2007 Bioneers Moving Image Festival Celebrating Films for a Better World
The Moving Image Festival seeks to transform audiences into activists, to move people out of their seats and into the streets to create a better, fairer world. Through screenings, panels and the Reel Change Agents youth media project, the festival explores the potential of independent visual media o to engage us in the issues that matter most, spark dialogue, connect us in meaningful ways to the global community, and inspire action.
Who's Got the Power?
We've long heard the call for more programming on renewable sources of energy here at Bioneers. Now comes Who's Got the Power? to answer that need in no small part. Who's Got the Power breathes new life into a neglected subject, solar power, and reinvigorates a dialogue about our engagement with the Earth and the impact of architecture and design. This forceful documentary addresses head-on the reality of global warming, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas, and presents genuine and workable solutions emphasizing the use of renewable energy — solar, wind, biomass and geothermal — as more-than-viable alternatives.
As the global warming crisis unfolds from the vantage point of world-renowned scientists, environmental activists, financial advisers, designers, coal miners and others, Who's Got the Power directs its attention to inner city and suburban consumers in the U.S., Germany and Japan, who share their positive experiences with solar-powered housing. The film powerfully makes the case that since two-thirds of the electricity we consume is used in buildings, we can have the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time and for the least cost, if we begin with architecture, making our buildings energy efficient and powering them with the sun.
In person: Casey Coates Danson, executive producer and president of Global Possibilities www.globalpossibilities.org
For most of us, pageants conjure up smiling beauty-queen hopefuls parading around in bathing suits or glittery gowns. But most of us have never witnessed the Miss Navajo Nation competition, an event, inaugurated in 1952, that redefines "pageant" as an opportunity for young women to honor and strengthen Navajo culture and reveal the beauty within.
In this sensitive documentary, Billy Luther, whose mother was crowned Miss Navajo 1966, opens the door to a surprising world, where contestants with diverse styles, physiques, and political orientations are challenged to answer tough historical questions in the Navajo language and showcase their spiritual and practical knowledge of practices like governance, traditional singing, or butchering a whole sheep.
As Luther follows one quietly powerful contender and interviews winners from the past five decades, we begin to glimpse the multivalent power of the pageant. Miss Navajo serves as a positive model for other young Navajos and an ambassador for her people (one recalls meeting Robert Kennedy when he testified before the subcommittee on Indian education). But the film subtly illustrates the sacred dimension of Miss Navajo as well — how participation places the young women on a timeless matriarchal continuum that goes back to creation and the first Diné life-giving ancestor: Changing Woman. — Caroline Libresco, Sundance Film Festival
In person: Director Billy Luther and Heather Rae, director of Trudell, who returns to Bioneers for the third year as a faculty member of the Reel Change Agents youth media project. www.missnavajomovie.com
Written and directed by Brett Morgen, Chicago 10 presents contemporary history with a forced perspective, mixing bold and original animation with extraordinary archival footage that explores the build-up to and unraveling of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. Set to the music of revolution, then and now, Chicago 10 is a parable of hope, courage and ultimate victory, the story of young Americans speaking out and taking a stand in the face of an oppressive and armed government.
At the 1968 Democratic Convention, protestors, denied permits for demonstrations, repeatedly clashed with the Chicago Police Department, who waged a week-long terror campaign that resulted in riots witnessed live by a television audience of over 50 million. The events had a polarizing effect on the country.
Needing to find a scapegoat for the riots, the Government held eight of the most vocal activists accountable for the violence and brought them to trial a year later. The defendants represented a broad cross-section of the anti-war movement, from counter-culture icons Abbie Hoffman (voiced by Hank Azaria) and Jerry Rubin (Mark Ruffalo) to renowned pacifist David Dellinger (Dylan Baker). Seven of the defendants were represented by Leonard Weinglass and famed liberal attorney William Kunstler (Liev Schreiber), who went head-to-head with prosecution attorney Thomas Foran (Nick Nolte). The eighth defendant, Bobby Seale (Jeffrey Wright), co-chair of the Black Panther Party, insisted on defending himself and was bound, gagged and handcuffed to his chair by Judge Julius Hoffman (Roy Scheider). From the start, the trial was a circus with the eight defendants on a collision course with governmental authority.
Eschewing talking-head interviews and omniscient narration, Chicago 10 allows the viewer to experience the drama and tragedy of Chicago in a unique and dynamic style. The film moves back and forth from the streets of Chicago to the courtroom at an exciting and accelerating pace that brings the past into the present. Ultimately, Chicago 10 is more than a historical drama; it is a new style of documentary with a visceral and emotional core.
In person: Director Brett Morgen. Hosted by Jason Silverman, frequent contributor to Wired and Wired.com www.participantproductions.com
"For fifteen years now, some small percentage of the world’s scientists and diplomats and activists has inhabited one of those strange dreams where the dreamer desperately needs to warn someone about something bad and imminent; but somehow, no matter how hard he shouts, the other person in the dream — standing smiling, perhaps, with his back to an oncoming train — can’t hear him. This group, this small percentage, knows that the world is about to change more profoundly than at any time in the history of human civilization. And yet, so far, all they have achieved is to add another line to the long list of human problems — people think about ‘global warming’ in the way they think about ‘violence on television’ or ‘growing trade deficits’, as a marginal concern to them, if a concern at all." — Bill McKibben, 2003
Everything's Cool is a “toxic comedy” about the most dangerous chasm ever to emerge between scientific understanding and political action — Global Warming. The good news: America finally gets global warming; the chasm is closing and the debate is over. The bad news: the United States, the country that will determine the fate of the globe, must transform its fossil fuel based economy fast, (like in a minute). While the industry funded naysayers sing what just might be their swan song of scientific doubt and deception, a group of self-appointed global warming messengers are on a life or death quest to find the iconic image, proper language, and points of leverage that will help the public go from understanding the urgency of the problem to creating the political will necessary to push for a new energy economy. Hold on — this is bigger than changing your light bulbs.
In person: Co-director and producer Judith Helfand www.everythingscool.org
Turning Prayer Into Action: Indigenous Grandmothers Meet the Bioneers
Tame your television? Or, unleash its power to positively shape and influence culture? A co-production of Link TV and Cynthia Jurs, Turning Prayer Into Action soars as it guides us through unusual topography for television — indigenous wisdom, the voice of the feminine, different ways of knowing, and prayer.
This powerful made-for-television movie combines highlights from last year’s Bioneers Conference with the wisdom of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers gathered in Dharamsala, India. The two groups were linked in three live “spacebridges” for dialogues across time, space, and cultures to move us all to heal ourselves, heal our relationships, and heal the Earth.
“Where do we begin? "What can we do?” asks one Bioneer. The Grandmothers have some answers. This hour-long program weaves ancient insight and modern needs, contemporary dance and indigenous prayers, visionary speakers and shamans, the hope of youth and the experience of elders. It is a call to prayer and action not-to-be-missed.
In person: The International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and Cynthia Jurs, producer-director; Kim Spencer, president and cofounder Link TV; and Gigi Coyle and Maria Teresa Valenzuela, spacebridge facilitators.
Hosted by Jeremy Kagan, award-winning director/writer/producer of feature films and television.
How to Cook Your Life: A Cooking Class with Zen Priest and Chef Edward Espe Brown
Come spend a savory moment with the infinitely engaging Edward Espe Brown, who will present clips from the soon-to-be-released How To Cook Your Life, a charming documentary about the art of cooking and the art of cooking your life without burning it, putting too much salt or overcooking it.
Acclaimed German director Doris Dörrie takes us on a delicious journey with Brown, who is both a master Chef and a Zen master. Author of the celebrated Tassajara Bread Book, he was instrumental in establishing vegetarian cuisine in the United States.
The film’s title comes from a 13th-century Zen cooking manual. It follows Brown from the Scheibbs Buddhist Centre in Austria, to the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Northern California, and finally to the San Francisco Zen Center where Brown has taught generations of people seeking balance in their cooking, and their life.
The film is about the art of cooking, the ways in which food can be an act of love and generosity, and its impact on both individuals and the community. Edward Brown invites us to question the way our relationship to food, one of our most basic connections to the Earth, reflects our approach to life and the world as a whole. Through the intimacy of Dörrie’s camera, we become participants at Brown’s cooking courses, as his students (many of whom are used to take-out and restaurants) gingerly engage with the raw ingredients of healthy eating.
The film itself unfolds at a leisurely, Zen-like pace: the camera lingers on the simple human acts of daily life: cutting the carrots, kneading dough, stirring soup, washing rice. The film, like Brown, challenges us to be in the moment. It is not only about Zen, but is in the spirit of Zen itself. — Sky Sitney, SILVERDOCS AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival
"When I was first starting to cook, I asked Suzuki Roshi if he had any advice for me. 'When you wash the rice, wash the rice, when you cut the carrots, cut the carrots, when you stir the soup, stir the soup.'” — Edward Espe Brown