2006 PATOIS film festival

2006 PATOIS film festival

2006
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FESTIVAL SUMMARY
From April 6 – 15, 2006, several hundred New Orleanians viewed more than 40 films from 5 continents.

The festival began with an opening night of post-Katrina New Orleans films followed by a free OPENING NIGHT PARTY at NEIGHBORHOOD GALLERY hosted by festival cosponsors NEW ORLEANS NETWORK with music by LADY LOLO. Most films were presented at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, with additional screenings at Loyola University of New Orleans and at Northwestern State University’s School of Social Sciences in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

We hosted several guest filmmakers introducing their films and answering questions, including the directors of SOMA, FACES OF CHANGE, QUILOMBO COUNTRY, STATE OF FEAR, AFTER THE WIND…, and more. We were also honored to have many local filmmakers presenting their films, including ROYCE OSBORN, CHARLIE BROWN, and MARY BETH BLACK as well as festival guest curator COURTNEY EGAN.

The festival had many other special events, including a mid-festival party at HANDSOME WILLY’S, an anti-power workshop by SOMA director NICK COOPER, and presentations from a wide array of grassroots organizers and organizations, including representatives from SAFE STREETS/ STRONG COMMUNITIES, CRITICAL RESISTANCE, VOICE OF THE EX-OFFENDER (VOTE), THE INNOCENCE PROJECT, LEFT TURN MAGAZINE and NEW ORLEANS PALESTINE SOLIDARITY. Other special guests who visited the festival included representatives of INCITE! WOMEN OF COLOR AGAINST VIOLENCE, A FIGHTING CHANCE, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE, ACLU OF LOUISIANA, and others.

Additional special events included presentations on the right of return and resistance from Palestinian grassroots organizers HADEEL ASSALI and ALA AL-AZZEH, and spoken word poetry by local poet MAI BADER and others.

While the largest audiences came for the post-Katrina New Orleans films, the festival overall set new records for attendance over previous years. We also worked to create spaces for community building and conversation about themes presented in the films.

As with previous years, the festival presented audience choice awards to filmmakers based on the results of audience ballots as well as a jury prize voted on by festival organizers and members of the social justice community. Below are the festival award winners:


2006 AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER for BEST FEATURE: FACES OF CHANGE by MICHELE STEPHENSON
2006 AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER for BEST SHORT: ABORTION DIARIES by PENNY LANE
2006 JURY AWARD WINNER for BEST FEATURE: PALESTINE BLUES by NIDA SINNOKROT
2006 JURY AWARD WINNER for BEST SHORT: CHILDREN OF THE STORM: TEENS SPEAK OUT by BETSY WEISS
2006 OFFICIAL SELECTION, OPENING NIGHT FILMS: AFTER THE WIND…, FINDING COMMON GROUND, PEOPLE SAY and TREME.
2006 OFFICIAL SELECTION, CLOSING NIGHT FILMS: RIGHTS ON THE LINE, THE EXONERATED, FACES OF CHANGE and PALESTINE BLUES.
2006 AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER for BEST FEATURE: FACES OF CHANGE by MICHELE STEPHENSON
2006 AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER for BEST SHORT: ABORTION DIARIES by PENNY LANE
2006 JURY AWARD WINNER for BEST FEATURE: PALESTINE BLUES by NIDA SINNOKROT
2006 JURY AWARD WINNER for BEST SHORT: CHILDREN OF THE STORM: TEENS SPEAK OUT by BETSY WEISS
2006 OFFICIAL SELECTION, OPENING NIGHT FILMS: AFTER THE WIND…, FINDING COMMON GROUND, PEOPLE SAY and TREME.
2006 OFFICIAL SELECTION, CLOSING NIGHT FILMS: RIGHTS ON THE LINE, THE EXONERATED, FACES OF CHANGE and PALESTINE BLUES.

2006 Films
THE ABORTION DIARIES
The Abortion Diaries, directed by 27-year-old Penny Lane, dispels the stigma of abortion by presenting the abortion stories of twelve diverse women. Their stories weave together with Lane’s own diary entries to present a compelling, intimate and at times surprisingly funny “dinner party” where the audience is invited to hear what women say behind closed doors about sex, love, careers, motherhood, medical technology, spirituality and their own bodies. (30 minutes)
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…after the wind, child, after the water’s gone… (OPENING NIGHT)
Directors John Sullivan and Bryan Parras traveled up and down Lafourche, Terrebonne, Jefferson & St. Bernard parishes; interviewing citizens and environmental organisations on what they think would be the best ways
to respond to the environmental health crises posed by Katrina
and to prepare for future storms in an area with so many petrochemical point sources of pollution.
“…after the wind, child, after the water’s gone…” is an overview of the environmental problem but it touches on many other areas of social justice & gathers a wide spectrum of opinion from that more obscure end of the state. Interview subjects include Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Brenda and Michael Dardar, Curtis Hendon of the United Houma Nation, as well as others from around Dos Gris, Dulac, Cocodrie, Isle de Jean Charles, Larose, New Iberia and Chalmette. (65 minutes).


AT RISK: UNINSURED IN AMERICA
Directed by Jim Hill. America’s healthcare crisis is intensifying. Spiraling costs – systematic failure, millions of uninsured – all contrast starkly with record industry profits. It is time for a change.http://www.glowingheads.com World Premiere. (8 minutes).


CONTES CRUELS DE LA GUERRE (CRUEL TALES OF THE WAR)
Directed by Ibea Atondl & Karim Miske.  From Congo – Brazzaville, this powerful documentary poses a singular glance on the wars of contemporary Africa. Fascinated by the fatal madness of Mignon, a fighter destroyed by alcohol and drugs, the narrator tries to seize the mechanisms which pushed him and his companions to lose their human dignity. To evoke the horror of the war, no images of violence are needed, this is a metaphorical work which comes to support testimonies of victims and torturers alike. (52 minutes).


DARFUR DIARIES
Directed by Aisha Bain, Jen Marlowe, and Adam Shapiro. The film chronicles the history, hopes, and fears of the people in Darfur, Sudan, amidst ongoing genocide that has resulted in the deaths of 400,000 civilians and the displacement of over 2.5 million others.  In September, 2004, the Bush Administration declared the violence genocide, yet little has been done to alleviate the conflict and the crisis receives scarce media coverage. In an effort to inform the US public on the ongoing genocide, three independent filmmakers visited refugee camps in eastern Chad and snuck across the border into Darfur to use personal interviews to tell the stories of the Darfurians. (59 minutes).


DEMOCRACY’S GHOSTS
How 5 million Americans have lost the right to vote. From the cradle of the civil rights movement in Selma, Alabama to the wind-blown plains of South Dakota’s Native American reservations, to the hallowed halls of an Ivy League college, this 33-minute film spends time with people who are living their lives as legal ghosts because of felony convictions. Their stories are complemented and enriched by interviews with experts and well-known personalities, among them evangelist Chuck Colson, actor Charles Dutton, civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis and Harvard Professor Lani Guinier. (34 minutes).


DROWNED OUT
An Indian family chooses to stay at home and drown rather than make way for the Narmada Dam. Featuring famed writer Arundhati Roy. (90 minutes).


THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX
A self-described “good Southern Baptist girl,” 15-year-old Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas has pledged abstinence until marriage. But she becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex ed when she finds that Lubbock, where high schools teach abstinence as the only safe sex, has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs in the state. (76 minutes).


THE EMPIRE IN AFRICA
The rebels who started the civil war in Sierra Leone 15 years ago wanted only one thing: to reclaim the richness of the country from foreign corporations in order to end the exploitation of its people. In response, the international community decided to wage a war on this country, with bombs, executions, torture, rigged elections and manipulation of the international media. This created one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the 20th century. (88 minutes).


THE EXONERATED
An all-star cast including Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Brian Dennehy, Susan Sarandon and more bring to life true stories of six death row inmates, who, in the face of new evidence, are exonerated before their execution. (90 minutes).


FACES OF CHANGE
Grassroots activists – including one from New Orleans – go behind the camera to find a voice denied to them because of their social, racial, gender or ethnic background. They live in five different countries, but they share the common trait of being members of a marginalized group. Their cameras show strikingly similar vistas of broken-down homes, dust and threadbare clothing to demonstrations of profound social inequity. Recorded from within the communities, the videos capture the hopes and dreams that echo each other across the five countries. Faith and perseverance embody this courageous work of patience and dedication by filmmaker Michele Stephenson, who wove together these testimonies to make a powerful film for change. (80 minutes).


FINDING COMMON GROUND IN NEW ORLEANS (OPENING NIGHT)
A short documentary that addresses the social injustice that took place during and after the hurricane Katrina disaster seen through the lens of poet and activist Walidah Imarisha. Through compelling and often heart wrenching interviews with residents, survivors, activists, volunteers and officials, the landscape of a city devastated and trying to rebuild comes to light. This film includes exclusive footage shot in the makeshift bus station jail known as “Camp Amtrak” and interviews with officials at the jail about the city’s criminal justice system, or lack thereof. (23 minutes).


I WON’T DROWN ON THAT LEVEE AND YOU AIN’T GONNA BREAK MY BACK
What happened in New Orleans Parish Prison during Hurricane Katrina? (30 minutes).


IF YOU WERE ME: ANIMA VISION
Six animated shorts produced by the South Korea Commission on Human Rights. The six animated shorts bundled together here each offer a lively, spirited and unique take on the theme of discrimination and the experience of being different. FILMS INCLUDE: “Flesh and Bone” directed by Amy Lee, gently pillories superficiality and the obsession with outward appearance, “Be a Human Being” looks at the way young Koreans are barely treated as human beings before they get to university. “Bicycle Trip” focuses on the discrimination experienced by foreign workers in Korea. Soft lines and a striking watercolor background distinguish “Daydream” with its quiet depiction of our double standards in dealing with people with disability. “At Her House” paints a devastating picture of gender inequality within a marriage, while “Animal Farm” relies on the rough-and-ready feel of stop-motion clay animation to create a satire of bullying and mob dynamics. “Bicycle Trip,” revolves around an ownerless bicycle whose story we pick up in bits and pieces as it wheels itself around town. The resulting reverse narrative, which has to do with migrant workers, comes off as delicate and highly effective. (74 minutes).


NEGROES WITH GUNS
The story of a forgotten civil rights figure who dared to advocate armed resistance to the violence of the Jim Crow South. Featuring a score by Terence Blanchard, Negroes With Guns combines modern-day interviews with rare archival news footage to tell the story of Rob Williams, the forefather of the Black Power movement and a complex man who played a pivotal role in the struggle for respect, dignity and equality for all Americans. Negroes With Guns is not only an incisive look at a truly fascinating man but also a thought-provoking examination of our notions of patriotism and the acceptable limits of dissent. (53 minutes).


NEW ORLEANS, MY LIFE, MY HOME, MY LOVE

Winner of the Best Documentary award at the 2006 Houston Black Film Festival. Riveting personal stories give voice to Katrina’s victims as they offer their memories and experiences through one of America’s worst natural disasters. Including a taxi driver who stayed in New Orleans through the hurricane and now sleeps in his mold infested home, a black owner of a video store that was trashed and a looted, and a St. Bernard Parish official and several 9th ward residents talking candidly about the huge barge sitting in their neightbourhood next to the Industrial Canal levee. (60 minutes).


NO!
Directed by Aishah Shahidah Simmons. Through intimate testimonies from Black women victim/survivors, commentaries from acclaimed African-American scholars and community leaders including Johnnetta B. Cole, Ulester  Douglas, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Sulaiman Nuriddin, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Elaine Brown, impacting archival footage, spirited music, dance, and performance poetry, NO! unveils the reality of rape, other forms of sexual violence, and healing in African-American communities. Eleven years in the making this ground-breaking documentary explores how the collective silence about acts of rape and other forms of sexual assault adversely affects African-Americans, while simultaneously encouraging dialogue to bring about healing and reconciliation between all men and women.www.NOtheRapeDocumentary.org Regional Premiere (94 minutes).


PALESTINE BLUES
Directed by Nida Sinnokrot.  In 1923 Ze’ev Jabotinsky, one of the founding fathers of Zionism wrote an essay in which he outlined the means for establishing a state of Israel in the whole of historic Palestine. That essay was called The Iron Wall. In June of 2002 the construction of a 400-mile barrier began in the Occupied West Bank. Though it is referred to as a ‘security fence’ by Israel, its form changes along the route, and near large cities it is a concrete wall twice as high as the Berlin Wall. Palestine Blues follows the repercussions of the Israeli Wall and Settlement expansion in the engulfed/annexed Palestinian farming communities of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Instead of focusing on the Wall as an object, Palestine Blues examines the grassroots resistance movement that has sprung up against it. Palestine Blues is not a ‘traditional’ political reportage but rather an interminable road trip across hard and liquid borders, across a terrain that is being erased as it is being traversed. (80 minutes).


PEOPLE SAY
Directed by Mary Beth Black. Disastrous Hurricanes, martial law & curfews, housing crisis, toxic earth, closed schools and hospitals, abandoned elders, centuries of festering racism, a neo-police state… while the “New” New Orleans struggles to survive and exist outside of the the American illusion of democracy, the most dynamic grass roots efforts in the country claim the streets, deliver food, celebrate, build homes and tell the truth in this visual collage set to the song “People Say.” (9 minutes).


POUSSIERES DU VILLE (DUST OF THE CITY)
Directed by Moussa Toure, from Senegal. A group of children emerges from beneath the stalls of a still-deserted Congo – Brazaville market. They are the “dirty seven” gang. These street children progressively reveal themselves through the relationship they establish with the director. (49 minutes)
PUBLIC ENEMY
Directed by Jens Meurer. One of the first cinematic attempts of a new generation to re-evaluate the history of the Black Panthers. Unlike subsequent documentaries on the same topic, Public Enemy features interviews with four original Panther members: prisoner-turned-playwright Jamal Joseph, musician/producer Nile Roders, law professor Kathleen Cleaver, and the last surviving member of the original party, Bobby Seale. (88 minutes).


QUILOMBO COUNTRY
“Quilombo Country” provides a portrait of rural communities in Brazil that were either founded by runaway slaves or began from abandoned plantations. This type of community is known as a quilombo, from an Angolan word that means “encampment.” As many as 2,000 quilombos exist today. (74 minutes).


RIGHTS ON THE LINE: Vigilantes at the Border
“Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border”, documents human rights violations along the U.S. / Mexico border, particularly at the hands of vigilantes such as the Minutemen. (13 minutes).


RWANDA, POUR MÉMOIRE (RWANDA, IN REMEMBRANCE)
Directed by Samba Felix N’Diaye. An ode to life and an indictment of those who use death to manipulate the living. The aim here is to liberate speech, for words to grasp the genocide. For a ritual is necessary if a grieving process is to be possible, a ritual of writing to contribute to the world’s memory. It is indeed a question of memory. “There is a dormant beast in each and every man and woman”, reminds the Ivoirian Véronique Tadjo. Memory is about understanding that this is man’s nature. So what’s the point of continuing to exhibit the corpses? Someone answers: to stop the revisionists from performing their macabre inversions. The genocide happened. It has to be shown to avoid repetition. (68 minutes).


SIR, NO SIR
The suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam. In the 1960s, thousands of American GIs rebelled against the Vietnam War, changing the course of U.S. history and society. No film has ever told their story…until now. (90 minutes).


SLAVE REPARATIONS: THE FINAL PASSAGE
A short film laying out the arguments for reparations, featuring Professor Manning Marable, Dr. Alvin Toussant, Reverend Herbert Daugherty, New York City Councilman Charles Barron, and others. (28 minutes).


SOMA: AN ANARCHIST THERAPY
A documentary by Nick Cooper. Blinded by torture and with great difficulty walking, 75 year-old Roberto Freire continues his work in a small collective of anarchist group therapists in Brazil, fighting the psychological effects of authoritarianism. Nick Cooper travelled from the United States to Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Bahia, and São Paulo to capture the exercises, the voice, and the movement of Soma Therapy. He spent many long sessions with Roberto Freire, who having survived the Brazilian military dictatorship, developeded Soma (body) thirty years ago, incorporating Wilhelm Reich’s teachings, a martial art / dance form called capoeira angola, and the political ideas of anarchism. (49 minutes).


STATE OF FEAR
“State of Fear” is set in the extraordinary deserts, mountains, and jungles of Peru, It is filmed in high-resolution digital video by US and Peruvian professionals and tells a gripping story of escalating violence and repression. Terrorist attacks by the Shining Path guerrillas provoked a military occupation of the countryside. Military Justice replaced Civil authority, widespread abuses by the Peruvian Army went unpunished, and the terrorism continued to spread. Eventually nearly 70,000 civilians died at the hands of the Shining Path and the Peruvian military. “State of Fear” takes place in Peru, yet serves as a cautionary tale for a world engaged in a “global war on terror”. It dramatizes the human and societal costs a democracy faces when it embarks on a “war” against terror, a “war” potentially without end, all too easily exploited by unscrupulous leaders seeking personal political gain. An unforgettable array of characters takes us down a troubling road peopled by perpetrators and victims, and bystanders who only watched as the horror unfolded. But it is also the story of courageous Peruvians who fought to maintain their democracy and persevered in their search for truth and justice. (94 minutes).


STORIES FROM BELOW SEA LEVEL
Curated by New Orleans filmmaker Courtney Egan. Shorts and excerpts from New Orleans filmmakers’ works, sharing slices of life, current conditions, and love and mourning for lifestyles and traditions seemingly on the verge of disappearing. This program of recently-made, locally-made media strives to show a side of the region not seen in national media, emphasizing personal stories and creative responses.
Films Include: Helen Hill’s Flooded Films “When the levees breached, my home filled with the murky floodwaters. Some films were submerged for weeks, some stayed dry and grew mold. Here is a reel of old found film of Mardi Gras revelers (each frame altered by Katrina) alongside some of my own recently shot home movies, damaged and already appearing quite old.” (3 minutes)

The Katrina Project: Walking to New Orleans – work in progress – Part One – New Orleans Native Royce Osborn documents the transition of New Orleans from a city underwater to a city reborn through first hand accounts from the black artists, musicians, and craftsmen, who are the life blood of New Orleans’ culture, and footage of the New Orleans Second Line over the Martin Luther King Day weekend and 2006 Mardi Gras. Executive Produced by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) – Produced by Linda Goode Bryant, “The Katrina Project”. (5:40 minutes)
New Orleans Men – Written by Sallie Ann Glassman, Directed by Todd Schmidt & Louisiana Live Oaks – Written by William Guion Directed by George Ingmire. Works by the New Orleans Hope and Heritage Project. Videos based on essays written by New Orleanians, who describe narratively, visually, and musically why theirs is the most culturally unique and interesting city in America. (5:00 minutes) 

The Raw Truth, rough draft Directed by Charlie Brown. Yscloskey, LA, a small fishing village comprised of Cajun, Creole and Croatian fishermen, was totally destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Cousins David and Tommy Cvitanovich (Si-tan-oh-vitch), a fisher and restauranteur respectively, struggle to maintain businesses that rely on the oyster trade. (7:00 minutes) 

Twisting My Life Away directed by Alan Gordon. A reflective piece about a tiny detail of my experience of the Katrina clean up process. Imagery and sound were used to tell truth as well as fact. (1:00 minutes) 
Children of the Storm: Teens Speak Out Students between the ages of 12 and 17 recount their experiences during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina, illustrating their impressions with art work. Other students served as crew members and creative consultants. The film was directed and edited by Betsy Weiss, a filmmaker who teaches video production and media studies in New Orleans. (7:30 minutes) 

Four Katrina Stories from Thousands, excerpt Directed by Marta Bivins; written by Cassandra Bell – McMain Secondary was the first public high school to reopen in New Orleans after Katrina. Sharing our stories, and reading the stories of others, theatre students wrote monologues based on their shared experiences. Equipment funded by Panasonic Kid Witness News. (2:40 minutes)

Mardi Gras as a Public Healing Ritual for Wounded New Orleans. Written & Performed by Jose Torres Tama, Filmed and Edited by William Sabourin O’Reilly. This performance and film short on the healing powers of carnival as a public ritual of collective masking and parading is the first of a series of collaborations called “Video Cortaditos/Slices from a Village Called New Orleans,” between two Latino artists dedicated to informing the rest of the world on the uncertain future of this historical city. Jose Torres Tama writes and performs his provocative bilingual pieces while William Sabourin O’Reilly’s visually engaging documentary footage of post-Katrina New Orleans conspire to create a dynamic hybrid genre where video and political commentary collide–giving audiences the kind of jolt often experienced by a “cortadito”, a strong Cuban espresso cut with steamed milk for added sabor/flavor. (7 minutes) 

Ninth Ward Marching Band, work in progress. Directed by Daryn  DeLuco (5:30 minutes) 

Hexing a Hurricane, excerpt Directed by Jeremy Campbell. Grammy nominee and New Orleans Cultural Ambassador Irvin Mayfield explains the tradition of Second Line parades. (3:00 minutes)
*Some Filmmakers present.

TREME (OPENING NIGHT)
Directed by Dawn Logsden, an 8 minute preview of the upcoming film about the Treme neighborhood, directed by New Orleans resident Dawn Logsden, editor of the film Weather Underground.

WITH BLOOD
WITH BLOOD follows ordinary peoples efforts to overcome extraordinary obstacles in pursuit of routine health care in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip. Using personal situations to demonstrate the effects of political policy and military actions, this documentary offers a general viewing audience a way to approach what is often depicted as an impenetrable political debate. (66 minutes) *With Speaker: Special Introduction by health care worker Catherine Jones speaking about health care and relief in Palestine and New Orleans.

WOMEN IN STRUGGLE
The documentary film Women in Struggle is about Palestinian women whom are ex-political detainees demonstrating their struggle during their years of imprisonment in Israeli jails exploring the affects and influence on their present life and their future outlook. (56 minutes)

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