July 23, 2008

Walker Running at a Full Sprint

Back in April I gushed about the excellent film programming at the Walker Art Center, not nearly enough of which I've been able to see aside from some Global Lens selections and a couple of preview screenings.

Part of the reason it's so difficult is because everytime I turn around there's another series starting. Last week I mentioned The Walker's outdoor film series "Elected!", and already another one is about to launch - one that, like Global Lens, demonstrates how effectively film can enhance our perspective of the world.

Starting tomorrow, July 24th, and continuing through the end of August, the Walker will screen four documentaries as part of its "Cinema of Urgency" series: "This series focuses a documentary lens on some of the world’s most pressing concerns, showing the need for a global perspective on what may appear to be merely individual, or individually American, issues."

  • July 24 (tomorrow): The Judge and the General (FREE)
    • "On September 11, 1973, a coup d’etat against democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende placed the government of Chile in the hands of General Augusto Pinochet. During his brutal 17-year dictatorship, thousands of Chileans were killed, tortured, and went “missing.” Years after the coup, criminal complaints filed by the families of victims landed on the desk of former Pinochet supporter Judge Juan Guzmán, whose investigations, he says, “opened the eyes of my soul.” The filmmakers followed Guzmán for three years in order to make this cautionary tale about the violation of human rights.2008, video, 87 minutes." (Post-screening Q&A with director/producer Farnsworth and editor Blair Gershkow)

  • August 1-3: Flow: For Love of Water
    • "Politics, pollution, and human rights wash into this provocative wake-up call exploring the planet’s coming shortage of drinking water and corporate plans to privatize the delivery of clean water. Inspiring heroes emerge—from African plumbers reconnecting a shantytown’s pipes in the dark of night to a California scientist who exposes dangerous toxin levels.2007, video, 83 minutes. "

  • August 15-16: Secrecy
    • "A compelling documentary peering into the invisible world of government secrecy and its tug-of-war with civil liberties, Secrecy delves into the 1940s origins of the national security policy and its unexpected consequences for contemporary democracy. Filmmakers Peter Galison and Robb Moss (The Same River Twice) utilize animation, installations, a mesmerizing score, and riveting interviews. 2008, video, 85 minutes. A Q&A with the director follows."

  • August 28: The Listening Project (FREE)
    • "The Listening Project is a cinematic journey in search of an answer to the question “What does the world think of America?” Surprisingly nuanced—even contradictory— responses are unearthed from the far reaches of the globe as we see how Americans are citizens of the world, not just their own country. 2007, video, 76 minutes. A Q&A with the directors and “listeners” featured in the film follows."

You can see the trailers for all the documentaries at the Walker blog.


  1. Over the last few weeks I've been watching quite a bit of Charlie Rose. Don't know how it happened, it just did.

    Anyway, one of the main sponsors of the show is an organization whose purpose is cleaning and maintaining water supplies in Third World countries.

    Flow: For the Love of Water looks to be pretty interesting. I hope I get a change to catch it.

    Thanks for the info.


  2. I have to admit, Scott, that's kind of a random occurrence! (The sudden Charlie Rose watching, I mean). But cool - he's a great interviewer that doesn't have nearly enough exposure. I always feel guilty that I don't watch him more, but sometimes it's about filmmakers/actors in upcoming movies, and I can only handle that AFTER seeing the movie.

    Yeah Flow doesn't sound like it will hold many surprises, but it's always good to get your conscience smacked around by a movie every now and then. Such is the consequence of Cinema of Urgency.

  3. SECRECY looks particularly worthwhile, Dan, that's my kind of subject. Do you see any of these four getting commercial release, soon?

    And it looks like some people are really issuing wild raves about MAN ON WIRE. Could it possible be this great?

  4. All four look mostly interesting to me, Sam, but it looks like I'll only be able to see Flow and The Listening Project.

    The Judge and The General is actually going to be screened as a POV doc in late August, so anybody with PBS can check that one out.

    Flow, I believe, is going to have a limited release later in the fall, but only say that because I saw it on a piece of paper at a local theater.

    Secrecy is at a 3 review 100% on RT right now, and I wouldn't be surprised if it made its way to theaters at some point.

    The Listening Project was made by Minnesotan filmmakers and has been on the festival circuit since last year, but that might be as far as it gets.

    I apologize for being lazy and not doing so, but you can click through to the Walker pages and find the official websites for each film, where they must have screening schedules.

    Of course, you get everything in NYC anyway, Sam...


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