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Geneva Anderson digs into art

Film Does Make a Difference: Guatemalan Dictator is Nailed After 30 Years and Pamela Yates’ “Granito” was a decisive factor

Exactly one year after the release of Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis’ film Granito: How To Nail A Dictator at the Sundance Film Festival, General Efraín Ríos Montt, the de facto President and ex-dictator of Guatemala, was brought up on charges of genocide in a Guatemalan court and placed under house arrest last Thursday.  Granito was one of the important documentaries screened at October’s 34th Mill Valley Film Festival.  In the past year, Granito was honored in several ways.  It was the Opening Night Film at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York and it went on to screen at over 50 film festivals around the globe─from Amman to Auckland, Paris to Havana, São Paulo to Vancouver, New York to Moscow, and Geneva to Lima.  In screening after screening, audiences connected to the theme of the power of collective change espoused in Granito, resonating with the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements. 

I met and interviewed Yates in 2009 when her documentary The Reckoning, which addressed the future of the ICC (International Criminal Court) and its war crimes prosecution efforts, screened at the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival.   Yates, now in her fifties, found her passion for intrepid reporting right after she graduated from college.  She has produced several important films on human rights issues and the quest for justice including When the Mountains Tremble (1984).  Shot thirty years ago, at the peak of Ríos Montt’s despotism, the film is one of the only documentary records of Guatemala’s brutal civil war and captures the chaos from the vantage point of both the U.S.-backed military leaders and the indigenous peasant revolutionaries trying to unseat them who were systematically killed in a scorched earth campaign.  Yates observed first hand that a few top generals, notably Efraín Ríos Montt and Kjell Eugenio Laugerud García, were behind that slaughter of an estimated 200,000 Mayan and the disappearance of another 40,000 indigenous persons and Ms. Yates interviewed these leaders in 1982.  

Filmmaker Pamela Yates whose documentary “Granito” helped bring the Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt to court and ensure that he will be held accountable for his crimes against the Guatemalan people some 30 years ago. Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images North America

Granito tells the story of how some 25 years later, Yates was asked to join a team of forensic experts and lawyers and Mayan survivors in a human rights case against Guatemala’s former juntas and how her first film footage became the evidence that led to the indictment of Montt in Spain’s national courts for his attacks on Maya. (This is the same Spanish court that indicted Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet for human rights violations war in October 1998.)  The powerful film uses the connected stories of eight people─they are the “granito,” or tiny pieces of sand─whose destinies all collide around that distant Guatemalan war, to weave an epic tale of justice.   The film also chronicles Yates herself, who has had a remarkable impact as a filmmaker, and looks back on one of her earliest reporting experiences.  It shows her in remote mountain areas of Guatemala in 1982 attending meetings with the guerilla revolutionaries and recording stories of mass murder and forging connections with survivors who later became activists.  She takes a big risk and boards a plane with high-ranking Guatemalan military officers and shoots a fly-over at a remote village they had decimated just days earlier….vital footage which became integral years later in the making of Granito.   

Emerging out of the historical footage are the remarkable stories of the granitos.  One of these is Fredy Pecerelli, Director of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthro­pology Foundation, which since the mid-1990s has led efforts to exhume the mass graves of victims of Guatemala’s civ­il war.   Pecerelli’s father was a law student in the early 1980’s and packed up his family and left for New York after receiving death threats from the Guatemalan death squads in the capital, Guatemala City.  Pecerelli now devotes his full time to exhuming corpses and corroborating the brutal massacres that occurred.  

Granito’s release added its ‘grain of sand’ to the tipping point for justice reached in Guatemala this year,” said Yates, “where more perpetrators of the genocide against the Maya people have been arrested, tried and convicted  than in the previous 30 years since we released When the Mountains Tremble.”

 Many of us were hopeful that Granito would be shortlisted for the Oscar documentary nomination and that, in front of a captive audience of some 40 million viewers, the message of collective change that Granito embodies could be conveyed─but it was not selected.   How gratifying it is to see that, in the real world, this film has served its purpose─nailing a dictator─and will live on to educate about the abuses of power.

Ríos Montt’s Trial in Guatemala utilizes Granito:  The culmination of three decades of work by human rights advocates, forensic scientists and survivors of the Guatemalan genocide forced former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt to appear in court last Thursday after 30 years of impunity, for a hearing (that ran 11 hours) to decide whether there was enough evidence to take him to trial on charges of genocide.  This was a major event in Guatemala with hundreds of Maya people coming down from the highlands to gather in front of the courthouse, holding a candle vigil for the their murdered family members. Ríos Montt is the first high-ranking Guatemalan official to be brought to trial.   (Read The Guatemala Times coverage here.) (Read the New York Times coverage here.)

The prosecution spent hours presenting overwhelming evidence in the form of military documents, exhumation reports, photos and footage from Yates’ film Granito: How To Nail A Dictator, which links Ríos Montt directly to hundreds of deaths and disappearances. Surviving family members, Ixil Maya in traditional dress, crowded the standing room only courtroom in stunned silence. Some wept. Outside the courthouse, in an open area now named Human Rights Plaza, hundreds more watched the proceedings on a huge screen.
The defense argued that Ríos Montt did not have command responsibility over his Army officers in the highlands, and that he was not responsible for the massacres.  This is negated by a clip from Granito that the prosecution and the Guatemalan media used to show the general taking command responsibility, saying that “If I don’t control the army, then who does?”

Judge Carol Patricia Flores deliberated for hours and returned her decision to prosecute Ríos Montt on charges of genocide, place him under house arrest, and set bail for USD $65,000. People hugged, cheered and set off firecrackers outside when the Judge read her decision stating that “the extermination of the civilian population was the result of military plans, and that these plans were executed under the command of Ríos Montt.”

More on Ríos Montt:  During the 17 months of Mr. Ríos Montt’s rule in 1982 and 1983, the military carried out a scorched-earth campaign in the Mayan highlands as soldiers hunted down bands of leftist guerrillas.  Survivors have described how military units wiped out Indian villages with extraordinary brutality, killing all the women and children along with the men. Military documents of the time described the Indians as rebel collaborators.

A truth commission backed by the United Nations, set up after a peace accord in 1996, found that 200,000 people were killed or disappeared during the civil war, mostly by state security forces. The violence against Mayan-Ixil villages amounted to genocide because the entire population was targeted, the commission concluded.

The military’s actions against those communities were at the forefront of the allegations at Thursday’s hearing, as the prosecution outlined 72 separate episodes that resulted in the deaths of at least 1,771 people.

Get Involved with GranitoTo reinforce and educate about the power of the collective to make a difference, Yates and de Onis have launched a companion digital project designed to restore the collective memory of the genocide in a public online archive, described here – Granito: Every Memory Matters.  The film’s journey is reflected in the Granito Facebook page, where nearly 4,000 followers have rallied, sharing stories, news, and demanding justice.  And to get a sense of the people behind all of this, check out this slide show of photos of ‘granitos’ by renowned portraitist Dana Lixenberg.

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January 30, 2012 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ahhhh love! SF Ballet’s breathtaking premiere of “Onegin” depicts the downside of pouring your heart out in a letter, through Friday, February 3, 2012

Maria Kochetkova as Tatiana and Vitor Luiz as Eugene Onegin in Cranko's Onegin, at San Francisco Ballet through February 3, 2012. Photo: Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet’s 2012 season officially opened this weekend with the premiere of John Cranko’s exquisite Onegin, which is based on Alexander Pushkin’s classic 19th century novel-length poem, Eugene Onegin, and set to a lush Tchaikovsky score.  With Santo Loquasto’s scene and costume design and James Ingalls’ lighting, both echoing the romanticism of Pushkin’s old Russia, and the dancing, which builds steadily throughout the three acts, this production dazzles.  

As stories go, Onegin is timeless—a gripping drama that pulls you in quickly and keeps you referencing your own love life as well.  Eugene Onegin is a sophisticated and aloof young man of privilege from the big city (St. Petersburg) who visits his friend Lensky in the countryside.  Onegin immediately inflames the heart of young, naive and bookish Tatiana whose sister, Olga, is Lensky’s fiancé.  Caught in the spell of first love, Tatiana recklessly pours her heart out in a passionate letter to Onegin and has her maid deliver it (the olden day equivalent of hitting “send”).   Onegin comes in person to Tatiana’s birthday party and offers his answer—“NO”─rejecting the smitten young girl publicly and wounding her to her core.   Then, just to toy with his buddy Lensky and see how he will react, Onegin flirts openly with Olga.  Hotheaded Lensky become enraged and challenges Onegin to a duel whose consequences ruin a number of lives.  In the final scene, which transpires years later in St. Petersburg, Tatiana has settled into a comfortable marriage with the kind-hearted Prince Gremin and has transformed from a naive country girl into an elegant, stately, and very attractive woman.  Now, it’s Onegin’s cold heart that burns for her and it is he who desperately pens the love letter.   And it is she who now rejects him, telling him that while she still loves him, she is a woman now and will stay with her husband because she could never respect him or find true happiness with him.  They had a chance for real love, long ago, but he toyed with her.  Now, sadly, neither will know the joy of passionate romantic love.   Ahhhh love!

Onegin relies heavily on choreography and eschews classical pantomime—it has a series of pas de deux and robust ensemble dances that fill the stage with traditional Russian steps, polonaises, and courtly promenades.  Cranko has also infused it with very modernist elements.  Even something as complex as the passionate content of Tatiana’s letter is handled through dance─as she pens her late-night letter to Onegin, she dreams their deeply emotional pas de deux.  The cast changes frequently throughout the production.  Saturday’s matinee performance was superb with the dashing Armenian-born Davit Karapetyan as Onegin and the Kirov-ballet trained American Vanessa Zahorian as Tatiana.  Both danced their physically-challenging roles with grace and passion and delivered wonderfully complex lifts that required complete coordination between the partners.  Karapetyan and Zahorian are famous off-stage partners as well and made headlines the world over in May 2010 when, after their last performance of Romeo and Juliet, where they each played the title roles, he dropped down on one knee and pulled out a ring that had been hidden in his costume’s poison pouch and proposed to her in front of a packed house.  Their roles in this venerated classic also require a great deal of emotional presence, which both summoned masterfully on Saturday.  Onegin, in particular, struggles throughout the ballet, to find meaning in his life but never does because he is superficial and not able to connect to his feelings. Tatiana experiences her feelings fully and yet still rejects Onegin in the end, leaving the audience to ponder the deep meaning of love, honor, and commitment and to replay their own experiences with unrequited love.  From Zahorian’s first glimpse of Onegin, she conveys the dizzying passion of first love and literally opens to him and appears to be floating in air while he remains cool and unresponsive.

Maria Kochetkova as Tatiana in John Cranko's Onegin, at San Francisco Ballet through February 3, 2012. Photo: Erik Tomasson

Dana Genshaft delivered a charming Olga and a wonderful on stage chemistry with Zahorian’s Tatiana as well as with Domitro’s Lensky.

The music is a Tchaikovsky compilation arranged by Kurt Heinz Stolze in 1965 and is completely different from the music in Tchaikovsky’s beloved opera of the same name.  Instead, it is a less powerful orchestration of some of his little-known piano works such as The Seasons (1875-76), along with themes from the 1885 opera Cherevichki (The Slippers), and the latter part of the symphonic fantasia Francesca da Rimini (1876).  Martin West, SF Ballet’s Music Director and Principal Conductor and guest conductor David LaMarche alternate performances.  Saturday’s matinee was handled quite proficiently by LaMarch.     

Santo Loquasto’s scene and costume designs, traditional in all regards, echo the romanticism of Pushkin’s old Russia.  From Madame Larina’s countryside garden to Tatiana’s bedroom and her birthday party to Prince Gremin’s Palace, the sumptuous sets beckon the intensifying tragic drama. 

Run Time: 2 hours, 16 minutes with two intermissions

Details: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.  Tickets: $36- $285 For further information: (415) 865-2000 or www.sfballet.org.

Remaining performances:  

Sunday, January 29, 2012 2 p.m.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8 p.m.

Wednesday February 1, 2012 7:30 p.m.

Thursday February 2, 2012, 8 p.m.

Friday, February 3, 2012, 8 p.m.

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Dance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dance Aficionado? A pioneering project brings the new film “Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance” to Santa Rosa and San Rafael this Saturday, January 28, 2012

With simulcast, a film’s world premiere, traditionally limited to one locale, can go truly global and it’s happening for the first time this weekend.  This Friday evening, Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, a riveting feature documentary profiling the legendary Joffrey Ballet has its world premiere as the opening film at 40th Annual Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater.  On Saturday, when the film repeats at the festival, select audiences around the country can watch it streamed live via simulcast in their local theatres.   In coordination with Emerging Pictures’ electronic cinema, the film will be streamed in the Bay Area on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Santa Rosa at Summerfield Cinemas and in San Rafael at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.  The Saturday simulcast includes introductions as well as an interactive live panel discussion featuring top Joffrey stars, past and present.  Audience members throughout the US will be able to ask the stars questions live via a live Twitter feed.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance: (Director: Bob Hercules, USA, 2012, 90 min)
This insightful documentary is the first film to chronicle how the legendary Joffrey Ballet revolutionized American ballet by boldly combining modern dance with traditional ballet at a time when it such merging not routinely accepted.  Weaving a wealth of archival footage, behind-the-scene photos and interviews with over 20 former and current Joffrey star dancers, director Bob Hercules (Bill T. Jones: A Good Man) documents the struggles and achievements of the Joffrey from its newfound beginnings in 1956 to the Company’s present international success.  Many times the Joffrey Ballet had to rebound from crippling financial difficulties starting in 1964 with its acrimonious break from the Rebekah Harkness Foundation. This breakup left Robert Joffrey with only 2 dancers and no company to his name. The company nearly dissolved in the mid-90’s due to financial problems but resurrected itself in 1995 with its move to Chicago. The film features rare excerpts from many seminal Joffrey works including Astarte, Trinity and Billboards, as well as breakthrough collaborations with choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Leonid Massine, Laura Dean, and Kurt Jooss.  Founders Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino and a host of ballet notables, including Gary Chryst, Trinette Singleton, Helgi Tomasson (current Artistic Director, San Francisco Ballet), Kevin McKenzie and more, are featured in the film.  Narrated by Tony® and Emmy® Award winner Kevin McKenzie , the film is a rich chronicle of a ballet company that continues to reinvent itself, raise the bar and invigorate audiences worldwide. Executive produced by Harold Ramis and Jay Alix and produced by Una Jackman and Erica Mann Ramis. 

“Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance” will have its world premiere at the 40th Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center this weekend and will premiere simultaneously in theaters around the country via simulcast this Saturday, January 28, 2012. It will screen locally at the Summerfield Cinemas in Santa Rosa and the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. Included in the Joffrey story is Gerald Arpino's "Light Rain." Photo: Herbert Migdoll.

The Joffrey Ballet:  Co-founded in 1956 by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey and dancer Gerald Arpino, who would become the organization’s principal choreographer, The Joffrey Ballet began as a DIY dance company of six dancers touring the United States in a borrowed station wagon.  What started as a childhood dream quickly grew into one of the world’s most exciting and prominent ballet companies.  Together, Joffrey and Arpino transformed the face of dance by merging classical ballet technique with bold new perspectives for edgy new ballets that challenged conventions.  Aggressive touring took the Company from school auditoriums across America’s Heartland, to the White House at Jacqueline Kennedy’s invitation, on to Russia for a month-long tour during the height of the Cold War, and beyond.  They also garnered extensive media attention for their daring originality, which included appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, the cover of Time Magazine, and in major motion pictures such as Save the Last Dance and Robert Altman’s The Company (which is based on the Joffrey).

Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its Company, audiences and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces, and contemporary works.  The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater and Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway.   To learn more, visit joffrey.org.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance screens Saturday, January 28, 2012:

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA) at 10:30 a.m.  Purchase tickets online here.

Summerfield Cinemas (551 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa, CA) at 10:30 a.m.  Purchase tickets online here.

January 26, 2012 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

German Gems 2012: in Point Arena Sunday, March 15, 2012

The 3rd  German Gems film festival concludes in Point Arena at the Arena Theatre on Sunday January 15, 2012 and will feature three new German-language films with English subtitles:

2 pm WAY HOME
Buy tickets for Way Home and Flamingo Pride at the Arena Theatre
4 pm ABOVE US ONLY SKY
Buy tickets for Above Us Only Sky at the Arena Theatre
7:30 pm WESTWIND
Buy tickets for Westwind at the Arena Theatre

Arena Theatre, 214 Main Street, Point Arena, CA
Highway One (between Sea Ranch & Mendocino)

TICKET INFO:  Tickets may prucahsed in advance or at the Arena Theatre on the day of the screening.   $8 General Admission
$7 Seniors/ Students

January 14, 2012 Posted by | Film | , , , | Leave a comment

Tennis Icon Billy Jean King visits Santa Rosa’s Schulz museum tomorrow, Sunday, January 15, 2012

Billy Jean King will speak at the Schulz Museum on Sunday, January 15, 2012 in conjunction with its “Leveling the Playing Field Exhibition” marking the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX. Charles M. Schulz standing with Billie Jean King at the Snoopy Cup tennis tournament in 1984 at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. Photo: Cheryl Traendly Photography.

Famed former tennis pro Billie Jean King won six Wimbledon singles championships and four U.S. open titles.  She was ranked number one in the world for five years and beat esteemed players Martina Navratilova, Chris Every and Margaret Court.  Among all her matches though, the one most remembered occurred on September. 20, 1973, before a crowd of more than 30,000 at the Houston Astrodome, when she beat former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Bobby Riggs in a match dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes.”  King, then 29, beat the 55-year-old retired Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 who had boasted that he could beat any woman.  From that victory forward, King became synonymous with the battle for equality in sports.  Appropriately, King, a personal friend of the late Charles M. Schulz will participate in a moderated conversation and sign autographs speak at the Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center this Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 1 p.m. in conjunction with their Leveling the Playing Field exhibition of 86 original “Peanuts” strips by Schulz, celebrating women in sports and the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legislation that ensures equal access for both men and women in federally-funded educational programs and activities, including sports. 

Leveling the Playing Field features Schulz’s even-handed depiction of girls in sports through his  Peanuts comic strips and it also provides an overview of women’s sports history, and examples of women’s sports attire from the 1880s to the present.  The exhibition details Schulz’s connections in the world of women’s sports, his friendship with Billie Jean King, and his early years coaching a local women’s softball team.

After Schulz met Billie Jean King, he focused on the issue of females in sports with a multi-day storyline in 1979 about Title IX in his comic strip. Schulz brought attention to women athletes by mentioning contemporary female sports stars and having his girl characters participate in a wide variety of sports, from football to figure skating.  From Peppermint Patty’s athletic dominance to Lucy’s ineptitude in the right field to Marcie’s total bewilderment with sports of all kinds, the girls in Peanuts were always equal participants.

 In 1990 Schulz said, “I think Billie Jean King would certainly have to be in my top three as one of my heroes. She did so much for women’s sports.  And she’s such a bright lady and so involved in everything she’s done.”

Schulz died in 2000 after writing and drawing his comic strip for nearly 50 years.

Details: Leveling the Playing Field runs through August 12, 2012 at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa.  Museum admission: $5-$10; children 4 and under free.  Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.  Closed Tuesdays.  Information: 707.579.4452  or http://www.schulzmuseum.org/.

Billie Jean King will participate in a moderated conversation and sign autographs starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center, Sunday, January 15, 2012.  Seating is on a first come, first served basis, so plan on arriving early.

January 14, 2012 Posted by | Art | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wearing two hats well—Petaluma Pie Company’s Lina Hoshino screens her new documentary “Along the Fenceline,” on KRCB tomorrow, Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lina Hoshino's "Along the Fenceline" will screen Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 10:30 p.m. on KRCB, which reaches most of the Bay Area.

 Many of us dream of living the life of an artist but Lina Hoshino is really doing it and doing it very well.  You may know her from the fabulous pies she creates at  Petaluma Pie Company, a business she founded with her husband Angelo Sacerdote a year ago.  Since 1995, Hoshino has been making experimental films and documentaries that address a range of social issues and amplify voices that aren’t usually heard.  Her latest film, Living Along the Fenceline, explores women’s resistance to militarism through the stories of seven courageous women living alongside U.S. military bases.  They are teachers, organizers and healers, moved by love and respect for people and the land, and hope for the next generation and they challenge the assumption that these bases actually make us safe.  The 68 minute documentary will screen this Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 10:30 p.m. on KRCB, which reaches most of the Bay Area via over-the-air digital channel 22.

Hoshino visited U.S. military bases and proximate or “fenceline” communities in Texas, Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, Guam, the Philippines, South Korea, and Okinawa (Japan) and the women’s stories of struggle and loss range from the contamination of their communities through cancer-causing pollutants and toxic waste generated and left by the U.S. military bases, to coping with the lifelong shame and trauma of rape by U.S. servicemen.   The film also inspires hope and action through the power of ordinary women to resist militarism and create genuine security on their own terms.  

“Traveling to different locations really brings home the devastation the U.S. military has caused, even in places that are not at war,” said Hoshino.  “It was invigorating for me to see these women in their homes, to get a glimpse into their family, their community, and to see their lives as a whole.  I wanted to show the proximity and impact of the bases, to see how people really live, and to make this context vivid for the audience.” 

Watch the trailer here.

“It’s not easy for each woman to tell her story.  So the stories are a gift. Most of these stories are very sensitive as women tell how they are personally affected. They are taking a risk by bringing their family and community into it.  They may fear repercussions, especially living in small tightly-knit communities.  They may worry about their family’s reputation, risking a relative’s career, or bringing trouble to people they care about by standing out.”

Hoshino spent part of her childhood living near two of the many U.S. bases in Japan―Atsugi Air Force Base and Yokosuka Naval Base.  “I learned about base culture and economy as part of my family upbringing.  So I also see myself in this film, in parallel with other women’s lives.  While shooting, I was very aware of who I am, and I constantly questioned what I was doing in these militarized settings.   Is it OK for me to tell this wider story? ”  

"Living Along the Fenceline" screened in Korea in September 2011 at the 12th Jeju Women's Film Festival whose theme was "Women, the exploding power that turns the tables." From left, Gwyn Kirk, co-director and writer; Deborah Lee, narrator, writer, producer; and Director Lina Hoshino. Photo courtesy: Lina Hoshino

Lina Hoshino, Director, Editor and Camerawoman: Lina Hoshino’s films include Leap of Faith: How Enmanji Temple was Saved, Caught in Between: What to Call Home in Times of War, In God’s House: Asian American Lesbian and Gay Families in the Church, and award-winning Story of Margo, which profiled one woman’s experience as a sex worker.  Hoshino’s story-telling style engages audiences with complex or contentious issues through her narrators’ experiences and her visual style.  She has been making videos for 14 years and co-founded two ground-breaking organizations—Tactile Pictures and Many Threads—to link filmmakers and artists in communication projects.  Hoshino’s father is from Japan and her mother is from Taiwan. She grew up in the USA, Japan, and France; studied art at Carnegie Mellon; and lives in Petaluma.  Currently, she is working on I Give You to These Kind Waters”  which reflects on abortion through the Buddhist “Mizuko Kuyo” prayer ritual which dedicates the aborted or miscarried fetus to the bodhisattva “Jizo” who vows to help mizukos get another chance at life. 

Details:  Living Along the Fenceline screens Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 10:30 p.m. on KRCB which reaches most of the Bay Area, including much of the east and south bay, via over-the-air digital channel 22, Comcast and AT&T, U-Verse cable, Dish & Direct TV satellite services.  Living Along the Fenceline a collaborative project of Many Threads and Women for Genuine Security.

January 14, 2012 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

German Gems 2012: A Showcase for German-language Films in San Francisco, Saturday, January 14, 2012 and Point Arena, Sunday, January 15, 2012

The 3rd  German Gems film festival opens as the first Bay Area film festival of 2012 and is a two-day showcase of important new German-language films that are hard to find on any US movie screen, except at the fabulous Castro Theatre in San Francisco.  Curated by Ingrid Eggers, the founder and force behind German Gems, this jam-packed Kinotag will offer four narrative features and a documentary, all in German with English subtitles (with a Happy Hour squeezed in), a selection of which will travel to Point Arena’s charming Arena Theatre on the Mendocino Coast this Sunday. 

Saturday (at the Castro) will start with a documentary about nuclear power plants in Germany. Gloriously shot on 35mm and Cinemascope UNDER CONTROL takes us to control rooms and storage spaces deep under the earth, to dump sites and ruins of an eerie, science-fiction like world of nuke plants. The screening will be followed by a discussion with international speakers  and the local chapter of the Sierra Club, the co-presenter of this event.

 Several of the films on the program are by young filmmakers at the beginning of their careers, a recurring focus of all programs curated by Festival Director Ingrid Eggers over the years.  NO WAY HOME, an impressive graduation film by Andreas Kannengießer from HFF Konrad Wolf in Potsdam, is a touching story about two lost souls, both in their sixties, who find each other and then a way out of their hardship. WESTWIND, the third feature by talented Robert Thalheim (NETTO, AND ALONG COME TOURISTS) takes us to Lake Balaton in Hungary a year before the Berlin Wall comes down. Twin sisters Doreen and Isabel from East Germany are supposed to practice rowing all summer but then one of them falls in love – with a West German.

Following a happy hour with drinks and snacks, Jan Schomburg returns to the Castro.  After presenting his short NEVER EVEN in 2005, Jan is back with his award winning debut feature ABOVE US ONLY SKY, acclaimed as one of the genuine highlights of the Berlin Film Festival 2011.

German Gems will conclude with TABOO, a radical portrait of forbidden love between two young and very gifted artists―expressionist poet Georg Trakl and his sister Grete.  This engaging film from Vienna in set in Austria around the turn of the century, a hotbed for art, literature, psychoanalysis, glamour, pretense, sex and scandals.  

 Stay tuned to ARThound for more information.

Read ARThound’s interview with Ingrid Eggers, German Gems founder here.

 

FILMS AT THE CASTRO, Saturday, January 14, 2012

Buy FESTIVAL PASSES for all 5 GERMAN GEMS

11 am UNDER CONTROL
Buy tickets for Under Control
2:15 pm WAY HOME
Preceded by FLAMINGO PRIDE
Buy tickets for No Way Home and Flamingo Pride
4:30 pm ABOVE US ONLY SKY
Buy tickets for Above Us Only Sky
6:15 – 7:15 pm HAPPY HOUR – Meet and Schmooze with the Filmmakers
Buy tickets for the Happy Hour
7:30 pm WESTWIND
Buy tickets for Westwind
9:30 pm TABOO – THE SOUL IS A STRANGER ON EARTH
Preceded by MARLENE’S BERLIN
Buy tickets for Taboo and Marlene’s Berlin

Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street (@ Market), San Francisco, CA

FILMS IN POINT ARENA, Sunday January 15, 2012

Buy tickets for ALL 3 GERMAN GEMS at the Arena Theatre

2 pm WAY HOME
Buy tickets for Way Home and Flamingo Pride at the Arena Theatre
4 pm ABOVE US ONLY SKY
Buy tickets for Above Us Only Sky at the Arena Theatre
7:30 pm WESTWIND
Buy tickets for Westwind at the Arena Theatre

Arena Theatre, 214 Main Street, Point Arena, CA
Highway One (between Sea Ranch & Mendocino)

TICKET INFO:  Tickets may prucahsed in advance or at the Castro and Arena Theatres on the day of the screening.

CASTRO THEATRE

429 Castro Street (@ Market), San Francisco, CA

$50 Day Pass for General Admission (includes happy hour)
$40 Day Pass for Seniors (62+)/ Students (includes happy hour)
$10 General Admission
$8 Seniors/ Students
$15 Happy Hour from 6:15 – 7:15pm

Buy Festival Passes
Buy Happy Hour tickets

ARENA THEATRE

214 Main Street, Point Arena, CA
Highway One
(between Sea Ranch & Mendocino)

$8 General Admission
$7 Seniors/ Students

January 12, 2012 Posted by | Film | , | Leave a comment