The Margaret Mead Film Festival Announces its Latin American Selections


The Margaret Mead Film Festival has announced the lineup for its 2018 edition, taking place  October 18–21 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, which includes several titles from and about Latin America. Screening the best in documentary, experimental films, animation, and hybrid works, this year's festival reflects stories of resilience–portraits of strength and action by people who are rising up, breaking new ground, and pushing their communities forward.

Having its U.S. Premiere is the Brazilian film Obscuro Barroco by Evangelia Kranioti, which follows queer Brazilian icon Luana Muniz in the months prior to Rio's carnival. She leads the audience through her stream of consciousness—from underground dance parties to the deep Brazilian forest to local political uprisings—into the very heart of Rio during Carnival.

Also from Brazil and having its U.S. premiere, The Sounds of Bells / O Som dos Sinos by Marcia Mansur and Marina Thomé tells the story a group of young bell ringers in Minas Gerais who develop a sense of pride in making their own sound reverberate through their town, we see how religious experience connects the community to something larger than themselves. 

The Spanish-Colombian film Amanecer will be having its U.S. premiere in the festival. Her director Carmen Torres never had a chance to ask about her birthmother because her adoptive mother died when Carmen was just 13. As an adult she is confronted with the impersonal nature of a bureaucratic adoption agency. When she decides to trace her biological roots to a rural community in Colombia, one question remains: why was she given up for adoption?

Ben Crosbie and Tessa Moran's The Guardians, having its New York premiere, is a quiet meditation on the migration of the monarch butterfly becomes a political melodrama. A Mexican Indigenous community goes to battle to protect their land, which is also the migratory home of the butterflies. Facing marauding loggers and diminishing crop returns, how far will the farmers of Donaciano Ojeda go to provide a sustainable future for their children?

In José Pablo Estrada Torrescano's Mamacita, also in its New York premiere, an eccentric Mexican beauty tycoon invites her estranged grandson to make a film celebrating her rags-to-riches success story. But when the young filmmaker arrives at the extravagant castle-like compound that his 95-year old Mamacita calls home, he finds a story that is much darker, and much richer, than he imagined.

And in A Bold Peace, director Matthew Eddy focuses on Costa Rica, that disbanded its military 60 years ago and directed its resources toward education, health, and the environment. Since then the Central American nation has earned the number one spot in the Happy Planet Index, a ranking of countries based on measures of environmental protection and the happiness and health of its citizens. Surrounded by war in the Americas, how has the government of Costa Rica managed to put the happiness of its people first?