James Bond: Pushing 60 and Still Looking Good

Everyone's favorite suave secret agent, James Bond, is headed back to the big screen with the upcoming release of Skyfall. The new flick stars Daniel Craig in his third outing as Bond, alongside a killer cast including Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem as the newest Bond villain, and Ben Whishaw in his debut as the gadget-master Q. The flick, which continues to dig into Bond's origins as seen previously in 2006's Casino Royale, has been receiving early critical acclaim as one of Agent 007's best. Opening in theaters everywhere November 9, Skyfall happens to come out exactly 50 years after the original Bond movie, Dr. No, which starred Sean Connery in 1962.

But before Skyfall arrives in theaters, AADL's collection offers plenty of ways to celebrate Mr. Bond's big birthday--and another even bigger 007 milestone. WhilJames Bond: Daniel Craig as James Bond.James Bond: Daniel Craig as James Bond.e Bond may be 50 in movie years, he's existed on the printed page for almost 60. Casino Royale, the original Bond story by Ian Fleming, was published in 1953 and is available via the AADL catalog. Fleming went on to write 14 James Bond books. His final one, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, was published in 1966, two years after his death. Fleming's series has been followed by numerous additional Bond books by authors including Jeffery Deaver, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Charlie Higson (who wrote the Young Bond series for teens).

And for those looking to get caught up on the movies, AADL has Bond flicks from the original Dr. No to 2008's Quantum of Solace. For true devotees, try the original 1967 film adaptation of Casino Royale, a wacky spoof of spy films with an all-star cast including David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, George Raft, and Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Film & Discussion: Urban Roots

The film Urban Roots is a 2011 documentary that tells the moving story of the spontaneous emergence of urban farming in Detroit. It shows dedicated Detroiters working tirelessly to fulfill their vision for locally-grown, sustainably-farmed food in a city where people - as in much of the country - have found themselves cut off from real food. Their choices are limited to the offerings of fast food chains, mini-marts, and grocery stores stocked with processed food from thousands of miles away.

The discussion after the screening will be led by Malik Yakini (highlighted in the film), Chair of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and farmer with D-Town Farms, and Riet Schumack, a resident and community organizer involved with Neighbors Building Brightmoor and the Brightmoor Youth Gardens.

Cosponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars Program.

Thursday, September 20 | 6 - 8:30 PM | Film & Discussion: Urban Roots | Downtown Multi-Purpose Room | Grade 9 - Adult

C-SPAN Challenges Students to Compete in National Documentary Contest

Are you a policy wonk? Then you should enter this contest!!

This Year's Theme: Message to the President

C-SPAN is asking students to consider what issue the president should address in 2013, and create a video documentary explaining why it's important.

This Year's Theme is : Message to the President

What do you think is important and should be addressed by the president? Make a short film and enter it in this contest for a chance to win some cash!!. It will be fun to do and a great item to put on your resume (some day!).

Now in its ninth year, C-SPAN's national competition invites all middle school students (grades 6-8) and high school students (grade 9-12) to produce a five- to eight-minute video documentary using C-SPAN programming.

This year, students will have the opportunity to produce a documentary focusing on "A Message to the President: What's the most important issue the president should consider in 2013?"

The C-SPAN Education Foundation supports the contest by awarding 75 student and 11 teacher prizes, totaling $50,000 in cash.

Entries must represent varying points of view, and incluide C-SPAN video that supports the documentary's topic. Students, working alone or in groups up to three, must upload their videos by January 18, 2013, and winners will be announced in March. A full list of guidelines, FAQ's and past winning videos can be found at studentcam.org.

If enough students enter from Ann Arbor we can reserve a night to run the documentaries and you can invite all your friends!!

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Film: Poto and Cabengo

Wednesday February 1, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The theme for Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads 2012 is "Language: How We Communicate." Experience a very unique form of communication when you join us for this extraordinary haunting 1980 documentary.

Poto and Cabengo were identical twins who used a language unknown to other people until the age of eight. These San Diego twins, with little exposure to the outside world, created a private form of communication. A caseworker advised speech therapy, where it was quickly discovered that the young twins had invented a complex language of their own.

Director Jean-Pierre Gorin's investigation of this phenomenon looks at the family from a variety of angles, with the director taking on the role of a sort of sociological detective. It's a delightful and absorbing study of words and faces, mass media and hauntingly personal isolation. The film is not rated.

Filmmaker David Gatten Discusses Working With Words

Thursday December 1, 2011: 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Learn how filmmaker David Gatten uses historical documents, "out-dated" instructional texts, and rare books as both inspiration and image in his film-making practice. What materials and resources do you use as inspiration?

Over the last fifteen years Gatten's work has explored the intersection of the printed word and the moving image, while investigating the shifting vocabularies of experience and representation within intimate spaces and historical documents. Through traditional research methods (reading old books) and non-traditional film processes (boiling old books), the films trace the contours of both private lives and public histories, combining elements of philosophy, biography and poetry with experiments in cinematic forms and narrative structures.

The Spiritual Experience of Viewing Great Films.

Departures

From the website gratefulness.org, there are links to a tremendous source of recommended films from the Esalen Institute. At the Institute, they regularly offer film seminars with the overall theme, Renewing Wholeness: The Spiritual Experience of Viewing Great Films.

Some of the highlights are lists on these themes: forgiveness, the feminine, hope for the future, and wisdom & compassion. And then there is the top 20 list: beautiful films, old and new, American and foreign, they all make a statement about the enduring necessity of living connected to others, with love and grace, as difficult as that is much of the time.

From that list I watched three films that are new to me and I am glad I discovered them.
Departures, a Japanese film about a young man who answers a job ad for a company called “Departures”, thinking it is a travel agency, only to discover it is all about preparing people (both dead and alive) for the final journey. King of Masks, a Chinese film about an itinerant mask artist, who performs street theater in 1930s Szechwan, and the abandoned child he adopts so he can pass on his theatrical legacy. And, The Burmese Harp, the classic anti-war film made in Japan in 1956, about one man’s challenge to live humanely in evil circumstances.

Gasland

Gasland, a film about Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize Winner and was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

In 2009, filmmaker Josh Fox learned that his home was on top of a rock formation containing natural gas. He was offered $100,000 to lease his land to undergo Halliburton’s controversial extraction process of hydraulic fracturing. He questioned the safety of fracking, and wanted to dig deeper, leading him an a cross-country, truth-seeking mission to answer some questions: Is the process safe? What are the effects on humans and the Earth? Fox learned fracking has caused everything from illness to flammable water. The film is an educational journey that is both disheartening and warm-hearted.

As part of AADL’s ongoing series of Films & Discussions, cosponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars Program, Gasland will be shown at the Downtown Ann Arbor District Library on Thursday, November 17, at 6 PM. A discussion led by the faculty and students of MCSP will follow the film. The event is recommended for grade nine to adult.

Film & Discussion: Freedom Riders

6:00 - 8:30 PM | Downtown Library | Thursday, October 27 | Grade 9-Adult

In 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives--and many endured beatings and imprisonment, for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, testing their belief in nonviolent activism.

Leading the post film discussion is Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr., who was a Freedom Rider. He is a longtime civil rights activist, organizer, and an authority on nonviolent social change. He co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, and he was a core leader of the civil rights movement in Nashville, TN, in 1960 and in Selma, AL, in 1965.

From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, the film features testimony from a cast of characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalist who witnessed the Rides firsthand. This two-hour documentary is based on Raymond Arsenault's book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars' Program and the Ann Arbor District Library.

Film & Discussion: Telling Amy's Story

Monday October 24, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, AADL and SafeHouse Center present a special screening of the award-winning documentary Telling Amy's Story.

The film, hosted by actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay and told by Detective Deirdri Fishel, follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred in 2001. The victim's parents and co-workers, law enforcement officers, and court personnel share their perspectives on what happened to Amy in the weeks, months, and years leading up to her death.

While the ending to Amy's story can never be changed, it is hoped that it's telling can change outcomes for the millions of victims, survivors, and loved ones affected by domestic violence every day. A discussion (led by SafeHouse Center) will follow the screening of the 43 minute film, which is not rated.

Film Screening & Discussion: City Dark: A Search for Night on a Planet that Never Sleeps

In this award-winning film, filmmaker and amateur astronomer Ian Cheney starts with the deceptively simple question, Do we need to see the stars? City Dark explores the disappearance of darkness and the myriad implications of light pollution, from the deaths of thousands of animals disoriented by city lights to humanity's more abstract disconnect from the wonder of the cosmos hidden from view behind the orange haze of its cities.

In this thoughtful film, Cheney passes over both environmental rants and nostalgic pleas to engage us in a more meditative reflection on our relationship with the night sky with stunning astrophotography and a cast of eclectic scientists, philosophers, historians and lighting designers.

The University Lowbrow Astronomers are co-sponsoring this screening and members of the group will be on hand to answer questions following the film.

City Dark | Tuesday, October 11 | 6:30 p.m. | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

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