The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Festival Archives


What is possible when we align ourselves with others?  How can we join hands across seemingly cavernous divides?  What personal and collective transformations emerge when we rise above our own concerns and strive to see the world through others’ eyes? The 28th annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival explores the power and promise of Alliances, presenting an international program of documentary, narrative, and experimental films, from the United States, Puerto Rico, Iran, France, Egypt, Brazil, and South Korea, that pose compelling visions of connection with people, ecologies, and ideas.  With an eye also to the shadow side of alliances—failures of alliance, or misguided or malignant confederacies—the films this season address themes of community, solidarity, and partnerships for social justice, environmental advocacy, and other endeavors to achieve a common good or confront a prevailing ill. Join us this spring in a celebration of films that spark empathy, bridge difference, and inspire dedication to dreams held in common. Daniel Pope, Festival Director.


2020 - IMAGINE BETTER (Season Suspended due to the Covid 19 outbreak)

The Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies is pleased to announce the 27th annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, "Imagine Better". What we imagine fuels our intentions. The 27th annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival asks us to Imagine Better. This season we present films from around the world offering creative, often startlingly original visions that rethink approaches to myriad environmental challenges encounters with otherness various kinds and our very understanding of fantasy, history, family, friends, and neighbors. If the future we imagine is the future we get, then we desperately need to imagine better: we need to better our powers of imagination so that we can imagine better possibilities. Collectively, the works in the season's program suggest just how we might do that as they imagine alternatives to familiar patterns of thinking, relating, and being. Traversing imaginative stories and fantastic encounters from Israel and Palestine to Iceland and Japan, from intersectional Chicago to a field in Maine seen through multiple perspectives, the films of this year’s Festival creatively cross borders and cross-up border enforcement, celebrate youth and honor age, and they show how opportunities are created by imagining possiblities. They ask us, they show us, and they hope that we can learn to Imagine Better. 

2019 - OFF-TRACK

The 26th annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival is pleased to go “Off Track.” This spring’s Festival presents a season of the unexpected, with orphaned, amateur, experimental, and underground films as well as narrative and documentary films in which characters go off track and encounter what they never anticipated.  Together these films show us how filmmaking can be democratic and accessible and esoteric and extraordinary. 

2018 - (MMFF 25th anniversary) FILM LIVES!

The Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies is pleased to announce the 25th anniversary season of the annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, "Film Lives!" Opening its spring season on February 28, 2018, with weekly screenings through April 25, this season shines a spotlight on documentary filmmaking, primarily by women directors, foregrounding narratives of individual and collective lives in critical times.

2017 - Endings/Beginnings

The 24th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival is pleased to present its spring season, "Endings/Beginnings" Whether art or entertainment, documentary or fiction, movies experiment with--and at times manipulate-- our sense of reality. It is often through the process of entering into a film and emerging from it that the shock of a cultural experience is most apparent. Embracing a range of genres, styles and techniques, our screenings interrogate the ways movies begin and end, proposing that openness to cinema's surprising moments may lead us to unexpected places. In so doing, the festival suggests the power of cinema to engage and mobilize in times of crisis.

2016 - Films about Film

The 23rd Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival features films about filmmakers, both documentary and fictional; films about the power of the cinema to ignite change, both political and personal; films about stories crucial to tell, relying on the moving image. "Films about Film." Presented by the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies, the 2016 season of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, our 23rd year, brings together a unique collection of internationally produced feature films, documentaries, experimental and short subjects that reflect upon the medium of cinema itself. Hosting filmmakers throughout the season and featuring both promising and established talents, this season explores cinematic possibilities, honors great personalities in film history, presents a special anniversary screening, and offers a constellation of themes that haunt filmmakers from around the world today. Together, this season’s program showcases the power, the magic, and the urgent necessity of the cinema as a source of inspiration, reflection, and creative interaction. All films are accompanied by critical introductions by scholars and filmmakers. All events are free and open to the public.

2015 - Dislocations

The 22nd Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival "Dislocations," puts a spotlight on people who find themselves relocated, pushed aside, and otherwise threatened with invisibility by the forces of geo-politics and global economics. Hosting filmmakers, producers, archivists, and musicians this year, our festival program traverses the globe and the history of cinema to explore the ethical, ideological, moral, personal, and spatial issues that arise from an increasingly unjust distribution of wealth. The wide-ranging, eclectic body of international cinema in this year's program represents the impact of dislocation as people, livelihoods, and perception itself are subject to movement, transformation, and displacement. All films are accompanied by critical introductions by scholars and filmmakers. All events are free and open to the public.

2014 - Reality Narratives

The 21st Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival explores the blurred boundaries between documentary and fiction that have been present since the birth of cinema and that constitute a major conceptual force in contemporary filmmaking. Hosting nine filmmakers who will be present for discussion, our festival program observes the hybrid, amalgamated spaces between genres, juxtaposing methodologies and narratives that blend the "factual" with the "fictional." In so doing, the festival raises ethical questions about the "truth claims" and "reality principles" of a wide-ranging, eclectic body of international cinema, recasting conventional definitions and distinctions in a variety of works and styles. All events are free and open to the public.

2013 - Continuities

The entertaining and provocative selection for the 20rd Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival features award-winning narrative features and documentaries from France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Spain, and the US. We are pleased to host nine filmmakers (including three accomplished Five College alums) who will be present for discussion; a colloquium on "What’s European about European Cinema" with keynote speaker Thomas Elsaesser; several New England premieres; and two screenings in our directors’ showcase. The Festival focuses on productions that revisit the past and interrogate the present, with special attention to European productions that highlight cultural diversity. All films are accompanied by critical introductions by scholars and filmmakers. All events are free and open to the public.

2012 - Intersections: Fiction/Non-fiction

The 19th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival headlines award-winning narrative features and documentaries from France, Iran, Germany, Mexico, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Finland, Guatemala, Palestinian Territory, and the USA. Our lineup showcases several New England premieres and hosts five acclaimed women filmmakers and video artists who will be present for discussion. This season explores the hybrid interconnections and boundaries between documentary and fiction, beyond and across borders and genres—geopolitical, transnational, generational, artistic, cultural and historical—offering a wealth of visual pleasure for every taste. All events are free and open to the public.

2011 - Migrations

The 18th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival highlights interconnections among cinema, migration, war and memory in the context of contemporary cultural and ethno-national landscapes, screening award-winning documentary and feature films from South Africa, Bosnia, Russia, Israel, Mauritius, Iran, Palestine, Spain, Mexico and the U.S. From February 2 to April 27, this season explores the primordial role played by filmmakers working in partnership beyond and across borders, whether geographical, psychological, socio-economic, cultural or historical. All events are free and open to the public.

2010 - Cinematic Cities

The 17th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival explores the dynamic, reciprocal connections between cinema and cities, showcasing newly restored silent and documentary films, international co-productions and the latest award-winning feature films from France, Brazil, the U.K., Germany, Afghanistan, Israel, Jamaica, Portugal, Italy and the U.S. In thirteen events, from February 3 to May 5, this season’s films invite us to consider how urban culture, architecture, and the moving image open new spaces for transnational connections, cultural development and debate. All events are free and open to the public.

2009 - Beyond Walls

The 16th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival showcases innovative major studio releases and independent films exploring life in the post-socialist, post-communist era since 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Soviet Union and its satellite East bloc regimes, and the opening of China. In fourteen events from February 11 to May 6, 2009, we feature provocative and entertaining films from Romania, Hungary, Russia, Cuba, Hong Kong, Israel, Lebanon, Korea, Germany, Turkey, China, and the Czech Republic. With a special focus on children and youth, several world and national premieres, visiting filmmakers, and a distinguished lecture, the Festival promises to engage audiences in lively debate and discussion. All events are free and open to the public.

2008 - Africanicities: Conflict and Community

The 15rd Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival turns the spotlight on Africa and the African American diaspora, bringing to the screen brave and challenging films addressing human suffering, resilience, creativity, and the global struggle for justice. Beginning with a tribute to the great Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembene, we invite our audiences to experience new cinema and modes of storytelling from Chad, Mali, Cameroon, and the Americas that explore the Black experience today. Our special mini-series – "Landscapes of Violence" – features provocative films from Bosnia, Darfur, Indonesia and the U.S on the problematics of war and terrorism. Accompanied by conferences, introduced by visiting filmmakers and scholars, the 2008 MMFF invites you to thirteen weeks of cinema that will engage students, faculty and the wider community in lively debate and discussion. All events are free and open to the public.

2007 - Encuentros/Encounters: New Cinema of Latin America & Spain

The 14th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival “Encuentros/Encounters” showcases innovative new works of feature and documentary filmmakers from across Latin America, Cuba, Mexico, and Spain. We invite our audience to encounter the remarkable achievements of both well-established and young, first-time filmmakers many of whom collaborate across national boundaries to give us insight into new social movements, vibrant musical traditions, complex histories, and evolving constellations of identity, culture and politics. With over sixteen films introduced by our guest scholars, filmmakers, and curators, “Encuentros/Encounters” proposes a rich and diverse cinematic exploration of crossings and encounters of many kinds — across lines of race, class, language and religion — provocative and engaging. All events are free and open to the public.

2006 - World Cinema Now

The 13th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival showcases the brilliant accomplishments of feature and documentary films by independent filmmakers worldwide, featuring innovative productions from Canada, Cameroon, India, Mexico, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Palestine, Russia, People’s Republic of China, Tibet, and the U.S.A. We invite our audience to consider the remarkable achievements of contemporary filmmakers who overcome the daunting challenges of production outside traditional film industry structures and whose works encounter increasing difficulty in finding U.S. distribution and exhibition. Through visiting residencies by two of contemporary world cinema’s most dynamic and challenging figures—Jean-Marie Teno and Ferzan Özpetek—the festival offers a powerful tribute to independent filmmakers who experiment with ingenious formal and narrative strategies that expand the horizons of motion pictures. All events are free and open to the public.

2005 - New Faces of Documentary

The 12th Annual Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival opened its spring season on February 9, presenting the best of new international cinema beyond the Hollywood paradigm. This year's focus is on documentary, experimental, non-fiction and biographical films, bringing to the Valley a dynamic group of directors, screenwriters, and scholars eager to engage our audience in lively debate and discussion. Curated by the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Festival screenings are free and open to the public on Wednesday evenings, February 9-May 4 at the University and in the Five Colleges. Unless otherwise noted, all screenings are in the Isenberg School of Management Flavin Family Auditorium (SOM 137) at 7:30 p.m. For the first time, the Festival's theme spotlights a single category of filmmaking--documentary , a genre as old as cinema itself. Whether making ethnographic, propagandistic, or educational films, documentarians traditionally have aspired to some form of objectivity. Recently, however, new kinds of documentary have emerged in which the filmmaker may also become the subject of the work, and the boundaries between truth and fiction are blurred. Whether chronicling family history, sexual identity, or a personal or social world, some in this new generation of nonfiction filmmakers have embraced autobiography. Others, including recent large-scale Hollywood films, have focused on biography and the "bio-pic". Our festival focuses on examples of these new approaches, including such non-traditional practices as the essay film and the video confession, broadening definitions of what counts as documentary and exploring issues at stake in that expansion. The films we have selected foreground intersections of the personal and political, considering how memory and the media complicate questions of identity, oppression, and resiliency. All events are free and open to the public.

2004 - The Global Lens

2003 - Film and the Arts

2001 - Border Crossing: Cinema and Video at Century's Turn

2000 - Filmmaking Out of Place: Human Rights and the Millennium"

1993 - The Shock of Re-Cognition: Identity, Memory, and the Politics of Representation in Indigenous Media

This series curated in 1993 by Prof. Jacqueline Urla of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and funded by a grant by the Grant Getty Program brought together a collection of works that explored in varied imaginative ways questions of cultural domination, identity, and resistance. It covered issues related to the representation of native peoples including the emergence of native television and alternative media projects as a source of empowerment, the politics of museum display, and the conflicts in the interpretation of cultural artifacts. Utilizing a variety of filmic styles, from standard documentary to parody and performance art, these films assumed the complexity of native/white relations and the meanings of "Aboriginal" identity in a postmodern world. Featured works include an extensive program of Native American films and videos, including several titles by Hopi producer Victor Masayesva Jr., recent films from Bolivia and Peru, and several works from Australia and New Zealand, including the newly released Maori dramatic feature, Te Rua. 

                                                                                                                   Image of the banner from Cafe Nagler, a selection from 2017 MMFF, (2016, dir Mor Kaplansky, Germany/Israel, 53 min, in German & Hebrew w/English subtitles)