Thursday, May 13, 2010

Twenty Five Hundred & One

Los Angeles filmmaker Patricia van Ryker has been making the festival rounds with her touching portrayal of Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago, and after screening at the Cannes Independent Film Festival this month, she heads to New Hope.

For six years, Santiago, his family, and many assistants worked tirelessly to bring “2501 Migrantes” to life. Sculpted from local clay and painted with colors derived from the soil near his birthplace in Mexico's Sierra de Ixtlan Mountains, these "lost soul" sculptures speak for those who are gone. They are the voice of those who return only on holidays, those whose only presence is a Western Union money gram, and those who will never return. Graciela Cervantes, the artist's representative in Oaxaca, says "...what Alejandro has dreamt, he has made reality."

As van Ryker puts it, "Alejandro's Migrantes are a haunting reminder of the common problems we face. For, in our global life, what affects one, affects all." You can watch the trailer here: 2501 Preview

Friday, May 7, 2010

Announcing World Premiere: The Soil and the People

Sisir Sahana already enjoyed an international reputation as a painter and sculptor when he decided to write, produce and direct his first feature film. He lives in India. But an actual event in a rural town inspired him to branch into a new direction, and the result is The Soil and the People (Maati-O-Manush).

The film employs elements of visual art——impressionism, pointillism and modernism——in a denunciation of community predators who tormented a beautiful soul for their own gratification, ideology and political profit. The accusation against her? Witchcraft. As someone with an ancestor who was hanged at the Salem Witch Trials, I consider the message timeless and universal.

The Soil and the People will fascinate anyone who's open to something offbeat and provocative, and actress Rimjhim Gupta clears the way with an aching performance as a mute lady who, despite loving life and her village with all her heart, finds her life utterly shattered. You can watch the trailer here: The Soil and the People