The National Geographic Society kicks off its All Roads Film Festival on Tuesday, Sept 28, launching a jam-packed fall programming schedule. The six-day event will screen nearly 30 films, an outdoor photography exhibit, a Basement Bhangra Dance Party, and a panel of indigenous filmmakers discussing their art and careers.
All Roads Film Festival Director Francene Blythe is especially excited about this year’s theme, “Inspiring Stories Connecting Cultures.” “Whether the stories are comic or tragic, they will resonate with audiences because they involve characters and stories that are relatable and told with charm, wit and wisdom.” There promises to be something for everyone to enjoy.
Some of the year’s stand-out films include “Boy,” a hilarious, heartfelt coming-of-age tale about magic, heroic fathers, and pop star Michael Jackson, directed by All Roads seed grantee, festival alum and Academy Award nominee Taika Waititi; “Reel Injun,” a documentary by Canadian First Nation filmmaker Neil Diamond that humorously looks back at more than 55 years of Hollywood film stereotypes of American Indians; and “Samson and Delilah,” winner of the Golden Camera award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. This film, directed by Warwick Thornton, follows a young couple from Central Australia when tragedy forces them from their tribal community and sends them on a journey for survival.
Other notable works include “Dear Lemon Lima,” by All Roads seed grantee Suzi Yoonesi, in which a Yup’ik (Western Eskimo) teen uses her school’s World Eskimo Indian Olympics-inspired competition to try to win back the heart of her first true love; “For the Next 7 Generations,” an inspiring documentary about 13 indigenous women from around the world who come together to increase global environmental consciousness; and the U.S. premiere of National Geographic Entertainment’s newest film “Desert Flower,” the Cinderella-like true story of international supermodel Waris Dirie’s transformation from Somali refugee to a United Nations Special Ambassador for women’s rights.
The photo exhibit features photo essays by three artists: emerging photographer Sumit Dayal (Kashmir), mid-career photographer Tomás Munita (Chile) and pioneer photographer Rashid Talukder (Bangladesh). DJ Rekha will be on hand on Saturday with her Basement Bhangra Dance Party, which melds traditional Bhangra music with today’s hip-hop beats. (Tickets for this particular event are $20.)
Tickets are available for each film at $10 each. Festival passes, which include Saturday’s concert/party, run $114. Passes and tickets can be purchased at the NatGeo ticket office at 16th and M Street, NW, or by phone at 202-857-7700.