Tuesday, October 20, 2015

41 North Film Festival returns to Rozsa Center Oct. 23-25

Banner for 41 North Film Festival courtesy Rozsa Center.

HOUGHTON -- The 41 North Film Festival returns to Michigan Tech’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts Friday through Sunday, Oct. 23-25, bringing critically acclaimed independent films that are currently in festivals or theaters around the country and the world, along with guest filmmakers. All events are free and open to the public.

This year, the festival will feature filmmaker/photographer/climber/athlete Jimmy Chin, whose new documentary Meru tells a compelling story about risk, determination and friendship as it follows the efforts of three internationally famous climbers (Chin among them) to reach the Shark’s Fin summit of Mount Meru in the Himalayas.

Jimmy Chin -- award-winning filmmaker/photographer/climber/athlete. (Photo courtesy 41 North Film Festival)

The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23. Chin will speak after the film, answering questions and meeting with students. He is an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured regularly in National Geographic. The film Meru won the 2015 Sundance Audience Award.

At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, the festival will feature The Wanted 18 by Amer Shomali/Paul Cowan (in collaboration with Afuken). The Wanted 18 is a unique production that combines stop-motion animation, interviews, original drawings, and archival footage to bring to life one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Poignant and thought-provoking, humorous and serious, it shows the power of grassroots activism, peaceful resistance and courage in a part of the world that is fraught with negative imagery and despair.

Another festival highlight is a new documentary about the Taser Corporation, Killing Them Safely. With significant implications for engineering ethics and marketing, this documentary investigates how a weapon marketed as "safe" has become responsible for scores of deaths each year. The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, with director and journalist Nick Berardini present.

Killing Them Safely is a documentary about the Taser Corporation. (Photo courtesy 41 North Film Festival)

Festival Director Erin Smith says she travels to film festivals during the year and tries to keep up with what's happening in independent cinema.

"I pay particular attention to what the community here would be interested in, as well as to programming films that are receiving critical acclaim," Smith says.

Among the 15 other films screening during the weekend are Drone, King Georges, Mavis! and Here Come the Videofreex.

The festival will also feature an exhibition of documentary storytelling that employs Oculus Rift VR technology. Projects featured include Ferguson Firsthand, which uses a virtual reality environment to invite the audience into the scene, where they can encounter people and objects that tell the story, and Herders, which provides an immersive cinematic look into the lives of Mongolian yak herders.

By bringing compelling stories about the world and today’s important issues to campus-- along with filmmakers whose research and artistry tell those stories -- the 41 North Film Festival offers the community an opportunity to consider and discuss complex questions around science, engineering, industry, politics, history and the human condition.

Festival sponsors include the Michigan Tech Departments of Humanities and Visual and Performing Arts, and the Van Evera Distinguished Lecture Series at the Rozsa Center. For the full schedule and program, visit: http://41northfilmfest.org and 41 North Film Festival on Facebook. For more information about the festival and its events, please contact Erin Smith at ersmith@mtu.edu.

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