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A Galaxy Far, Far Away
This documentary investigates the pop-culture phenomenon generated by George Lucas's Star Wars films, one which reached new peaks of excitement in the Spring of 1999, when the date for the theatrical premiere of the series' 'prequel,', The Phantom Menace, was announced. As Star Wars fans all over the country began lining up at movie theaters weeks prior to its scheduled May 19th opening, filmmaker Tariq Jalil and his crew began documenting the frenzy in an attempt to understand the mysterious appeal of these films. In addition to interviewing hundreds of devoted fans-including many who remained on line for forty-two days in order to get a ticket to the premiere screening-as well as a few skeptics, they also spoke with film industry executives (including producer Roger Corman and story analyst Christopher Vogler), members of the media covering the event, Star Wars convention attendees, collectors lined up for a midnight opening of a Toys 'r' Us outlet selling action figures from the new film, as well as celebrities such as Joe Pesci, Andy Garcia, and Meat Loaf. More than just a geek show, however, A Galaxy Far, Far Away offers real insights into why the Star Wars films have generated a powerful and widespread cultural appeal that crosses racial, gender and generational lines. Directed by Tariq Jalil 2001, color, 72 mins.
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The Brave Man

A humid August morning in Brooklyn. The year is 1776 and thirty-five thousand British regulars and Hessian mercenaries are bearing down upon George Washington's recently formed American army of twelve thousand men. The Revolution could be snuffed out before it has a chance to begin. The actions of one man, General William Alexander, leading a group of four hundred Maryland soldiers, prevented a decisive British victory that day. The Brave Man tells his story, which is also the story of the Battle of Brooklyn, one of the bloodiest but least-known conflicts of the War for Independence.

Shot with a limited budget and a caught-on-the-run style, The Brave Man employs maps, a fleet of red cars, a historic stone house, clever transitions between past and present, and a powerful, disbelief-suspending soundtrack. More than simply reenacting history, rather it evokes it, asking the audience to imagine the fear, confusion, and courage of the men who fought and died. As the battle develops, the motives of William Alexander also emerge. A frustrated pretender to a Scottish Earldom, he has very personal and not-so-noble reasons for facing down the British. It is juxtapositions like this one-the personal vendetta with a national cause, a contemporary street corner with a colonial cannon-that make The Brave Man an unprecedented motion picture experience. It brings history alive in a way that's altogether new. Directed by Joseph McCarthy 2001, color, 33 mins.

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More Than Flowers
This video tells the story of community gardens in New York City, which flourished during the Seventies when residents of deteriorating neighborhoods removed garbage from abandoned lots, obtained temporary leases from the city, and planted gardens. As the gardens developed through volunteer community effort, they became valued sites for local families and their children to socialize, relax, and enjoy nature. In the mid-Nineties, however, the city administration began selling these lots to developers, and bulldozing community gardens, which destroyed both the gardens and the community organizations they involved. The video features interviews with community gardeners throughout New York City and archival footage from the last two decades of the growth and ongoing destruction of the community gardens movement. Directed by Shraga Silberstein 2001, color, 29 mins.
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Carnival Train

This documentary examines the unique American subculture of the carnival by chronicling an entire season of the James E. Strates Shows, one of the oldest carnivals in America, and the last to tour cities and towns throughout the U.S. by train. The video shows the entire process of setting up the carnival-a moveable city, complete with midway surrounded by rides, games and sideshows-its operation for a week or more, and the thirty-hour effort to dismantle the carnival for the move to the next city. It features interviews with the entire range of carnival employees, a community of workers and their families who live on the mile-long train, including the ride boys who set up and dismantle the amusement rides, the train crews who chain heavy equipment onto flat cars, the game operators, the food concessionaires, the entertainers, safety inspector, and the carnival bosses. The video also includes a brief history of carnivals, famous for their freak shows, striptease and oddity acts, which have largely vanished, and the continuing allure of this form of entertainment.
Directed by Matthew Barr 1999, color, 57 mins.
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Los Pastores
Portrays the revival of Los Pastores (The Shepherd's Play), an ancient Christmas morality play that have long been part of Hispanic folk traditions in the American Southwest. Originally brought to the New World by the Spanish conquistadores and Catholic missionaries, Los Pastores evolved from a strict liturgical drama whose purpose was to teach morality to the indigenous Indian population into a sometimes bawdy and comedic folk play that went out of favor in the twentieth century. The video shows the reenactment of the play by the Sangre de Cristos Liturgies Theater Company at a small church in New Mexico. It features scenes of the play, interviews with local townspeople, plus archival photos and readings of letters from settlers who documented performances of the play at the turn of the century. Directed by Judy Chaikin 1997, color, 28 mins.
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