On November 11, begin your Film Days Sunday with a delicious farm-to-table brunch, a screening of The Sixth Side of the Pentagon (Chris Marker, 1968, USA, 28 minutes) and a lively discussion led by Peter Rutkoff, a founding member of the Department of American Studies at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. This famous short documentary about the October 1967 Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam gets its name from the Zen proverb, “If the five side of the pentagon appear impregnable, attack the sixth side.” Many view this march on the Pentagon as the tipping point in public opinion about the Vietnam War. A member of the Film Days Steering Committee, Rutkoff is the author of Fly Away and other recent non-fiction works that examine African-American art and culture, as well as two novels, most recently Irish Eyes. He is a regular summer visitor to Cooperstown, which is also the setting of his book of short stories, Cooperstown Chronicles. The Brunch and Film Discussion led by Rutkoff is a popular Film Days staple—take the time to enjoy a delicious brunch, a riveting film, and a compelling discussion. More about the Film and Sunday Brunch…
For three months, filmmakers Talya Tibbon and Joshua Bennett traveled with the Nabi family, Syrian Kurds fleeing their home in Aleppo in search of freedom and a new life. The resulting film, Sky and Ground (2017, USA/Macedonia, 86 minutes), provides a startling intimate view of one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. The International Documentary Association just nominated the film for best feature. Both filmmakers will take part in the post-screening discussion. Talya Tibbon is an award-winning documentary film and television director, producer and writer. Over the years Tibbon has worked on four continents, documenting street gangs, drug dealers and users, mass shooters and those who survive their crimes, human trafficking, and refugees fleeing war, among other topics. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Giuliani, Obama’s top security and intelligence advisors and Julian Assange. She spent time with a wide range of not-as-famous but equally fascinating characters: from sex workers to hedge fund wiz kids, public health volunteers, criminals, cops, mothers and orphans. She is currently in the early production of a film about her father. Her most recent film is Amanpour on Sex and Love in Berlin. Joshua Bennett, with over 15 years’ experience, has produced in over 35 countries, on all seven continents. As the executive vice president and executive producer for Show of Force, his recent projects include Humanity on the Move, Soundtracks: The Songs that Made History, and We The Voters. Previously, he was the producer of Half the Sky and A Path Appears. He also served as executive producer of global media campaigns for USAID. He has presented at the UN General Assembly, The Concordia Summit, The Global Philanthropy Forum and at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. He has produced a wide range of programming for PBS, HBO, Travel Channel, and A&E among others, winning The Television Academy Honors Awards, The Peabody Award, The Cine Golden Eagle, and multiple Emmy and Real Screen awards. In 2017, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for best Music Documentary.
Aube Giroux is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, organic gardener, and food blogger. Modified (2017, Canada, 87 minutes), her first feature-length documentary, was shot over the course of nine years and traces Giroux and her mother’s investigative journey to find out why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labeled on food products in the United States and Canada, despite being labeled in 64 other countries. Their intimate mother-daughter quest reveals the extent to which the agribusiness industry controls our food policies, making a strong case for a more transparent food system—while also celebrating a family legacy and a fondness for food, cooking, and gardening. Giroux is the creator of “Kitchen Vignettes”, an online farm-to-table cooking show on PBS which received the 2012 Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Award and is a two-time James Beard Award nominee. Giroux, who now lives in Cooperstown, holds an MFA in Film Production from York University in Toronto. She will answer questions after the screening of her film Modifed, which will be shown on Sunday, November 11 at 1:45 at the Village Hall.
In his film Good Evening to the People Living in the Camp (2017, Netherlands, 45 minutes) Dutch filmmaker and artist Joost Conijn sought to understand the refugee situation by living and following the inhabitants of several refugee camps. His camera captures the people’s pastimes, diversions, and ordinary goings-on, showing that real life does go on in the shadow of “current affairs.” Conijn will answer questions after the screening on Sunday, November 11 at 2:00 pm at the Fenimore Art Museum. Conijn grew up in Amsterdam and studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Sandberg Institute. After secondary school, he cycled to India. After studying at the academy, he built a wooden car and traveled through Eastern Europe, a journey in which unforeseen encounters took center stage. In 2010 he built a plane with which he made an impossible trip to Africa, resulting in the book: Pilot of Good and Evil. Conijn won the Charlotte Köhler Prize for Young Visual Artists in 2000, and the Cobra Art Prize in 2005. He was also nominated for the Prix de Rome 2005. His work has been shown in Miro Foundation Barcelona, and Lisson Gallery, London, among other locations. Conijn will answer questions after the screening on Sunday, November 11 at 2:00 pm at the Fenimore Art Museum.
Paul Tom and Mélissa Lefebvre will attend the screening of their film Bagages. The film opens as a performance, but then turns the spotlight on newly arrived teenage immigrants studying at the Montréal high school where Lefebvre teaches. Through drama workshops, theater production, and deeply personal interviews, the film illuminates their stories of immigration and integration. With a wisdom well beyond their years, these young students share surprising narratives about their journeys with compelling emotion and a disarming level of authenticity. Lefebvre graduated from the Université du Québec à Montréal in dramatic art teaching. She has written and produced many plays for various groups of students, always placing them at the heart of her creation. Her keen interest in welcome classes’ students led her to carry out multiple projects, including the theatrical work Baggage, and she has been a recipient of the Essor and Forces Avenir 2015-16 Awards, and has worked on the documentary related to the play. Paul Tom for ten years has sensitively drawn on the intimate and personal to tell touching and authentic human stories. His projects give voice to people who are not always heard, and create spaces for dialogue for people to open their arms to each other. Tom is also an editor and a designer of museum exhibition videos. Born to Cambodian parents in a refugee camp in Thailand, his favorite themes are the construction of identity, family relationships and all that touches the intimate, fragile and precious of a human being. His films have been selected in forty festivals around the world in addition to winning a dozen awards. Bagages will be shown on Sunday, November 11 at 4:00 pm at the Fenimore Art Museum, with both Tom and Lefebvre taking part in the post-screening discussion.
Film Days 2018 ends with a beginning—the first Shorts+Cake program. Film Days curator Peggy Parsons wanted to offer an additional setting to feature shorts, and why not enjoy a slice of cake and a cup of coffee too? Among the four shorts featured is Oheró:kon - Under the Husk by Melissa Katsitsionni Fox. The film follows the journey of two Mohawk girls as they take part in their traditional passage rites to becoming Mohawk women. Kaienkwinehtha and Kasennakohe are childhood friends from traditional families in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne straddling the U.S. / Canada border. Fox will attend the screening and answer questions. Her additional film credits include: Sacredly Stoked, a short drama related to the traditional uses of tobacco, distributed across Ontario and partially funded by Cancer Care Ontario. Two films she recently produced, Akwesasne Transcending Borders and Akwesasne the Little Boy, were commissioned by community funding agencies. She has personal experience in many rites of passage, growing up in the Akwesasne Mohawk territories in Northern New York. She has an understanding and respect for these traditions that can only come from being immersed in them all of her life, which provides her unique access to stories that an outside filmmaker would not have.
Paint the Alpacas (Aidan Macaluso, 2016, 18 minutes) is also part of the Shorts + Cake program. Set in the secluded countryside of upstate New York, this short stylized narrative features the aging Arthur, his sister, and his son who are all dealing with the recent passing of Arthur’s beloved spouse. Aidan Macaluso, a filmmaker raised in Cooperstown, will attend the screening. He studied film production in the SUNY Purchase Film Conservatory and graduated in May 2018. He is currently based out of Brooklyn, NY, where he works as a freelance videographer and editor. Shorts+Cake will take place in the Village Hall at 2:00 pm on Monday, November 12.