Mountainfilm on Tour – Savannah is scheduled for January 22-25, 2020, and will screen over thirty films throughout the four-day festival. The mission of Mountainfilm on Tour – Savannah is to educate and inspire local audiences to create a better world through the power of film. Mountainfilm on Tour – Savannah is a partner of Telluride-based, Mountainfilm.
The festival kicks off on Wednesday, January 22nd, with Mountainfilm for Students: Movies that Matter, an education program that serves over 4,500 students from Savannah Chatham County Public Schools, Effingham County Schools and local private schools. On-site screenings are scheduled for Yamacraw Performing Arts Center and Johnson High School on Wednesday; the program continues on Thursday and Friday at Trustees Theater and Lucas Theatre.
Evening programs begin on Thursday, January 23rd, at 7:00 p.m., at Trustees Theater, with the screening of 17 Blocks, a feature-length film by award-winning director, Davy Rothbart. The film chronicles four generations of the Sanford-Durant family, who struggle with drug addiction and gun violence in their deeply troubled southeast D.C. neighborhood. Assembled from 20 years of home video footage, the powerful drama is tied to single-mother Cheryl’s youngest son, Emmanuel, who was nine when the family began shooting video in 1999. Tragedy is foreshadowed and unfolds inexorably, but is nonetheless devastating when it arrives. And yet hope becomes the overarching theme of the film. Director Rothbart joins the audience for a Q & A session immediately following the film.
Friday and Saturday nights feature documentary short films, including Broken, Rusty’s Ascent, Every Nine Minutes and Up to Speed — in addition to many more inspiring and adventure-seeking films. Artists Winfred Rembert and Dr. Shirley Whitaker, and director Taylor Rees, from the film, Ashes to Ashes, participate in a Q & A session after their film screening on Friday night. Rembert, who grew up laboring in cotton fields in rural Georgia, joined the civil rights movement as a teen and is a rare survivor of a lynching attempt. Decades later, he still carries the scars and has used art as a way to heal. As he etches
the history, blood-soaked and cruel, into leatherwork, fellow artist Whitaker organizes a different kind of ceremony to search for healing. “It’s not just black history,” she says. “This is American history.”
Dr. Richard Antoine White and William Smith join the audience at Trustees Theater on Saturday night to discuss their film, R.A.W. Tuba. The brothers grew up intermittently homeless in inner-city Baltimore and are now accomplished musicians. Dr. White is a world-class symphony musician, professor and the first African-American in the world to receive a doctorate in music for tuba performance. His brother William, whom he met as an adult, is a rapper. “I like the tuba because it reminds me of my life, it’s the underdog,” says White. The documentary reads like a manual in how to overcome odds.
An exhibit featuring the art of Winfred Rembert is open to the public at the former Southern Motors Acura building at 402 East Broughton Street during the festival. Exhibit hours are: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 23rd; 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 25th ; and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 26th. The exhibit will remain open to the public until February 5, 2020: Monday- Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Film screenings are at Trustees Theater, 216 East Broughton Street, each evening at 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, a family matinee is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Trustees Theater. Other festival events include Coffee and Conversation, a casual gathering with visiting filmmakers and film personalities at The Marshall House, 123 East Broughton Street, on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m., and an organized bike ride/walk through historic Savannah, in conjunction with the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, leaving from The Marshall House at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and ending in Forsyth Park.
Tickets to all film screenings can be purchased at the Savannah Box Office www.savannahboxoffice.com Admission to Coffee and Conversation and the bike ride is free with an evening ticket stub. For more information about festival events and tickets, visit www.mountainfilmsav.org.