These days, cinema is a truly global affair. Movies, with their unique ability to touch our hearts and minds, bring together diverse worlds with a common humanity. Today, on Pacifica Performance showcase, we explore the pursuit of dreams – through three fabulous films. Two films which epitomize the filmmaker’s passion and pursuit of life through art, were featured in this year’s 7th Annual Indian Film Festival, Umakanth Thumragoti’s whimsical “7 Days in Slow Motion” and Faiza Ahma Khan’s documentary “Supermen of Malegoan.”
But first, we steer closer to home with two gifted American filmmakers, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. Their first feature collaboration was the critically acclaimed “Half Nelson,” which garnered an Oscar nomination for actor Ryan Gosling. Their current film “Sugar” has opened to equally glowing reviews. Exploring the great American past-time with a Dominican twist, it screened at the 2008 AFI Film Festival, and was recently featured at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. “Sugar” follows the journey of Miguel Santos a promising young pitcher from the Dominican baseball Academys which groom players for the Major Leagues in the U.S. For many young Dominicans baseball is the Yellow Brick Road out of poverty and straight into the American Dream. While Miguel’s own field of dreams initially lands him in Iowa, this “Stranger in a Strange Land” tale is as reminiscent of Thomas McCarthy’s “The Visitor” as it is “Bull Durham”. Through Miguel’s longing for family and community, “Sugar” explores the immigrant experience via the baseball diamond and reveals that in the single-minded search for success, we might not end up where we’d originally intended, but perhaps we find out where we truly belong. In combining the best aspects of traditional “sports-theme” films, “Sugar” is ultimately a revelation of what holds true value in our lives.
Not unlike “Sugar” two of the films featured in this year’s 7th Annual Indian Film Festival, also
follow the filmmaker’s attempt to realize their vision, despite all odds, embodying an indomitable spirit of determination through ingenuity and an overwhelming obsession with the movies.Umakanth Thumrugoti brings to bear a 14 year tenure in animation at Disney, working there on projects like “Pocohontas”, “Chicken Little” and “Fantasia 2000. “7 Days in Slow Motion” captures a young filmmaker’s perspective on the adult world through the imagination and wonder of a camera lens. Documentary filmmaker Faiza Ahmad Khan’s “Supermen of Malegoan”chronicles a filmmaker’s hapless attempts at a Mollywood remake “Superman” reminding us of the sheer joy, enthusiasm, and determination inherent in the filmmaker’s journey, no matter how scarce his resources. For further information on the Indian Film festival and a complete schedule, go to www.indianfilmfestival.org