Festival screenings include Mission Blue on March 16 at 7:30pm, a documentary work in progress about our oceans, with oceanographer Sylvia Earle and filmmaker Robert Nixon present for discussion. On March 23 at 7:30pm Nature's Greatest Defender (Thomas Veltre), about naturalist George Schaller. The filmmaker and executive producer will be present for discussion. On March 22 at 7:30pm is Voyage of the Plastiki, about a ship constructed from recycled plastic which crossed the Pacific. Max Jourdan, the filmmaker, will be present for discussion. On March 26 at 1:00pm is The Eagle Hunter's Son (Renè Bo Hansen, 2009) about a boy who dreams of leaving Mongolia for a big city.

    On March 31 at 7:00pm is Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), about the 1990 confrontation among Mohawks, the Quebec police and the Canadian army about native issues in Quebec. Filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin will be present for discussion.

    French Embassy
    On March 8 at 7:00pm is Unleashed (Raymond Vouillamoz, 2010), a Swiss film about a TV intern who discovers a possible relative while looking at archival footage.

    The French Embassy shows Black Ocean (Marion Hänsel, 2010) as part of the Environmental Film Festival on March 21 at 7:00pm, about 3 boys who take part in nuclear tests in French Polynesia during the 1970s.

    As part of the Francophonie Festival is Where are you going Moshé? (Hassan Benjelloun, 2007) about a Moroccan bar owner whose Jewish customers will be soon leaving for Israel and his plan to keep the bar open in spite of Islamic law against alcohol.

    The Japan Information and Culture Center
    On March 16 at 6:30pm is The Chef of South Polar (Shuichi Okita, 2009), about a cook working in a Japanese research facility in Antarctica.

    Film events this month include "Better Living Through Circuitry" on March 2 at 8:00pm, The Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey, 2009) on March 5 at 11:00am and 2:00pm, "Art and Copy" on March 9 at 8:00pm and Personal Che (Douglas Duarte and Adriana Marino, 2007), a different look at Che Guevara on March 16 at 8:00pm.

    National Archives
    On March 1 at 7:00pm is The Great Famine, a documentary film about a little-known episode in American-Russian relations. Producer Austin Hoyt and Margaret Hoover, great-granddaughter of Herbert Hoover will be present for discussion.

    On March 19 at noon is Dances with Wolves (Kevin Costner, 1990).

    The documentary Their Stories, Their Voices: African American WWII Veterans Who Served on Iwo Jima will be screened and discussed on March 10 at noon.

    For the Environmental Film Festival are two documentaries Power for the Parkinsons (2008) about rural electrification which will be shown with Power and the Land (Joris Ivens) on March 23 at 7:00pm.

    The Avalon
    This month's "Greek Panorama" film, on March 2 at 8:00pm, is Four Seasons of the Law (Dimos Avdeliodis, 1999), set in the 1960s on the island of Chios, where an agronomist assigns a new field watchmen, all of whom fail at the job.

    On March 9 at 8:00pm is this month's "Czech Lions" film, Changes (Tomás Rehorek, 2009), a drama with four interconnecting stories.

    This month's "French Cinematheque" film is Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembene, 2004), from Burkina Faso and part of the French Francophonie series.

    The newest of the Avalon's Wednesday foreign film series is "Reel Israel DC" shown on the 4th Wednesday of every month starting in January 2011. The film for March is The Matchmaker (Avi Nesher, 2010), which was a popular hit at last December's Washington Jewish Film Festival

    The Avalon also takes part in the Environmental Film Festival with White Lion on March 19 at 10:30am and Into Eternity on March 19 at 1:00pm.

    The Corcoran
    On March 10 at 7:00pm is Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter (Marion Cajori, 1993), a documentary about the painter and her art. (This is re-scheduled from January).

    As part of the Environmental Film Festival is Vincent Scully: An Art Historian Among Architects (Edgar Howard), a documentary about the architect and art historian, shown on March 21 at 7:00pm. The filmmaker will introduce the film and take questions.

    Anacostia Community Museum
    On March 10 at 7:00pm is From Florida to Coahuila (2002) a documentary about black Seminole ranchers in Mexico and Texas. On March 19 at 11:00am is The Language You Cry In (Angel Serrano and Alvaro Toepke, 1998).

    Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
    The Kennedy Center's "Maximum India" includes some films and film-related events. On March 14 at 7:30pm is a discussion about the Indian film industry "Bollywood and Beyond" led by Nandita Das, actress and director. On March 15 at 6:00pm are two documentaries: The Story of Gitanjali, and Pather Panchali: A Living Resonance. On March 15 at 7:30pm is a panel discussion "Portrayal of Indian Women in Film" with panelists Shabana Azmi, Sharmila Tagore, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ketan Mehta, and Dilip Basu, moderated by Nandita Das. On March 16 at 6:00pm is a pair of documentaries, Does Ghandi Matter? and Ismat and Annie. On March 16 at 7:30pm is Four Women (2007) a drama set in Kerala. On March 17 at 7:30pm is Mandi (1983), a satirical comedy on politics and prostitution. On March 19 at 11:00am is Devi (Satyajit Ray, 1960). On March 19 at 4:30pm is a literature panel on "Celluloid Lives," a discussion moderated by Lalitha Gopalan with panelists Girish Karnad, Sharmila Tagore, and Sadanand Menon. On March 19 at 8:00pm is Mumbai Diaries (2010) starring Amir Khan. On March 20 at 1:30pm is Fire (Deepa Mehta, 1996). On March 20 at 5:00pm is Mirch Masala (1985). Visit the website for more details.

    Embassy of Austria
    On March 29 at 7:30pm is In Search of Beethoven, with director Phil Grabsky present for Q&A after the film.

    Smithsonian Associates
    Arabia 3D IMAX is part of the Environmental Film Festival. This 2009 film directed by Greg MacGillivray will be shown March 19 at 7:00pm at the Museum of Natural History's IMAX theater. (See above for a Q&A on this film).

    Sixth and I Synagogue
    On March 10 at 8:00pm is Transcendent Man: The Life and Ideas of Ray Kurzweil followed by a Q&A session with Kurzweil and the film's director Barry Ptolemy.

    Edward Albee Festival
    In conjunction with Arena Stage's Edward Albee festival of theatrical productions, the DC Library SW Branch will show several film adaptations of Albee's plays. On March 7 at 6:30pm is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; on March 14 at 6:30pm is A Delicate Balance; on March 21 at 6:30pm is Tiny Alice; and on March 28 is the documentary The Execution of Wanda Jean. The Library is located at 900 Wesley Place, SW. See the website for more information.

    Reel Affirmations XTra
    Reel Affirmations Xtra is a once-a-month screening held at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center. Tickets are $12. On March 11 at 7:00pm and 9:15pm is You Should Meet My Son (Keith Hartman, 2010) a comedy.

    The Woodrow Wilson Center
    When China Met Africa (Nick Francis and Marc Francis, 2010) is about Chinese investment in Zambia and won the 2010 Margaret Mead award. Discussion with the filmmaker and others will follow the screening on March 16 at 2:00pm.

    On March 23 at 12:00 noon is The Fence (Rory Kennedy) about the 700 mile fence along the border of the US and Mexico. Part of the Environmental Film Festival.

    The Phillips Collection
    For the Environmental Film Festival is David Smith, American Sculptor followed by discussion with Smith's daughter Rebecca and Peter Stevens, executive director of the Estate of David Smith.


    The Baltimore Jewish Film Festival
    This festival takes place March 28-April 14 at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts. Films include The Yankles, Naomi, Berlin 36, For My Father, The Matchmaker, Holy Rollers, Five Hours from Paris and As Seen Through These Eyes. See the website for more information.

    The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington-Rockville
    The Third Annual Jewish Film Festival is held at the Kreeger Auditorium. Films include Berlin 36, La Rafle, Anita, Jaffa, The Trotsky, The Loners, The Matchmaker, Eyes Wide Open, Bride Flight and Jews and Baseball. The festival takes place March 24-April 3. See the website for more information.

    The Annual VCU French Film Festival
    The 19th French Film Festival takes place March 24-27 Richmond, Virginia. Feature films, documentaries and shorts will be shown, many with directors present for discussion. See the website for more details.

    The 2011 New African Films Festival
    The 2011 New African Films Festival takes place March 10-15 with opening night film The Athlete from Ethiopia, Arguba from Nigeria, Gugu and Andile from South Africa, Beyond the Ocean from Ivory Coast, State of Violence from South Africa, Screaming Man from Chad, "Congo in Four Acts," a quartet of documentaries from Congo/South Africa, Seasons from a Life from Malawi, and a double feature For the Best and for the Onion from Niger shown with Home Is Where You Find It from Mozambique.

    The Annual NoVa International Jewish Film Festival
    March 24 is the opening night of the Annual NoVa International Jewish Film Festival and the film to be shown is The Infidel. Other titles include La Rafle, Bride Flight, Anita, The Matchmaker, Jews and Baseball, Lost Islands and many more. There are seveal locations; check the website for details. The festival ends April 3.

    Thai Film Week 2011
    The Royal Thai Embassy hosts two weekends of Thai films March 18-19 and March 25-26. Films to be shown include Tears of the Black Tiger on March 18 at 6:30pm, The Judgment on March 19 at 3:00pm, Love of Siam March 19 at 6:00pm, Demon Warriors March 25 at 6:30pm, Dynamite Warrior March 26 at 3:00pm and Ong Bak 2 March 26 at 6:00pm. Location: 1024 Wisconsin Ave., NW. Reservations can be made by e-mail or by calling 202-298-4811.

    The Third Annual Frederick Film Festival
    Regional premieres of independent, foreign and documentary film, both features and shorts will be shown over the weekend of March 26-27, with appearances of special guests, panel discussions and other events to enhance the program. The films will be shown at the historic Weinberg Center, an early 20th century movie palace which opened in 1926, and which, just by itself, is worth the trip.

    The Environmental Film Festival
    The 19th Annual Environmental Film Festival takes place March 15-27 at numerous locations all around town. See above.

    The 13th Annual DC Independent Film Festival
    The DC Independent Film Festival takes place March 3-13 at various locations including the Congressional Visitor Center, the Artisphere Theater, Gala Theater, Letelier Theater, Regal Gallery Place and the Spectrum Theater. Films include features, animation, documentaries and shorts from around the world. Seminars and other special events are part of the festival. See the website for more details.

    The Williamsburg Film Festival
    The 15th Annual Williamsburg Film Festival takes place March 9-12. See the website for more details.

    Francophonie Cultural Festival
    Theater, literary events, music, and film are part of the Francophonie Cultural Festival. Films include: Déchainées (Raymond Vouillamoz, 2009) at the French Embassy on March 8 at 7:00pm; Changes (Tomas Rehorek, 2009) at the Avalon; Moolaade (Ousmane Sembene, 2004) at the Avalon; and Where are you going Moshe? (Hassan Benjelloun, 2007) at the French Embassy. More in April.

    Previous Storyboards

    February 2011
    January 2011
    December 2010
    November 2010
    October 2010
    September 2010
    August 2010
    July 2010
    June 2010
    May 2010
    April 2010
    March 2010

    Contact us: Membership
    For members only: E-Mailing List Ushers Website Storyboard All Else