UnionDocs is proud to host…
IDA’s Traveling Road Show:
THE PARE LORENTZ FILM FESTIVAL
“When a documentary filmmaker commissions original music for a production, he is following Lorentz’s lead. When he shows what man has done to nature and what nature does to man in retaliation, he is moving in the Lorentz tradition. When he combines a dramatized story with factual material, he is following the trail Lorentz blazed… ”
– Robert L. Synder, Pare Lorentz and the Documentary Film
On Friday nights in January, February and March, UnionDocs will screen six excellent films, all of which have been named named Pare Lorentz Award Winners by the International Documentary Association (IDA). It is no surprise, then, that the selections in this traveling festival resound with influence from the socially conscious documentary films of Pare Lorentz, who, during the depression, produced and directed the first government sponsored feature documentary and was named head of the United States Film Service by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. We are very fortunate to also have the opportunity to conclude the festival by showing four important works by this pioneer. All of these are documentaries that inspire the best in all of us – films that address issues of social justice, political strife, and survival in a world with declining natural resources. Each screening will be followed by a discussion, with filmmakers and special guests in attendance.
The Pare Lorentz Film Festival is supported by the New York Community Trust. We are very grateful and excited to bring these filmmakers from across the country and beyond together with scholars, experts and our local audiences in Brooklyn.
PARE LORENTZ AWARD WINNING FILMS:
OIL ON ICE »
Buy Friday, January 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Directed by Dale Djerassi & Bo Boudart
Oil on Ice explores the dangers and consequences that surround opening one of America’s last great wild places – or any protected wild place, for that matter – to exploration and exploitation. Interviews with esteemed arctic biologists and environmental experts deduce that hybrid cars and renewable energy sources are viable short- and long-term solutions to the nation’s dependence on oil for energy. Native Inupiat Eskimos and Gwich’in Indian activists share their heritage and way of life, and express on camera how their entire way of living is at risk due to oil drilling.
The Gwich’in Indians, for example, describe how they have depended on the Alaskan caribou for food, clothing, tools and their spirituality for generations. The environmental impacts of oil drilling, however, are driving caribou and other wildlife away, changing the way the native people have lived with them for centuries.
…debunks any myths that Arctic Alaska is barren…
– Metro Santa Cruz
GARBAGE WARRIOR »
Friday, January 29, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Directed by Oliver Hodge
Honorable Mention 2008
What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you’re renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of “Earthship Biotecture” by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony. However, these experimental structures that defy state standards create conflict between Reynolds and the authorities, who are backed by big business.
Frustrated by antiquated legislation, Reynolds lobbies for the right to create a sustainable living test site. While politicians hum and ha, Mother Nature strikes, leaving communities devastated by tsunamis and hurricanes. Reynolds and his crew seize the opportunity to lend their pioneering skills to those who need it most.
“Charismatic – with a warm sense of humor”
– New York Times
AMERICA’S LOST LANDSCAPE: THE TALLGRASS PRAIRIE »
Friday, February 5th, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Directed by David O’Shields
AMERICA’S LOST LANDSCAPE: THE TALLGRASS PRAIRIE tells the rich and complex story of one of the most astonishing alterations of nature in human history. Prior to Euro-American settlement in the 1820s, one of the major landscape features of North America was 240 million acres of tallgrass prairie. But between 1830 and 1900 — in the span of a single lifetime — the prairie was steadily transformed to farmland.
This drastic change in the landscape brought about an enormous social change for Native Americans. In an equally short time their cultural imprint was reduced in essence to a handful of place-names appearing on maps. The extraordinary cinematography of prairie remnants, original score and archival images are all delicately interwoven to create a powerful and moving viewing experience about the natural and cultural history of America.
SUGIHARA: CONSPIRACY OF KINDNESS »
Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Directed by Rob Kirk
In the fall of 1939, Hitler’s murderous wave was sweeping through Eastern Europe. In the face of the Nazi onslaught, Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara set about saving thousands of lives. But his struggle was not fought on the battlefields or in war rooms. He used his power as a diplomat to rescue fleeing Jewish refugees.
MANDELA: SON OF AFRICA, FATHER OF A NATION »
Friday, February 19th, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Directed by Jo Menell
A captivating view of the indomitable spirit if one of the world’s most fascinating figures, this full-length documentary follows Nelson
Mandela from his early days and tribal education to his election as South Africa’s first black president. Providing insights into his early life, the film takes us through Mandela’s childhood, adolescence, career in law and first marriage. “Mandela” is an absorbing look at the courageous life, tribulations and fortitude of Mandela the leader, while never forgetting the engaging and charismatic spirit of Mandela the man, as seen through exclusive interviews and narration from Mandela himself.
BERGA: SOLDIERS OF ANOTHER WAR »
Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Directed by Charles Guggenheim
http://nimelor.com/?p=16277 Charles Guggenheim dedicated the last six months of his life to finishing this film. This is a story about his fellow American infantrymen, who were captured during the Battle of the Bulge, then sent to a Nazi slave labor camp where many of them died. BERGA: SOLDIERS OF ANOTHER WAR is a documentary about American Prisoners of War caught in the tragedy of the
Holocaust. Until now, their story has remained untold, lost in the trauma of the Second World War.
THE FILMS OF PARE LORENTZ
Friday, March 5th, 2010 at 7:30 pm
THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS (1936) »
With The Plow That Broke the Plains, his first film and the first US Government-sponsored documentary, Pare Lorentz won praise and wide recognition for using sensitive photography, dramatic editing and a beautiful score by composer Virgil Thomson to illuminate a local problem of national importance – the challenges faced by wheat farmers and cattle ranchers in the Great Plains. As the film climaxes in a vivid portrait of the record drought that produced the dust bowl and the plight of the “blown out, baked and
broke” people who felt its impact, it becomes clear that a new master of the documentary form has found his voice.
NUREMBERG – ITS LESSON FOR TODAY (1948) »
Nuremberg is a grim, unflinching account of the Nuremberg trials, and of the war crimes that made them necessary, told almost entirely without editorial comment. During the trials, the courtroom was dominated by a large motion picture screen upon which
the prosecution showed films of Nazi atrocities. Much of this footage was confiscated from the private libraries of high Nazi officials and, ironically, proved to be the most damning evidence against them. Working with more than a million feet of film, and intercutting excerpts from these films with sequences from the trial, Lorentz and his staff created an absorbing historical narrative showing the rise of Hitler, the subjugation of most of Europe–and the systematic murder of millions of innocent people.
Writer/Producer/Director Stuart Schulberg, Editor Joseph Zigman, Producer/Executive Producer Pare Lorentz
Friday, March 12th, 2010 at 7:30 pm
THE RIVER (1938) »
31 minutes Pills
In The River, Pare Lorentz deploys powerful images, a poetic Pulitzer Prize-nominated script and another score by Virgil Thomson to illustrate the problems of flood control on the Mississippi River and the efforts to correct it. While arguing that the building of dams would put an end to the destruction of crops and property brought about by the havoc of annual floods, Lorentz reveals the ways the river has been misused, and presents a stirring paen to America’s natural landscape, and the proud history with which it is imbued.
THE FIGHT FOR LIFE (1941) »
In this short feature, based on a book by Paul De Kruit, Lorentz presents a staged re-enactment of an emergency childbirth in an urban hospital. As the story of the mother’s difficult delivery and death in spite of valiant efforts by the doctors to save her unfolds, The Fight For Life reveals the crisis of health and pre-natal care among the urban poor of the period, and explores the impoverished lives of the working people of the cities, who live in slums and tenements where they are forced to suffer from the disabling diseases endemic in such environments.
THE IDA TRAVELLING ROAD SHOW: The Pare Lorentz Film Festival online is proudly presented at UnionDocs through a collaboration with the International Documentary Association (IDA). This program is supported by the New York Community Trust.
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