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Talking Pictures Festival To Screen Local And International Films

April 14 to 17 film festival will include film shorts by Northwestern Medill students

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April 8, 2011 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Movie buffs will have the opportunity to view independent films from around the world as well as new works by local filmmakers from April 14 to 17 during the 2011 Talking Pictures Festival. As the primary venue for the four-day event, Northwestern University will host most of the festival screenings on the Evanston campus.

Open to the public, the festival will be held in three Northwestern campus venues: the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive; McCormick Tribune Center at 1870 Campus Drive; and Annie May Swift Hall, 1920 Campus Drive. Those screenings require tickets. Four free festival films will be screened in the Community Room of the Evanston Public Library at 1703 Orrington Ave.

The festival will present awarding-winning international fiction films, local and regional films, documentaries and animated films, 15 long format films and seven programs of shorts. Many of them will be followed by discussions with filmmakers, guest speakers or representatives from community groups. To view the full schedule visit www.talkingpicturesfestival.org.

Two April 16 events -- “Dream Chicago” and “Refugee Lives” -- will include student-made film shorts programmed by Medill School of Journalism Assistant Professor and documentary filmmaker Brent E. Huffman.

Block Cinema has selected and will screen three fiction films at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art on April 14 (“Old Cats”), April 15 (“Winter Vacation”) and April 17 (“Silent Souls”).

The Talking Pictures Festival is produced by Percolator Films, a non-profit film arts organization recently founded by independent filmmakers Ines Sommer and Kathy Berger. Northwestern University is the festival’s co-presenting venue partner.

Festival highlights include:

“Old Cats,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at the Block Museum, an 88-minute film from Chile directed by Pedro Peirano and Sebastian Silva, that explores the humor and horrors in family dynamics, aging and love.

“Winter Vacation,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 15, at the Block Museum, a 91-minute comedy from China, directed by Li Hongqi, about four aimless teens during the last days of winter break in a small industrial Chinese town.

“Dream Chicago,” at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the McCormick Tribune Center, an 80-minute program of documentary shorts by Medill students about the hopes and dreams of a burlesque troupe, a homeless martial arts fighter, Chicago Public School students and other residents of the Windy City.

“Little Voices” at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at Annie May Swift Hall, a 75-minute animated film from Colombia, directed by Jairo Eduardo Carrillo. Based on interviews and drawings by 8- to 13-year-old victims of Colombia’s disruptive armed conflicts, the children share their hopes and dreams. This will be one of the film’s first U.S. screenings.

•  “The Colony,” 3 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the Block Museum, an 87-minute film from Ireland and the United States, directed by Carter Gunn and Ross McDonnell about beekeepers coping with Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon that has caused millions of bees to mysteriously disappear.

“Refugee Lives,” at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in the McCormick Tribune Center, an 88-minute program of five film shorts, including two by Medill students. In “Dzaleka Dances,” young Malawians use hip-hop to express themselves in a refugee camp. In “The Road to Amman,” an Iraqi refugee reflects on her trying journey from Baghad to Amman. The student films are paired with Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger’s 2011 Oscar-nominated film, “Sun Come Up,” that follows the relocation of some of the world’s first environmental refugees – the Carteret Islanders in the South Pacific.

“Silent Souls” at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 17, at the Block Museum, a 75-minute Russian film directed by Alexei Fedorchenko. The winner of multiple awards at the Venice Film Festival, it follows the melancholy journey of an introspective photographer and his brusque employer, as they drive through the wintry Russian plains.

Opening night tickets are $12; single tickets are $10; seniors 65 and older are $8; and Northwestern University students with valid IDS are $5. A 5-PACK discount pass (five movies for the price of four) is $40. Single tickets are available at the box office or can be purchased online.