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by NYC News Desk



Celebrating 35 years as the preeminent showcase for contemporary cultural storytelling, the 2011 Margaret Mead Film Festival will screen more than 30 outstanding films culled from more than 1,000 submissions. Join Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN), head of the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award jury, for a festival that represents the best in documentary filmmaking. With films that range from political investigations and observational documentaries to animated and archival works, the Margaret Mead Film Festival strives to illuminate the complexity and diversity of peoples and cultures from around the world. This anniversary festival also features a special Mead retrospective, which includes titles by Timothy Asch and Jean Rouch.

Highlights of this year's lineup include:

· Grande Hotel (Lotte Stoops, New York Premiere) Once one of the most majestic hotels in the world, this vast resort on Mozambique's seaside is now home to an estimated 3,500 people who squat in the complex without running water and electricity while sustaining a vibrant community. Told by its former and current inhabitants, the story of the hotel becomes the history of the country itself, bridging the excesses of its colonial past, civil war, and its uncertain post-colonial future.
· Memoirs of a Plague (Robert Nugent, U.S. Premiere) In the battle between man and locust, who will win? Robert Nugent visits Ethiopia, Egypt, and Australia where humans prepare for the coming swarms. With a storyteller's relish for suspense, the film mixes archival and contemporary footage of plans to eradicate locusts alongside remarkable macro-photography of the misunderstood and maligned "hopper," which, after all, is only doing as nature intended.
· We Still Live Here (Anne Makepeace, New York Premiere; filmmaker and 2010 MacArthur Foundation Fellow Jesse Little Doe will attend the festival). This film tells a remarkable story of cultural revival by the Wampanoag, the Native American people of southeastern Massachusetts. Their ancestors ensured the survival of the first English settlers in America and lived to regret it. Now, the Wampanoag are bringing their language home again.

In conjunction with the new exhibition Beyond Earth: The Future of Space Exploration (opening November 19), the Mead Festival will also present a special series of space-themed films, including Marion Kiss' Space Sailors (U.S. Premiere), which follows the lives of an elite group of international cosmonauts chosen for the Soviet Intercosmos Program, and Academy-Award nominee Christian Frei's Space Tourists, about the burgeoning space-tourism industry.

WHEN Thursday-Sunday, November 10-13, 2011

WHERE American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street
Samual J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater, Kaufmann Theater, Linder Theater, and
Leonhardt People Center.

TICKETS Tickets can be purchased by phone at 212-769-5200, online at amnh.org/mead, or at any of the American Museum of Natural History admission desks. For more information or to request a schedule by mail, the public should call 212-769-5305 or download the schedule at amnh.org/mead.

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