Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu
Going to the Movies is written by Mount Vernon Triangle resident Catherine Taegel.
A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a preview night for this year’s DC Independent Film Fest (DCIFF). They presented a few trailers and I was able to talk with organizers about the evolution of DCIFF itself and a few filmmakers about their work. The organizers want to make this year very dynamic – utilizing spaces throughout the city to show films and integrating classes and discussions into the overall event.
They aim to deepen community interest in a wider variety of independent films beyond what plays at E Street Cinema. (I have seen great small independent films at West End Cinema though and I hope the place is able to last.) It was a great evening and got me excited about this year’s class of films. Submissions are from all over the world and cover a range of topics. They’re divided into four categories: Narrative Features, Documentaries, Narrative Shorts, and Animation and Experimental. I was able to pick three films to see and review and I chose – “Between Two Rivers”, “Corporate FM”, and “Lifeless.”
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This past week I attempted to watch “Between Two Rivers” and encountered a bit of technical difficulty. However, I’ll take that as a sign that I need to attend DCIFF and see it on the big screen, because it’s a documentary after my own heart. The film already intrigued me, because the filmmakers (Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan) are from the U.K. and chose to focus on the small town of Cairo (pronounced Cay-ro), Illinois. As stated several times in the film, Cairo is a southern city in a northern state and its position on the intersection of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers would make one think that this would be a prosperous, bustling city. Once upon a time, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was just that, and what caused the rise and fall is the focus of this documentary.
The filmmakers weave in historic footage and perspective from town locals – including historians. You quickly realize that Cairo presents a classic American tale. Prosperous town in the heartland of the country faces an identity and economic crisis as it deals with race relations and the rise of the industrialized economy. Personally, I love American history and I love films that allow me to peak into another time. While I didn’t get to finish the film, it’s a film that I want to see through, because to me Cairo represents America – who we are and what we’ve faced. I have a feeling that the locals in this small town are going to provide perspective on where our country has been and what the means for where it’s going.
So check it out on March 7, 9:00 pm at the Goethe Institute (Chinatown Metro Station). The Goethe Institute is on 6th Street NW and is less than a block from Graffiato and Daikaya, the recently opened ramen restaurant. Grab some dinner and make a night out of it.
Be sure to check the full list of films and screenings for this year’s DCIFF. It starts next Wednesday, March 6 and runs through Sunday, March 10.