Los Angeles

Two Documentaries of Slow Food Interest

Our friends at the International Documentary Association have alerted us to two films that will be screened at the 9th annual DocuWeek (Friday, 19 August, through Thursday, 25 August) at the ArcLight. The complete schedule is available here, and additional information about these and other films screened during DocuWeek are here.

dirt-famer-john.jpgThe Real Dirt on Farmer John, directed by Taggart Siegel, will be screened daily during DocuWeek. The film is the epic tale of a maverick midwestern farmer. Branded a pariah in his community, Farmer John bravely transforms his farm amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors, and arson. He succeeds in creating a bastion of free expression and a revolutionary form of agriculture in rural America. The film was the winner of the Slamdance “Audience Sparky Award” for Best Feature Documentary, 2005.

Taggart Siegel as been producing and directing award-winning documentaries and dramatic films for 20 years. Other documentaries include: The Split Horn: Life of A Hmong Shaman in America, a sweeping story of a Hmong shaman struggling to maintain his ancient traditions as his children embrace American culture; Between Two Worlds, Blue Collar and Buddha, Heart Broken in Half, and Bitter Harvest, have aired on PBS, cable television, and are distributed worldwide. Siegel produced and directed a theatrical feature film Shadow of the Pepper Tree and directed short dramatic films including Affliction, Ember Days, and Body Memories. In addition, Siegel has produced many films including Destroying Angel, The Beloved, and The Disenchanted Forest for National Geographic Television. He is the Executive Director of the Collective Eye, Inc. a non-profit media organization based in San Francisco.

killing-flies-w.jpgI Like Killing Flies, directed by Matt Mahurin, will also be screened daily. With over 900 items on the menu, all conjured up from scratch in a Rube Goldberg kitchen the size of a walk-in closet, Kenny Shopsin, a self-taught chef in his tiny, family-owned, New York City-based restaurant, spends his days feeding his neighbors. And when there is a lull in the cooking, Kenny steps out from behind his Frankenstein stove and holds court, serving up morsels of wisdom and wit on life, death, sex, politics and even food. But after 32 years in the same sheltered workshop, the lease is lost and the family must now find a new place for Kenny to cook.

Matt Mahurin has spent twenty years as an illustrator, photographer, film director, and teacher. His political and social illustrations have appeared in Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, Esquire, The London Observer, and New York Times Op-Ed pages. His photographic essays have focused on the homeless, people with AIDS, the Texas prison system, abortion clinics, mental hospitals, Nicaragua, Haiti, Belfast, Mexico, Japan, and France. He has published three books of personal fine-art photographs and has photographs in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

In addition to this bibliography, Matt Mahurin has directed music videos for Peter Gabriel, U2, REM, Tracy Chapman, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Ice-T, Metallica, David Byrne, and Joni Mitchell. In 1996, he wrote and directed the feature film, {Mugshot} which won best film at the 1996 Hamptons Film Festival. He has been awarded gold and silver medals from The Society of Illustrators, the MVPA Lifetime Achievement award for Directing, has 40 Time covers to his credit, and contributed political drawings to the Los Angeles Times Sunday Op-Ed page for 22 years. Mahurin continues to teach workshops and lectures on the craft of image making at schools and professional organizations. He lives in New York.