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.

I’m offering up an open thread here for ideas & comments about the FMMC program. I just had a great conversation with the seniors about the program, and would love to open that up to other students or alums to offer thoughts as to what FMMC could be doing more of, differently, or “stay the course.” This could refer to curricular issues, project opportunities, outreach, community building, or what have you. Please keep it constructive – comments that include personal attacks will be swiftly deleted! And feel free to sign your name or contribute anonymously. We’d all just love to get a better sense of what you want out of the department, and how we can best make the program grow and thrive!

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful comments.

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.

In the latest issue of Middlebury’s career services newsletter, there’s a profile of Ed Bogart ’02, who has worked in television production since graduation. Some good advice for climbed the post-production ladder!

Any students interested in doing an intership this summer should check out the International Radio & Television Society fellowship program. It offers funded internships in a range of radio & TV companies in New York City. The application deadline is December 1, so you need to move quickly. Good luck!

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.

Any budding filmmakers with 24-hours to spare should check out Apple’s Insomnia Film Festival – teams of 5 students have 24 hours (starting on November 15) to create a 3-minute video meeting particular specs, with the winners getting some nice prizes. This seems like a perfect challenge for Midd students!

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.

Rescuers During the Holocaust: Their Challenge to Citizens Today
by Pierre Sauvage, Documentary Filmmaker

7:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Dana Auditorium

Pierre Sauvage is a child survivor of the Holocaust and an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker. He is the president of the Chambon Foundation, which he founded in 1982. His 1989 documentary Weapons of the Spirit, explored the French Village of Le Chambon during the Nazi occupation, where 5,000 Jews were sheltered by 5,000 Christians. Sauvage and his parents were among the rescued. The Chambon Foundation was the first nonprofit educational foundation committed to communicating the necessary and challenging lessons of hope intertwined with the Holocaust’s unavoidable lessons of despair.

He is currently working on a film about Varian Fry, an American teacher and journalist who traveled to France in August 1940 on behalf of the Emergency Rescue Committee with the assignment of bringing some 200 well-known intellectuals in imminent danger of arrest (including Marc Chagall, Hannah Arendt, and Max Ernst) to safety in the United States.

Sponsored by the Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, the Holocaust Remembrance Film Fund of the Film and Media Culture Department, Middlebury College Hillel, the Religious Life Council, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and the Department of Religion

Assistive listening devices will be available.