The historic Golden State Theater will be the venue Thursday through Sunday for Monterey's 13th annual International Film Festival, a celebration of cinematic diversity presented by the Monterey chapter of the United Nations Association (UNA Monterey Bay).
The event will include a dozen unique, award-winning documentary-style films — short and feature-length — from The Democratic Republic Of The Congo, Sweden, Iceland, Pakistan, Israel, Ethiopia, Kenya, Gaza, Palestine, Ecuador and the United States.
Daily admission charge is just $5 for a three-film session, and any full-time, ID-carrying student will be admitted free.
Showtime Thursday through Saturday is 7 p.m.; Sunday's session begins at 1:30 p.m. Downtown parking is free for the duration of all showings.
"We encourage people to come 20-30 minutes early because it will be open seating," said Larry Levine, president of UNA Monterey Bay. "Last year we had 2,360 attendees over four days, including more than 700 for our Friday and Saturday showings. More than one-third of our audience has been students from local high schools, community colleges, CSU Monterey Bay, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Defense Language Institute and other schools."
Films for the event were chosen by a panel from UNA Monterey Bay on a criteria that included diversity of global issues, countries and regions, length, and mood, Levine said.
"We keep the admission price very low on purpose," Levine said. "From the very beginning, our purpose has been to raise consciousness, not money, and we're only able to do that with a lot of collaboration from the community."
A crew of about 50 volunteers and sponsorship from 15 local businesses and organizations have made the 2012 festival possible, he said.
· "The Mobile Cinema" (22 minutes, Dem. Rep. of The Congo), an examination of how mass rape has been used as a weapon of war);
· "Wikirebels" (58 minutes, Sweden/Iceland), a documentary, rarely screened in North America, that takes viewers behind the scenes of the secretive media network WikiLeaks and controversial Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange;
· "Miss Representation" (88 minutes, USA), a film that challenges the media's limited and often-disparaging portrayals of women and girls, making it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions.
· "Saving Face" (40 minutes, Pakistan), winner of the 2012 Academy Award as "Best Short Documentary," depicting brutal attacks on Pakistanis, mostly women, and legislative efforts to combat the practice;
· "My Neighbourhood" (25 minutes, Israel/Palestine), the story of an 11-year-old in East Jerusalem whose family is forced to give up its home to make way for Israeli settlers;
· "The Island President" (101 minutes, Maldives), the story of Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, a man confronting the literal survival of a low-lying island nation that will be submerged if the sea level rises three feet.
· "Mother: Caring for 7 Billion" (60 minutes, multiple countries), a film that breaks a 40-year taboo to enlighten the issue of population growth;
· "When the Water Ends: Africa's Climate Conflicts" (16 minutes, Ethiopia/Kenya), is the story of nomadic herdsman who have roaming the harsh, semi-arid lowlands of Kenya and Ethiopia;
· "The Invisible War" (99 minutes, USA), a groundbreaking investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military.
· "The War Around Us" (75 minutes, Gaza/Palestine), including never-seen footage from one of the most-dangerous places on earth, shot by the only American living in Gaza during the winter of 2008;
· "A Wild Idea" (26 minutes, Ecuador), a documentary about the Yasuni-IT Initiative, Ecuador's unprecedented proposal for fighting global climate change;
· "I Am" (76 minutes, USA and others), chronicling leading Hollywood comedy filmmaker Tom Shadyac, who suffered a cycling accident that left him physically and mentally incapacitated, and his emergence with a determination to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed.
Dennis Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. GO!
·What: The 13th annual International Film Festival, presented by the Monterey Bay chapter of the United Nations Association
·Where: Golden State Theatre, 417 Alvarado St., Monterey
·When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-10, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11
·Tickets: $5 per person per session; all full-time students with an ID, at any level of education, will be admitted free