Monday, December 05, 2016

AIFF2016: Another Good Day of Films

We watched animated films at the museum after going to the AK Experience first, by mistake.  We missed the first one or two.  The best of what I saw was  My Life I Don't Want - which in very basic and simple terms tells the universal story of women.  

Serena Dykman, Nana director

We stayed at the museum to see Nana, a granddaughters film about her grandmother's life after Auschwitz.  Her grandmother made it her mission to be an eyewitness who would let as many people as possible know that what life in Auschwitz was like.  I was impressed by her dedication to helping people connect to what happened so that they could prevent it from happening again.  When asked how she survived, she answered that it was luck  She wasn't smarter or more capable than others, she just got the breaks that others didn't.  She also said that no, others can not understand what happened no matter how long she talks.  And it struck me that experiential learning programs are needed to get a sense of this.  There was an elementary school experiment called Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes.  Teacher Jane Elliott divided the class up by eye color and then said that the blue eyed kids were less important, less capable, less smart than the brown-eyed kids.  The next day she switched it around.  The affects, in just two days were staggering and a follow up about 20 years later showed that the impacts were lasting.  You can see this powerful experiment at this link to the Frontline show.

I mention this here, because I think without doing that kind of exercise, people don't get it.  And, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to do that kind of exercise today in schools.  While I understand the concerns for not traumatizing students, I also know that true learning often involves a certain amount of mental distress.

Lalihta Rajan

Because we were at the museum watching Nana, we missed the Global Village program of shorts that had Lalihta Rajan's G;aswAsians in it.  But here's a picture I took of her at the AK Exp Theater Saturday.

Haper's Farce before Prince Achmed showing

At the Bear Tooth, the band Harper's Farce was playing before The Adventures of Prince Achmed started.  I'll put up more on that amazing film with great live music.

The 8:15pm Bear Tooth movie was one of the Features in Competition - the first girl I loved.  I'll do more on this later, but it was an excellently made film.  Two of the producers were there and answered questions after the film.  I'll try to get some of that up.

Michael Faulkner, Director of Shu-De

And I'll just add this picture of director Michael Faulkner, whose Shu-De played Sunday night.  It was really a concert tour sort of movie, but it took place in the republic of Tuva and the concerts featured throat sincere.

The first weekend is over.  That's usually the most hectic part because a) I haven't quite figured out the program and how to see as many of the films I'm interested in as possible.  It's also films from 11 or 12 am until 10:30pm.  But Monday is just a couple of films in the evening at the Bear Tooth.

The festival is off to a great start.  The live music interludes at the Bear Tooth have been great - particularly Blackwater Railroad Company because their music was in the film that came right after.  Everything just seems to be a little smoother.  There are lots of big cameras around - meaning more media are taking a serious interest in the festival.  And audience awards are back.  Since I've often been critical (constructively I hope), it's important to also pat people on the back when they're doing it right.  Good job to the festival board and staff and volunteers!

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