2013 Margaret Mead Film Festival - 'See for Yourself' at American Museum of Natural History

10/17/13 through 10/20/13 200 Central Park West Map
212-769-5100 Ages: All Ages $15 opening- and closing-night screenings ($12 for Members, students, and seniors); $12 all other screenings ($10 for Members, students, and seniors)

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The Margaret Mead Film Festival, the preeminent showcase for contemporary cultural storytelling, will screen an outstanding lineup of international documentary films during its 2013 program from October 17 to October 20. Featuring a broad spectrum of creative storytelling—including indigenous community media, experimental documentaries, performances, and multi-media events—the Mead Festival strives to illuminate the diversity of peoples and cultures from around the world and offers intimate forums for discussion with filmmakers, film subjects, and world-renowned scholars. 

This year’s Mead Film Festival theme, See for Yourself, invites audiences to discover connections between themselves and the spectacular variety of individuals, societies, and approaches to living presented in Mead films. Inspired by the immersive, transporting power of film and the Museum’s exhibitions and programs, the Mead Festival will also feature live performances and participatory conversations for a uniquely contemporary experience.   

Among the festival’s wide selection of films this year are:

• Cinema Inch’Allah (Cinema My Love), directed by Vincent Coen and Guillaume Vandenberghe (U.S. Premiere): Four thirty-something Belgian-Moroccan filmmakers have collaborated since adolescence on more than 30 low-budget comic action movies, using their work not only to channel their fears and aspirations but as a way of projecting an image of themselves to their community and the outside world. Capturing them at a pivotal moment when life intrudes on their common artistic goals, Cinema Inch’Allah offers a moving and nuanced exploration of the struggle to reconcile artistic passions with religious beliefs, family obligations, and a place in modern Belgian society.

• Gringo Trails, directed by Pegi Vail (World Premiere): This timely documentary raises timely questions about the unintended cultural and environmental consequences of tourism around the world. Gringo Trails follows the titular travelers’ route through Latin America and to Africa and Asia, revealing complex relationships between colliding cultures that are shaped in part by the hosts’ need for financial security provided by tourists’ quests for authentic experiences. 

• How Far is Heaven, directed by Chris Pryor (U.S. Premiere): An observational documentary about the Sisters of Compassion, an order of nuns that was founded in the remote village of Jerusalem/Hiruharama on the Whanganui River in New Zealand in 1892. Only three nuns remain at that site. Jerusalem is the home of “powerful dualities,” including Maori and Christian spirituality. The film follows the community and the journey of Sister Margaret Mary, who is the newest sister and volunteer at the local school. 

• Who Will Be a Gurkha?, directed by Kesang Tseren: The Brigade of Gurkhas has been a special unit within the British Army for 200 years. Gurkhas, famous for wielding a curved khukuri knife, have seen numerous wars. Today, Nepalis continue to be lured into the British Army for the relatively high pay and prestige, undergoing grueling tests to win the very few positions available. The film chronicles the recruitment process, carried out in the lush lakeside town of Pokhara. The elaborate modern-day ritual, born in the days of Empire, offers a fascinating view of institutions and societies, officers and applicants, and British and Nepali culture.

The Margaret Mead Film Festival is proudly produced by the American Museum of Natural History. 

The Presenting Sponsor of the Museum’s cultural programming is MetLife Foundation. 

The Margaret Mead Film Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

TICKETS : $15 opening- and closing-night screenings ($12 for Members, students, and seniors); $12 all other screenings ($10 for Members, students, and seniors)

Tickets can be purchased by phone at 212-769-5200, online at, or at any of the American Museum of Natural History admission desks. For more information or to request a schedule by mail, please call 212-769-5305 or visit


Venue Description: A museum for the 21st century, with a rich and storied past and one of the greatest natural history museums in the world, with over 40 exhibition halls. Open daily from 10am to 5:45pm except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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