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The Film & Media Culture Department welcomes the Middlebury community to two events presenting the independent work of our seniors:

Thursday 5/7, 7:30 pm in Dana Auditorium: Independent Video Screenings by Waylon D’Mello, David Ellis, Jason Gutierrez, and Matt Leonard.

Following the screening at around 8:30 pm on 5/7, we will have a end-of-semester reception in Axinn’s Abernethy Room to celebrate the retirement of Don Mitchell.

Monday 5/11, 1:30 pm in Axinn 219: Independent Written Work presentations by Ioana Literat, Jared Rosenberg, and Aaron Smith

Hope to see many of you there.

This week, there are two screenings with filmmakers attending:

On Wed April 15 at 7:45 pm in Dana, we’ll be viewing the PBS broadcast of Planet Forward. The show is a companion to the website, which features short user-generated videos about global warming and energy issues. The show’s producer and host, Frank Sesno, is a Middlebury alum, former trustee, and parent, and he has involved our current students in the project – two Middlebury videos are featured on the show, and one student appears on a panel.

Following the airing, we will watch some of the Middlebury-produced videos in full, and then have a panel discussion about the project and the issues with some of the student video producers, Film & Media Culture professor Jason Mittell, and Environmental Studies professor Jon Isham.

On Thursday, April 16 at 7 pm in Axinn 232, come see Wings of Defeat introduced by director Linda Hoaglund. Wings of Defeat brings viewers behind the scenes of World War II’s Pacific theater to reveal the truth about the Kamikaze-the “suicide bombers” of their day. Interviews with surviving kamikaze, rare battle footage and Japanese propaganda reveal a side of WWII never before shown on film. American vets from the greatest generation tell harrowing tales of how they survived attacks. Wings of Defeat shatters the myth of the fanatical kamikaze to reveal a generation of men forced to pay for an empire’s pride with their lives. The film is the 2009 winner of the Organization of American Historians Eric Barnouw Award.

Justin Haythe ’96 will return to Middlebury to screen Revolutionary Road, which he adapted from the Richard Yates novel. The screening will be in Dana Auditorium on Sunday, March 15 at 7:30 pm, followed by a question & answer session.

Film scholar Laura Mulvey will give a lecture entitled “Back to Modernity: thoughts on reality, narrative cinema from another technological age” on March 6, 2009 at 12:30 in Axinn 229.  Ms. Mulvey is a professor of film and media studies at the University of London, teaching this year at Wellesley College as the Mary Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities.  Mulvey, one of the most prominent film scholars of the past 30 years, will discuss the new possibilities of spectatorship opened by digital technology and how these possibilities impact the field of film theory. The lecture is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the department of Film and Media Culture.

FMMC’s Digital Media Intern Sam Morrill has written and directed a film, La Milagrosa, which will be screened in Dana Auditorium, 8 pm on Tuesday Jan. 27th. We hope to see many of you there!


Super-senior JJ Hurvich will be screening her senior video project on Friday, 1/23 at 7:30 in Johnson, in conjunction with a studio art student show. Please come show your support for their work!

5:00 PM – “Self-Exposure / Full Disclosure”
Opening of senior work by Maddie Terry, ‘08.5, in the Johnson gallery.  The show consists of works from a year-long independent photography project within the department of studio art.

5:00 PM – 7:15 PM
Wine reception with refreshments in the gallery and mezzanine spaces

7:30 PM – “Say Your Name into the Camera”
Screening of the senior work of JJ Hurvich, ‘08.5, who wrote, directed, produced and edited the film based on joint studies within the Film and Media Culture and English departments.  The film will be screened in the Johnson lecture hall across the mezzanine from the gallery.

The Environmental Studies Department, Film and Media Culture Department, and MCAB present:

A screening of Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai followed by an opportunity to speak with the film’s Vermont-based producers, Alan Dater and Lisa Merton of Marlboro Productions

Wednesday January 21, 4:30 in MBH216

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, a new film by Lisa Merton and Alan Dater, tells the inspiring story of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya and its unstoppable founder, Wangari Maathai, who, in 2004, became the first environmentalist and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Taking Root illustrates the development of Maathai’s holistic worldview and model for sustainable development. Maathai discovered the core of her life’s work when she turned her attention to the rural women with whom she had grown up in Kenya’s central highlands. Their daily lives had become intolerable: they were walking exhaustive distances for firewood, clean water was scarce, the soil was eroding, and their children were suffering from malnutrition. One hundred years of colonialism and neo- colonialism had devastated the forests they’d lived with for centuries. “Why not plant trees?” Maathai thought. Trees provide shade, prevent soil erosion, supply firewood, building materials, and produce nutritious fruit. With this realization Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization encouraging rural women and families to plant trees in community groups.

As the trees and the Green Belt Movement grew, a spirit of hope and confidence also grew in ordinary citizens – especially amongst rural women – only to be met with violent opposition from the government of Daniel arap Moi.  Maathai and her colleagues soon bore the brunt of President Moi’s political oppression. In response, Maathai’s political activism only grew. At great risk she lead numerous confrontations in defense of the environment and social justice, all of which brought her country closer to democracy.

Through TV footage, newspaper headlines, and chilling first person accounts, TAKING ROOT documents these dramatic confrontations of the 1980s and 1990s and captures Maathai’s infectious determination and unwavering courage.

More info available on the film’s website.

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Please join the FMMC department for the fall student screening: Thursday, December 4, 7:30 pm, in Dana Auditorium. We’ll be featuring work from Sight & Sound II and Animation Production. We’ll post titles, descriptions, and links to online videos soon.

Two presentation on campus this Monday may be of interest for FMMC students:

The Long Memory: An (Incomplete) History of Grassroots Media in Quebec
by Anna Leventhal, Independent Scholar and Writer
4:30 p.m., Monday, November 24, 2008
Robert A. Jones ’59 House conference room

and a screening/director Q&A:

An East German Director in Latin America : The Ascent of the Chimborazo (1989)
by Rainer Simon, Filmmaker
7:00 p.m., Monday, November 24, 2008
Twilight Hall auditorium

Ascent of the Chimborazo (96 mins., German with English subtitles):
In 1802, the young Alexander von Humboldt led a scientific expedition to the Chimborazo in Ecuador, thought to be the highest mountain in the world and never before climbed. At great risk to his own life, as well as those of his companions – the French doctor and botanist, Aimé Bonpland, and the local créole aristocrat, Carlos Montúfar – Humboldt carefully measures and documents flora, fauna, soil, rocks, water, and the air itself. They survive snow, cold, and the thin mountain air and explore regions that no European had seen before. But it is his encounters with the indigenous people of Ecuador that deeply fascinate him. He explores their culture and language and comes to see German society in a new light. Partly filmed on location in Ecuador.

Director, documentarian and writer Rainer Simon worked for the East German DEFA Film Studio  from 1965  to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He made his directing debut in 1968 with a children’s film How to Marry a King. His film The Woman and the Stranger won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1984.   Much of his recent  work focuses on the life and culture of the indigenous people of Ecuador. Simon will discuss his film after the screening.

Sponsored by the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, the Department of German, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Department of Film and Media Culture.

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I hope you can join us in welcoming Amy Bucher ’87 to campus on Monday & Tuesday. On Monday, November 10 at 7:30 pm in Dana Auditorium, she’ll be presenting her film, A Walk to Beautiful, an award-winning look at women in Ethiopia who struggle with the social and physical impacts of childbirth injuries. On Tuesday, November 11 at 12:15 in Robert A. Jones House, she will be leading a “career conversation” on her path from Middlebury to a career as a documentary filmmaker.

You can learn more about Amy and her films on her company’s website, Engel Entertainment.

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