Friday, November 28, 2008

Anchorage International Film Festival -Special Workshops

There will be four special workshops at the Film Festival - all on the weekends. The workshops, from my experience, give you a chance to hear directly from the film makers and get a behind-the-scenes view of the movie. Sort of like the extra material on DVD's except it's real life and you can ask questions. Going to a workshop may mean you miss films playing at the same time, but catching up via dvd or even Youtube in the future is probably easier than getting a chance to interact live with the film makers themselves.

The workshops are $7 each. If you have an "all films and events" pass, you're covered.

Sunday, December 7, 2pm, Out North:

[All images can be enlarged by double-clicking on them.]

Andrew MacLean, an Inupiaq filmmaker, a local boy with a Sundance Prize, will talk about how he made the film Sikumi. The film itself will be shown

  • Saturday December 13 at the Bear Tooth at 12:45 pm in the program "Snowdance Shorts" - a collection of Alaska related short documentaries.

I would hope that Alaska Native parents especially can take advantage of this opportunity to bring their kids. Role models are really important and there aren't that many opportunities to see prizing winning Alaska Native film makers (or any prize winning film makers for that matter.)

Photo of Andrew McLean from Native Works. There's also a bio there.

Friday, December 12, 8pm Out North:

Local talent time. Lots of people now have video cameras - even if it's just the one on your digital camera. So spend some time and make a short video during the conference. What can you lose? Watch for the instructions one week from today - Friday, December 5 - on the AIFF website.

Saturday December 13 11am, Out North:

I haven't seen any of the films, so I can only go by the titles and descriptions. But "The Last Days of Shishmaref"* sounds like a film that all Alaskans should watch. I bumped into a woman Monday who is studying the moving of Alaskan villages due to global warming problems and this sounds like an issue we haven't even begun, as a State, to understand. The movie itself will be shown twice:
  • 12/7 Sun 6:15pm Bear Tooth
  • 12/13 Sat 12:30pm Fireweed Theatre
So, if you go to the first showing, you'll have questions to ask Jan Louter, and can still catch the second showing if you want to see it again.

*The picture of Loutan is from the site linked above. The website is worth checking out, almost a whole project of its own, including blog excerpts like this one:

This makes me think a little about the criticism I read about Claude Lévi-Strauss:
It is perfectly true that an experienced anthropologust, visiting a "new" primitive society for the first time and working with the aid of competent interpreters, may be able, after a stay of only a few days, to develop in his own mind a fairly comprehensive "model" of how the social system works, but it is also true that if he stays for six months and learns to speak the local language very little of that original "model" wll remain.
The awe and amazement one feels on coming into a completely foreign environment can have one filling in the missing details with our own preconceptions; the quote from Jan's blog does have that amazed and dazzled tone to it. On the other hand, outsiders see things others don't see, and so they also can contribute meaningfully to the conversation. And relatively few urban Alaskans have been to Alaskan villages so this film should give us a peek at Shishmaref through the eyes of a Dutchman.

Saturday, December 13 3pm Out North

I was wondering if this might not be interesting for kids so I googled Jeff Chiba Stearns and got to his MySpace page. [The picture on the right is from his meditating bunny site.] These links took me into many different directions. Jeff has a number of incarnations including snowboarder. If I understood it right, he's a neighbor - he lives in British Columbia. Here's the trailer for one of his animated films, What Are You Anyways?

At the film festival, his short animation, Yellow Sticky Notes, will be shown in a late evening collection called "Love and Pain, Short Films for Adults"
  • December 12 Fri 10:10pm • Bear Tooth [Not sure where I got this, the right times are below]
  • Wednesday, December 10 at 5:30 PM - Anchorage Museum

  • Saturday, December 13 at 12:30 PM - Anchorage Museum (Jeff will be at this showing)

I've sent Jeff an email to see if the workshop will be appropriate for kids. When I hear from him, I'll let you know.

[Update Saturday Morning: Jeff emailed back that yes, children are welcome:

"The animation workshop is geared toward all ages. So, yes, suggesting it would be great for kids is good. I always gage the direction of my workshops by the range of ages in the audience. I think the kids should be over the age of 8 since I will get a bit technical and really young kids will get bored. The workshop is geared towards teenagers and adults, too."
There's an interview with Jeff at Vancouver Animation where he talks about Yellow Sticky Notes, the film showing in Anchoage.]

Lots to keep us all pretty busy.

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