CG: Rural Route Film Festival Takes Root at Museum of the Moving Image

July 19, 2011 - by NYC News Desk
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After a two-year, round-the-world tour, the Rural Route Film Festival returns to its New York City home for its 7th annual edition, hosted by Museum of the Moving Image. This year, the whole festival takes place in Astoria/Long Island City, Queens. The newly renovated Museum of the Moving Image will be the venue for the main slate of films, from Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 7, and there will be a special free kickoff screening of David Lynch's The Straight Story at Socrates Sculpture Park on Wednesday, August 3, and closing night events at Brooklyn Grange, the city's largest rooftop farm on Sunday, August 7.

Centering on all things non-urban, Rural Route ( presents an exciting, quality line-up of progressive green/agriculture films, indie fiction, documentaries from around the world, and a fun/diverse array of shorts. Most screenings are free with Museum of the Moving Image admission, and nearly all include Q&A sessions with filmmakers and other special guests. "Rural Route is an adventurous film festival with independent, global films that explore our relationship to the world," said the Museum's Chief Curator David Schwartz. "Many of the films this year explore, in very human terms, the ongoing conflict between economic factors and the health of our environment. We are delighted to host Rural Route, and to be working with Festival director Alan Webber."

"This is such an exciting way to return to form with the RRFF this summer," said Alan Webber. "We have the most rural and professional venues, and we even have a small town feel by keeping things within the Astoria/L.I.C. vicinity."

Highlights of the 2011 Festival include:

Opening Night preview screening of Littlerock, Mike Ott's new feature about a Japanese student's encounter with a small desert town in California-Ott was the recipient of the Someone to Watch Award at the 2001 Spirit Awards. The film opens in theaters on August 12.
New York Premiere of The Greenhorns, Severine von Tscharner Fleming's documentary portrait of a sophisticated and diverse new generation of farmers (of which she is a member) on August 7 followed by a Q&A with young local farmers.
Independent filmmaker Ian Cheney, whose celebrated film Truck Farm documents his visits to unusual urban farms all around New York City, will appear at a special screening with the real Truck Farm on site at the Museum (August 7).
· A spotlight on Tibet, Pakistan, and Uganda: Lynn True & Nelson Walker paint a stunning vérité portrait of a nomadic Tibetan yak herding couple in Summer Pasture, which was nominated for both an Independent Spirit Award and IFP Gotham Award. Curt Fissel gives a unique and positive glimpse into post-genocidal Uganda in Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean, and Peter Mallamo, in Land of the Pure, takes his camera up into the stunning Buddhist-pioneered mountains of Baltistan where most have never heard of 9-11 or Osama bin Laden. Filmmakers will be present for all screenings.

Closing Night screenings at Brooklyn Grange, the city's largest green roof farm. On Sunday evening, August 7, the Festival in conjunction with Rooftop Films, will show two international programs of short films on the roof of the Standard Motor Building in Astoria on Northern Blvd @ Steinway Street. A photo exhibit is also on display in the lobby, featuring travel video and a myriad of over 200 travel prints from all 7 continents by Festival Director, Alan Webber, along with two other artists' documentation of the Grange farm. For more information, go to

Additional short films in the Festival include: Muskrat John, the tale of a man who's seen the world change from an old swamp to a system of turnpikes and factories while trapping muskrats in the Jersey Meadowlands; Driftless, rough-around-the-edges backwoods stories from award-winning Iowa photographer, Danny Wilcox Frazier; experimental films from Canada; Sand Mountain, a New Zealand woman's journey through the American South to meet a reclusive Alabama musician; and Our Footloose Remake, a monumental-fan-remake of the Kevin Bacon classic.

Press Contacts:
Pamela Eng, Rural Route Film Festival,
Tomoko Kawamoto, Moving Image, 718.777.6830 /
DVD Screeners available on request.

Unless otherwise noted, screenings take place at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue, and are included with Museum admission.

The Straight Story
Special kickoff event at Socrates Sculpture Park
Wednesday, August 3
Music at 7:00 p.m. Film at sunset
Dir. David Lynch. 1999, 112 mins. With Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton. An old man buys a John Deere tractor and drives from Iowa to Wisconsin to see his estranged, ailing brother, in this enchanting and surprisingly straightforward film by David Lynch. This screening is presented as part of the Outdoor Cinema series at Socrates Sculpture Park, Vernon Boulevard at Broadway in Long Island City. FREE. For more information, visit

Preview Screening: Littlerock
Friday, August 5, 7:00 p.m.
Dir. Mike Ott. 2010, 84 mins. With Atsuko Okatsuka, Cory Zacharia. When her car breaks down on a site-seeing tour of California, a Japanese student winds up stranded in a small desert town. Exhilarated by a sudden sense of freedom, she extends her stay and finds friendship, romance, and what promises to be a new home. But as she pulls back the layers on this unlikely paradise, she discovers a different America than the one in her dreams. If visiting the Museum after 4:00 p.m., tickets are $12 ($9 senior citizens and college students) at the door.

Summer Pasture
Saturday, August 6, 2:00 p.m.
Dirs. Lynn True, Nelson Walker. 2010, 86 mins. Summer Pasture, a.k.a. A Nomad's Life,documents the life of a nomadic young family during this period of great uncertainty in Tibet. Locho, his wife, Yama, and their infant daughter, nicknamed Jiatomah ("pale, chubby girl"), spend the summer in eastern Tibet's Zachukha grasslands, the highest, coldest, poorest, largest, and most remote county in Sichuan Province, China.

Rural Route Film Festival Shorts Program 1
Saturday, August 6, 5:00 p.m.
Dir. Danny Wilcox Frazier. 2010, 30 mins. The Midwestern family farm has been choked by industrialized agriculture and replanted with subdivisions. A shifting economy, combined with an old-fashioned lifestyle that weakens each generation, is forever altering the landscape. Carrying his camera, Frazier walks Iowa's gravel roads, gets his feet wet in a milking barn, and pulls up a stool in a small-town bar. What results is a complex portrait of a well-loved American landscape at a time of enormous cultural change.
Muskrat John
Dir. Warner Wada. 2009, 30 mins. Before the Turnpike or Giants Stadium, Jersey City native Johnny Rohweder fished, hunted, and trapped in the New Jersey Meadowlands, site of Springsteen lyrics and Tony Soprano's cigar-fueled Escalade rambles, and home once to thousands of pheasants, blue crabs, and muskrats.
Empty Cache
Dir. Michael Walsh. 2010, 7 mins. Archival footage of Alaskan big game hunts is experimentally woven together, creating an ironic, eerie aura of humans hunting for the mount, not for the meat.
A Child's Christmas in Texas
Dir. Jessica Gardner. 2010, 16 mins. This dreamy recollection of Christmases past with a sinister twist is based on William Browning Spencer's award-winning short story "A Child's Christmas in Florida."
We Are Not What They Say We Are
Dirs./Prods. Olivia Walker, Sherry Edwards, Sam Isaacs, Maurice Isaacs, Ashton Rose Edwards, Martin Walker. 2010, 13 mins. Isaacs and Edwards star as two young people on the tough road to adult life with the extra challenges that face them as teenage Romany Gypsies. While Jimmy, a talented road jockey, is deciding how to stand up to school bullies, Mary wonders how she can fulfill her dreams of being a singer, and what will happen if she gets married.

Truck Farm
Saturday, August 6, 7:30 p.m.
The Truck Farm will be on site at the Museum.
Dir. Ian Cheney. 2010, 48 mins. This whimsical musical documentary about the wild world of urban agriculture is told through the journeys of a 1986 Dodge pickup that has been transformed into a mobile garden. With green-roof technology, heirloom seeds, and Granddad's old pickup, Ian Cheney used the only land he had to grow vegetables in America's biggest city.
Preceded by Holland, MI (Dir. Rebecca Rodriguez. 2011, 10mins.), Anina Mudi (Dir. Kate Balsley. 2010, 4 mins.), Of a Feather (Dir. Rob Yeo. 2011, 10 mins.)

Rural Route Film Festival Shorts Program 2
Sunday, August 7, 2:00 p.m.
Our Footloose Remake
Dirs. Mike Manasewitsch, Willy Roberts, Erik Beck, Chris Cantwell. 2011, 15 mins. In October 2008, Paramount Pictures announced that it would remake Footloose, starring Zac Efron. "We decided 'Let's beat them to the punch. Let's do this our way.'" The resultant film is a feature-length collaboration by 54 filmmakers who divided the original 1984 Footloose into 54 different scenes.
From the Ashes
Dir. Dan Sokolowski. 2009, 4 mins. A film about the rejuvenation of life from the ashes of forest fires, photographed along the Klondike Highway, Yukon, Canada.
Dir. Sara Newens. 2010, 7 mins. From the environmental factors that propel the flames, to the physical and emotional toll it takes to fight against nature day after day, Fireline is a visceral and meditative insight into fighting wildland fires.
Dir. Deb Shoval. 2010, 14 mins. AWOL tells the story of a young woman who, days before her deployment to Afghanistan, returns to her home in rural Pennsylvania, and dreams of running away to Canada.
Dir. Robert Todd. 2008, approx 4 mins. A Storm Passes over the family farm; light and life shift and move... The fourth and final 16mm film in a series chronicling the passing of the director's father-in-law.
Dir. Kevin Hoffman. 2011, 3 mins. Spring has arrived, and a shoreline of lonely Canadian ice fishing shacks await their journey home. A young girl discovers a world of mystery as the ice shacks and their inhabitants come to life.
Dir. Craig Macneill. 2010, 11 mins. Ted Henley lives with his father in their run-down motel on a desolate stretch of road. He earns his tiny allowance by collecting the road kill that litters the highway. But when the motel cash register starts to run dry, Ted turns his attention to collecting bigger game.
There's a Dead Crow Outside
Dir./Animator Morgan Miller. 2011, 1 min.
Her Man Plan
Dir. Lulu Keating. 2010, 6 mins. From her isolated northern cabin in the Yukon, Stephanie hitches up a dog team to fetch her man of choice. But on the frozen Yukon River, she is ambushed by the man who has chosen her.
Sand Mountain
Dir. Kathryn McCool. 2009, 34 mins. Setting off with a borrowed video camera, Kathryn McCool drives alone through the American South to meet the reclusive musician Cast King, and to attempt to find the America she had, as a youth, re-created in her own backyard in rural New Zealand. Comparing what she finds with what was for so long imagined, she journeys into her borrowed culture.

Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean
Sunday, August 7, 4:00 p.m.
Dir. Curt Fissel. 2010. 40 min. Living in the lingering wake of the Idi Amin regime of terror and intolerance, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Ugandan coffee farmers challenged historical and economic hurdles by forming the Delicious Peace Cooperative. The Farmers, having partnered with a Fair Trade U.S. roaster, have seen their standard of living improve and peace flourish, and their messages of peace and fair wages are spreading to their coffee customers in the United States.
Preceded by Land of the Pure
Dir. Peter Mallamo. 2010, 33 mins. In Pakistan, amid the rugged Karakoram Mountains, lies an isolated area called Baltistan. For more than fifty years, tourism there flourished as mountaineers flocked to the Karakoram to scale the world's most challenging peaks, such as K2. Then the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan halted tourism in the area. This film is a journey into the lives of the Balti people and illustrates how events that occur in one place can have a drastic impact on those living a world away.

The Greenhorns
Sunday, August 7, 6:00 p.m.
Dir. Severine von Tscharner Fleming. 2011, 50 mins. In November 2007, activist and young farmer Severine von Tscharner Fleming graduated college and hit the road in her retrofitted station wagon. She was looking for a few acres of her own to grow on. Along the way, she started recording the stories and visions of fellow young farmers in America. Dozens of interviews with experts and movement leaders like Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Richard Heinberg investigate the "greenhorn" phenomenon.
Preceded by Lessons from a Landfill
Dir. Gretta Wing Miller. 2008, 28 mins. When you throw it away, where s "away"? This film looks behind the scenes at the daily workings of a rural Wisconsin county landfill, the recycling efforts of its determined solid waste manager, and the engineering details of constructing the last one-acre cell on the site, a cell that will fill with another 100 million pounds of garbage in only four years. While this is a "state-of- the-art" landfill, it is also, in the words of manager Gail Frie, "a ten-acre plastic bag that will be there forever."

Closing Night Presentations at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm
Sunday, August 7
8:00 p.m. Short Film Program 1 on The Farm roof w/Rooftop Films *w/Q&A
10:00 p.M. Short Film Program 2 on The Farm roof w/Rooftop Films *w/Q&A
Brooklyn Grange is located at 37-18 Northern Boulevard. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, 10:30 to 8:00 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Armory Arts Week Extended Hours on Friday, March 4: 8:00 to 11 p.m. (regular admission applies). (Closed on Monday except for holiday openings).
Film Screenings: See schedule above for schedule.
Museum Admission: $12.00 for adults; $9.00 for persons over 65 and for students with ID; $6.00 for children ages 3-18. Children under 3 and Museum members are admitted free. Admission to the galleries is free on Fridays, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Paid admission includes film screenings (except for special ticketed events and Friday evenings). Tickets for special programs may be purchased in advance by phone at 718.777.6800 or online.
Location: 36-01 35 Avenue (at 37 Street) in Astoria.
Subway: M (weekdays only) or R to Steinway Street. N or Q (weekdays only) to 36 Avenue.
Program Information: Telephone: 718.777.6888; Website:

The Museum is housed in a building owned by the City of New York and its operations are made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Natural Heritage Trust (administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation). The Museum also receives generous support from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. For more information, please visit


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