WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2004)–A selection of exciting works by indigenous and under-represented minority-culture filmmakers from around the world will be showcased at the first National Geographic All Roads Film Festival, a multimedia event with cutting-edge film, videos, live music and crafts from cultures around the globe. It will be held at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles Oct. 22-24 and at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., Oct. 28-30.
Works screened at the festival will include feature films, documentaries, music videos, shorts and animation. Panel discussions with select filmmakers will follow some of the screenings. Live musical performances, an art market featuring the work of artisans from nearly a dozen countries and an exhibition of work by indigenous photographers will also be part of the festival fare at both venues.
More than 500 film festival entries from 16 countries were submitted. More than three dozen films were chosen for screening, representing works by filmmakers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.
Director Spike Lee, a member of the All Roads Film Project Advisory Council, applauded the festival as an exciting new venue for under-represented filmmakers to show off their talents. “It is wonderful that National Geographic is recognizing and supporting the work of indigenous and minority-culture filmmakers. The All Roads Film Project will help bring to light a whole new group of talented individuals with extraordinary stories to tell,” he said.
Terry Garcia, National Geographic executive vice president of mission programs, said the response to this first All Roads Film Festival had been overwhelming. “The quality of submissions was outstanding, and we were delighted to receive entries from so many countries. There is a huge pool of talented indigenous and minority-culture filmmakers with amazing tales to share. The festival will offer audience members the opportunity to immerse themselves in a cultural experience that is both entertaining and deeply personal,” he said.
The festival program is divided into a number of themes, including Spotlight on Islam, Spotlight on South Africa, Spotlight on Australia, Indigenous Films from Latin America and Animated Shorts from Around the World.
The festival in Los Angeles will screen the world premiere of “Tama Tu,” a short film about members of a World War ll Maori battalion, by Maori director Taika Waititi, Maori producer/actor Cliff Curtis (“Whale Rider”) and Maori producer Ainsley Gardiner. The film was funded in part by a National Geographic All Roads seed grant. A second work by Waititi, “Two Cars, One Night,” will also be shown.
Among the other featured films are “Baytong” (2004), directed by Nonzee Nimibutr of Thailand, which explores a Buddhist’s take on terrorism; “The Ladies’ Room” (2003), directed by Iranian actress Mahnaz Afzali and distributed by Women Make Movies, which shatters the perceptions of Iranian women, as they remove their veils, smoke and discuss anything from sex to religion (Los Angeles only); “Soldiers of the Rock” (2003), directed by South African Norman Maake, which tells the story of a gold mining crew; “The Ghost Riders” (2003), by Blackfoot/Lakota/Mexican director Vincent Blackhawk Aamodt and narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt (“Catwoman”), which follows community members honoring ancestors who were massacred at the Battle of Wounded Knee; and “Arna’s Children” (2003), by director Juliano Mer-Khamis, son of an Israeli mother and Palestinian father, who returns to a Palestinian refugee camp to follow up on the lives of his former students now participating in the intifada (Washington, D.C., only).
Festival productions will be considered for broadcast on the National Geographic Channel, both in the United States and internationally — reaching a potential audience of more than 220 million viewers.
Three All Roads Audience Awards will be presented at the festival, in the categories of documentary, short and feature film.
Musical group Gokh-Bi, from Senegal, will perform at both festival venues, and Ojos de Brujo, from Spain, will perform in Los Angeles. The All Roads Art Market will feature artisans from around the world, including Egypt, Haiti, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and the United States, selling work unique to their communities and cultures. The Indigenous Photographers Exhibit will showcase the work of three photographers from South Africa, Israel and Tibet; their images will be for sale.
National Geographic has partnered with The American Cinematheque to bring the festival to the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles.
The All Roads Film Festival is part of the All Roads Film Project, a National Geographic initiative to provide a global platform for indigenous and under-represented minority-culture filmmakers around the world to showcase their talents and teach a broader audience about their cultures. In addition to the All Roads Film Festival, the All Roads Film Project will this year provide up to 10 seed grants to help filmmakers produce a film or video. The Maori film “Tama Tu” was funded by one of the first National Geographic All Roads seed grants.
About National Geographic
Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations in the world. It reaches more than 270 million people worldwide each month through its five magazines, the National Geographic Channel, television documentaries, films, books, videos and DVDs, maps and interactive media. National Geographic has funded more than 7,500 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information about the Society, log on to nationalgeographic.com, AOL Keyword: NatGeo.
About The American Cinematheque
Established in 1981, The American Cinematheque, is a nonprofit, viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms. The Cinematheque presents the best of film and video — ranging from the classics to the outer frontiers of the art form — at the Egyptian Theatre, a state-of-the-art, 616-seat theatre housed within Sid Grauman’s first grand movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard. The exotic courtyard is fully restored to its historic grandeur. The Egyptian was the home of the very first Hollywood movie premiere in 1922. For more information about The Cinematheque, log on to egyptiantheatre.com or americancinematheque.com.
Information about the All Roads Film Project and the 2004 All Roads Film festival is available on the Web at nationalgeographic.com/allroads, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 202-857-7660.
Electronic images available at National Geographic’s FTP site: http://ftp2.nationalgeographic.com/allroads/
Or by contacting Bethany Powell at: email@example.com or 202-857-7760