|10:15PM||Q&A with filmmaker Linda Västrik|
|11:30PM||After party sponsored by New Amsterdam Spirits|
on the grass along the water
Long Island City
32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11106
Take the N or Q train to the Broadway stop in Queens and walk eight blocks west on Broadway (toward the East River) to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard.
NY Premiere. Deep within one of the world’s last untouched rainforests lives the Yaka/ Mbendjele tribe, a group of hunter-gatherers from the Congo Basin, who are about to discover the Western world’s intense lust for “progress.” Beyond just an ethnographic study, award-winning filmmaker Linda Västrik imbues each lush frame with humor, heartbreak and vibrant storytelling.
Forest of the Dancing Spirits (Linda Västrik | 104 min.)
(Linda Västrik | 104 min.) With Forest of the Dancing Spirits, filmmaker Linda Västrik provides a glimpse at a culture so ancient that its denizens still inhabit the mythic world. For 75,000 years, these hunter-gatherers known as the Aka have thrived a place they call Ndima (The Forest) – what we call the Congo Basin.
Akaya, granddaughter of the chief, is in her final months of her second pregnancy. She hopes that this time her baby will survive, and with her husband Kengole they will finally be a family. The couple is under great pressure to produce children: though the Aka have a tight-knit and benevolent society, they are not without the tendency to gossip, and in their culture, children are most precious.
The birth of another woman's baby – a child who is welcomed into the world in a bed of leaves on the jungle floor – also heralds the arrival of the dancing spirits from the depths of the forest. First comes Edjengi, a writhing shimmering rhythmic mass of long leaves, one of the oldest spirits on Earth; then Lingoko, as old and as powerful as Edjengi, a fierce presence that provides successful hunts and possess the bodies of the village women.
Västrik immerses herself in the society of the Aka, as a welcome visitor of Ndima (the Congo jungle). In the hum of the forest, the Aka's polyphonic singing interweaves seamlessly with the sounds of birds, insects, trees, winds and of animals beyond our imagination. The film provides an intimate view of an existence where the forest is a place for dance, fellowship, life, wonder, play, love, medicines, magic, food, birth, death, fear, spirits and joy.