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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 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.

For all budding documentarians:

The True/False Film Fest is heading into its sixth year of celebrating non-fiction film, and is seeking out groundbreaking documentaries from all over the globe.  We are particularly interested in films that walk the line between fact and fiction, commenting in some way on our world and on filmmaking itself.  On February 26 of 2009, Columbia, Missouri will transform itself into a Midwestern Shangri-La of independent film; between panels and parties, conversation and screenings, filmmakers and the town will come together and enjoy what is becoming one of the most talked-about film fests in the country.  If your film is accepted you will receive travel and lodging, a festival pass and an unparalleled experience.

Deadlines and Entry Fees:
Earlybird:  September 30 2008  Feature: $20  Short: $15
Regular:   November 15  2008   Feature: $25  Short $20
Late:    December 1 2008   Feature:  $30   Short: $25
*Submit on withoutabox.com and receive $5 off of your entry fee
Submission formats: DVD or VHS (NTSC, VHS, or SECAM)

Download a flyer here.