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Documentary

American Grindhouse

Directed by: Elijah Drenner, USA, 80 minutes, Rating: MT

Spiritedly recounting the genealogy of American Exploitation Cinema, from early classics like Freaks and Reefer Madness to the days of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Blaxploitation and beyond, the film is a subversive crash course on a lesser-known but equally influential side of American film history and features testimony from filmmakers including Joe Dante, John Landis and Larry Cohen.  Director to be in attendance for screenings

An African Election

Directed by: Jarreth Merz,
Ghana/Switzerland/USA
,
89 minutes, Rating: TN

Timely in light of recent political unrest elsewhere on the African continent, An African Election is a riveting boots-on-the-ground look at the 2008 democratic election held in the nation of Ghana.  With so much at stake, the suspense is palpable as an entire nation, regardless of political affiliation, electrifies in the run up to a pivotal election day.  Director to be in attendance for screenings

Armadillo

Directed by: Janus Metz Pedersen, Denmark, 100 minutes, Rating: MT

Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week, this bone-jarring war documentary embeds itself with a group of Danish soldiers at Armadillo, a military base in southern Afghanistan.  In his six months on the front lines, director Pederson unflinchingly encapsulates the atmosphere of new millennia warfare and the psychological implications of a life under constant siege.

Bathing Micky

Directed by: Frida Kempff,
Denmark/Sweden
,
14 minutes, Rating: MT

Micky has been a member of the local bathing club for almost half a decade. Every day, every season, she swims with her friends at her beloved bathing club. From her story we gain a perspective on ourselves, and on how our existence is but the fruit of coincidence.

Big Birding Day

Directed by: David Wilson, USA, 13 minutes, Rating: TN

A look into the world of competitive bird watching. Marty & Chris, best friends since childhood, travel to Mexico to identify as many birds as possible in 24 hours.

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff

Directed by: Craig McCall, UK, 90 minutes, Rating: TN

Essentially a master’s thesis on the life and work of famed cinematographer Jack Cardiff, Cameraman demonstrates for audiences the stunning work Cardiff created for the screen. Cinematographer of such seminal films as The Red Shoes, African Queen and Last Days of Pompeii, Jack Cardiff’s work in the film industry began in 1918 and has left the world with an unforgettable film legacy.  Director to be in attendance for screenings

Circus Kids

Directed by: Alexandra Lipsitz,
USA/Israel
,
86 minutes, Rating: TN

What happens when a youth circus troupe has the opportunity to travel from St. Louis to Israel to collaborate with the Galilee Circus, a local troupe comprised of Jewish and Arabic children? Circus Kids is a powerful, interfaith film that follows the kids’ experiences and witnesses the understanding that grows between youths who have little in common but their love of the circus.

Documentary Shorts

From a look into a fascinating group of guys who “hunt” birds with their binoculars (Big Birding Day) to a man who spent his life learning new and interesting ways of deceiving audiences (Mr. Hypnotism), this program looks at the atypical “jobs” that both humans and even inanimate objects (Wood of Value and Seltzer Works) can play in our everyday lives.

Genpin

Directed by: Naomi Kawase, Japan, 92 minutes, Rating: MT

A cavalcade of mothers negotiating their final months of pregnancy serve as the binding thread of this contemplative documentary that muses on the almost otherworldly bond between mother and child.  At a renowned Japanese clinic nicknamed the “House of Birth”, director Naomi Kawase subtly explores motherhood’s mysterious power as she trains her lens on the phenomenon of countless, seemingly effortless natural births.

Kinshasa Symphony

Directed by: Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer,
Germany/Democratic Republic of Congo
,
95 minutes, Rating: TN

Amid the clamor of downtown Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo and third largest city in Africa, exists the only all-black orchestra in the world.  This uplifting and vibrant film introduces us to its eclectic cast of players—most of whom work full-time jobs and perform on hand-built instruments to boot--as they struggle to stage an open-air performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  Conductor Armand Diangienda of the Kinshasa Symphony will be in attendance for screenings (4/9 & 4/10)

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