From March 6–21, the Walker Art Center presents
Women with Vision 2009: Dimensions
, the 16th installment of this renowned film festival which recognizes the perspectives women bring to the art of filmmaking. This year’s festival situates us in a world interconnected by politics and global economics. With the series Views from Iran as its centerpiece, Women with Vision also includes new works made in Nepal, Korea, Holland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Israel–all regional premieres—and the U.S. debut of the French film God’s Offices. The series also features works by two Minneapolis filmmakers, one who approaches her subject by hurtling out into space—to the sun via 3-D—and the other by zeroing in on one small locale in South Minneapolis during a protest movement. Guest filmmakers include So Yong Kim, who opens the festival with her dream-like Treeless Mountain, and Astra Taylor, who presents the witty insightful Examined Life. Whether bearing arms in Nepal’s civil war, entering the immigration fray in order to save a child, or reorganizing a village after a war, these films and the directors who made them present a world that is reshaping along human dimensions rather than political geography.
Highlights of this year’s festival include Agnès Varda’s The Beaches of Agnès (Les plages d’Agnès), the latest film from this celebrated artist, the subject of a Walker Regis Dialogue and Retrospective in 2001 (March 7, 7:30 pm); Manijeh Hekmat’s 3 Women (Sé zan) (March 11, 7:30 pm) and 7 Blind Women Filmmakers (7 Filmsaze zan-e nabina), a collection of short films (March 18, 7:30 pm), both screening as part of the Views from Iran series, which continues on successive Wednesdays through mid-April; a screening of Ayelet Menahemi’s Noodle (March 15, 1 pm), copresented with the Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival; a tribute to International Women’s Day (March 8, 1 pm), featuring a short film showcase organized by Women in Film & TV International (WIFTI) and copresented by Minnesota Women in Film & TV (MN WIFT); and the closing-night screening of Aida Begić‘s Snow (Snijeg), on Saturday, March 21, 7:30 pm.
Unless otherwise noted, all films are screened in the Cinema. Tickets are $8 ($6 Walker members) and can be purchased by calling the Walker box office at 612.375.7600 or online at walkerart.org/tickets.
See 5 films for the price of 3 for $24 ($18 Walker members).
WOMEN WITH VISION 2009: DIMENSIONS
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILM AND VIDEO
MARCH 6–21, 2009
Friday, March 6, 7:30 pm
Introduced by director So Yong Kim
Shot in South Korea and inspired by early childhood memories, Treeless Mountain is a dreamlike tale of a six-year-old girl and her younger sister coping with loss when their single mother leaves them with an uncaring aunt. This lovely, humanistic film is presented through the eyes of these remarkable children—to whom everything is magnified and oversized—while still providing “a quiet, poignant drama of abandonment and resilience” (New York Times). 2008, 35mm, in Korean with English subtitles, 89 minutes.
So Yong Kim was born in Pusan, South Korea, but immigrated to the Unites States when she was 12. Her first feature, In Between Days (2006), inspired by her experience of growing up in Los Angeles, won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, Best Film at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, the Independent/Experimental Film and Video Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and a Special Jury Prize for Independent Vision at the Sundance Film Festival. Also nominated for two Gotham awards and the “Someone to Watch” Independent Spirit Award, the film was screened at the 2006 Women with Vision Film Festival.
Friday–Sunday, March 6–8
Directed by Melissa Butts and Barry Kimm
Screens every half hour during gallery hours
In October 2006, NASA launched twin spacecraft from a single rocket in Florida that would, for the first time in the history of space exploration, capture space-born, high-definition, three-dimensional pictures of the sun. In this cutting-edge sensory experience, scientists from the mission unveil images ranging from violent explosions of solar prominences to the beauty of the northern lights. 2007, video, 20 minutes.
Melissa Butts, the principal and founder of Minneapolis-based Melrae Pictures, has a passion for telling immersive and authentic stories by combining compelling human experiences with cutting-edge science and technology. 3D Body Odyssey: Heart, the first installment of a new 3-D digital documentary health series, is slated for release in fall 2009. Her most recent film, 3D Sun, premiered in 2007/2008 as a 3-D Digital and 3-D IMAX theatrical release in the science museum community worldwide. 3D Sun is currently being adapted for 3-D and 2-D planetarium distribution.
Saturday, March 7, 4 pm FREE
Director’s Talk with Melissa Butts
Melissa Butts will answer questions and discuss working in 3-D and the making of her film.
Saturday, March 7, 7:30 pm
The Beaches of Agnès (Les plages d’Agnès)
Directed by Agnès Varda
Photographer, filmmaker, screenwriter, and documentarian Agnès Varda marks her 80th birthday with this intimate, autobiographical film in which she returns to the important locations from her career. A celebration of a rich life, the documentary also features photographs and clips from films she made with her late husband Jacques Demy. It’s a fascinating reminiscence by Varda (who appeared at the Walker in 2001 for a Regis Dialogue and Retrospective), “a lyrical, restlessly inventive memory film” (LA Weekly). 2008, 35mm, in French with English subtitles, 110 minutes.
Agnès Varda is a celebrated figure in modern film history often cited as the only woman director of the French New Wave. She has made features, documentaries, shorts, and even a musical in France and the United States. A short list includes La Pointe courte (1954), Cléo from 5 to 7 (Cléo de 5 à 7) (1962), Happiness (Le Bonheur) (1965), One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (l’Une chante, l’autre pas) (1977), Vagabond (Sans toit ni loi) (1985), Jacquot (Jacquot de Nantes) (1991), and The Gleaners and I (Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse) (2000).
Sunday, March 8, 1 pm
WIFTI Short Film Showcase Celebrating International Women’s Day
This annual short film showcase is organized by Women in Film & TV International (WIFTI) and copresented by Minnesota Women in Film & TV (MN WIFT). Included in the 2009 program is work by Minnesota filmmakers. For a complete schedule, visit filmvideo.walkerart.org/wwv. Approximate running time: 120 minutes
Views from Iran
Wednesday, March 11, 7:30 pm
3 Women (Sé zan)
Directed by Manijeh Hekmat
In this journey of identity for three generations of Iranian women, audacious Minoo, a conservator at the National Carpet Museum, is at the center of a dispute over a pricey heirloom. To complicate matters, while she searches for her missing daughter, her senile mother also disappears—with the precious carpet in tow. Starring director Niki Karimi, whose films were screened at the 2006 and 2007 Women with Vision festivals. A road movie with gorgeous cinematography and exquisite performances, 3 Women is “touched with sublime beauty, humor, and heartbreaking tenderness, [with a] vision of Iran as a place of fiercely independent women and unfathomable depths” (AFI Fest). 2008, 35mm, in Farsi with English subtitles, 94 minutes.
Manijeh Hekmat, born in Arak, Iran, is a prolific figure in Iranian cinema. She began her career in 1978 as an experimental filmmaker. Since 1980, she has worked as an assistant director and production manager on more than 25 feature films. Hekmat’s award-winning debut feature, Women’s Prison (2002), was based on her own research on Iranian women prisoners. Screened at more than 80 international film festivals, it was shown at the Walker Art Center in 2003. 3 Women is her second feature film.
Friday, March 13, 7:30 pm
Introduced by director Astra Taylor
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”—Plato
Nine influential contemporary thinkers are given 10 minutes each to express their views on existence and the moral dilemmas of modern life. Featuring Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, and Sunaura Taylor—who are shot everywhere from posh Fifth Avenue boutiques to a garbage dump—the film illuminates philosophy’s power to transform. Witty and insightful, “Examined Life truly feeds your head” (Toronto International Film Festival). 2008, 35mm, 87 minutes.
Astra Taylor, a writer and documentary filmmaker, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2001 she produced, directed, and edited The Miracle Tree: Moringa Oleifera, a documentary commissioned by a non-governmental organization to record efforts of a sustainable development project in Senegal to alleviate the plight of infant malnutrition. Taylor also directed Zizek!, about the famous Slovenian cultural theorist. One of Filmmaker magazine’s 2006 “25 New Faces to Watch,” Taylor currently runs Hidden Driver Productions—which specializes in intellectual, cultural, and political issues—with Laura Hanna.
Saturday, March 14, 2 pm
The Sari Soldiers
Directed by Julie Brigham
Three years in the making, The Sari Soldiers was filmed during the most pivotal time in Nepal’s modern history, as the country was in the midst of an escalating civil war. Six women are featured, and their courageous stories from opposing sides of the conflict provide a nuanced portrait of this tumultuous democratic revolution. “Intimate and engrossing, the film gives us six commitments and hopes” (The New Republic). Post-screening discussion led by Robin Phillips, executive director of the Advocates for Human Rights. 2008, video, 90 minutes.
Julie Brigham is a Sundance Institute Documentary Fellow Director and received the 2008 Nestor Almendros prize for courage and commitment in human-rights filmmaking for The Sari Soldiers. Over the past six years, she has lived for extended periods in Nepal, where she produced and directed numerous documentaries, including several for the United Nations; Indentured Daughters, a look at the plight of Nepali girls sent into bonded labor; and the films Hope in the Himalayas and Children of Hope for the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation. She has also produced and directed documentary series for the BBC, the Discovery Channel, and TLC.
Saturday, March 14, 7:30 pm
God’s Offices (Les bureaux de Dieu)
Directed by Claire Simon
In a busy family-planning center in Paris, women from all walks of life and of all ages seek help, many torn apart by decisions they have made or are about to make. The director adopts a near-documentary style by centering the action within poignant counseling sessions. Featuring a cast of veteran French actresses (Nathalie Baye, Nicole Garcia, Isabelle Carré, and Béatrice Dalle) as the advisors and nonprofessional actors as the clients, God’s Offices sensitively portrays the complexities of women’s sexual and reproductive rights. 2008, video, in French with English subtitles, 122 minutes.
Claire Simon began her career as an editor, and in 1988 she stepped behind the camera to make her first short fiction film. She went on to make several award-winning documentaries: Les Patients (1989); Recreation (Récréations) (which was screened at the Walker in 2002); and Coûte que coûte (1996). Her first feature, A Foreign Body (Sinon, Oui) (1997), was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. She shot the part fiction/part documentary That’s Just Like You (Ca c’est vraiment toi) (2000) with students from the National Theater School in Strasbourg. She has also made the documentaries Mimi (2003) and 800 km de difference/romance (2002) and the fictional Ça brûle (2006). To prepare for God’s Offices, Simon worked for three months in a family-planning center.
Sunday, March 15, 1 pm
Directed by Ayelet Menahemi
Miri is a twice-widowed El-Al flight attendant who lives a well-ordered, guarded life. Her existence is upended when Noodle, the six-year-old son of her housecleaner—who was suddenly deported back to China—is left in her care. Although born in Israel, the child’s lack of citizenship makes him a boy without an identity or home, caught in the complexities of immigration policy. A suspenseful tale about the importance of giving oneself up to love, Noodle won the Montreal Film Festival’s Special Grand Jury Prize. 2007, 35mm, in Hebrew and Mandarin with English subtitles, 100 minutes.
Copresented with the Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival.
Ayelet Menahemi’s debut featurette Crows (Orvim) (1986) won prizes in film festivals around the world. She directed The Skipper III (Abba Ganuv III) (1991), and Tel Aviv Stories (Sipurei Tel-Aviv) (1992), which garnered the Israeli Oscar for Best Actress. After traveling throughout Asia, she focused on documentaries: Doing Time, Doing Vipassana (1997) won the Golden Spire at the San Francisco International Film Festival; It’s About Time (2001) won the Jerusalem Festival Wolgin award and the Japan Prize. Noodle is her first feature film in 14 years.
Wednesday, March 18, 1 pm FREE
Beyond Performance and Document: Unpacking Ana Mendieta’s Cross-Disciplinary Practice
Led by Walker Art Center Director Olga Viso
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), 2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis
Following the publication of a new monograph of unpublished works by the late performance-based artist, Olga Viso will trace the evolution of Ana Mendieta’s career and examine her profound legacy on cross-disciplinary artistic practices. Viso, who curated the career survey Ana Mendieta: Earth Body, Sculpture and Performance, 1972–1985 organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., will also show a selection of Mendieta’s short films. For more information, contact www.mcad.edu/wai. Presented by the MCAD Women’s Art Institute and Department of Media Arts.
Views from Iran
Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 pm
7 Blind Women Filmmakers (7 Filmsaze zan-e nabina)
Short films directed by Sara Parto, Mahdis Elahi, Shokoofe Davarnejad, Narges Haghighat, Banafshe Ahmadi, Naghmeh Afiat, and Neda Haghighat
After a dream in which he lost his vision, Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Shirvani sought to explore the role of sight in cinema and organized filmmaking workshops for blind women. In this episodic compilation, seven Iranian women armed with small digital cameras create intensely personal stories about their passions, familial bonds, and daily challenges. Together, they present new ways of observing blindness. 2008, video, in Farsi with English subtitles, 116 minutes.
Views from Iran continues on successive Wednesdays through mid-April: March 25, The Red Card (Carte Ghermez); April 1, Unfinished Stories (Ravayat haye na tamam); and April 8, Over There (Aan Ja).
Thursday, March 19, 7:30 pm FREE
Hair: Let the Sunshine In
Directed by Pola Rapaport and Wolfgang Held
By the time the original production of Hair closed on Broadway, more than 30 million people had seen it—making it not just a show, but a social, cultural, and political movement. Just as a revival opens this month on Broadway, this film takes a fascinating look into the historical context of the revolutionary musical and its resonance with current events. Featuring actors Keith Carradine, Melba Moore, and Ben Vereen; directors Milos Forman and Tom O’Horgan; producer Michael Butler; and authors Jim Rado and Galt MacDermot. 2007, video, 55 minutes.
Pola Rapaport, the daughter of an American mother and Romanian father, grew up in New York City. Her personal, often autobiographical films about family and discovery have been screened at major international festivals around the world as well as at the Walker. They include Broken Meat (1990), Blind Light (1998), and Family Secret (2000) (Women with Vision 2001). She was commissioned by the Walker to collect and curate works made in the fall of 2001 by women artists living in lower New York that became the program September Eleventh: Eyewitness (2002) (Women with Vision 2002), and also directed Writer of O (Écrivain d’O) (2004) (Women with Vision 2004).
Friday, March 20, 7:30 pm
Katia’s Sister (Het zusje van Katia)
Directed by Mijke de Jong
The world of teenage girls is the focus of this story of a Russian family who immigrate to Amsterdam. Economic straits force the mother into prostitution to provide for her daughters—trading one untenable situation for another. A potent condemnation of the barriers to the West faced by immigrants from former Soviet republics, Katia’s Sister was nominated for a Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival. 2008, 35mm, in Dutch and Russian with English subtitles, 85 minutes.
Mijke de Jong, born in Rotterdam, trained as a social worker before going on to study at the Dutch Academy for Film and Television. Her feature films include Squatter’s Delight (In krakende welstand) (1990), Love Hurts (Hartverscheurend) (1993), which won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, Broos (1997), Lopen (1999), and Stages (Tussenstand) (2007). She has also done prolific television work, and won a Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for her 2004 TV movie Bluebird.
Saturday, March 21, 2 pm
Stop the Re-Route: Taking a Stand on Sacred Land
Introduced by director Ann Follett
Ten years in the making, Stop the Re-Route traces the opposition to the State of Minnesota’s plan to drive Highway 55 through Camp Coldwater between Minnehaha Park and Fort Snelling—land considered both historic and sacred. Activists occupied homes scheduled for demolition and parkland that was to be destroyed by highway construction, living in tepees, makeshift huts, tents, and trees over two very cold Minnesota winters. In this riveting documentary, neighborhood activists, environmental champions, the Native American community, and inspired youths coalesce in nonviolent civil disobedience. 2008, video, 92 minutes.
Ann Follett has been making documentaries for the past 25 years. In the 1980s, she joined Iris Video, a production collective presenting honest and diverse stories of women. Her film The Fear that Binds Us: Violence Against Women (1981), won awards from the American Film Festival, the International Public Television Awards, and the Children and Family Services Video Awards, among others. She has also won awards for her video poetry, My Village Is Small (Mi Pueblo Es Chiquito) (1990), shot in Nicaragua, and The Weight of My Shadow (1996). She worked in the commercial and nonprofit film and television business for 10 years and is currently working on a series of video poems.
Saturday, March 21, 7:30 pm
Directed by Aida Begić
In an isolated Bosnian village two years after the end of the war, the women and children attempt to reorganize their community. While the fates of missing husbands and fathers remain a mystery they consider doing business with their former enemy—the Serbs. Through exquisite moments of sorrow and joy, Begić captures the complex and delicate interplay between the generations of women in a film that looks with honesty at rebuilding a postwar society. Winner of the International Critics Week Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Snow is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. 2008, 35mm, in Bosnian with English subtitles, 99 minutes.
Aida Begić was born in Sarajevo, and after surviving the siege of that city, attended the Sarajevo Academy of Performing Arts for directing. Her credits include the short films First Death Experience (2001) and North Went Mad (2003). She is the cofounder of the independent production company Mamafilm. Snow is her first feature film.
Free Ongoing Screenings
Earth Body: Select Film Works by Ana Mendieta
Lecture Room, March 10–31
Runs continuously during gallery hours
Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, the late Ana Mendieta (1948–1985) created an unprecedented body of film and photographic works that documented her performance-based actions and traced the development of her “earth body” art, a hybrid form of performance art and land art. While her photographic works have been seen widely in museums and galleries since her untimely death, her film works have been far less accessible due to the fragile nature of her Super-8 originals (each approximately 3 minutes in length). On view is a selection of key works drawn from the artist’s archive. Approximately 70 minutes.