Astoria, Literary
Jul 31, 2014

The 10th Annual Rural Route Festival Starts August 8 at MOMI

We’re pretty excited that the 10th Annual Rural Route Film Festival is almost upon us—it happens on the weekend of August 8-10 at one of our favorite spots in town, (…)

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from animation by Alexander Vorobiov from Ukrainian documentary, “Krasna Malanka” (directed by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk)

We’re pretty excited that the 10th Annual Rural Route Film Festival is almost upon us—it happens on the weekend of August 8-10 at one of our favorite spots in town, the Museum of the Moving Image. The films in this year’s festival focus on old world paganism (especially from Eastern Europe), sexuality, and nature. The festival is organized by Astoria filmmaker Alan Webber.

Sixteen films—five features and eleven short films—will be shown as part of the festival, and the the countries of origin span the globe: Ukraine, Russia, Slovenia, Hungary, Somaliland, the UK, and the US. Along with select screenings there will be filmmaker appearances and live music.

One of the big highlights is the opening night screening and reception celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sergei Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a film about mythology, hypnotic religious iconography, and pagan magic set in the Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains. Ukraine is, of course, in the news these days, so we welcome a chance to connect with aspects of that country’s culture in another way than is on the news currently. Other films based in Ukraine and Russia include (copy by MOMI):

  • Aleksei Fedorchenko’s Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari, a one-of-a-kind film about a modern-day pagan society among the people of the autonomous Mari El region of central Russia.
  • North American premiere of Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk’s Krasna Malanka, an intimate portrait of a Ukrainian village during an important pagan holiday, from the same Carpathian Mountain heritage depicted in the Paradjanov film.
  • Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors will be preceded by the 5 minute Carpathian Rap by Ukrainian director Sashko Danylenko. This animated music video for the Ukrainian “ethnic chaos” band Dakha Brakha was created at the Kiev Center of Contemporary Art.

Another major element of the festival is the new director’s cut of the 1973 Christopher Lee cult classic, The Wicker Man. In case you forgot what this film is about, here’s the synopsis:

The Wicker Man is the tale of a pious (virgin) police sergeant who travels to a remote Scottish Isle in search of a missing girl and discovers an entire community that has embraced a sexually uninhibited pagan lifestyle, centered around the worship of nature.

Here’s the original trailer:

The full screening schedule for the festival can be found here.

We’ve also heard that there will be a food and drink element throughout the festival. Here are more details:

  • August 8—vodka reception after the film, as well as a giveaway of two cases of top shelf Nemiroff Ukranian Vodka that evening.
  • August 9—George Rallis of Astoria’s William Hallet as guest chef; live music from traditional/psychedelic Scottish bagpipe group, the Iona Session Players.
  • August 10—Natasha Pogrebinsky of LIC’s BEAR as guest chef; experimental folk melodies from Hydra (featuring the lead actress from Josephine Decker’s “Butter on the Latch”).

Also, hear mariachi world pop from Rana Santacruz at the closing night screening atop LIC’s Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for each program at the Museum are $10 public and free for Museum members. A Rural Route Festival pass for all screenings at the Museum is available for $27. Advance tickets and passes are available online at or by phone at 718-777-6800.

Check out the festival trailer!

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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