Happy World Peace Day!

To celebrate peace, to inspire thoughts of peace, and reflection about peace, we would like to showcase Films4Peace, an annual short film commission by PUMA.Peace, curated by Mark Coetzee, features 21 of today’s most innovative contemporary artists visually interpreting the subject of peace. Our friends at Shooting People have the production managers of the project.  We particularily love the films by Japanese artist Noriko Okaku and by Dutch artist Levi van Veluw. Enjoy. The initiative also encourages the films to be screened and shared across the world, through social networking websites, blogs and media channels, so please feel free to share them, and post your comments using #films4peace. SPREAD THE WORD!

 

The 411:
  • Join the world’s media champions in action at The Cross-Media Forum! Click here for details.
  • The Tribeca Film Institute has announced  six grant recipients for the 2012 TFI New Media Fund. Find more here.
  • Check out this weekly curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Congratulations to VII Photo and Doctors Without Borders for its recent News and Documentary Emmy nomination for its Starved for Attention project.  We were lucky to collaborate with them both this past yearand showcase 4 of the 8 videos on Telegraph21 to help promote the work and raise awareness of international hunger and poverty issues.  Starved for Attention is nominated in the documentaries sub-category in New Approaches to News and Documentary Programming.

Here is an excerpt from our October interview with The U.S Standard and A Double Standard Director Jessica Dimmock.

t21: What inspired you to create this two-part film: The U.S Standard and A Double Standard for the Starved for Attention campaign?
JD: This film was made for Doctors Without Borders as a part of a series about global malnutrition. This specific film was made to illustrate the gross double standard that exists in the United States’ approach to food aid. The first part of the film, which I did, looks at the high- quality foods that are provided as part of the WIC program to low-income families domestically. The second part, which Antonin did, looks at the mostly corn and soy-based food that is exported to poorer nations as part of the U.S. Food Aid package.

t21: How did you decide the specific stories and profiles to showcase?
JD: I focused on three women in a rural Pennsylvania town in order to show a small crosssection of the type of families that are eligible for the WIC program, how it helps them, how they use it, and the obstacles they may face. I felt that this town and the population had many aspects which allowed it to serve as an example of many towns around America.

t21: Do you think this campaign has been successful?
JD: I think the campaign has been very successful. The combination of all of the films that are part of the Starved For Attention campaign approach the issue of childhood malnutrition in a way that defies stereotypes and highlights some of the complicated aspects of malnutrition in different parts of the world. I think it has been very educational.

t21: In terms of your own work, what is your intention and hope for what you are doing?
JD: I hope to create images and video that appeal to people on an emotional level, and allow them to more fully think about the circumstances of the people I photograph. I hope to allow people the opportunity to think about a subject in a slightly different way than they would have expected.

The 411:
  • The 8th Annual South Asian Film Festival is accepting  submissions. Get details here.
  • DocsDF and Latin Side of the Doc are calling for entries. Click here for more.
  • Check out a curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Culture of Resistance will screen at the Dissident Arts Festival in New York today at 4pm. Click here for details and check the trailer below.

 

The 411:
  • Check out this upcoming exhibition at Foto8 Gallery.
  • Week 2 of DocuWeeks NY at IFC Center is in session! Click here for details.
  • Watch a screening at the New York International Latino Film Festival this week.

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Thanks to our friends at Cinema Tropical we were able to interview Director Everardo González about his latest film Drought/Cuates de Australia which will screen at the 16th Annual DocuWeeks at the IFC Center in NYC and Laemmie Noho 7 in Los Angeles.

Winner of the prizes for Best Documentary at both the Los Angeles and the Guadalajara Film Festivals, González’s fourth feature documentary tells the story of the residents from the communal land of Cuates de Australia in the northern part of Mexico that annually perform a massive exodus searching for water during the drought. During this exile, men, women, elders, and children wait for the first drops of water to return to their lands, a metaphor of a small town that hides from death.

Here is what he had to share with us.

t21: What inspired you to make Drought/Cuates de Australia?
Everardo: I was inspired by paternity, the hope of the people, the ideas of ​​belonging and of heritage. Of course the relevance of the drought theme also inspired me, but most of all, I was inspired by the fact that during this journey the necessity of death is a condition for the emergence of life. Here, life always arrives in a violence manner, it is painful. Before a big storm the wind can be interpreted by an announcement of a tragedy but in this case, the tragedy is the arrival of the rains, the return to life. On the other hand, when death occurs naturally, it does so peaceful, almost silently. That great contradiction inspired much of the film’s structure.

t21: What do you want viewers to take away from the film?
Everardo: I want people to find appreciation in life’s simple things and to see this film is a story full of hope and that people want to find it. Hope is the great metaphor in this story.

t21:  How did you first meet and connect with the residents from Cuates de Australia?
Everardo: In 2004, while recording a television program in northeastern Mexico, an old farmer offered to take me to visit a ranch called Los Cuates de Australia. The name of the place was a powerful pull; a place called Australia in the Texas border must be special. When we reached it, a farmer told me the story of the annual drought and exodus.  That was the first contact I had with them. 3 years later I returned with the intention of filming the movie.

People were divided about the idea. There were those who accepted me from day one and with whom I maintain very close friendships and those who argued and proposed radical ideas like that I was at the ranch to find a wife or to take the children. The weather was very important in this story. After three years of filming rumors turned into acceptance and friendship in some cases. In the end the people worked and helped the team to survive the conditions of the desert.

t21: What can be learned from their experience?
Everardo: I often commit the mistake of starting things filled with prejudices. I imagined a film set in a marginalized area of ​​the country that survives terrible droughts every year would make a devastating portrait of the world. Fortunately with the passage of months and of living together, I discovered that picture was impossible to make.  I found true survivors, people who are very happy in a hostile environment.

Life in Cuates de Australia helps to reconcile the simple things.  In the mornings everything is filled with smoke from the wood to heat the stoves; the men go to work and always take a few minutes to sit down and talk over a cup of coffee; children live an enviable freedom; the afternoons are spent touring the mountains on horseback,; most do not want more in life than to become good cowboys. The nights are wonderful, always full of starry silence and one can spend several hours just sitting staring at the sky. The dependence on modern life gradually recedes until it reaches the time when a good bed, a place to sit and eat are all converted into luxury.

Something to thank the people of Cuates de Australia for is helping me to see the beauty in the basics.

t21: How is this film different than your previous work?
Everardo: Frankly I do not know but it is the film I have enjoyed most. It is the one that gave me the most time for reflection. For me this film was like backwater, an isolated peaceful place.

t21: Your favorite thing about Mexico?
Everardo: In Mexico I have my affections. I have memory and history. I recognize myself here and I guess that’s what I most like about Mexico.

Check out this trailer for The Green Wave , Ali Samadi Ahadi’s exploration of Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution. It will premiere at NYC’s Cinema Village this Friday, August 10.

The 411:
  • Check out the ITVS Indie Roundup, a curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.
  • FOTODOKS presents a six day intensive, practice-oriented photography workshop led by Stefano De Luigi, Christopher Morris, Franco Pagetti and Anastasia Taylor Lind. Click here for details.
  • Meet the DocuWeeks Filmmaker: Martin Smith. Check out this blog post on a community filmmaker.

This is a lovely video piece recently showcased by Good.

 

 

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