Official selections in the category of documentaries for the Marco Island Film Festival, October 17-21, 2001, depict tragic, funny, and memorable life experiences for viewers of every age. The selection committee carefully chose documentaries that the residents of Southwest Florida could relate to and laugh about, could be moved by emotionally, or could understand and learn something about a slice of life they have not experienced, said Vickie Kelber, Artistic Director for the festival this year.
For example, CHRONICLE OF AN AMERICAN SUBURB reviews the history of Chicago’s Park Forest, one of the first suburbs developed in the 1950s. Designed by businessmen to create a new way of living for America’s veterans, Park Forest was acclaimed in the 1960s as a model of integration.
“It should be very interesting for people who came here from the Chicago area,” said Kelber. A book written about the sociological phenomena of suburban life.’The Organization Man,’ is illustrated through this documentary. Filmmaker H. James Gilmore, who grew up in a ranch home in Park Forest, goes back to suburbia to talk with the pioneers of the first master-planned community. The film discusses the rise and fall of the American dream.
CAKE LADY is a documentary about a poor Jamaican woman who bakes and serves cakes to tourists on Jamaica’s remote Negril Beach. “This woman has no electricity, but makes these delightful cakes,” said Kelber. “It’s absolutely enchanting to watch her.” Miss Hermine balances the freshly baked cakes on her head and walks down the seven-mile beach peddling slides of cake to night revelers. Described as a story of balance, the documentary reveals the unbalanced economy of the island that forces a 65-year-old woman to offset her dollar a week pension by delighting people with her sweetness.
DISCHARGE NWO will likely move audiences as it helps us understand what’s going on in former Yugoslavia. Bombs are louder than words and governments use force to solve disputes. Kelber said the documentary explains the conflict and presents a very different viewpoint about NATO. The three main characters of different backgrounds are caught amidst the confusion of an air campaign wondering, “Which side am I on?”
Classic music enthusiasts will appreciate THE LEGACY OF ROSINA LHEVINNE, a tribute to the renowned pianist who taught many of the greats, such as Van Cliburn and Itzaak Perlman.
“People will ask ‘Who is that?’ said Kelber. “And she’s probably the best piano teacher who ever lived. She taught at Julliard for many years, training many classic pianists we know today. The documentary, produced and directed by Salome Ramras Arkatov, a student, reveals how Mrs. Lhevinne could have been a concert pianist in her own right, but she subjugated herself to her husband’s career-he was also a pianist and she taught.”
Most people will be able to relate to DRIVE-IN MOVIE MEMORIES, a celebration of America’s greatest icon of youth, freedom and the automobile. The documentary is a hilarious look at how an auto parts business evolved into a magical place where romance, fun and a sense of community flourished.
“Drive-in theaters have disappeared,” said Kelber. “So for me, watching this documentary was like re-living my childhood. It inspires memories and makes you laugh, especially at the Florida drive-in where they tried to air condition the cars with this rubber tubing that would pump in cold air. Except what happened is the rats liked the rubber tubing and got into it and when they turned it on, rats would come flying out.”
Encompassing more than one category, there is a docu-dram-edy entitled HAVE YOU SEEN CLEM? Festival veterans may recall Clem who appeared on screen as a short a couple of years ago. This story of a homeless man is now a full-length film. Skateboarder and would-be filmmaker Jaymo pairs up with Clem, a mysterious aluminum can peddler, embarking on a bittersweet tour to meet the street people of major cities.
The Marco Island Film Festival offers a wide range of film genres during its eight-day run, with a variety of topics and titles to appeal to every lover of film. For a week in October, movie-lovers have an opportunity to see offbeat, unusual, international and handcrafted films that often don’t get shown in mainstream cinema. The Marco Island Film Festival is South Florida’s largest professional juried film festival, attracting filmmakers and celebrities from around the world for five days of film screenings, workshops, receptions, parties and networking opportunities.
For more info, call the Film Festival office at 941-642-3378, or visit the official Marco Island Film Festival web site.
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