Arts and Entertainment

WE ARE ALL HUMAN

Director Arturo Perez Torres’ super heroes — the Super Amigos — are ordinary men who sport capes, fighting evil and injustice with their bare hands, but they’re no Supermen.

What makes them different from the Man of Steel is that they exist, Torres says.

But they are also different in that they exist in the streets of Mexico City and are characters of this Mexican director’s cultural documentary. Just as Superman was a cultural character of American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster’s fictional cartoons, the Super Amigos are likewise products of their environment.

And that’s an environment many Americans may not be familiar with. That is, until they see the film.

Torres’ “Super Amigos” will be featured as a culminating event 7:15 p.m. Feb. 16, as the National Geographic All Roads Film Festival comes to Bainbridge. Films are intended for a mature audiences at the kid-centric IslandWood.

“Super Amigos” from the director of “Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary,” has met mixed reviews in national media. But that’s not really the point.

The All Roads Film Project was created to provide an international stage for accomplished filmmakers of indigenous or unrepresented minority cultures from all over the world to share their stories and perspectives.

Each year gala premieres are hosted in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

IslandWood will be hosting a condensed, traveling version of All Roads On the Road this weekend.

“I’m really excited about the whole weekend festival format,” said the head of IslandWood media Katie Jennings. “The whole point of these films is seeing the same world around us through different eyes.”

Whereas last year the films were shown intermittently over a six-week period, this year all of these different perspectives will be consolidated into three days, Feb. 15-17, including a community dinner at Saturday night and filmmakers workshops Sunday. Visit www.islandwood.org or call (206) 855-4300 for a full schedule and reservation information.

To get the full benefit of how these films work collectively, IslandWood organizer Cynthia Bolin said you have to see them within a relatively short time frame of one another.

“These aren’t films in general that you are going to see playing at the Pavilion,” Bolin said. “A lot of them have cultural perspectives that we as Americans don’t have.”

“These are first-rate films but they are challenging films,” Jennings added. “They don’t have a Hollywood format, so you have to work to see what’s going on, but well worth the effort.”

While the films range from third-world documentary-style to more of a feature format, full-length to film shorts, with a sweeping range of subject matter, the stories and the people telling them are the crux of the festival.

One of Canada’s most well-known aboriginal documentary makers, director Alanis Obomsawin, tells the extremely personal story of her people, the Abenaki, in “Waban-aki,” while the Finnish director Katja Gauriloff, in her first documentary “A Shout in the Wind,” details the fate of an entire culture lying in the hands of a few determined individuals in northern Scandanavia. Halfway around the world, Torres’ “Super Amigos” tells the story of a handful of other individuals fighting to cleanse their culture of corruption and injustice.

“One of the most powerful things film can accomplish is to allow us to see the world through the eyes of someone who’s had a very different experience from our own,” said Jennings whose film “Teachings of the Tree People” was part of the 2005 All Roads Festival. “It expands our empathy and our understanding ... that there are multiple ways to be human and they are equally valid to the way that I have been taught.”

ALL ROADS FILM FESTIVAL BUFFET

? “Sonam...The Fortunate One” directed by Ashan Muzid, Monpa, India. Playing at 8 p.m. Feb. 15

Set in a small society of Monpa yak herders, “Sonam” is the story of love, lust and repentance as a husband allows his wife to take her lover as a second husband. (120 minutes)

Women Hold Up Half the Sky — a spotlight on women filmmakers, 1 p.m. Feb. 16

? “Crocodile Dreaming” — directed by Darlene Jackson, Dunghetti, Australia — A modern-day dream-time legend about two brothers coming to terms with traditional roles and identities after the death of a young daughter. (27 minutes)

? “Gene Boy Came Home” — directed by Alanis Obomsawin, Abenaki, Canada — The story of a boy who left home at age 15 to find work in the United States, served time as a marine in Vietnam and finally found his way home. (25 minutes)

? “A Shout in the Wind” — directed by Katja Gauriloff, Skolt Sami, Finland — The fate of the Skolt Sami culture lies with a few individuals who struggle against threats of modern-day life. (57 minutes)

Ancestors, Elders and Land — highlighting the connection of native people and their land, 3:30 p.m. Feb. 16.

? “Land and Airwaves” — directed by Patrick Boivin and Alland Flamand, Attikameks, Canada — A community radio station serves as a unifying instrument for the Attikameks people. (12 minutes)

? “Waban-aki: People from Where the Sun Rises” — directed by Alanis Obomsawin, Abenaki, Canada — A vivid portrait of the Abenaki people from a young artist determined to uphold their traditions. (104 minutes)

? “Super Amigos” directed by Arturo Perez Torres, Mexico City, Mexico. Playing at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16.

Five ordinary men, dressed like the Lucha Libre wrestlers who inspired them, take to the streets to battle slumlords, corruption, homophopia, animal cruelty and environmental destruction. (82 minutes)

Under the Same Sun — 

a look at the struggle from those who confront dual cultural identities, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17.

? “Tavake” — directed by Paul Stoll, Tonga — The struggle between progress and tradition told through the relationship of a father and son in the Kingdom of Tonga. (14 minutes)

? “Miss Navajo” — directed by Billy Luther, Navajo, United States — The filmmaker follows his tomboy mother through her quest for the unique title of Miss Navajo. (60 minutes)

Shorts from Around the World — short subject films depicting an array of global cultures, 4:30 p.m. Feb. 17.

? “Taua” directed by Tearepa Kahi, Maori, New Zealand.

? “Nana” directed by Warwick Thornton, Arrente, Australia.

? “My Brother Vinnie” directed by Steven McGregor, Arrente, Australia.

? “Menged” directed by Taye Workou, Amhara, Ethiopia.

? “133 Skyway” directed by Randy Redroad, Canada.

These films will show as part of National Geographic’s All Roads On the Road Film Festival, Feb. 15-17 at IslandWood, 4450 Blakely Ave. NE on Bainbridge. The entire event is free but some reservations will be required. Info: www.islandwood.org or call (206) 855-4300.

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