A scene from “Nomads”, showing at the Mead Festival.

By Nancy Novick

Looking for a different kind of Saturday night at the movies? You might want to see what’s on at the Margaret Mead Festival at the American Museum of Natural History. Saturday’s offerings include Gangbé!, which follows members of a brass band from Benin as they bring their high-energy Afrobeat to audiences around the world; Best and Most Beautiful Things, a profile that celebrates the coming of age of Michelle Smith, a young woman on the autism spectrum who is also legally blind; and Yallah! Underground, an exploration of alternative Arab music before and during the Arab Spring.

But films are just one part of the festival, which also features mixers with other filmgoers, a Cuban dance party, and a virtual reality lounge showing the films Nomads, which offers an intimate look at several nomadic cultures.

The festival concludes on Sunday with a screening of Indivisible, a film that focuses on how our immigration policy has affected the lives of three families seeking a better life in the United States. All programming falls under the theme “Re-Frame,” which was selected to “encourage viewers to “reconnect, rediscover our common humanity, and rethink how we see the world around us,” according to organizers.

A scene from “Indivisible”, showing at the Mead Festival.

West Side Rag readers may also be interested to know that although the festival’s namesake, Margaret Mead, is often associated with her famous work in Samoa as well as other remote locations, she also had strong ties to the Upper West Side. In addition to earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Barnard and Columbia, respectively. Ms. Mead worked at the American Museum of Natural History for more than 50 years, and commuted from her apartment across the street in the Beresford.

For a complete schedule of events, go to http://www.amnh.org/explore/margaret-mead-film-festival-2016. Ticket prices for the Margaret Mead Festival range from $10-15; some non-film events are free.

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    1. Current resident says:

      Cool that Margaret Mead lived in the Beresford!