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Arts & Lectures Announces Fall Cinema Series

Nine evenings of international films will showcase timely subjects from Telluride to Afghanistan to the jungles of Ecuador

UCSB’s Arts & Lectures this week announced the program’s Fall Cinema 2009 lineup, with screenings on nine evenings from Thursday, Oct. 8, through Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The award-winning films take on issues of large-scale food production, pop-culture, natural resources and family values from Telluride to Afghanistan to the jungles of Ecuador. The film line-up includes a co-presentation of Telluride Mountainfilm’s stimulating festival on tour with Santa Barbara-based clothier Horny Toad, and a thought-provoking double feature on the ever-threatened resources oil and water.

All screenings till take place at 7:30 p.m. except for Food, Inc., which screens at both 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and Flow — For Love of Water, which screens at 9:30 p.m.

All films will be shown in Campbell Hall.

Ticket prices for the public are $6; and $5 for UCSB students; the exceptions are Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour, which is $10 general admission and $8 for UCSB students and those age 18 and under, and Man on Wire, which will be free.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at Arts & Lectures ticket office, and at the door, beginning at 6:30 p.m. For more information and tickets, call 805.893.3535, or visit

Following are a list of the films, the times at which they will be shown, and a brief description of each:

» Food, Inc., Oct. 8 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Filmmaker Robert Kenner exposes the highly-mechanized underbelly that is our nation’s food supply. From bigger-breasted chickens and herbicide-resistant soybeans to new strains of E. coli, Americans are riddled with widespread obesity and an epidemic level of diabetes. Featuring interviews with experts like Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) along with forward-thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising truths about what we eat, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. (2008, 93 min).

» Afghan Star, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

“Wonderful movie! Takes us someplace few movies have … the film’s hard-won good vibes had the audience cheering!” The Boston Globe

After years of war and Taliban rule, pop culture is beginning to return to Afghanistan as millions tune in to the wildly popular American Idol-style series Afghan Star. Winner of the Directing and Audience Awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, this timely and moving film follows the dramatic stories of four young finalists as they hazard everything to become the nation’s favorite performer. The perfect window into a country’s tenuous, ongoing struggle for modernity, the film observes how what Americans consider frivolous entertainment can become downright revolutionary in this troubled part of the world. (Havana Marking, 2009, 88 min.)

» Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.                                                                                                                                         

This screening has a special ticket price of $10 general and $8 UCSB students and youth 18 and under.
Telluride Mountainfilm was launched 30 years ago by a group of climbers and friends dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving and conversations worth sustaining. Still true to the core idea that friends, adventure, passion and powerful ideas are as seductive as ever, Mountainfilm hits the road offering a six-senses experience of art, adventure, culture and the environment in an eclectic and exciting program of short films, animation and digital media. Film titles to include: Look to the Ground, History Making Farming, Samsara, Soil in Good Heart, Red Helmet, Bodega, Surfing 50 States and Home.

» Crude and Flow — For Love of Water

Special double feature on Oct. 20 (Crude at 7:30 p.m. and Flow — For Love of Water at 9:30 p.m.

The New York Times called Crude a “forceful, often infuriating story about Big Oil and little people.’‘

This cinéma-vérité documentary feature is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet, the infamous $27 billion “Amazon Chernobyl” case in the jungles of Ecuador. Pitting 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron, this real-life, high-stakes legal drama focuses on the human cost of our addiction to oil. (Joe Berlinger, 2009, 104 min.)

Flow — For Love of Water was described by The Washington Post as “heartbreaking and infuriating…lucidly conveys a coming crisis and its grass-roots solution.”

This award-winning documentary builds a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution and human rights. Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis while considering practical solutions and new technologies for a successful global and economic turnaround. It begs the question: Can anyone really own water? (Irena Salina, 2008, 93 min.)

This film will be presented in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center series OIL + WATER.

» Reporter, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m.

“[A] vivid characterization of an impassioned journalist … an urgent plea for the survival of investigative storytelling in print” said Variety.

From Executive Producer Ben Affleck, this stark and powerful documentary about Nicholas Kristof, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, reveals the man and his methods while uncovering how real reporting is vital to our capacity to be a force for good. Known for his compelling work on the crisis in Darfur, Kristof travels to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to shine his light into the darkest pockets of conflict and poverty and to put Congo on the international agenda. (Eric Daniel Metzgar, 2009, 100 min.)

The subject of Reporter Nicholas Kristof will deliver the public lecture titled Half the Sky: From Oppression to Opportunity for Women Worldwide on October 29. For more information, visit

» Man on Wire, Nov. 3, free

“Exhilarating … makes you shake your head in amazement,’’ said the Los Angeles Times.

Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards as well as the Oscar Award for Best Documentary Feature, Man on Wire is the thrilling true story of high wire artist Philippe Petit and his infamous walk between the rooftops of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, a quarter mile above New York City. “One of the most wildly entertaining docs of recent years” (Variety), the film recounts Petit’s numerous extraordinary challenges and the execution of this highly illegal coup. (James Marsh, 2008, 90 min.)

Philippe Petit, the subject of Man on Wire, will deliver a public lecture on Nov 7. More information can be found at

» No Impact Man, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. 

The Los Angeles Times called this “terrifically entertaining … a balanced blend of information and humor.”

In research for his next book, newly self-proclaimed environmentalist and author Colin Beavan vows to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year: no more automated transportation, no more electricity, no more non-local food and no more material consumption. That is, until his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their 2-year-old daughter are dragged into the fray.

This film is “proof that ‘eco’ and ‘entertainment’ aren’t mutually exclusive” (Variety), this charming film provides a candid account of one family’s struggle with their radical lifestyle change. (Laura Gabbert & Justin Schein, 2009, 90 min.)

Presented in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center series OIL + WATER.         

» Earth Days, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.

Entertainment Weekly calls this “a rapturous and enlightening testament to what the environmental movement has meant in America, and to why it now means more than ever.”

Visually stunning and vastly entertaining, Earth Days looks back to the dawn of the modern environmental movement — from its post-war rustlings in the 1950s to the first wildly successful 1970 Earth Day celebration and the subsequent firestorm of political action. Personal testimony from the era’s pioneers, like former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, and rare archival media create a poetic meditation on humanity’s complex relationship with nature and an engaging history of the revolutionary achievements — and missed opportunities — of groundbreaking eco-activism. (Robert Stone, 2009, 102 min.)

Presented in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center series OIL + WATER.

» The Horse Boy, Nov. 24. 7:30 p.m.

Entertainment Weekly calls this film a “...a lyrical, heartbreaking, and deeply stirring meditation on the mystery of autism.”

The Horse Boy is the dramatic and heartwarming story of one family’s journey to the end of the earth to find a way into their son’s life. At first devastated by his son Rowan’s autism diagnosis, Rupert Isaacson sees him improve immeasurably in the presence of his neighbor’s horse. Inspired, he takes Rowan to Mongolia, the one place where horses and shamanic healing intersect. More than just a family chronicle, The Horse Boy delves into the strange world of autism itself, incorporating theories from experts in the field to examine the nature of healing. (Michel Orion Scott & Rupert Isaacson, 2009, 93 min.)

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