February 21, 2019 5:00 pm - February 24, 2019 10:00 pm
Global | United States of America | Washington, D.C. | Various
The Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world over four days of free screenings in Washington, D.C. Since 2016, the annual festival has opened on February 21, International Mother Language Day.
Now in its fourth year, the festival is an official event of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages. The four-day festival will open on United Nation’s International Mother Language Day, Thursday, February 21, and will feature 22 films and audiovisual experiences from 33 countries in 62 languages. Through a curated selection of films, the festival celebrates language revitalization around the world and explores the relationship between language vitality and personal and community wellbeing.
The festival opens an opening reception Thursday, February 21, at 6 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian in celebration of International Mother Language Day, and runs through Sunday, February 24. Screenings will take place at multiple locations across the Smithsonian and Washington, D.C. A complete schedule of screenings, including times and locations, is available at mothertongue.si.edu.
The festival will open with the Washington, D.C., premiere screening of the award-winning Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife) on Thursday, February 21, at 7 p.m. in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Rasmuson Theater. The festival will close with the world-tour premiere of Lena Herzog’s Last Whispers: Oratorio for Vanishing Voices, Collapsing Universes and a Falling Tree Sunday, February 24, at 6 p.m. in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. Last Whispers is simultaneously a film projection and a choral pre-recorded composition with spatialized 8.1 sound design. Image and sound are poetically linked through 3D animation, video drone footage, and still images. Composed of archival linguistic recordings, the oratorio is a chorus of extinct and endangered languages. The project’s director, sound engineer, and composer will be available for questions following the performance.
All screenings are free and open to the public.