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William Link Theater to Host Margaret Mead Film Festival

Published: March 2, 2009

The Margaret Mead Traveling Film and Video Festival arrives at the William Link Theater for its first visit on Thursday, March 12, through Saturday, March 14. Admission is free.

The series opens each night at 5:30 p.m. and runs through 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and until 8 p.m. in its conclusion on Saturday.

“This festival screens some of the best examples of ethnographic film made in the last several years,” explains festival organizer Steven Russo-Schindler, who joined the university last fall. “This festival is the only one of its kind in the world. For audiences interested in documentary films and who want to know more about the world outside the United States, this is something they will love.”

The film series will feature “Grito de Piedra” (Scream of the Stone, 2006) which profiles the legendary silver city of Potosi and how its economically destitute silver mines have been opened as a tourist destination for visitors to Bolivia; “Stranger Comes to Town” (2007), a video that re-purposes animation from the Department of Homeland Security, combining them with stories from the border, images from the online game World of Warcraft and journeys via Google Earth to tell a tale of bodies moving through lands familiar and strange; “Super Amigos” (2007), which examines five former professional wrestlers in Mexico City who don the personas of superheroes to fight injustice and inspire others within their local communities; and “Village of Dust, City of Water” (2006), a lyrical and chilling cinematic poem about social exploitation over access to water in India where rural water supplies are redistributed to serve cities and communities are displaced to create dams.

The series concludes on Saturday, March 14, at 5:30 p.m. with a double feature of “The Water Front” (2007) that visits Highland Park, Mich., where local activists fight to keep their community’s water from being privatized; and “Gimme Green” (2006) which offers a close look at the American obsession with lawns and their impact on our environment, our wallets and our outlook on life.

Rousso-Schindler, who has organized festivals in screenings at USC, thanked College of Liberal Arts Dean Gerry Riposa for his support.

“Hosting this film festival highlights a new dimension of visual anthropology in our department,” said Rousso-Schindler. “This is something students love. They are the YouTube generation and they are exciting to be around.”

Rousso-Schindler feels the festival will draw strength from screening in Long Beach. “Previous screenings were in USC in downtown L.A. and that’s not always the most attractive place for a film festival,” he explained. “By hosting the festival here in Long Beach, we offer a chance to see films that don’t often find an outlet here. This is a chance to show there are more fans of documentary film making than university students.”

Rousso-Schindler encouraged the university community to attend. “The Margaret Mead Traveling Film Festival offers something different for audiences used to movies full of explosions,” he said. “This is a chance to learn something good about the world.”