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Carnivals of Film

Movie festivals provide education and entertainment

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LEFT TO RIGHT: Scene from Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, photo from Eat, Drink, Man, Woman website; Pray the Devil Back to Hell, photo PeWee Flomoku; Filmmakers’ dinner with attendees of The Moveable Feast film festival, photo Peggy Goldwyn; Poster for Pray the Devil Back to Hell, courtesy Pray the Devil Back to Hell website; attendees of the Spiritual Film Festival, photo Marilyn Angel Wynn; My Home, Your War; If You’re Not Falling, courtesy My Home, Your War website;  Photo Cory Richards, courtesy of the Banff Centre.


Magic Lantern Cinema Fall & Spring Film Festivals

Twice a year, Magic Lantern Cinema gives moviegoers a break from purely Hollywood blockbusters.

The Ketchum movie theater serves up a fine collection of independent films, artistic documentaries and award-winning foreign films.

The fall festival runs for a couple of weeks in September; the spring festival, a couple of weeks in May.

“This town has a lot of movie buffs and sophisticated movie watchers,” says Steve Bynum, who manages the theater for owner Rick Kessler. We started the fall festival 21 years ago in 1987 as a way of screening some art films that people wanted to see. “We had one screen then, so we decided we’d show them during the doldrums of fall.”

The endeavor proved so successful that the Ketchum theater started the spring film festival in 1996. Like its fall cousin, it rotates nine films over two weeks.

Sex, Lies and Videotape was a smash hit the first year. Since, audiences have seen Born into Brothels, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! My Life As a Dog, Slacker, Enchanted April and Gunner Palace, which offered a look inside the ruins of an Iraq palace.

Bynum typically picks films for the festivals on the advice of local film fans who tell him about a great film they saw in New York or San Francisco or a great review they read.

“A lot of the films we show are films with limited release that you’d normally only see in a big city,” he says.

Family of Women Film Festival

“I think I could offer lectures alone that would be very informative. But films are exciting—they bring distant places to your doorstep and make the universal plight of women more real and compelling,” says Peggy Goldwyn, who started the Family of Women Film Festival in March 2008.

One film portrayed the struggle of a young Pakistani woman who fought to better conditions for women in her country after she was gang-raped by 14 men as punishment for something her brother had done.

Another presented the story of an Afghan woman who ignited outrage when she spoke out against corrupt warlords. One offered an extraordinary look at the effects of the Iraq War through the eyes of an ordinary Iraq woman. Another told of an African mother’s attempts to put an end to genital cutting.

And still another told of five women’s journey to reclaim their dignity following devastating childbirth injuries.

Goldwyn came up with the idea for the film festival after seeing how the town mobilized around a series of presentations exposing ongoing genocide in Darfur.

“The festival is to help people look at women’s rights and human rights. There are atrocities being committed against women in the Congo that are worse than the genocide in Rwanda,” says Goldwyn, a former screenwriter for That Girl and other sitcoms.

“I decided that presenting a handful of films—all thoughtfully picked—attracts more attention than showing a single film here and there,” she said. >>>


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