42nd Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History

You are invited to opening night at this year’s Margaret Mead Film Festival (October 18-21),the internationally recognized premier platform for documentary films in the unique setting of the American Museum of Natural History.

This year’s festival will screen 55 outstanding films from 39 countries and host special events and performances featuring 14 U.S. premieres and 4 North American premieres. The opening-night film is the New York premiere of Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped by Boko Haram. Written and produced by Karen Edwards (in attendance) and directed by Gemma Atwal, the film introduces the world to the young women whose kidnapping by Boko Haram, a militant terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria, drew global attention and inspired the social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls. The film will debut on HBO on Monday, October 22. There will be a discussion with filmmakers Karen Edwards and Sasha Achille after the screening.

This year’s films focus on the theme “Resilience in Motion,” documenting stories that celebrate individuals who are breaking new ground or breaking free despite challenging circumstances. The timely films premiering at the Mead this year will spark provocative conversations—whether they’re about battling voter suppression in Cumberland County, North Carolina, or Nigerian school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram struggling to regain normalcy after their release from captivity, or transgender women in Tonga creating safe spaces for self-expression.

Other Mead Festival Highlights:

On Election Day in 2016, four volunteers stationed themselves at the polls in North Carolina, answering questions and working to ensure every vote counts. (N.Y. Premiere)

  • Graves Without a Name, directed by Rithy Panh

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rithy Panh makes a rare personal appearance at the American Museum of Natural History to talk about his latest documentary. Graves Without a Name explores the lasting effects of the Cambodian genocide through stories of those who have lost their families and have begun searching for their graves. Driven by Panh’s own desire to know the whereabouts of his many murdered loved ones, the film focuses on the spiritual well-being of those affected by the genocide. (N.Y. Premiere)

  • Personal Statement, directed by Juliane Dressner and Edwin Martinez

Three high schoolers from underfunded Brooklyn schools become leaders in the fight for educational equity, while helping their peers apply to college. (N.Y. Premiere)

  • Playing Hard, directed by Jean-Simon Chartier

A behind-the-scenes look into what goes into creating the next great video game. It follows the creation of the game For Honor over a four-year period. Does this team have the creativity, discipline, and grace under pressure to succeed? (U.S. Premiere)