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Opening night film

The fifth Annual Ashland Independent Film Festival will feature 82 films Thursday April 6 through April 10 at the Varsity Theatre downtown and this year, for the first time the Festival will hold special film events at the Historic Ashland Armory and ScienceWorks Museum.

Six Oscar nominated documentary films are official selections of the 2006 Ashland Independent Film Festival. Three are among the five nominated in the feature Best Feature Documentary Category: &

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,&

&

Darwin's Nightmare,&

and &

Street Fight.&

In the Best Documentary Short Subject, the festival&

s selections include Oscar-nominated &

The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club&

and &

A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin.&

Films begin showing at the Varsity Theatre at noon on Thursday, April 6, but this year the AIFF returns to the film festival tradition of the opening night film. At 6 p.m. April 6, the Festival will roll out the red carpet for Sony Pictures Classics&

&

Art School Confidential.&

The film premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and opens in theatres nationwide on April 28. &

Art School&

director Terry Zwigoff was nominated for an Academy Award for Ghost World and received numerous awards for Crumb. He also directed Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thornton. The script for Art School Confidential was adapted by artist-writer Daniel Clowes from his cult comic strip and the film is produced by John Malkovich.

This year the AIFF Opening Night Bash, Thursday, April 6, from 8 to 11 p.m. moves to the ScienceWorks Museum. In what is becoming a tradition, for the second straight year at the Opening Night, the Rogue Creamery features Savor the Rogue, a tasting featuring the Creamery&

s internationally award winning cheeses be paired in exquisite tastings with six Southern Oregon Winery Association wines, Rogue Ales, Dagoba Chocolates, Gary West Meats and more. It is a chance to taste the latest from area artisans and the first of many opportunities to meet the 2006 AIFF filmmakers

&

Hidden Inside Mountains,&

a special film installation created by musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson, will play in the ScienceWorks theater throughout the evening.

Special Events:

Organizers have added four special film screenings at the Historic Ashland Armory and a family film at ScienceWorks HandsOn Museum.

On Friday, April 7 at 6 p.m., the Festival features a Tribute to Filmmaker Chris Eyre featuring &

Smoke Signals.&

This special screening of Eyre&

s classic debut film welcomes the award-winning filmmaker and Klamath Falls native, back to Southern Oregon. Eyre also directed another 2006 AIFF film, &

A Thousand Roads.&

Agnes Baker Pilgrim, the oldest living female member of the Takelma (Rogue Indians) will bless the festival and welcome Eyre home. Steiger Butte, one of the most revered Drums on the West Coast Pow Wow circuit, will sing as the audience enters and then perform an honoring song for Eyre. Most of the members of the group are enrolled members of the Klamath Tribes from Chiloquin, Oregon near where Eyre was raised.

Sherman Alexie based the screenplay for &

Smoke Signals&

on his book &

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.&

It is the story of two Indian boys on a journey. Victor is the stoic, handsome son of an alcoholic father who has abandoned his family. Thomas is a gregarious, goofy young man who lost both his parents in a fire at a very young age.

&

Smoke Signals&

won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and Filmmaker's Trophy, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

This program is supported by Southern Oregon University&

s Native American Programs.

Also at the Armory

&

Make It Funky!&

Film/dance, April 7, 9 p.m.

Join the Ashland Independent Film Festival for a film/dance screening of &

Make It Funky!&

The film features a world class lineup of artists in a night of celebration of New Orleans culture and is a raucous tribute to the musical heritage of the Crescent City. It is chock full of blazing performances, fiery archival footage and red-hot conversations with the remarkable men and women who created it. This rocking documentary was filmed just prior to hurricane Katrina and was quickly recognized as a celluloid memory to help preserve this endangered international heritage. The New Orleans beat is so infectious many audience members will want to dance. At the Armory, chairs will be set up for people who want to watch with an unobstructed view, but there will also be plenty of room to get up and move to the music.

All profits from the Arm benefit screening of &

Make It Funky!&

will help improve the lives of victims of Katrina through the humanitarian organization FilmAid International.

&

Phantom of the Opera&

The Historic Ashland Armory Saturday, noon

A fully restored version of the 1925 landmark silent film with score performed live by world class organist Dennis James. World-class theatre organist Dennis James will perform the original score of &

Phantom of the Opera&

live, accompanying a. James recently performed the score of &

Phantom&

with the prestigious Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The original film version of the renowned classic, starring Lon Chaney as the Phantom, was one of the first horror films ever created and is still regarded as the grandfather of the silent-film genre. The drama of this classic film is created not by actors&

130; lines, but by their facial expressions and the incredible film score, performed on an electric theatre organ replete with all the appropriate sound flourishes.

&

The Blue Butterfly Four&

screens at Scienceworks Hands On Museum throughout festival.

Starring William Hurt and inspired by a true story. Ten year-old Pete Carlton is diagnosed as terminally ill and his determined mother will stop at nothing to ensure her son&

s dream. Pete seeks refuge by observing the miniature world of cocoons and insects that he collects. Given only months to live, Pete&

s one wish is to catch the most beautiful butterfly on earth. The legendary Blue Morpho - a magnificent creature found only in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America. His mom convinces Alan Osborne, a renowned entomologist and Pete&

s hero, to take them to the jungle. However, since the Blue Morpho season is almost over, Alan and Pete have only a couple days. Blue Butterfly is part vision quest, part coming-of-age tale and part testament to the power of love to redeem and heal. Shot on location in Central America, the film uses amazing footage of rain forest creatures.

Films that honor First Nations people screened at the Varsity

A Thousand Roads

This signature film of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian offers a rare chance to see the film without traveling to Washington, D.C. or New York. It follows contemporary Native Americans: a Mohawk stockbroker, ''hunting'' in the steel and glass canyons of Manhattan; a young Inupiat girl, journeying to a new life in Barrow, Alaska; a Navajo gang member, tending sheep alone on the mesas of New Mexico; and a Quechuan healer who journeys across the Sacred Valley of the Incas in an attempt to save a sick child. With epic-sized settings that include the crest of the Andes, the ice floes of Alaska, the mesas of New Mexico and the concrete canyons of Manhattan.

Trudell

A veteran of Vietnam, John Trudell was chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1973 until 1979. His tenure included the Alcatraz occupation where he was the official spokesman, appearing on national news regularly. Nixon&

s FBI observed that he was &

extremely eloquent and therefore extremely dangerous.&

In 1979, Trudell led a march to the FBI building, where he burned an American flag. Less than 24 hours later, his home on the Shoshone Paiute reservation mysteriously caught fire. His pregnant wife, her three children and his mother-in-law were all killed in the blaze. The devastated Trudell withdrew from public life and began writing. With the help of Jackson Browne, he recorded the album AKA Graffiti Man.

Cast includes: Indigo Girls, Kris Kristopherson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Redford and Sam Shepard

Hank Williams First Nation

A remote Cree community takes on a certain charge when one of its own sets out on an ambitious (and somewhat loopy) adventure. 75 year-old Martin Fox decides abruptly one morning that before he dies he must visit the grave of his long time hero Hank Williams. Martin sets out for Tennessee on a Greyhound, accompanied by a 17 year-old nephew sent along as a guide. As the two travelers gain human-interest-story-of-the-week status in the U.S. press, the news trickling back home provides a unifying spark to the little community, and the variety of colorful characters that make it their home.

And Spirit Bear:

The Simon Jackson Story

A modern-day folk tale come to life. Based on the true story of nature versus bottom line politics. Simon Jackson is a charismatic teen who&

s passionate about the environment and spends much of his time alone in the B.C. wilderness. Attacked during one such trip, Jackson is rescued by a rare white Kermode Bear. When he discovers that these white bears are endangered and their habitat is targeted for clear-cutting, Jackson turns into a passionate and vocal political activist. The 15-year old takes on the powerful forestry industry and the provincial government, eventually mobilizing people across the world and forming the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, the world&

s largest environmental network of young people with over 5 million members in 30 countries. Ages 8 and older.

The Blue Butterfly

This family feature at ScienceWorks stars William Hurt and is inspired by a true story. Ten year-old Pete Carlton is diagnosed as terminally ill and his determined mother will stop at nothing to ensure her son&

s dream. Pete seeks refuge by observing the miniature world of cocoons and insects that he collects. Given only months to live, Pete&

s one wish is to catch the most beautiful butterfly on earth. The legendary Blue Morpho - a magnificent creature found only in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America. His mom convinces Alan Osborne, a renowned entomologist and Pete&

s hero, to take them to the jungle. However, since the Blue Morpho season is almost over, Alan and Pete have only a couple days. Blue Butterfly is part vision quest, part coming-of-age tale and part testament to the power of love to redeem and heal.

Artistic Achievement Award

The 2006 AIFF showcases the work of Henry Jaglom and will honor him with an Artistic Achievement Award at the AIFF Awards Celebration on Sunday night, April 9. Jaglom has had a long career in Hollywood. He edited Easy Rider with Dennis Hopper. He trained with Lee Strasberg at The Actor&

s Studio and was directed by and directed Orson Welles and Jack Nicholson. He has written, directed and acted in 15 feature films.

Rough cut

April 8, 6 p.m.

Historic Ashland Armory

This event will be the first time an audience has seen footage from the soon to be released Hollywood Dreams. After a screening of a &

rough cut&

screening of the film, Jaglom and the film&

s star Tanna Frederick will welcome audience feedback and share their process in creating the film. Also in attendance will be co-star Zack Norman, known for performances in Jaglom&

s earlier films as well as featured roles in Romancing the Stone and Cadillac Man. It will offer the unique opportunity to give feedback to a filmmaker that may impact the final edit.

A Jaglom Retrospective at the Varsity Theatre features four films:

&

Going Shopping&

cast includes: Lee Grant and Rob Morrow. In Jaglom&

s latest, Holly is a successful clothing designer with her own boutique who, in the course of a tumultuous Mother's Day weekend, is confronted with deceit, elation, desperation, kleptomania, rebellion, addiction and passion while under pressure to pull off the biggest sale of the year.

&

Festival in Cannes&

introduces us to the obsessed lives of the actors, actresses, writers, directors, producers, executives, movie stars, agents, managers, and wannabes - all of whom are drawn together for two weeks each May in this ultra-romantic setting.

&

Last Summer in the Hamptons&

cast includes: Roddy McDowall and Martha Plimpton. Last Summer in the Hamptons concerns three generations of a large and brilliant theatrical family spending the last weekend of their last summer together at the decades-old family retreat which economic circumstances have finally forced them to put on the market.

&

Déjà Vu&

cast includes: Vanessa Redgrave. &

Deja Vu&

is a film about the powerful pull that strangers can feel toward one another, how one's orderly life-plans can be suddenly and totally disrupted by mysterious feelings of connection and belonging that seem to defy all logic and circumstance. Filmed on location in Israel, France and England.

Awards

60 of the 82 AIFF officially selected films are eligible for competition this year. 21 jurors from the world of film, academics, journalism and the arts will screen the competitors, narrow them down to five finalists, and select a winner in seven categories.

Throughout the festival, audience members will have a chance to vote on all competition films, with the winners determined by the highest average score in the three Audience Award categories. One of the AIFF's founding sponsors Rogue Creamery is the sponsor of the Rogue Creamery Audience Award for Best Documentary. The John C. Schweiger Audience Award for Best Feature is named in honor of the founding benefactor and advisor of the AIFF is the award for Best Short Film which includes both documentaries and narrative films.

Eight of the AIFF award-winning films will have an additional screening on the final day of the festival, Monday, April 10. The winners will be announced at the Awards Celebration on Sunday April 9.

The Launch: A Short Film competition for local student filmmakers

The Launch was a short film competition open to all students in Southern Oregon and Northern California. After reviewing the entries three winners were chosen.

At the high school level, &

Luck&

was produced and directed by Nisha Burton, a student at Ashland High School. The film is a visual journey into the meaning of Lost and Found. &

Luck&

screens in the Locals Only program.

The middle school winner Noah Phillips-Edwards, a former Ashland Middle School student, won for his short &

Oil: The Hummer Diaries,&

which also screens in the Locals Only program. The film is about &

where oil comes from and how we use it.&

Another film of Phillips, &

Edward, Feliz Gravitas: The Story of Isaac Newton,&

is an official selection of the 2006 AIFF and plays several times during the festival. The young filmmaker&

s &

documentary,&

which he calls a PBS parody, focuses on Newton and his discoveries and inventions.

The Launch&

s elementary school winner, &

A Day at Mt. A,&

is included in the AIFF's Family Program. &

A Day at Mt. A&

chronicles a class trip to Mt. Ashland and was made by then 4th grade students Niilo Snyder and Henry Cislo from Walker Elementary School in Ashland. The winning students will be introduced to the audience and take part in the QA session following their film screenings.

Free locals-only program

Roseburg Blast

, 27 minutes, 2005

ABC National Correspondent Barry Serafin was a teenage in Roseburg at the time of &

the blast.&

He narrates this documentary about the event that shook his house and the life of his town in one of the worst disasters in the history of small-town America. Late August 6th, 1959, a delivery truck loaded with six-and-a-half tons of dynamite and a blasting agent, drove into the core of this Southern Oregon town and parked. A few hours later, at 1:14 a.m., a small fire broke out nearby, and within minutes the truck itself exploded. Rescue workers rushed to the scene to respond to the original fire, only to be the first casualties of the explosion itself. When the firestorm was finally controlled, 13 people were dead and 125 injured. Out of this catastrophe came ordinary heroes: people who gave everything, sometimes even their lives, to save their family, friends, and their home town.

Absorbed

12 minutes, 2005

Southern Oregon University student Clint Bowers returns for the second year with production in the Locals Only Program. How does one man react when personal tragedy and ideology collide? In this thought provoking short, Maynard Wilkes is pushed to his breaking point after a tragic incident with a loved one. His life is thrown into chaos, and his personal reaction to this controversial issue is shocking.

Darling Darling

14 minutes, 2005

Harold (Michael Cera of Emmy winning Arrested Development) is faced with the daunting task of picking up his date for the high school dance. Amidst the rubble and decay of modern American suburbia, Harold must do his best to make a good first impression on the eccentric Mr. Darling against a series of somewhat unforeseen events. Director Matthew Lessner was raised in Southern Oregon.

Keep Towing That Line

8 minutes, 2005

An account of the 2005 civil disobedience campaign to save the extraordinary old growth forests of SW Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains from the largest logging project in US Forest Service history. Recently deceased, legendary local activist Joan Norman provides an inspirational narrative of her experience as an elderly woman who spent two weeks in jail for trying to stop logging crews from entering the Biscuit salvage area.

Family program

A Day at Mt. A

The Launch&

s elementary school winner. See listing above under The Launch program heading

This Pretty Planet

&

This pretty planet spinning through space,

You're a garden, you're a harbor, you're a holy place,

Golden sun going down,

Gentle blue giant spin us around,

All through the night, safe 'til the morning light.&

&

Tom Chapin

Colorful and whimsical illustrations accompany Grammy Award winner Tom Chapin&

s unofficial Earth Day anthem. Images of the natural world are portrayed in a style resembling pastel water color paintings.

Moongirl

The latest creation from Portland&

s Laika Entertainment, featuring music from the band They Might Be Giants. One night, the moon goes out while Leon and his pet squirrel Earl are out fishing on the bayou. Cursing the darkness, the boy fishes on, only to snag a giant fish-of-stars that carries him and his pet to the moon where they meet Moongirl. Shy Leon can&

130;t understand why he has to help this snappy, glow-eyed girl repair the moon or learn how to operate its controls. When the shape-shifting Gargaloon monster steals his bait jar, in this mystical story, he and Earl skillfully win it back and discover their greater purpose.

Ride of the Mergansers

The Hooded Merganser is a rare and reclusive duck found only in North America. Every spring, in the Great Lakes region, the wary hen lays and incubates her eggs in a nest high in the trees. Just 24 hours after hatching, the tiny ducklings must make the perilous leap to the ground below to begin life in the wild. This age-old rite is rarely observed by humans. 'Ride of the Mergansers' brings this hidden drama to the screen. Filmed entirely in northern Minnesota, 'Ride of the Mergansers' offers a rare glimpse into the secret world of the Hooded Merganser. This short documentary is an unexpected and heartwarming blend of natural history, humor, and suspense. You'll be entertained, educated, and inspired - and come away with a newfound appreciation of the phrase 'leap of faith.'

The Magic Lion

A short animated film about an African boy who goes on a quest to save the life of his gravely ill grandfather. He is in search of a mysterious village where there are healers who can make a special medicine. On the way he encounters a strange lion, caught in a trap, a lion that takes him on an adventure. The Magic Lion is about a boy who travels from the city to a village in the countryside to get a special medicine for his grandfather. On the way, a lion, caught in a net, confronts him. The boy cuts the lion free, and the lion repays the kindness by carrying the boy on his back to the village. The boy gets the medicine, and the lion disappears. The grandfather recovers, and only he and the boy understand that the lion was magical.

Awards Celebration

Sunday April 9, 7-11 p, Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St.

Celebrate the best of the 2006 AIFF and the best of the Rogue Valley&

s food and drink. Filmmakers and film fans will drink and dine on full offerings from a dozen of the area&

s finest culinary establishments while taking in the AIFF Awards Ceremony. Cocktails featuring Bendistillery&

s spirits and Southern Oregon&

s EdenVale Wine will be available. Ten juried and audience awards will be presented following clips of the top five films in each category. Henry Jaglom, will receive the first ashland independent film festival Artistic Achievement Award. In addition, the AIFF's founding benefactor, John C. Schweiger, will be honored for his contribution to the festival. Cheer on your favorite films and catch a glimpse of some you missed. Be the first to find out the winners, eight of which will be screened again the next day.

Elderhostel Program

Join Elderhostel visitors from around the country and SOLIR members from the Rogue Valley for a behind-scenes look at the films and film festival. This package includes Festival membership, admissions to eight films, filmmaker forums, and the AIFF Awards Celebration. This one of a kind program features five classes on campus taught by filmmakers to help understand the Filmmaking process - examining both the creative process and logistical struggles behind films viewed at the film festival. $200. Call SOU Siskiyou Center at 552-6378 to register.

Academy Award nominees

&

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room&

is the inside story of one of history&

s greatest business scandals. Top executives of America&

s 7th largest company walked away with over one billion dollars while investors and employees lost everything. This film is based on the best-selling book, &

The Smartest Guys in the Room: the Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron,&

by Peter Elkin and Bethany McLean. Enron features insider accounts and incendiary corporate audio and videotapes, revealing the almost unimaginable personal excesses and the utter moral vacuum that posed as corporate philosophy. The film exposes the avarice of Enron&

s traders and their bosses and its shocking and profound domino effect that may shape the face of our economy for years to come.

&

Darwin&

s Nightmare&

is a clear-eyed examination of the underbelly of Globalization and was named Best Documentary at the American Film Institute/Discovery Channel SilverDocs Festival and the European Film Awards. Feeling more like sci-fi/horror than documentary, the film is the stranger-than-fiction tale of two relentless killing machines: the Nile Perch which, over the course of a few decades, ate through everything that used to live in Tanzania's Lake Victoria; and the foreign capitalists who introduced that non-native fish in order to sell it to European consumers. Losing out to both of these were the local Tanzanians who once lived off the lake's bounty, and now, literally, are left with bones and rotting carcasses. When things take an even stranger turn, thanks to an astounding third-act revelation, the relentlessness becomes a cautionary tale it may not be too late to heed. Darwin&

s Nightmare is a clear-eyed examination of the underbelly of globalization.

&

Street Fight&

follows the bare-knuckles race for mayor of Newark, NJ between Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School grad, and Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent twice his age. An urban David and Goliath story, the film chronicles Booker's struggle against the city's political machine, which uses harassment and voter intimidation to hold onto power. The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, poverty and race. In a surprising twist for an election between two African-Americans, the incumbent accuses his Ivy League-educated opponent of not being "really black," forcing voters to examine how we define race in America.

&

The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club.&

Each day Kevin Carter left the security of white South African suburbia to capture nightmarish images that provoked outrage and contributed to the global condemnation of apartheid. Yet Kevin's most evocative image came from Sudan where he photographed a starving girl being stalked by a vulture. Back in Johannesburg, Kevin rejoiced as Nelson Mandela was elected president, but he soon found himself haunted by the decisions he made as a photojournalist?and as a human being. Winning the Pulitzer Prize was vindication that his work had been worthwhile, but it did little to ease Kevin's torment. Only weeks after being bestowed with the honor, Kevin carried out a terrible act of desperation?an act that, 10 years later, seems to embody the anguish of an entire nation: whether to be a witness or a savior.

&

A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin&

On the evening of VE Day, May 5th, 1945, Norman Corwin presented a radio program which galvanized and electrified the nation. The broadcast, &

On A Note of Triumph,&

marked the end of a long national struggle. Today, Corwin is 93 years old and teaching a regular schedule of classes at USC. Although he has always had his admirers and still collects a regular steady stream of honors, few outside the radio industry are familiar with this visionary from the golden age of radio&

130; This film recounts the course of &

On A Note of Triumph,&

demonstrating the lasting effect it has had on our culture. It also takes a close look at a man who continues to hold the banner for a rare mix of high journalistic standards and artistry.

&

God Sleeps in Rwanda&

In the 1994 Rwandan genocide as many as — million lost their lives in 100 days. With the focus of killing on men, the country was left nearly 70% female. This handed Rwanda's women an extraordinary burden and an unprecedented opportunity. Stepping into roles traditionally held by men Rwandan women changed their world. In a culture that historically prohibited women from performing even the most rudimentary of tasks, they are now becoming heads of households and business owners, mayors, legislators and ministers of state.

Other Documentaries Include:

Wordplay, 90 minutes, 2006

Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor at The New York Times is also known to millions as National Public Radio's "Puzzle Master." Shortz has spent his entire lifetime studying, creating, and editing puzzles, and has built a huge following along the way. In Wordplay we also meet his die-hard fans -- including President Bill Clinton,"The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart, filmmaker Ken Burns, and the Indigo Girls-- and discover why over 50 million Americans do crosswords every week. Also enter the community of the world-class crossword solvers at the 28th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament . Competitors travel from all over the world to attend, and vary in age from teenagers to octogenarians. Over the course of one long, snowy weekend, almost five hundred competitors will battle it out for the title &

Crossword Champ&

. It is based on both speed and accuracy, and one wrong (or blank) square guarantees that someone else will be taking home the trophy.

Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock, 105 minutes, 2005

Burning Man has evolved from a fringe counter-culture event into a global community of artists and social revolutionaries. Shot over a period of 18 months, the film goes behind the scenes of Burning Man &

exploring the philosophy that fuels it, the tireless efforts that drive it, and the transcendent experience that makes it a worldwide cultural force. Granted unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Burning Man organization, the journey of the founders, organizers, artists, and participants is documented as they conceive, plan, and create a city unlike any in the world, unveiling the full scope of the Burning Man community in all its complexity and diversity. For seven days and nights, the temporary city of Black Rock, Nevada stands as a community free of commerce, bound by a social contract of tolerance and cooperation, and dedicated to the transforming power is art and self-expression. And then it disappears?without a trace.

Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon 72 minutes, 2005

In the rural logging town of Philomath, every high school graduate has their college tuition paid thanks to the generosity of local lumber baron Rex Clemens. But when a new school district&

s superintendent arrives from Chicago, the administrators of the scholarship become concerned over the increasingly "liberal" direction of the schools. The conflict between the old-time loggers and the "urban immigrants" escalates dramatically, and the scholarship administrators deliver an ultimatum: either the superintendent leaves or the scholarship is withdrawn, leaving the town's children without money for college. Director Peter Richardson returns to his home town of Philomath to document this division in his community. Official selection of the Sundance Film Festival.

The Devil's Miner, 82 minutes, 2005, USA/Bolivia

14 year-old Basilio Vargas and his 12 year-old brother Bernardino work in the Bolivian silver mines of Cerro Rico, which date back to the sixteenth century. Through the children&

s eyes, we encounter the world of devout Catholic miners who severe their ties with God upon entering the mountain. It is an ancient belief that the devil, as represented by hundreds of statues constructed in the tunnels, determines the fate of all who work within the mines. Raised without a father and living with their mother on the slopes of the mine, the boys must work for the clothing and supplies vital to their education. Basilio believes only the mountain devil&

s generosity will allow them to earn enough money to continue the new school year. Without an education, they have no chance to escape their destiny in the silver mines. [subtitles]

Family Portrait, 28 minutes, 2005

In 1968, photographer and journalist Gordon Parks wrote an article for Life magazine about race and poverty in the United States, basing his story on the true life struggles of one family living in Harlem. The article touched so many people that Parks and Life were able to purchase the family a home in a healthier environment. 37 years later, we look at how that family continually struggled, how two members of the family survived, and how the human spirit shines in even the darkest corners of civilization.

Favela Rising, 78 minutes, 2005, USA/Brazil

This film documents a man and a movement, a city divided and a favela (Brazilian squatter settlement) united. Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends, Anderson Sá is a former drug-trafficker who turns social revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro&

s most feared slum. Through hip-hop rhythms of the street and Afro-Brazilian dance he rallies his community to counteract the violent oppression enforced by teenage &

drug soldiers&

and sustained by corrupt police. Chronicling the rise to greatness of the AfroReggae movement, the film shows how the music and culture of Brazil's underclass transform into a catalyst for grassroots social-change. Co-Director Jeff Zimbalist says &

The film celebrates the strength of the human spirit to assert itself in the face of human rights violations, social injustice, and unexpected adversity.&

Hand of God, 95 minutes, 2005

A unique look at Catholic clergy abuse, told from the perspective of a survivor (Paul Cultrera, director Joe Cultrera&

s brother) and his family. It burrows into hiding spots where comfort was found, trust was built and vulnerability created. This is a poetic look into one man&

s journey from potential priest to scathing critic. It is about family and community - and how intimate family life is also filled with silences. Its abstract visual approach reflects the internal struggle of someone holding hard to old secrets. In balancing faith and anger, the subjects survive with their humor intact. The film never descends into expected depression. This is an engaging portrait of one family&

s attempt to regain its footing above a crumbling corporate belief system.

Inlaws Outlaws, 109 minutes, 2005

Marriage from the inside. And out. As the gay marriage debate rages on, this documentary sidesteps the pundits to reveal the extraordinary stories of ordinary couples trying to make sense of the state of modern marriage. Whether gay or straight, everyone is put on the same level playing field and asked everything they know about marriage. There's the story of two Mormon women, secretly college sweethearts until one follows the path her parents have chosen for her and marries -- with her beloved serving as her bridesmaid. There's the ex-Marine who has no idea what a happy relationship looks like until he stumbles across his future partner one night at a bar. Whether loving inside or outside of marriage, struggling to get in or suing to get out, this film cleverly weaves a collective narrative that tests our preconceptions, and explores the hallowed institution with candor, humor, and poignancy.

The Real Dirt on Farmer John, 82 minutes, 2005

John Peterson is a farmer, artist, and innovator cast in rural Illinois. Filmmaker Taggart Siegel has documented John&

s struggle to redefine his family farm for over twenty years. Against the backdrop of the farm debt crisis of the 1980s, John is threatened with murder and his home burned to the ground, largely due to the misunderstanding of his colorful approach to life. He defies all odds and conventions to transform the Peterson family farm to one of the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in the United States. John creates an extended farm &

village&

where people and art can thrive alongside agriculture. Farmer John won the Grand Jury Prize at five festivals including San Francisco International and seven Audience Awards including Slamdance.

Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, 82 minutes, 2005

This is a lyrical road trip through the American South &

a world of churches, prisons, coal mines, truckstops, juke joints, swamps and mountains. Along the way, we encounter various musicians from an old time banjo player to the sounds emanating from a mountain gospel church. The film is a collage of stories and testimonies, almost invariably of sudden death, sin or redemption: Heaven or Hell, with no middle ground. All the while, a strange, Southern Jesus looms in the background. &

140;Alt Country&

130; singer Jim White reflects upon exactly what it is about this baffling place that inspires musicians and writers, at the same time working through his own preoccupations with his muse &

or, as he puts it, &

140;trying to find the gold tooth in God&

s crooked smile.&

130;

Shakespeare Behind Bars, 93 minutes, 2005

A Shakespeare company is formed behind bars at Kentucky&

s Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. Marking their seventh year as an acting ensemble, the inmates cast themselves according to their lives and in relation to the crimes for which they are serving a prison sentence. For one year, this cast, comprised of convicted felons, rehearses and performs The Tempest. Just as in Shakespeare&

s day, men play all the female roles. Twice a week, the inmates work with a volunteer director who pushes them to find their own truth within each part. They swear that the roles &

pick them&

, and this proves to be uncanny, as many of the men experience powerful epiphanies while exploring their characters.

Sir! No Sir!, 84 minutes, 2005

In the 1960&

s, an anti-war movement emerged that altered the course of history. It didn&

130;t take place on college campuses, but in barracks, aircraft carriers and navy brigs. It penetrated elite military colleges and spread throughout the battlefields of Vietnam. By 1971 it had, in the words of one colonel, &

infested the entire armed services.&

Yet today, few people know about the GI movement against the war in Vietnam. The Vietnam War has been the subject of hundreds of films, both fiction and non-fiction, but this story?the story of the rebellion of thousands of American soldiers against the war?has never been told in film. By the Pentagon&

s own figures, 503,926 &

incidents of desertion&

occurred between 1966 and 1971 and entire units were refusing to go into battle in unprecedented numbers. Local and national antiwar GI organizations demonstrated against the war at every major base in 1970 and 1971. Nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary.

Smitten, 27 minutes, 2005

Enter the world of an unusual art collector whose goal is neither about interior decorating nor increasing social status, but about discovery. At age 85, Rene di Rosa is constantly trolling for the emerging, unknown artist. He says, &

It is my greatest pleasure. Without it, I can&

130;t function.&

Many of the unknowns whose work di Rosa collected have become very well known. The former San Francisco Chronicle reporter turned Napa Valley vintner started buying art in the 1960s. Unlike many collectors who use a curator to purchase art for its investment value, di Rosa buys all the art himself, in celebration of the artists of the Northern California region. His collection currently has over 2,000 works of contemporary art by 800 artists. It is considered the largest and most notable collection of Northern California art in the country. The collection is at times colorful, figurative, humorous, rebellious, political, and radical. Located off the Carneros Highway at the southern end of the Napa Valley, the 217-acre di Rosa Preserve: Art Nature is a non-profit art and nature destination.

Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson's American Journey, 63 minutes

A story of race, identity and responsibility - the life of Thelton Henderson, a 70 year old African American federal judge. Henderson&

s experience as the son of a domestic worker, to his appointment as the first black attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and later to his appointment to the bench as the only black federal judge. Judge Henderson&

s ruling that Proposition 209, which outlawed affirmative action in California, was unconstitutional resulted in calls for his impeachment in Congress. He established U.S. dolphin-protection rules for tuna fishing resulting in the "dolphin safe" label. His effort to reform health care in the California Department of Corrections found neglect and mistreatment of California's prisoners that violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In February 2006 he appointed a federal receiver and ordered that everybody up to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger "shall fully cooperate." This film explores the universal concern of making principled decisions in difficult times.

Suzuki Speaks, 45 minutes, 2004, Canada

This special presentation captures the passion, vision and inspiration of world-renowned scientist and environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki. In Suzuki Speaks he shares his view of the human animal and our place in the Universe. It is a perspective beyond the current paradigms shaped by scientific thought, the media and global economists. The film's motion graphics weave a tapestry that transforms Dr. Suzuki's thoughts into a complete sensory experience, literally creating new worlds and new ways of seeing. He delivers a most powerful message on the relationship between the four 'sacred' elements, and their influence on the 'interconnectedness' people feel individually, with each other and with the rest of the world. Earth + Air + Fire + Water = Life

Trout Grass, 50 minutes, 2005

This 10,000-mile journey follows bamboo&

s transformation from a vibrant species of grass into a split-cane fishing rod. A bamboo broker travels to China each year to painstakingly sort through thousands of poles to find bamboo specifically suited to making a first-class split cane fly rod. In Montana, master-builder Glenn Brackett taps into &

the power of unseen hands&

in his rustic shop while converting this hardy piece of grass into a stunning and responsive river antenna. Out on Rocky Mountain waterways, master storytellers Thomas McGuane and David James Duncan (The River Why) put their cane rods to the test. Coursing from the verdant hills of Southern China to the majestic streams of Montana, Trout Grass is a story of passion, international partnership and the discovery of place in the natural world.

Supported by Jackson County Library Foundation in connection with Jackson County Reads, the program where all residents are invited to read Duncan&

s book &

The River Why?&

Other Feature Films

A Dios Momo, 109 minutes, 2005, Uruguay

In Uruguay, an 11-year-old street boy named Obdulio sells newspapers for a living but cannot read the words he sells. He finds a magical &

Maestro&

in the night watchman of the newspaper&

s office. Not only does his tutor teach him how to read and write, he also manages to convey an un-der-standing of the importance of language, and introduces him to the world of books. This charismatic mentor also teaches him the real meaning of life through the lyrics of the &

Murgas&

during the mythical nights of the irreverent and provocative Uruguayan Carnival. The satirical lyrics are accompanied by ritual drumming during carnival processions, parades and celebrations. [subtitles]

The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros) 100 minutes, 2005, Philippines Maxi is youngest child of widower Paca. Like nearly everyone in their Manila slum, Paca and his sons survive outside of the legal economic grid -- selling stolen cell phones, placing bets, etc. Occasionally teased but mostly accepted as a girl in a boy's body, Maxi dropped out of school to be surrogate "wife," cooking, cleaning and fussing over everyone. Maxi dutifully infuses everything he does for them with love, living as a young lady in the absence of their deceased mother. We follow Maxi through his world of shopping, reenacting beauty pageants and more. Then he falls in love with a handsome rookie cop who takes him under his wing &

platonically &

and the story unfolds. &

With its vibrant cinematography, simple scoring, and vast emotional scope, Auraeus Solito's directorial debut as a dramatic filmmaker seems itself like a flower amid the grit of most contemporary cinema.&

N. Bird Runningwater, Sundance Institute Programmer for Native American Initiatives. [subtitles]

Fateless, 140 minutes, 2005, Hungary

&

The Pianist and Fateless rank among the best non documentary cinematic treatments of the Holocaust yet produced.&

A.O. Scott, New York Times. This film chronicles a boy&

s experience in German concentration camps and his attempts to reconcile himself after the war. Upon his return to his native Budapest fourteen-year-old Gyuri Koves&

130; former neighbors and friends urge him to put the ordeal out of his mind. The boy is left to ponder the meaning of his experience alone. The 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Imre Kertész "for writing what upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history.&

World-class cinematographer Lajos Koltai&

s European work includes the Oscar ®-winning Mephisto, as well as three other Oscar-nominated productions. His American films include Home For The Holidays and Being Julia. Fateless is his directorial debut. With the delicacy of the light and the painterly composition of the frames, the visual beauty of Koltai's Fateless is unmistakable. It portrays a survivor's conviction that there are aspects of the experience itself that can only be described as beautiful.

Hank Williams First Nation, 92 minutes, 2005, Canada

A remote Cree community takes on a certain charge when one of its own sets out on an ambitious (and somewhat loopy) adventure. 75 year-old Martin Fox decides abruptly one morning that before he dies he must visit the grave of his long time hero Hank Williams. Martin sets out for Tennessee on a Greyhound, accompanied by a 17 year-old nephew sent along as a guide. As the two travelers gain human-interest-story-of-the-week status in the U.S. press, the news trickling back home provides a unifying spark to the little community, and the variety of colorful characters that make it their home. Shot on the Woodland Cree First Nation in the Peace River Country of Northern Alberta, this is an endearing look at a good-hearted and good-humored people and the unique charms and challenges that surround them.

Neo Ned, 97 minutes, 2005

They say opposites attract. What about an Aryan Brother who falls for a Black woman in a mental institution who thinks she's Adolph Hitler? What starts out as an impossible connection of opposites slowly turns into a wild, emotional story of love, romance, and disillusionment revolving around two people who shouldn't be together. After meeting them you'll know they should never be apart.

Say I Do, 90 minutes, 2004

Ben and Sydney set out to have the perfect wedding?they just never planned on it being by the side of the road. When Ben spontaneously changes the route to the place where he and Sydney are to be married, his decision takes them down a road neither was prepared to travel. To make matters worse, his best friend is along to film the day, eager to capture every moment. As things heat up and plans fall apart, their relationship is put to the test, giving them a wedding day like no other. An unflinching and comical exploration into the true essence of marriage, Say I Do asks important questions about a journey to happy-ever-after and the detours along the way.

Satellite, 100 minutes, 2004

Satellite is a romantic fable about a young couple who give up everything they have in order to find something better. Kevin and Ro meet and fall in love in a weekend. They swear to never lie to each other and to dare each other to do the things they're avoiding or are afraid of. They quit their jobs, sell their possessions, and begin stealing to make ends meet. And they would be incredibly happy except Ro has a secret, which threatens to destroy the relationship. Featuring music by the band Calla.

Southbounders, 87 minutes, 2005

Olivia has lost her confidence. She decides to confront her fears and hike the 2170 mile Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, alone. She tries to stay to herself, but the gregarious Slackpack won't give her any peace. She also begins reading register entries left at each shelter by another hiker, Rollin. Soon the three are traveling together - enduring the challenges and rewards of life on the trail. As the months pass Olivia and Rollin finally give in to their growing attraction. But, tensions grow from her desire to rush to the end of the trail, and his seeming aimlessness. Months pass. The trees are bare of leaves. The hikers' hair has grown long and the men have grown beards. Southbounders follows characters as they explore the complexities of their lives, while giving audiences a glimpse into the world of long distance hiking. It's a story of solitude and perseverance, an adventure through America's rich and unspoiled soul.

Other short films include:

Cuílín Dualach, Animation, 10 minutes, 2004, Ireland

Cuílín Dualach lives in a small town in the west of Ireland. He is the apple of his mother's eye, yet his father shows him little affection. Everywhere he goes, people stare at him. Cuilin strives to fit in as best he can but that can be a difficult thing to do when your head is on backwards! The magic of the ancient Irish language, still spoken in remote parts of the West, make this film a cultural experience as well as morale fable. A traditional County Clare, slow aire score composed and performed by Irish music great Martin Hayes. [subtitles]

One Weekend A Month, 12 minutes, 2004

Megan McDermott is busy getting her kids out the door when her phone rings. This single mom's world and the lives of her two children are changed forever when the caller lets her know her National Guard unit is being mobilized to Iraq. With so many Guard and Reservists being sent to war since the invasion of Iraq, the film personalizes a moment in time that resonates across our nation. Official selection of the Sundance Film Festival.

Ryan, 14 minutes, 2004, Canada

One of the pioneers of Canadian animation, Oscar ® nominee, arrogant, an artist unable to create, fallen angel, shy, broken, Ryan is an animated tribute to Canadian animator Ryan Larkin. Thirty years ago, at the National Film Board of Canada, Larkin produced some of the most influential films of his time. Including the Academy Award ® Nominated Walking. Today, he lives on welfare and panhandles for spare change in downtown Montreal. How could such an artistic genius follow this path? In Ryan, we hear the voice of Ryan Larkin and the people who have known him, but these voices speak through strange, twisted, broken, and disembodied 3D generated characters. 2005 Academy Award® Winner for Best Animated Short Film.

Tama Tu, 18 minutes, 2004, New Zealand

A battalion of young Maori (indigenous New Zealander) WWII soldiers impatiently wait for nightfall to bring a cease to the gunfire, while holing up in the ruins of a war-torn Italian home. Forced into silence, they keep themselves amused as any boys would, with jokes and laughter. As they try to ignore the reminders of war around them, a sign brings them back to the world of the dying. [subtitles]

Victoria Para Chino, 14 minutes, 2004

On May 14, 2003, an abandoned truck trailer was found near the town of Victoria in South Texas. When police arrived, they discovered more than 75 Mexican and Central American immigrants inside. The passengers, ranging in age from 5 to 91 years old, had endured more than four hours inside the unventilated trailer in what had become a botched attempt to cross the U.S. border without documentation. This student film is a fictionalized account of this tragic event. Honorable Mention recipient at the Sundance Film Festival.

West Bank Story, 22 minutes, 2005

A musical comedy set in the fast-paced, fast-food world of competing falafel stands in the West Bank. David, an Israeli soldier, falls in love with a Palestinian cashier, Fatima, despite the animosity between their families' dueling restaurants. The couple professes their love for each other, triggering a chain of events that forces all to find common ground in an effort to rebuild, planting a seed of hope. Can the couple's love withstand a 2000 year old conflict and their families' desire to control the future of the chic pea in the Middle East? Official selection of the Sundance Film Festival.