Talk about “roots”! We enter AD 2007 at full-throttle, buoyed by the notion that, somewhere under an acacia tree on the hard-baked sediments of northern Kenya’s Lake Turkana Basin, Louise Leakey is dusting off hominid fossils and readying the keynote address for her May 1 appearance at the opening of this year’s TAC Festival in Eugene, Oregon. Reflecting on Louise’s notoriety and the interest it will create, we look forward now to our best-ever Festival event. Celebrity attracts, of course, and we are pleased to host yet another distinguished visitor: The Executive Editor of Archaeology Magazine, Mark Rose, will attend all the way from New York to produce a feature article on TAC Festival for the magazine. To say the least, all of us here at Archaeological Legacy Institute are excited about the prospects for this year’s event, as we anticipate the arrival of these, and other, illustrious guests.
But there is much more to staging an international film festival than celebrity appearances–namely, the films themselves. In our last TAC Newsletter we discussed Dr. Leakey’s upcoming visit and told you about the growing list of film submissions arriving from around the world. Those films are now in–all 86 of them from 23 different countries including the USA. Each has been carefully viewed and scored by objective criteria to rate the quality of its production, content and message. Despite some difficult choices, this year’s Festival program is now set, and our Director says that the quality of these 21 films is the highest he has seen. The remaining entries will also be listed and described in the Festival Program, and made available for individual viewing at the Festival’s Video Bar. Coordination and promotion of TAC Festival 2007 is now underway.
In addition to the fine slate of films this year, we are also excited to tell you about the associated events and activities which will enhance this year’s theatre presentations. Besides the Video Bar, planning is underway for our annual Symposium on Heritage Film, a field trip to a nearby rock shelter site containing ancient rock art, a Native American storytelling session, a mock archaeological dig, and several other events. We will tell you more about these events, and other visiting dignitaries, in the next issue of the Newsletter.
In related news, our traveling mini-festival— ArchaeologyFest Film Series: Best of 2006—is well underway, taking the top eight films from Festival 2006 on the road statewide in Oregon. In the latter half of last year, ArchaeologyFest hosted appearances in Eugene, Portland, and the coastal town of Newport, while in January 2007 we visited the campus of Southern Oregon University, in Ashland, for four evening showings there. This mobile event concludes in June, with a scheduled appearance in LaGrande in the eastern part of our state. Although, admittedly, the logistics of producing ArchaeologyFest are challenging, we remain committed to the project as a way of sharing the wealth of TAC Festival films more widely.
But back to the main Festival. All is in readiness. The film program is the very best that our producers and the latest technology can provide. Each glorious film will appear on the big screen at the main Festival venue—Eugene’s grandest, most historic performing arts palace, The McDonald Theatre. And there’s nothing quite like the comfort and ambience of settling back into the seats of a beautifully-redecorated Vaudeville-era theatre, is there? Considering the superb quality of the films, we truly hope that you can join us for what promises to be a most enjoyable and informative Festival week. Come see what’s happening in the colorful world of heritage film, hear Dr. Leakey speak, and find out what’s new in the search for humanity’s deepest roots: our African origins.
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