The 10th annual Penn State Harrisburg International Film Festival begins March 18 and will feature an Oscar-nominated production, a free workshop for nonprofits, and a panel discussion featuring the director and a woman featured in one of the movies.
Associate Professor of Humanities and Communications Catherine Rios, the series organizer, says, “For the tenth anniversary, we tried this year to select current films. Some of them we viewed on the student study tour to the Cannes Film Festival and others I saw at the 2009 Tribeca Film Fest in New York.”
All free and open to the public, the seven films in the series represent six nations, including Secret of Kells, an Irish movie nominated for a 2010 Oscar in the best animated feature category. “Secret of Kells will be opening in U.S. theaters simultaneous with its March 20 showing at Penn State Harrisburg,” Rios says.
In connection with the March 26 showing of Thread, the story of five Afghan women, the college is hosting a free 2 p.m. workshop with the movie’s director, Laurie Chock, and Toni Maloney, co-founder and CEO of Bpeace (Business Council for Peace) to instruct nonprofit organizations on how to utilize documentary films to support their fundraising and promote their initiatives.
Thread will be shown at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a panel discussion with Chock, Maloney, and Palwasha Siddiqi, a Bucknell University student featured in the film. The showing and discussion are free, but there is a $50 fee for reserved seating and to attend a private, post-discussion reception with the presenters.
All proceeds will benefit Bpeace, a nonprofit international network of business professionals who volunteer to help women entrepreneurs in countries emerging from war to expand their businesses, create employment, and build a more peaceful future for their communities. For tickets, visit the web at http://threadinharrisburg.eventbrite.com/.
“The film series is also designed to reinforce the international experience for students on campus, supporting the college commitment to internationalize the curriculum. It is also a marvelous outreach to the community, fitting nicely in the college’s focus to enhance understanding of other cultures. Through film, we can observe personal relationships, societal taboos, religion, and even politics in a foreign nation,” Rios says.
All films will be shown in the Olmsted Building Auditorium on campus. The features include:
March 18, 7 p.m.
The Wind Journeys (Los viajes del viento),
For most of his life, Ignacio Carrillo travelled the villages of northern Colombia, playing traditional songs on his accordion, a legendary instrument said to have once belonged to the devil. He eventually married and settled in a small town, leaving the nomadic life behind. But after the traumatic death of his wife, he vows to never play the accursed accordion again, and embarks on one last journey to return the instrument to its rightful owner. On the way, Ignacio is followed by Fermín, a spirited teenager determined to become his apprentice. Tired of loneliness, Ignacio accepts the young man as his pupil and together they traverse the vast Colombian terrain, discovering the musical diversity of Caribbean culture. Hardened by a life of solitude, Ignacio tries to discourage Fermín from following in his footsteps, but destiny has different plans for them. (2009, Colombia, director Ciro Guerra)
To view a Wind Journeys trailer, click here.
March 19, 7 p.m.
Set in the Australian wheat-belt in 1968, September is a character-driven film about two 15-year-old boys – one black, one white – whose friendship begins to fall apart under the stress of a changing world. The film is about the boys trying to hold their friendship together in spite of the pressures imposed upon them by a turbulent social and political climate. (2009, Australia, director Peter Carstairs, M)
March 20, 2 p.m.
Secret of Kells
Young Brendan lives in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids. But a new life of adventure beckons when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying an ancient but unfinished book brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan's determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil? (2009, Ireland, director Tomm Moore, PG)
To view a Secret of Kells trailer, click here.
March 20, 7 p.m.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon)
From one of the most emotionally exhilarating and luminous bestsellers ever written comes the true story of a man who took an adversity beyond all imagining and transformed it into a testament to the irrepressible human urge to love, create, and dream. Through a mesmerizing blast of color, beauty, and humor, and a rousing spirit of creativity, the film tells the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric, “Munich”), AKA “Jean-Do,” the high-flying editor of French Elle and father of two, who was renowned for his sense of humor and style, his joie de vivre and amorous energy, when, in an instant, his world was plunged into the depths of catastrophe. (2007, France, director Julian Schnabel, PG-13)
To view a Diving Bell and the Butterfly trailer, click here.
March 21, 2 p.m.
Sita Sings the Blues
Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved lord and husband, Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by e-mail. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as "the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told." (2008, USA, director Nina Paley, ATP)
March 21, 7 p.m.
Salt of this Sea (Milh Hadha al-Bahr)
Soraya, born in Brooklyn in a working class community of Palestinian refugees, discovers that her grandfather’s savings were frozen in a bank account in Jaffa when he was exiled in 1948. Stubborn, passionate and determined to reclaim what is hers, she fulfills her life-long dream of “returning” to Palestine. (2008, Palestine, director Annemarie Jacir, Finland K-7)
To view a Salt of this Sea trailer, click here.
March 26, 6:30 p.m.
Thread is the inspirational story of five remarkable Afghan women who are taking control of their lives and their futures – and in the process are helping to rebuild their devastated country. (2008, USA, director Laurie Chock)
To view a Thread trailer, click here.