Mind Reels 2017

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StephenOlssonHeadShot_200px_optAward-winning documentary director and producer Stephen Olsson  returns as our moderator. Stephen Olsson has produced and directed documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, National Geographic Television working with diverse personalities like the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Sean Penn, Ben Kingsley, Willie Nelson, Harry Belafonte, Carlos Santana and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and dozens of film festivals worldwide. His work has won critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and is currently producing two documentary television series: Global Spirit, the first internal travel series, (GlobalSpirit.tv) and Bridge to Iran.

Note: Reduced rate series tickets are only available via the order form.

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Harry Belafonte: Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song recounts the life and legacy of Harry Belafonte, not only as a great entertainer, but as an important activist in the Civil Rights Movement.

This inspirational biographical film begins with Belafonte's birth into poverty in Harlem in 1927, and childhood years in Jamaica, sent there by his immigrant mother. Director Susanne Rostock takes the viewer through his discovery of theater and training as an actor as a young man, and on to his career and success as a singer.

The film shows not only Belafonte's remarkable success as a singer and actor, but also his true passion for social change. The film outlines some highlights of his entertainment career, but is more focused on how he helped change the world in other ways: marching with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil-rights era; working against apartheid in South Africa; fighting hunger through his instrumental work with USA for Africa; and, most recently, working to combat gang violence through programs with inner-city youth.

Guest Speakers:

Susanne Rostock, Director

suzanne_alt_image_88px_optDirector Susanne Rostock is a veteran documentary editor and director whose most recent film, Sing Your Song, opened in the U.S. Documentary Competition section at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Susanne’s 20-year multi–award winning collaboration as editor with director Michael Apted has produced such richly provocative films as: The Long Way Home, Me & Isaac Newton, and Moving The Mountain. She has achieved recognition for her editing on a myriad of films, garnering Emmys, IDA awards, Cable Ace awards, a Gold Hugo and acknowledgement from multiple national and international festivals.

"I envisioned Mr. Belafonte as being the teller of his own tale. Through his ponderings, insights and anecdotes supported by a cast of amazing characters, Mr. Belafonte’s life would be revealed as if we were privy to his own personal journals. In addition to filmed interviews that had been conducted over time, I made audio recordings of the very personal conversations Harry and I would have sitting in my cutting room. These informal talks became the thread for the storytelling."

PLUS A FILMED GREETING DIRECTLY FROM HARRY BELAFONTE TO MIND REELS AUDIENCE

Show Times
Tue, Nov 7 12:00pm     Buy Tickets
Tickets
Film and Lunch $29
Member Film and Lunch $27
Film/No Lunch $22
Member Film/No Lunch $20

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Mali Blues

The West African country of Mali is a birthplace of the blues, a musical tradition later carried by the transatlantic slave trade to America's cotton fields. Yet today, the music and musicians of Mali are in grave danger. As fundamentalist Islam and sharia law become more widespread, dance and secular music are prohibited, musical instruments are destroyed, and musicians are forced to flee their homeland.

The cinematic feature film MALI BLUES tells the story of four musicians who refuse to accept hatred, suspicion,violence, and a radical interpretation of Islam in their country. That is, neither in Mali nor in any other place in the world.

International shooting star Fatoumata Diawara, Ngoni virtuoso and traditional griot Bassekou Kouyaté, young rap singer Master Soumy, and guitar virtuoso Ahmed Ag Kaedi, leader of the Tuareg band Amanar – they all have one thing in common: their music unites, comforts, and heals, and it lends the people the vigor to bring about change and a mutual future in peace.

Guest Speakers:

Lutz Gregor, 'Mali Blues' Film Director

lutz_gregor_88px_optLutz Gregor has been working as a freelance filmmaker since 1983. In his work he is particularly interested in the link between society, music and dance and combines documentary and artistic techniques. Thus he has created numerous films ranging from international documentaries about people and social, cultural or historical issues to dance films. He teaches at media, dance and art schools, especially ‘Physical Cinema Workshops’. KÖNIGSKINDER (2001, funded by Filmbüro NRW) was shown at the 2002 Max Ophüls Festival, among other venues, and won an award at the 2003 Festival International du Film Indépendant in Brussels for its ‘new cinematographic language’. ‘Frankfurt Dance Cuts’ (ARTE 2004), four short films with dancers from William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt was screened in October 2005 as the German entry for the Temps d'Images’ festival in the Villa Medici in Rome.

 

JeConte, Musician and founder of Mali Allstars

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JeConte traveled to Mali after he lost both his Father and his Fianceé to Cancer to find his soul through the music and the culture of Mali. It was during his time in Mali that he formed JeConte & the Mali All-Stars and performed at 'Le Festival au Desert.’ In 2012, after 12 years of success and unforgettable musical moments, 'Le Festival au Desert’ came to a halt when separatist rebels and Islamic militants seized control of Northern Mali. Deeply familiar with the current plight of musicians in Mali and the suppression of music under Sharia Law, JeConte has fought for its expression along with the local musicians. The goal of 'Mali Blues' is to build awareness for the music and people of Mali, donating a percentage of proceeds to JeConte’s non-profit soulnow.org (Save Our Universal Language Now). SOULNOW.ORG works with cultures to help preserve their musical heritage. JeConte & the Mali Allstars are a soulful blend of traditional Malian Blues and Northern California/New Orleans harmonica-based rock ‘n’ roll. They toured throughout Europe in 2013 and 2014 to support the release of 'Mali Blues.' Their full-length album titled “Mali Blues” includes unique, soulful songs with blues, rock, R&B, reggae and African world influences.

Show Times
Tue, Nov 14 12:00pm     Buy Tickets
Tickets
Film and Lunch $29
Member Film and Lunch $27
Film/No Lunch $22
Member Film/No Lunch $20

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Presenting Princess Shaw

Samantha Montgomery placed her dreams on YouTube. Then they became a reality. Presenting Princess Shaw is the extraordinary story of an aspiring musician, down on her luck, who inspired internationally famous musician, composer and video artist Ophir "Kutiman" Kutiel to create a magical collaboration that would introduce her talent to a whole new audience. Nominated, 2017 Critics' Choice Award for Best Music Documentary. A co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).

Guest Speakers:

Princess Shaw, Executive Director, Canal Alliance

princess_shaw_88px_optBorn in Chicago in 1976, Princess Shaw is the stage name for Samantha Montgomery. Samantha moved to New Orleans in 2008, working as a caregiver for the elderly and struggling to make ends meet, when she began fearlessly posting videos online after work and attending open mic nights at local venues. Despite her immense talent as a singer and songwriter, Princess Shaw hadn’t been able to grow her career beyond a handful of YouTube followers until the time her stream of acappela YouTuber performances and compelling video confessions were discovered thousands of miles away by musician Kutiman. Thus began the amazing story depicted in Presenting Princess Shaw, taking her on a journey around the world and transforming her into a modern day YouTube sensation.

Show Times
Tue, Nov 28 12:00pm     Buy Tickets
Tickets
Film and Lunch $29
Member Film and Lunch $27
Film/No Lunch $22
Member Film/No Lunch $20

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Serenade for Haiti

Filmed over a seven-year period in Haiti, this documentary feature film captures a rare look at a country scored with poverty and a history of political violence and finds a story of transcendence and great humanity as the children and faculty of the Sainte Trinité Music School turn to music to unlock the power of their own lives.

When a catastrophic earthquake completely destroys the school in 2010, a stunned and devastated faculty and student body must pick up the pieces and find a way to adapt.  Devotion to each other and to the possibilities that the future still holds for them are expressed in the footage of children rehearsing in the rubble and in the rich musical heritage they have inherited.

Journeying into Haiti’s beautiful and diverse rural regions and venturing deep into the streets of Port-au-Prince before and after the 2010 earthquake, Serenade for Haiti brings to the screen an unforgettable and vivid tableau of this widely misunderstood country.  The soundtrack features the stunning music of Haiti's great composers who until this time have been largely unknown to international audiences.

Show Times
Tue, Dec 5 12:00pm     Buy Tickets
Tickets
Film and Lunch $29
Member Film and Lunch $27
Film/No Lunch $22
Member Film/No Lunch $20

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Big Sonia

In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski – great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor – runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than 30 years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to resist her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, BIG SONIA also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.

Show Times
Tue, Dec 12 12:00pm     Buy Tickets
Tickets
Film and Lunch $29
Member Film and Lunch $27
Film/No Lunch $22
Member Film/No Lunch $20

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