Convento at the Margaret Mead Film Festival
Feature Film Program
Adults: $12
Children/Seniors/Students: $10
Friday Nov 11, 2011
8:00PMFilm Begins

Museum of Natural History
(Inside at the Linder Theater)
Upper West Side
79th Street and Central Park West, New York, NY, 10024-5192
Take the C to 81st Street


This Show Presented in Partnership With
Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival

Rooftop Films partners with the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival to bring you Jarred Alterman's magical CONVENTO.

For the third year straight, Rooftop is proud to once again to partner with the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival.

The Margaret Mead Film Festival is the longest-running, premiere showcase for international documentaries in the United States, encompassing a broad spectrum of work, from indigenous community media to experimental nonfiction. The Festival is distinguished by its outstanding selection of titles, which tackle diverse and challenging subjects, representing a range of issues and perspectives, and by the forums for discussion with filmmakers and speakers.

We're excited to partner with the Festival to present CONVENTO, an audience favorite at our 2011 Summer Series. The film follows the bizarre and beautiful work of kinetic artist Christiaan Zwanikken, and the surreal world in which he lives and works.

In addition, Christiaan's fantastic robo-animal sculptures will be on display in the Museum of Natural History's Grand Gallery located near the 77th Street entrance. They will be on display through the entire Festival. Free with Museum or Mead admission. Even if you had a chance to see the scultpures in Brooklyn, Christiaan is bringing a NEW BATCH of fantastical creatures for your viewing pleasure.

See a full schedule and get more information on the Margaret Mead Film Festival here.


Convento (Jarred Alterman | Portugal | 52 min.)
Two fox skulls rise on spindly necks to dance and fight. Nearby in the chirping woods, a woman gathers her laundry, seemingly oblivious. A metal beetle whirrs and clicks, scaring a curious bird into fissure. A monastery in ruins is resurrected as a palace of ingenuity, as much in harmony with nature as it is incongruous within it.

Built 400 years ago, the convent on a cliff is now home to Geraldine Zwanikken and her sons Christiaan and Louis. The family settled here to find and forge a new wellspring of creativity. Christiaan has tapped the well literally, building a robotic donkey which walks an endless circle, lifting water to compound’s highest point, to trickle down and nurture Geraldine’s garden. The art is ghastly but gorgeous, an homage to the boys’ childhood donkey, and to all working animals and clever machines. Made out of modern scrap machinery but referencing eternal truths about the history and nature of animal life, this piece, like all of Christiaan’s work, like the convent, is a glorious contradiction, an object at odds with itself.

Director Jarred Alterman revels in the Zwanikkens’ poetic paradoxes. Lusciously photographed, intricately edited, delicately constructing a soundscape that mixes the sounds of the hills with the noises of a science fiction film set in Medieval times, Convento is a delightful immersion in the sun-dusted scrubland,
in the crumbling walls of the ancient building, in Christiaan’s Frankenstein lab, revealing a unique vision of existence.

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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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