AMNH Hosts 33rd Annual Margaret Mead Film Festival

Science news aficionados that are passing through New York City this week should check out the thirty-third Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival, which kicks off at the American Museum of Natural History Thursday night and runs through Sunday.

Named after the famed cultural anthropologist, a former assistant curator at the museum, the annual event will feature over thirty short and feature-length documentary films from around the world. This year, the festival has “expanded its horizons to reflect the ever-evolving art of storytelling,” its director, Ariella Ben-Dov, wrote in an online welcome note.

“Beyond the stories are the way they are told, and the filmmakers featured this year marshal their talents to employ new modes of storytelling,” she wrote. “Claymation sequences illustrate the epic struggles of indigenous Bolivian female wrestlers. Staged readings and dramatic re-creations expose the wretched secret of the Ukrainian Holodomor. An intimate camera and innovative editing evoke the rigorous schedules of overachieving high school students in China. Rather than relying solely on traditional documentary techniques—archival footage, interviews, voiceover narration—these filmmakers embrace poetic observation and reenactments, humor and subjectivity. They allow their cameras to linger on their subjects and the surrounding landscapes, permitting the narrative to reveal itself.”

Tickets can be purchased at the museum’s Web site, which has a list of festival highlights (including films about military field kitchens during the 20th century and the sacrificial-hair trade in India) as well as the full schedule. Of particular interest to journophiles is an event on Sunday featuring New York Times environment reporter Andrew Revkin and Climate Central reporter and senior scientist Heidi Cullen. They will talk to hip-hop artist Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) about his latest project, “Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica,” a multimedia presentation based on sound recordings from the continent and images culled from the museum’s archives.

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Curtis Brainard writes on science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.