WASHINGTON (May 1, 2000) -- A film festival at Encuentro 2000: Many Faces in God's House will highlight social and religious experiences of African Americans, Native Americans, Vietnamese and Cubans in contemporary society.
Films include Enduring Faith, Buena Vista Social Club, Smoke Signals and Three Seasons.
The festival is one of several activities of Encuentro 2000, which will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, July 6-9. Encuentro 2000 stands as the key Jubilee Year event for the Church in the United States. It is being hosted by the Hispanic community for the entire Church and highlights its multi-cultural reality at the start of the Third Millennium.
The film festival is sponsored by the U.S. bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign in association with the City of the Angels Film Festival. One goal is to provide participants with a window to understanding cultures and lifestyles different from their own. Another goal is to explode stereotypical impressions that sometimes mistakenly inform opinions.
Each film provides an eye-opening look at the struggles and triumphs of a particular cultural group and its relationship to life in the United States and the world.
The showing of Enduring Faith marks the West Coast premiere of the documentary made to air on public television. Producers from the Diocese of Buffalo's Daybreak Productions, which made the documentary, will introduce it. Each of the three theatrical features will be introduced by a member of the City of the Angels Film Festival Committee.
The films will be shown in the Los Angeles Convention Center Theater.
The film schedule follows.
Thursday, July 6, 8:00-10:00 p.m., Buena Vista Social Club (1999, 110 minutes)
Written and Directed by Wim Wenders. In English and Spanish with English subtitles U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- Adults and Adolescents. Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- General Audiences.
In 1996, U.S. guitarist Ry Cooder went to Havana to record an album of Cuban music and found a group of old-timers who still played the songs of their youth. Buena Vista Social Club became the name of the group as well as the album which is now an international hit.
When Cooder returned to Havana in 1998 to make another album, German filmmaker Wim Wenders made a documentary about the group. The result showcases the Club's vibrant pop music, which might be described as 1940's swing with a variety of Latin beats.
Friday, July 7, 1:10-3:00 p.m., Smoke Signals (1998, 88 minutes).
Directed by Chris Eyre and written by Sherman Alexie. English. USCC classification is A-II -- Adults and Adolescents. MPAA rating is PG-13 -- Parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Smoke Signals begins when the ashes of a deadbeat dad in Phoenix lure two young Native American men off their Idaho reservation. Leaping between past and present, writer Sherman Alexie and director Chris Eyre spin a modern tale of pain and anger and love and forgiveness, shown from a distinctly Native American perspective.
Since infancy, the fates of Victor (Adam Beach) and Thomas (Evan Adams) were intertwined when Victor's dad Arnold (Gary Farmer) rescued Thomas from a deadly house fire which leaves him an orphan. A dozen years later, alcoholic, abusive Arnold deserts his wife and son, never to return. But when word comes that Arnold has died in Phoenix and his ashes must be picked up, Thomas offers to pay the bus fare -- if he can accompany Victor.
Friday, July 7, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Three Seasons (1999, 110 minutes)
Directed by Tony Bui and written by Timothy Linh Bui and Tony Bui.
In Vietnamese, with English Subtitles.
Four separate stories are delicately interwoven in Three Seasons, the first U.S. movie shot in Vietnam since the war. Set in present-day Ho Chi Minh City, the drama is clearly a labor of love and rediscovery for Vietnamese born writer-director Tony Bui, who left for the United States at age two and was raised in California and studied film at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
The film cuts back and forth among the tales it tells with exquisite cinematography by Lisa Rinzler. Some sentimentality is part and parcel of the stories but it doesn't overwhelm the delicate humanism at the movie's core. The characters live amidst poverty and little hope for the future but their courage and kindness allow them to survive in their hardscrabble environment.
Saturday, July 8, 12:00-2:00 p.m., Enduring Faith (2000, 90 minutes)
Written and directed by Claire Rung and Paul Lamont
Enduring Faith is an historical documentary that examines the struggle to establish an African American clergy in the Catholic Church. Narrated by actor Andre Braugher, the story is viewed through the Josephite Society, an English missionary group that came to America in 1871 to evangelize and convert the recently emancipated slaves.
Enduring Faith tells of the courage and ultimate despair of early Black Josephite priests and the pivotal role of Rome in forcing the Church in the United States to open its doors to Blacks. It also brings to the forefront the Josephite's undying efforts to bring Catholicism to African Americans and the unwavering stance of African American Catholics who clung tenaciously to the faith through trying times.
The Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) produces and supports media projects that promote Gospel values and bring the Church's message to the marketplace. More information is available on the Web at www.nccbuscc.org/ccc.
The City of the Angels Film Festival (CAFF) is a celebration of religion and cinema, a gift from spiritually sensitive filmmakers and cinematically informed theologians to help revitalize their city. In response to a stirring pastoral letter to filmmakers and moviegoers from Cardinal Roger Mahony, CAFF developed a mission: to showcase movies that probe the ambiguities of human life, which include the longing for transcendence. More information is available on the Web at www.cityofangelsfilmfest.org.
Further information about Encuentro 2000 can be found on the Web at www.encuentro2000.org.