2012 Athens International Film & Video Festival
The 39th edition of the Athens International Film and Video Festival opened on Friday, April 13, with more than 250 films from around the world. The Festival was founded in 1974. This year a record 1,049 entries were received in the festival’s Competition. Of these, around 200 were chosen to screen at the festival. The Festival is sponsored by the Athens Center for Film and Video, a project of the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University.
Let’s Talk About Water Festival Presence
“This year’s selections are really the cream of the crop,” Festival Director Ruth Bradley said in a news release. “We simply don’t have time to screen all the really solid films. It gets down to how the chosen films fit together to make one cohesive program. The films make it into the festival represent not only really excellent films, but films that work together to make thematic strands that run throughout Festival week.”
One of those thematic strands is “”Let’s Talk About Water,” a series of films that engage with environmental concerns, especially about the issue of clean water. Programmed by Linda Lilienfeld, a guest curator with a long career in programming environmental films, this special program was underwritten by the prestigious Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, through its Film Festival Grants program.
Sunday, April 15, through Thursday, April 19, the “Let’s Talk About Water” program will screen at 5 p.m. Among the films in the “water” program are “Peace Out,” a film that asks the question “are we ripping out our back yard for energy – or not?”; “Silent Snow,” a study about the accumulation of pollutants in the Arctic; “As Above, So Below,” an introspective piece about the cycles of life; and “78 Days,” a spirited portrait of the workers who replant forests in northern Canada.
Several of the filmmakers with “water” films will be in attendance and will participate in a post-screening discussion moderated by Lilienfeld, who has led two earlier film programs at the Athena Cinema about environmental films. Because of the support from the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and the “Arts for Ohio” program, admission to “Let’s Talk About Water” is free.
[excerpted from The Athens News, April 11, 2012 read full article]
Let’s Talk About Water Screenings
Director: Rob Yeo/ Sarah J. Christman
Showtime: Sunday, April, 15, 2012 5:00 PM Athena Cinema
Of a Feather, by Rob Yeo, is a 10-minute lyrical portrait of the vibrant force of life, filmed over the course of a year in Wisconsin’s Horicon Marsh.
As Above, So Below is a cinematic meditation on alchemy, mortality and trash. A woman in Philadelphia has her husband’s ashes converted into a memorial diamond. At a Belgian recycling plant, precious metals are extracted from discarded electronics. What was once the world’s largest landfill – now also the resting place of the World Trade Center’s remains – is being transformed into a public park. The film intimately examines these transmutations, both microscopic and massive, that reshape matter and its meanings. What separates the permanent from the impermanent, the things we discard from those we preserve?
Director: Charles Wilkinson
Showtime: Monday, April, 16, 2012 5:00 PM Athena Cinema
Peace Out asks and answers the question: are we ripping up our back yard for energy – or not? The film seeks to engage those of us who do not connect our daily decisions with global land use issues. It focuses on the North Western Canadian wilderness, however the issues are universal. The film pits energy executives, Tar Sands reps, nuclear spokesmen against academics and activists in an intelligent debate that leaves the viewer to decide what to believe. The film presents a beautiful, thought provoking look at a rapidly transforming landscape.
Director: Jan van den Berg
Showtime: Tuesday, April, 17, 2012 5:00 PM Athena Cinema
The Arctic plains are an eminent example of nature’s untouched beauty: an endless nothing in which only few know how to survive. But dangerous pesticides are silently accumulating here, poisoning its inhabitants. A young Inuit woman investigates the sources of this pollution. Her journey takes her to three different continents, where she is confronted with conflicting interests when it comes to short-term gains and healthy solutions for agriculture, industries and health care. The recent developments in the Arctic are a disturbing preview of the consequences of structural pollution of the environmental system worldwide.
Director: Pawel Wojtasik/ Jason Nardella
Showtime: Wednesday, April, 18, 2012 5:00 PM Athena Cinema
Filmed primarily in Alaska, The Aquarium contrasts the openness of the primeval Arctic landscape with the entrapment of captured sea mammals in aquariums. It speaks of the progressive destruction of these animals’ habitat, seeing beyond the alluring spectacle.
Tree planting is one of the most physically and mentally demanding jobs in Canada. Alone, working long days in desolate cut blocks, backing sun, rain storms, snow covered tents, bears, and endless bombardment of flies, swamps and mud, that’s tree planting in Northern Alberta. The independent documentary, 78 Days, divides the long season into a series of chapters, following a camp of veteran planters dealing with the harsh working conditions of this never ending contract.
Director: Arnaud des Pallieres
Showtime: Thursday, April, 19, 2012 3:30 PM Athena Cinema
This is a logbook. A film which has been improvised. A poem that is slightly too long and made from other films parts, bits of sentences, pieces of music and sounds from all around. It was written in the language of cinema, without dialogue or commentary. It is both a silent movie and a wordy one as it relates many stories, twenty or so, short, minor and forming what is called History with a capital H when put together. It is about America and, therefore, about us. Pieces of everybody’s lives put together. A child, his father, his mother, the rabbit, the dog, the flowers, your childhood, mine, ours. Native Americans, Christopher Columbus, Apollo, the moon. Each character says I. It is both anybody’s diary and everybody’s autobiography.
Directors: Yvonne Latty/Evan Abramson/Cynthia Wade
Showtime: Thursday, April, 19, 2012 5:00 PM Athena Cinema
The documentary shows the devastating toll past uranium mining has had on the Navajo people and discusses the potential risks posed by a renewal of uranium mining. It lays out the complex and conflicting economic, political, environmental and spiritual issues involved. However, this documentary in no way portrays the Navajo as victims of outside forces, but rather agents of change within their community and beyond.
Carbon For Water
In Kenya’s Western Province, most drinking water is contaminated. The wood many Kenyans use to boil this water to make it safe is increasingly valuable. Women and girls, who bear the responsibility for finding water and fuel, often miss school or work while seeking both fuel and water. Some even encounter sexual violence. Yet waterborne illness remains a dailyand life-threateningreality for them and their families. Carbon For Water introduces audiences to the inspiring people who face these hardships, and explores one company’s innovative solution for improving the health of millions of Kenyans and the environment in which they live.
Despite being only fifteen years old, Vinh Voeurn has accepted his destiny – to be sick for the rest of life with incurable arsenic poisoning. He longs to fall in love with a girl with long, smooth hair. He fantasizes about becoming a karaoke star, winning the affections of adoring fans. But his body is terribly scarred by illness and there is a good chance the arsenic will soon take his life like the girl who once lived across the road. Vinh spends his days in his remote Cambodian village tending the cows and escaping into song with his family’s car battery powered karaoke machine. He worries he will never marry and live the life he wants for himself. A chance to be in a karaoke video about the dangers of arsenic allows Vinh to wonder if he truly knows his destiny.