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Screenshot of Google World Map Thumbnail picture of Tales 2013 Programming GridTales From Planet Earth had a triumphant return to Madison, Wisconsin this month. Our 2013 edition on the theme of Futures attracted more than 3,500 festival-goers. Once again, we want to thank Madison for perpetually exceeding our expectations and turning out for engaging and enlightening community-building around environmental storytelling. We especially want to thank our three dozen speakers and filmmakers for enhancing the screenings and making them more than just a place to see movies. Wondering what you missed out on? Check out our schedule from this latest festival below. To check out where our tales hail from, click the map above.

Opening Night Events  ::   Opening Roundtable: Tales of Time and Futures, Before Tomorrow

Memories of Tomorrow  ::   Sons of the Land, A Will for the Woods, A Changing World, Protect Our Future, Nostalgia for the Light, Drifters, Leviathan

Watts Ahead  ::   Pandora's Promise, Containment, Louisiana Story, Sweet Crude Man Camp, Home Turf, Lessons of Darkness, Metamorphosen, Black Out, Powerless

(Dis)placement  ::   Dear Mandela, Jonah, Fallen City, Unravel, Megacities, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

Of Things to Come  ::   Chasing Ice, The Weather War, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, The Bead Game, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Transnational Futures  ::   Transfer, Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury, Code 46, Promised Land

Closing Night Films  ::   Plastic Bag, Trash Dance, Expedition to the End of the World

Tales After Dark  ::   Planet of the Apes, The Road Warrior

Opening Night Events

Opening Roundtable: Tales of Time and Futures -- A Conversation with Ruth Ozeki, Alex Rivera, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, and Zach Kunuk

Gregg Mitman, Ruth Ozeki, Alex Rivera, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, and Zacharias Kunuk (60 min.)

Friday, November 1, 2013, 7 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Ruth Ozeki headshot We live in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, in which humans for the first time in the history of the species are a geomorphic force of planetary change. At the same time, our modern media environment makes it difficult to portray these changes so that they command the public's attention and give us the space and time to think about the future. To start the festival, Tales from Planet Earth festival director and UW-Madison history of science professor Gregg Mitman brought together a roundtable of gifted storytellers, interspersed with clips from their work, to spark a conversation around questions of time —- of past, present, and future —- across different cultural traditions and temporal scales in the age of the Anthropocene. Storytellers participating included Ruth Ozeki, Alex Rivera, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, and (via Skype) Zacharias Kunuk.

Before Tomorrow (2008)

Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Madeline Ivalu (93 min., color, Digibeta, Canada, In Inuit with English subtitles)

Friday, November 1, 2013, 9 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Before Tomorrow screenshotIt is summer. An Inuit extended family gathers to enjoy the land's abudance and their good fortune. But Ningiuq, the wise old woman, has a vision that suggests that her family's future is more fragile than they think. Ningiuq and her grandson Maniq are left at the island where the family annually dries its catch to prepare for winter. They finish their tasks and wait for someone to return to pick them up . . . and wait. This beautiful film, produced by Tales from Planet Earth guest filmmakers Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, set the stage for a weekend of conversations about time, visions, place, and futures! Nominee for awards at both the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals and nominated for nine Genie Awards (the equivalent of the Canadian Academy Award). Filmmaker was in attendance.
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Memories of Tomorrow

Sons of the Land (2012)

Edouard Bergeon (88 min., color, HD Cam, France, In French with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 1 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Sons of the Land screenshotIn 1999, Edouard Bergeon's father became another of the 400 to 800 French farmers who commit suicide every year, suffering from despair at the crushing debt burdens suffered by modern farmers at the same time that their marginal profits continue to erode. In exploring his father's story, Bergeon meets the Itards, a family of dairy farmers in southern France going through similar issues that overwhelmed his father. For 14 months, his camera penetrates into the heart of a modern farm family -- its hopes and frustrations, intergenerational disagreements, debt burdens, family strife, but also abiding love and loyalty. In the end, from near-tragedy, the Itards find hope for a sustainable farming business model that might allow these sons of the land to pass their family farm on to another generation. Official selection of the IDFA, Eurodok, Vera, and Göteborg International Film Festivals. Film was followed by a panel of local farmers and UW graduate students discussing contemporary farming challenges.
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A Will For the Woods (2013)

Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale, Brian Wilson (93 min., color, Digital File, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Sons of the Land screenshotWhat happens to us when we die -- not our souls, but our earthly remains? For the majority of Americans today, we will be buried, cremated, or entombed in a method that releases toxic chemicals into the environment and prevents our bodies from decaying. When Duke University psychiatrist Clark Wang found out that he had terminal leukemia, he decided he wanted a different fate. Tapping into the burgeoning "green burial" movement, Wang helped convince cemetaries and other land owners in North Carolina to create natural spaces where bodies can be laid to rest as simply as possible in beautiful environments. Moreover, he discovered that in so doing he might help to preserve land even after his death. A beautiful, uplifting film with amazing access to Wang and his family as they face the last five years of his life, this film leaves you with a sense of hope about our ability to find peace in meeting everyone's inescapable fate. Official selection of the Full Frame and AFI Docs Film Festivals. Film was followed by a discussion of green burials led by the coordinator of the Natural Path Sanctuary, Dane County's first natural cemetery.
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A Changing World (2008)

Marie-Hélène Cousineau (36 min., color, Digibetacam, Canada)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Screenshot fom A Changing WorldOn Baffin Island, two mountains of ore will be cut down at Mary River. Residents of Igloolik have many reactions to this development : some worry that this industrial development will destroy their environment and the marine mammals as well as their culture and hunting life style. As part of the "Show me on the Map" project, this film allows Aboriginal citizens to voice their concerns and expose their points of view about mining industry development on their territories. Filmmaker was in attendance. Screening was followed by panel discussion on indigenous rights and resource exploitation. (Screened with Protect Our Future)

Protect Our Future (2013)

Jordan Principato, Shania Jackson, Ahpahnae Thomas (31 min., color, DVD, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Screenshot fom Protect Our FutureWith the help of UW-Madison professor Patty Loew, Jordan Principato, Shania Jackson, and Ahpahnae Thomas -- all 14-year old members of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe here in Wisconsin -- have created their debut film. In it, they address the threatened impacts of proposed mining in northern Wisconsin upon the water supply and other resources of the Bad River band. Sharing stories from tribal educators, land managers, attorneys, and elders, this film is an impassioned plea from the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers demanding that this generation protect their heritage of our Wisconsin landscape. Filmmakers were in attendance. Screening was followed by panel discussion on indigenous rights and resource exploitation. (Screened with A Changing World)

Nostalgia for the Light (2010)

Patricio Guzman (90 min., color, Blu-Ray, France/Germany/Chile, In Spanish with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 9 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Nostalgia for the Light screenshot10,000 feet above sea level in Chile sits the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert. The clear desert air atop the mountains draws astronomers from all over the world to observe the sky, peering right through to the boundaries of the universe. But the desert's ground has as much interest as its sky, as it holds remains of political prisoners, “disappeared” by the Chilean army after the military coup of September 1973. Even more than a generation later, survivors -- mostly women -- still search for the remains of their loved ones. Melding the celestial quest of the astronomers and the earthly one of the women, Nostalgia for the Light is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey of memory, time, and space. Winner of the 2011 Best Film Prize from the International Documentary Association and Best Documentary Prize at the 2010 European Film Academy Awards.
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Drifters (1929)

John Grierson (49 min., b&w, Blu-Ray, U.K.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, Noon

UW Cinematheque

Drifters screenshotA landmark film from the father of the British documentary movement, in many ways Drifters was the first modern British documentary feature film. Training his lens on a disappearing traditional method of herring fishing in the British North Sea, Grierson's portrait of the hard life of a commercial fisherman makes for an interesting pairing with a more recent film examining the same livelihood some 85 years later. (Screened with Leviathan)

Leviathan (2012)

Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel (87 min., color, Blu-Ray, France/U.K./U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, Noon

UW Cinematheque

Leviathan screenshotLucien Castaing-Taylor has been hailed as one of the most innovative documentary filmmakers working today and is fast becoming a Madison favorite. Previous screenings of his films -- Sweetgrass (2009) and Leviathan (2012) -- have sold out at the Wisconsin Film Festival. So popular was Leviathan that we decided to bring it back once more, this time with the added benefit of Castaing-Taylor's presence. Leviathan is unlike any film you've ever seen -- a lush immersion in the sights, sounds, and sensations of life aboard a New England commercial fishing boat. Lacking a traditional narrative structure, the film nevertheless gets under your skin as you discover for yourself the hardships of this vocation. Official selection of over 25 international film festivals! Filmmaker was in attendance. (Screened with Drifters)
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Watts Ahead

Pandora's Promise (2013)

Robert Stone (89 min., color, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 7 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Pandora's Promise screenshotThe story of Pandora's Box (like the Tree of Knowledge in Eden) is a story of irreversible and numerous misfortunes visited upon the world in return for mankind obtaining new powers and knowledge. The moral of such stories usually focuses on the downside of opening Pandora's Box. But should we focus on the upside as well? Since the development of nuclear power, most environmentalists have treated it as a toxic catastrophe continually threatening to wreak havoc. But in UW-alumnus Robert Stone's provocative film, he interviews many environmentalists (all formerly firmly anti-nuclear) who are trying to focus on the potential good side of opening the nuclear Pandora's Box. Could nuclear power actually be the solution to the even more catastrophic threat posed by a carbon-based economy and global climate change? Can we live with ourselves if we embrace nuclear? Can we live at all if we don't? This film offers a thought-provoking and important discussion for a world without black-and-white answers to our major enviornmental challenges. Official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. Film was followed by a discussion of nuclear power with students and faculty of the UW-Madison Nuclear Engineering program, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and (via Skype) the film's director .
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Containment (2014 -- In progress)

Robb Moss, Peter Galison (~85 min., color, Digital File, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Containment screenshotDeep beneath Carlsbad, New Mexico, lies the world's only licensed, operating radioactive waste site. Savior of the town? Bulwark against global warming? Or a nuclear gamble for 10,000 years? Containment explores the scientific, moral, and philosophical problems that surround the disposition of nuclear waste and the history of our efforts to safeguard the future from the wastes of our energy choices today. Filmmakers were in attendance.

Louisiana Story (1948)

Robert Flaherty (78 min., b&w, DVD, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Louisiana Story screenshotA charming tale of a young boy living in the Louisiana bayous, Flaherty's Louisiana Story is another in his tradition of "docudramas" -- ethnographic re-enactments that try to capture the life and times of a particular place and community. In this case, he is training his lens on then-contemporary Louisiana and the transformations that were starting to appear in Cajun country as a result of the arrival of the oil industry. A true classic! (Screened with Sweet Crude Man Camp)

Sweet Crude Man Camp (2013)

Isaac Gale (11 min., b&w, Digital File, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Sweet Crude Man Camp screenshotIsaac Gale's short provides a stark portrait of the hardships endured by workers attracted to the oil boom of the Bakken region of North Dakota. While a few men bring their families in trailers, many come alone, hoping to support their families from afar. Faced with few social opportunities and exorbitantly priced room and board in official housing, the men cobble together their own versions of home, whether it's sleeping in the front seat of their car or line dancing at the local bar. A moving and effective portrait. Official selection of the Palm Springs International Short Fest and the Dakota Digital Film Festival. (Screened with Louisiana Story)

Home Turf (2011)

Ross Whitaker (14 min., color, Digital File, Ireland)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, Noon

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Home Turf screenshot"An elegiac tribute to an Ireland rapidly disappearing" (Irish Independent), Home Turf is a charming vignette about the last remaining turf cutters in Ireland who still get together to cut their turf by hand. For hundreds of years, the Irish have turned to the soil underfoot -- the peat bogs -- for energy. But with the advent of mechanized harvesting, fewer and fewer men come back each summer to turn turf by hand and socialize together while gathering their winter's fuel. With beautiful cinematography and lively characters, this film is a true charmer! Official selection of the Hot Docs, Krakow, Silverdocs, Dublin, Flagstaff Mountain, and Edindocs Film Festivals. (Screened with Lessons of Darkness)
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Lessons of Darkness (1992)

Werner Herzog (54 min., color, 35mm, France/U.K./Germany, In English, Arabic, and German with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, Noon

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Lessons of Darkness screenshotFeeling like a fever dream version of Disney's Fantasia crossed with an IMAX film's aerial footage by way of Hieronymus Bosch, Lessons of Darkness is Herzog's haunting tour of the Hades-like landscapes of destruction in Kuwait created by Saddam Hussein's invasion and the first Gulf War. The film features many long unnarrated stretches where miles of devastation unfold beneath the aerial camera, but the true enviromental and personal costs of war are never felt quite as keenly as during the few segments where Herzog alights to earth and spends time with the people amidst the wreckage. In these quiet scenes with survivors of torture and firefighters covered in oil, the full horror of war is captured in a way few other films have managed to convey. One of two films being screened at Tales as part of a retrospective of master German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with Cave of Forgotten Dreams. (Screened with Home Turf)

Metamorphosen (2013)

Sebastian Mez (84 min., b&w, Blu-Ray, Germany, In Russian with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 1:30 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Metamorphosen screenshotIn the middle of nowhere in the southern Urals of Russia there occurred an explosion in 1957, now nearly unknown globally due to Soviet secrecy. The Kyshtym disaster remains -- along with Chernobyl and Fukushima -- one of the worst nuclear accidents in history. Today, the landscape remains charged with high levels of radiation -- not perceptible visually but very much evident in the bodies and social fabric of the remnant communities still surrounding the site. Mez trains his camera in haunting ways that make the landscape and people starkly come to life and starts to uncover the memories buried in this community. Official selection of the Berlin Film Festival.
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Black Out (2013)

Eva Weber (47 min., color, HD Cam, U.K., In French with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Black Out screenshotOnly about a fifth of Guinea's 10 million people have access to electricity. With few families able to afford generators, children have co-opted the international airport, gas stations and traffic roundabouts as unlikely places to do their schoolwork -- the few places with artificial light. Every night of the weeks leading up to their important annual exams, children walk as many as six miles just to further their education. A vivid film of engaging stories, Weber's Black Out is both powerful and haunting, another triumph in her impressive filmography (which includes past Tales favorite The Solitary Life of Cranes). Official selection of the International Documentary, Full Frame, Aljazeera, Planete +, and Los Angeles Film Festivals. Filmmaker was in attendance. Film was followed by a panel of filmmakers and UW-Madison faculty discussing the future of the electrical grid and challenges of global electrification.
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Powerless (2013)

Fahad Mustafa, Deepti Kakkar (82 min., color, Digital File, India, In Hindi and English with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Powerless screenshotWould you risk your life to flip a switch? In Kanpur, India, putting oneself in harm's way to deliver electrical power is all too common. More than 1.5 billion people around the planet lack regular access to electrcity: 400 million of them live in India. In the city of Kanpur, a 28-year-old electrician is renowned for his prowess in stealing electricity. He is a Robin Hood figure, stealing electricity and charging the rich to provide free connections in impoverished neighborhoods. In the face of day-long power-cuts, he runs illegal connections from one neighborhood to another so that homes, factories and businesses can function normally. At the other end of the city, the new female head of the city power company has decided to crack down on power-theft, which costs them millions of rupees in losses each year. Yearly drives to remove illegal connections are met with street protests and anger. In the meantime, lack of electricity drives people to use generators run on fossil fuels. This is choking the town, making Kanpur one of the most polluted cities in India. Powerless puts a lens to an unexplored narrative of one of the world's fastest developing economies still wracked by inequality and lacking basic necessities for everyone. Official selection of the 2013 Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals. Filmmaker was in attendance.
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(Dis)placement

Dear Mandela (2011)

Dara Kell, Christopher Nizza (90 min., color, Blu-Ray, South Africa)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:15 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Home Turf screenshotSouth Africa is a country long on promises and short on realization of many of those promises. Since the end of apartheid, the nation's black residents have been seeking change from the new national leadership by the African National Congress, the nearly-unassailable dominant political party, which has the advantage of being Nelson Mandela's party. But for residents of the nation's many illegal shantytowns, the ANC not only has not delivered it has become part of the problem. This is the tale of three residents -- Mazwi, Zama, and Mnikolo -- who join a citizen's group challenging the government's policy of forced evictions and shanty demolitions and in the process take their case all the way to the South African Supreme Court. Braving threats, violence, and political inertia, their inspiring story is a wake up call about the need to address the growing worldwide issue of people barely eking out a life on the physical margins of society. Winner of festival prizes at the Brooklyn, Durban, and Movies That Matter Film Festivals. (Screened with Jonah)
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Jonah (2012)

Kibwe Tavaris (17 min., color, DVD, U.K./Tanzania)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:15 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Jonah screenshotMbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men with big dreams. Living in a sleepy fishing village on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, the two's hopes for the future are turned upside down when a chance snapshot captures a mythic big fish leaping out of the water. From there, the life of their community transforms, rapidly turning into a upscale tourist destination for seekers of the fish, an economic boon for all. But at what cost? Sometimes getting what you want doesn't lead to happily ever after! When an elderly Mbwana meets the fish again -- both of them now forgotten, ruined and old -- he decides only one of them can survive. (Screened with Dear Mandela)
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Fallen City (2012)

Zhao Qi (90 min., color, HD Cam, China)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 3:45 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Home Turf screenshotThe 2008 earthquake that devastated central China did more than kill many people, although it certainly did that. It also destroyed the fabric of communities for the survivors. In this intimate portrait, Zhao Qi follows three survivors of the earthquake from the mountain town of Beichuan, which lost 20,000 residents and was so totaled that the Chinese government decided to build a brand new city for the survivors rather than rebuild the old. There are the Pengs, a couple in their 30s who lost their 11 year-old daughter and are now too devastated to even think about having another child. There is Hong, a teenager struggling in school and struggling in life as he tries to build a relationship with a stepfather and bemoans the loss of his own father. And then there is Mrs. Li, who must care for her paralyzed mother while also trying to help rehouse her neighbors in her role as a community organizer. A powerful look at disaster and survival and at the many forces shaping 21st century China. Official selection of Sundance, Cleveland, and LA Asian Pacific Film Festivals. Screened in conjunction with the Evolving Landscapes art exhibit and symposium co-sponsored by the Nelson Institute in November 2013.
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Unravel (2012)

Meghna Gupta (14 min., color, Digital File, U.K., In Hindi with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 1 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Unravel screenshotWhen the West's clothes are truly no longer wanted by anyone, they travel to a place unheard of by most people -- Panipat, India. Here, after a journey of thousands of miles clothes are sorted by color, stripped of buttons and snaps, and then gradually unravelled back into yarn and thread to be reused in other clothes. Reshma and her friends work at one of the city's cloth recycling factories. In this lively short, we see the world through their eyes, as they imagine the places these clothes have traveled from and the lives of the people who would wear such things. Official selection of the Silverdocs, Sydney, Edinburgh Short, Austin, and Calgary Film Festivals. (Screened with Megacities)
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Megacities (1998)

Michael Glawogger (90 min., color, Blu-Ray, Austria/Switzerland, In Spanish, Russian, and Hindi with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 1 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Megacities screenshot A film about human beauty in 12 chapters. In this affecting documentary, Glawogger criss-crosses the globe, profiling people living on the margins of some of the world's biggest cities -- New York, Mumbai, Mexico City, and Moscow -- and the determination and quiet dignity they instill into life, finding ways to survive and to carve out a place for themselves even in the most extreme circumstances. Filled with haunting imagery and memorable people, Megacities is not a film that is easily forgotten. Winner of prizes at the San Francisco International, São Paulo International, and Vancouver International Film Festivals. (Screened with Unravel)

Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change (2010)

Zacharias Kunuk and Ian Mauro (54 min., color, Digibetacam, Canada, In Inuit with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change screenshot"Today's there plenty and tomorrow they're gone." While this bit of Inuit wisdom refers to the transience of wildlife, it could also be said to apply to the Arctic generally. In a region being transformed faster than any other in the world due to global warming, the Inuit are on the frontlines of a changing climate. Seeking to tap into this local knowledge, Kunuk and Mauro interview dozens of Inuit elders who remember how the Arctic used to be decades ago, drawing on their memories of daily environmental observations to learn changes in wind patterns, ice levels, seal blubber, glaciation, and more. Southerners (all the rest of us) try to divide the world by boundaries, but the Inuit see it all as one. And yet because climate change respects no boundaries, it is the Inuit who may be suffering the most from Southerners' choices. An important conversation about place, climate, past, present, and future.
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Of Things to Come

Chasing Ice (2011)

Jeff Orlowski (75 min., color, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Chasing Ice screenshotThe sound of a glacier caving, the deep sonic rumble of millions of tons of melting ice grinding against each other. This is the sound of climate change. It's occurring more and more frequently and yet not so frequently that most people can experience it in person. This is damage that falls in the category of what UW-Madison professor Rob Nixon has coined "slow violence" -- ecological catastrophes that happen too gradually and invisibly to arrest our attention in the fast-paced, spectacle-driven society that consumes public attention today. Renowned National Geographic photographer James Balog is therefore on a mission: to make this slow violence of Arctic climate change visible and visceral. To do so, he'll push himself and his assistants to the physical breaking point to reach remote glaciers across the Northern Hemisphere and set up time-lapse cameras that can capture the gradual spectacle of glacial retreat. Ignoring doctors' orders to stop for fear of permanently disfiguring himself, braving life-threatening ice crevices, and propelled by a single-minded vision, Balog gathers awe-inducing photos and video that must be seen on the big screen to register fully. Chasing Ice absolutely should not be missed! Winner of multiple awards at the Big Sky, SXSW, Hot Docs, DocuWest, Seattle, Full Frame, and Boulder Film Festivals, among many, many others.
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The Weather War (2013)

Lars Bergström, Mats Bigert (58 min., color, Blu-Ray, Sweden, In English and Swedish with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3:45 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

The Weather War screenshotLars Bergström and Mats Bigert are interested in humans' obsession with control -- specifically, what drives people to try to control nature and bend it to their purposes. In Weather War, these zany Swedish visionaries travel to the United States' tornado belt with a special machine-sculpture to explore whether this could possibly help control the weather by deflecting tornadoes. As they journey with stormchasers and meterologists amid heart-stopping thunderstorms and tornadoes touching down, they also take us on a larger journey through the global history of efforts to control the weather, whether for military ends or to try to avert calamity in the face of climate change. What is the future of such endeavors in a world where climate issues and people becoming refugees from weather events are increasingly a reality? A fascinating film profiling individuals with an offbeat style, this one is well worth checking out! Official selection of the Docville International, Planete Doc International and CinemAbiente Environmental Film Festivals. (Screened with Promised Land)
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Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

Werner Herzog (90 min., color, 35mm, Canada/U.S./France/U.K./Germany)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 7 p.m.

UW Cinematheque

Cave of Forgotten Dreams screenshotIn Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Herzog follows an exclusive expedition into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in southern France, home to the most ancient visual art known to have been created by man, cave drawings dating back more than 30,000 years -- almost twice as old as any previous discovery. In these luminous visions, spectacularly filmed, Herzog finds a new appreciation of how early humans viewed their world and their place in it. One of two films being screened at Tales as part of a retrospective of master German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with Lessons of Darkness. Winner of Best Documentary by the National Society of Film Critics, as well as the Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Washington DC Area, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City Film Critics awards.
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The Bead Game (1977)

Ishu Patel (6 min., color, 16mm, Canada)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

The Bead Game screenshotThe life-or-death predicament of modern times is unique, right? Ishu Patel's innovative stop-motion animated film offers an odd vision of hope (and despair) in suggesting that the history of life itself is nothing but a game of conflict, destruction, and rebirth. From single-celled organisms to modern times, struggle has been constant. But has the atomic age changed the rules of this eternal game? Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. (Screened with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Richard Fleischer (127 min., color, 35mm, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea screenshotDisney's Cinema-Scope classic updates the Jules Verne novel, adding an undercurrent of anxiety about the atomic era and the potential threats and potential of nuclear power. A "monster" has been terrorizing and sinking shipping vessels in the South Seas. Acclaimed French professor Pierre Arranox (Paul Lukas) agrees to travel on a U.S. expedition to track down the monster, along with his assistant Conseil (Peter Lorre) and the skeptical seaman Ned Land (Kirk Douglas). When their ship, too, is destroyed, they survive to discover that the monster is actually a mysterious submarine, captained by the fanatical Captain Nemo (James Mason). Nemo at first wins over Arranox with his vision of an underwater utopia, far from the wars and poverty of the surface world. But Conseil and Land see a very different picture. In the end, Arranox comes to understand the madness driving Nemo and his fears of what his submarine's new mysterious power source could wreak upon the rest of the world if it is discovered. (Screened with The Bead Game)



Transnational Futures

Transfer (2010)

Damir Lukacevic (93 min., color, 35mm, Germany, In German with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 1 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Transfer screenshotDying was so 20th century! In the near future, those who can afford it will be able to transfer their mental selves into new host bodies to extend their lives without missing a beat. In his compelling and emotional drama, Damir Lukacevic examines the consequences of this possibility through the story of Hermann and Anna, a well-to-do German couple facing Anna's imminent death from cancer. In a bid to save their love, they purchase the bodies of Apolain and Sarah, "volunteers" from poverty-stricken African nations, whose families are promised significant financial compensation in return. By day, Hermann and Anna control the bodies, startling their friends and neighbors with their youthful new selves and unsettling themselves over the question of transferring into black bodies. By night, Apolain and Sarah regain control of themselves for four hours each evening. At odds at first, the two come to develop a love -- a love which may threaten Hermann and Anna's love and which leads all four to reconsider what it means to live and die and to be oneself. A fascinating sci-fi film touching on issues of race, transnationalism, poverty, resource use, life and death -- this is a MUST see! Winner and nominee for prizes at Shriekfest, Biberach, London Sci-Fi, Schwerin Art of Film, Brussels International Festival of Fantasy, and Emden International Film Festivals.
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Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury (2013)

Luiz Bolognesi (74 min., color, 35mm, Brazil, In Portuguese with English subtitles)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 9 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Rio 2096 screenshotLuiz Bolognesi's debut animated feature film is a gripping epic -- set across more than 600 years of Brazil's past and future. The year is 1566. In fleeing a jaguar's attack with his love, Janaina, Abeguar discovers an ability to fly. His shaman explains that he is the chosen one, the man who must lead his people for as long as it takes until they find a place free from the influence of the anhinga, or European culture. In receiving this gift, Abeguar discovers that resistance is (almost) futile and demands great pain, sacrifice, and eternal vigilance. Over the course of four key periods of Brazil's past and future -- native rebellion against the Portuguese in 1566, a peasant rebellion in 1831, a student movement against dictatorship in the 1960s, and a water rights movement in 2096 -- a continually reborn Abeguar searches for ways to resist the loss of his culture and place. Sustaining him through these troubles is a parallel search for true love with Janaina. In the end, not knowing one's past leads to darkness, but finding one's love offers eternity. Winner of Best Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. (Note: This is NOT a children's film -- containing graphic violence and sexuality)
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Code 46 (2003)

Michael Winterbottom (93 min., color, DVD, U.K.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 7 p.m.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Code 46 screenshotIt's the near future and Code 46 is in effect. With widespread use of cloning and genetic therapies, the statute prohibits anyone from breeding without making sure their partners are not genetically related. Willfully breeding with a known clone can result in arrest and treatment to ensure you never disobey again. Such control is typical of The Sphynx, the transnational corporation that has taken over most governmental functions, controlling who travels and who gets the privilege of living in the protection of global megacities like Shanghai and London. London-based William Geld (Tim Robbins) is a master at intuiting other people's thoughts and has been sent by The Sphynx to Shanghai to determine who is breaking the law there and issuing fraudulent licenses to travel. Geld is a man always at ease and accepting of the world as it is . . . until he meets license-maker Maria Gonzalez (Samantha Morton). Suddenly, his life is turned upside down and everything he thinks he believes about his world is up for grabs. Nominee for multiple audience awards at the 2003 European Film Awards and for the Golden Lion at the 2003 Venice Film Festival. (Note: Film does contain explicit nudity)
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Promised Land (2013)

Joe Turner Lin, Justin Marshall (20 min., color, Digital File, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3:45 p.m.

Chazen Museum of Art

Promised Land screenshotPart of the FutureStates series of short films that imagine the impacts of climate, societal, and technological change on the future course of mankind, Promised Land imagines a bleak future that combines all three kinds of change. It's the near-future. Temperatures regularly soar into the high 120s. Fuel and work are both hard to come by. And now to make matters worse, climate change refugees from the even bleaker future are now using technology to come back in time and try to find refuge in the past. Teenager Jackson's father is a bounty hunter trying to get these refuges dead or alive. On his first day of temporal border patrol, what happens to Jackson's sense of morality when confronted by a refugee who is girl about his age? A powerful examination of immigration, climate change, opportunity, and ethics in a changing world. (Screened with The Weather War)

Closing Night Films

Plastic Bag (2009)

Ramin Bahrani (18 min., color, Digital File, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 5 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Plastic Bag screenshotThere it is. See it over there -- that majestic bit of wildlife? It's the . . . plastic bag. With tongue firmly in cheek, Ramin Bahrani elevates the humble plastic bag to the role of documentary star, using all the usual tropes of big budget wildlife films to underscore just how much trash such as plastic bags plays a role in human and non-human landscapes, interacting with us in ways similar to any natural wild animal. At the same time, he gives us the narrated consciousness of the plastic bag (via the voice of German filmmaker Werner Herzog). The impacts of trash are obviously far from natural, as the film starkly illustrates at the end with the bag's final migration to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating slick of plastic and garbage in the Pacific Ocean that may be as large as twice the size of the continental United States. (Screened with Trash Dance)
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Trash Dance (2012)

Andrew Garrison (62 min., color, Blu-Ray, U.S.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 5 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Trash Dance screenshotWhen we have trouble envisioning the future, it makes it more difficult to find reasons for optimism in our present day. Enter choreographer Allison Orr - her mission is to find visions of beauty and dance in our everyday life. But her latest project may be her most challenging yet: trying to find hope in trash collection. For several months, she works alongside the Austin, Texas sanitation workers -- seeing in their movements and interactions with their equipment a beauty and a unique knowledge about place. Virginia, Don, Ivory, Orange and other workers are wary: just who is this crazy woman riding along on their trucks? With unbowed optimism, Orr wins them over, convincing them to volunteer for her dance project. Finally, the night of the outdoor performance arrives. The skies have been pouring rain. Some of the performers are still uncertain about their participation: a performance piece about trash collection!?!? Will anyone even show up? A glorious reminder of the power of individual vision to restore hope and to reshape our appreciation of the world. Winner of Audience Awards at the SXSW, Full Frame, Silverdocs, Woods Hole, Docuwest, Heartland, Sedona, and Rockport Film Festivals and featured at over 20 other film festivals! Filmmaker attended via Skype. (Screened with Plastic Bag)
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Expedition to the End of the World (2013)

Daniel Dancik (89 min., color, Blu-Ray, Sweden/Denmark, In Danish and Swedish with English subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 7 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Expedition to the End of the World screenshotA three-masted schooner packed with artists, scientists and ambitions worthy of Noah or Columbus sets off for the end of the world: its destination is the rapidly melting massifs of North-East Greenland. So begins an epic journey where the sailors on board encounter polar bear nightmares, Stone Age playgrounds, and entirely new species. But in their encounter with new, unknown parts of the world, the crew also confront existential questions of life. Curiosity, grand pathos, and a dose of humour come together in a superbly orchestrated film where one iconic image after the other seduces us far beyond the historical footnote that is humanity. Visually stunning and quietly meditative, Expedition to the End of the World eschews simplistic notions of time and change and gets at something much deeper. Official selection of the Göteborg, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, L.A., and Silverdocs Film Festivals.
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Tales After Dark

This year, we were pleased to partner with the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Film Committee to present another round of Tales after Dark. These films took the themes of the festival and tried to be more playful with them, offering fun favorites with an environmental twist. We think you'll agree, each of these films certainly offers a different way of thinking about environmental "futures!"

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Franklin J. Schaffner (112 min., color, U.S.)

Friday, November 1, 2013, 11:59 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

Planet of the Apes screenshot"Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death." And so reads Cornelius from the sacred scroll of apes. Yes, it's the classic you love and remember so well. Colonel George Taylor (Charlton Heston) and his crew, astronauts who departed Earth in 1967, have traveled 2100 years into the future where they find a planet ruled by intelligent apes and humans reduced to slave labor and experimentation. Becoming captured, Taylor is taken to the lab of Zira and Dr. Zaius, who dub him "Bright Eyes" and wonder if he may be as intelligent as he looks. A brooding classic that explores questions of humanity, ethics, the future, and the dangers of mankind's hubris, this was a film worth staying up late for!

The Road Warrior (1981)

George Miller (94 min., color, Australia)

Saturday, November 2, 2013, 11:59 p.m.

The Marquee Theater at Union South

The Road Warrior screenshot"I only came for the gasoline." It's the future -- our oil-based economy has collapsed and a nuclear apocalypse has occurred. Now Max (Mel Gibson in one of his earliest roles), a former policeman scavenging for fuel in the Australian Outback, can only survive by teaming up with a community living in a gasoline refinery, who try to defend their supplies from the barbarian biker gang led by The Humangus. A film long on sensations, short on words (Gibson has only 16 lines in the whole movie), and actually a kinetic futuristic Western, see why Roger Ebert said of it: "The experience is frightening, sometimes disgusting, and (if the truth be told) exhilarating!"