Traditions, conflict and comedy in Kenya, Burkino Faso, Haiti and the United States and a country in turmoil are explored when the Mill Valley Film Festival unspools October 5-15 at the Sequoia Twin Theatres and Masonic Hall in Mill Valley, and the Lark Theatre in Larkspur.
Demetria Royals ("Mama's Pushcart," MVFF 1988; "Inventing Herself," MVFF 1993) captures the wisdom of four exceptional African American artists in the world premiere of "Conjure Women." Portraits of choreographer/dancer Anita Gonzalez, performance artist Robbie McCauley, photographer Carrie Mae Weems, and jazz vocalist/composer Cassandra Wilson are vividly brought to life filmmaker Royals, not only through their dynamic work but also as wise women of African tradition creating and reinventing a sense of self and culture. Ms. Royals is expected to attend the festival.
Tradition and modernity collide in Dany Kouyate's "Keita," a co-production of France and Burkina Faso. Filmmaker Kouyate gives us a rich tale of thirteenth century legends seen through the eyes of today's youth, when a griot - a traditional wise man - comes to pass along ancestral stories to a young boy, much to the chagrin of his parent. Mr. Kouyate will attend the festival.
From Kenya rages "The Battle of the Sacred Tree," a comedy of errors based on a short story by Barbara Kimenye. Director Wanjiru Kinyanjui creates an inspired tale of an ideological tug-of-war between the practitioners of an indigenous religion and the local Christian Women's Group over the town's sacred fig tree.
From Bay Area director Kevin Pina is the world premiere of "Haiti: Harvest of Hope," a feature length video documentary about the struggle of the Haitian people to transform their country from dictatorship to democracy. Pina, who will attend the festival, interweaves footage of the military and political elite with interviews of Haitian city dwellers and peasants in this compassionate study of a nation in turmoil.
The 1995 Mill Valley Film Festival is supported by Firemen's Fund, American Airlines, Piper Jaffray, the Marin Community Foundation, Sprint Multimedia, Ferrari of San Francisco and its official media sponsors: Entertainment Weekly, KGO Newstalk AM 810, The San Francisco Examiner, and Viacom Cablevision. Its product and service sponsors are: Crystal geyser Natural Beverages, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Domaine Chandon, and Stolichnaya Russian Vodka. Tickets to the eleven-day festival can be purchased at the Festival Box Office or by calling BASS. For more information call the Festival Office at (415) 383-5346. Playdates are:
The Battle of the Sacred Tree, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.; Keikta, Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m.; Conjure Women, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.; and Haiti: Harvest of Hope, Oct. 12 at 4:45 p.m., at the Sequoia Theatre in Mill Valley.
Publication Name: OAKLAND POST
Publication Date: 09-24-95