massachusetts multicultural film festival

save the dates! | spring 2018 | "Film Lives!"


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MMFF 2018

25th Anniversary Season

“Film Lives!”

The Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies is pleased to announce the gala 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 milestone season shines a spotlight on documentary filmmaking, primarily by women directors, foregrounding narratives of individual and collective lives in critical times.  The festival will host seven filmmakers present for post-screening discussions, including two Five College alumni.  Screenings are accompanied by critical introductions by scholars and filmmakers.

Screenings are held on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus in the Isenberg School of Management Flavin Family Auditorium (137 SOM) at 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings unless otherwise noted.

All events are free and open to the public.

Presented by the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Catherine Portuges, 25th Anniversary Curator; Shawn Shimpach, Festival Director; Barbara Zecchi, Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies; Assistant Curators: Daniel Pope and Barry Spence.


A one-credit colloquium (COMM 296F) is available to undergraduate students.
For information, please contact colloquium faculty supervisor Anne Ciecko, Communication, UMass Amherst, tel. (413) 545-6348, email: ciecko@comm.umass.edu


 

500 Years

wednesday 28 february

500 YEARS
(2017, Pamela Yates, USA, 108 min, in English, Spanish, & Mayan languages)  

The third and final installment of Pamela Yates's trilogy "The Resistance Saga," following When the Mountains Tremble (1982) and Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (2011), 500 Years exposes Guatemala's official history of brutality, entrenched racism and genocide through the indigenous Mayan population's uprising that threatens to topple a corrupt government.

Introduction by Daniel Pope (UMass).                

The director Pamela Yates and producer Paco de Onis will be present for discussion.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management

 

claude lanzmann

wednesday 7 march

"In Search of Suchomel in Claude Lanzmann's Shoah: Constructing the Holocaust Perpetrator between the Outtakes and the Finished Film." Erin McGlothlin (German & Jewish Studies, Washington U. offers poignant new insights into Lanzmann’s monumental holocaust documentary, based upon extensive research on the hundreds of hours of outtakes in the archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Followed by a screening of

CLAUDE LANZMANN: SPECTRES OF THE SHOAH
(2015, dir Adam Benzine, UK, 58 min; Academy Award nominee, Documentary Short Subject).

The 92-year-old French journalist, philosopher and filmmaker reflects on the trials and tribulations he faced during the 12-year journey to make his Holocaust masterpiece, Shoah (1985).  In this special Director's Cut, Lanzmann discusses the challenges of tracking down Nazi officials and traumatized death camp survivors, fighting in the French Resistance as a teenager, his relationship with philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, and his hopes and expectations for the future in this intimate portrait.

Co-sponsored by UMass Institute for Holocaust, Genocide & Memory Studies.  

Introduction by Jonathan Skolnik (UMass).

With regrets, due to the winter storm and the closing of the University today, tonight’s second screening of the 25th Anniversary season of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, featuring guest speaker Erin McGlothlin and the film CLAUDE LANZMANN: SPECTRES OF THE SHOAH has been CANCELED.
Please join us in two weeks for our next screening event.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management

 

GI JEWS: JEWISH AMERICANS IN WWII

wednesday 21 march

GI JEWS: JEWISH AMERICANS IN WWII
(2017, dir Lisa Ades, USA, 87 min)

Over half a million Jews joined every branch of the military and saw action on all fronts during WWII, uprooted from their working- and middle-class neighborhoods. In this groundbreaking  feature documentary for broadcast on national public television, Jewish veterans bring their unique and profound war experiences to life—how they fought, struggled with anti-Semitism, and emerged transformed.

Co-sponsored by Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival.

Introduction by Catherine Portuges (UMass).

The director Lisa Ades and the writer Maia Harris will be present for discussion.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management

*note: an additional screening sponsored by Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival will be held at 7:00pm Monday, March 26, Springfield Jewish Community Center, Goldstein Auditorium, 1160 Dickinson Street.

 

INSTITUTIONS OF FEAR/ELS INTERNATS DE LA POR

wednesday 28 march

UMASS CATALAN FILM FESTIVAL (10th EDITION):

INSTITUTIONS OF FEAR / ELS INTERNATS DE LA POR
(2016, dir Montse Armengou and Ricard Belis, Catalonia, 75 min., in Catalan and Spanish w/ English subtitles)

During the Francoist period and extending well into the democratic era, hundreds of thousands of children were incarcerated in charitable institutions, religious schools, orphanages, tuberculosis sanatoria or Social Assistance Centers across Spain and subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Child labor was a common experience for many who were also exposed to dubious medical practices. This provocative documentary broadcast on Catalan public television explores a silenced aspect of the contemporary history of Spain where, unlike in Ireland where mistreatment of children under state care has been acknowledged, such cases have not been prosecuted.

In collaboration with the 10th annual Catalan Film Festival.

The director Montse Armengou will be present for discussion.

Introduction by Sebastiaan Faber (Oberlin College).

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management

 

SVETLANA BOYM: EXILE AND IMAGINATION

wednesday 4 april

SVETLANA BOYM: EXILE AND IMAGINATION
(2017, dir Judith Wechsler, USA, 60 min)      

In 1980, age 21, literary and cultural critic Svetlana Boym (1959-2015)  left the USSR for the US. After graduate studies at Boston University and Harvard, she became the Carl Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. A brilliant writer and scholar of ambitious scope and great imagination, she explored motifs of exile, nostalgia, the diasporic imagination and forms of freedom in her books, essays and artmaking.  Interweaving videos, interviews, photographs, and photomontage with the subject's original texts and film excerpts, this moving documentary pays tribute to her legacy.  Director Judith Wechsler was awarded the Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres for her filmmaking and publications on 19th and 20th century art.

Co-sponsored by the Deptartment of Languages, Literatures & Cultures.

Introduction by Catherine Portuges.

The director Judith Wechsler will be present for discussion.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management

 

ANGEL WAGENSTEIN: ART IS A WEAPON

wednesday 11 april

ANGEL WAGENSTEIN: ART IS A WEAPON 
(2017, dir Andrea Simon, U.S./Bulgaria, 84 min, in Bulgarian, English, German and Russian w/ English subtitles)

An exquisitely crafted and intellectually provocative documentary essay on the great Bulgarian screenwriter, novelist, and lifelong revolutionary Angel Wagenstein.  At 95 he remains a man of massive charm and ferocious intelligence, a passionate witness to history and an active participant in the debate on Bulgaria’s rocky post-communist future.  Wagenstein’s life and work raise critical questions (more timely now than ever) on when, how and why to resist the totalitarian impulse … and where the paths of resistance may lead.

Co-sponsored by the UMass DEFA Film Library and German Studies, Mount Holyoke.             

Introduction by Barton Byg (UMass).

The director Andrea Simon will be present for discussion this evening and the following evening in conjunction with the screening of STARS/STERNE.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management

 

STARS / STERNE

thursday 12 april

STARS/STERNE
(1959, dir Konrad Wolf, East Germany/Bulgaria,  88 min, in German, Bulgarian, Yiddish, and Ladino w/ English subtitles)

This gripping drama, based on the personal story of screenwriter Angel Wagenstein during the Holocaust in the Balkans, sheds light on the Sephardic experience of WWII. Stationed in a secluded Bulgarian village in 1943, Walter, an artist and sergeant in the Wehrmacht, lives an almost idyllic life far away from the war. Soon, a transit camp is set up for Jews arriving from Greece. When Ruth, one of the Greek Jews, asks Walter to help a pregnant woman in the camp, the two form an unlikely bond. 

Co-sponsored by the DEFA Film Library and German Studies at Mount Holyoke College.

Introduction by Skyler Arndt-Briggs (UMass).

Andrea Simon, director of Angel Wagenstein: Art is a Weapon (screening Wed. April 11), will be present for discussion.

NOTE SPECIAL TIME AND LOCATION!

7:00 pm, Amherst Cinema
20 Amity Street, Amherst, MA

 

BETTING ON ZERO

wednesday 18 april

BETTING ON ZERO
(2016, dir Ted Braun, USA, 104 min)  

Writer-director Ted Braun’s critically acclaimed first feature film, Darfur Now, presented on our campus in 2007, won the NAACP Image Award for best documentary of 2007.  Continuing his work in non-fiction across documentary and scripted forms with a focus on global conflict, Betting On Zero explores the battle waged by controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman and Latina activist Julie Contreras to expose Herbalife as a massive international pyramid scheme.  (Premiere, 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, special jury mention, World Documentary Competition).  Ted Braun (Joseph Campbell Endowed Chair in Cinematic Ethics, USC School of Cinematic Arts) will be present for Q&A and will hold a master class for Film Studies students the following day.

Introduction by Shawn Shimpach (UMass).

The director will be present for discussion.

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management

 

FACES PLACES / VISAGES VILLAGES

wednesday 25 april  

Closing night: FACES PLACES/VISAGES VILLAGES
(2017, dir Agnès Varda and JR, France, 89 min) 

Kindred spirits, 89-year old Agnès Varda, the legendary French New Wave pioneer, teams up with acclaimed 33-year-old French photographer JR to co-direct this enchanting documentary/road movie, traveling through French villages in JR’s photo truck, meeting locals and producing epic-size portraits displayed on houses, barns, storefronts and trains. Faces Places documents these encounters and the unlikely, tender friendship they formed along the way. Winner of the Golden Eye at Cannes and 2018 Oscar nominee for Best Documentary. Agnès Varda was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2017 for lifetime achievement.

Introduction by Barry Spence (UMass).

7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management


The 25th Anniversary edition of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival is made possible by the generous support of many departments, programs, colleges, and individuals at UMass Amherst, the Five Colleges, and beyond.

Major Sponsors: UMass Amherst: College of Humanities & Fine Arts; College of Social & Behavioral Sciences; and the UMass Arts Council Arts in a Series Grant.

With additional support from: Five College Film Council; Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival; Catalan Film Festival, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, and the DEFA Film Library.