Eugene’s 14th annual International Film Festival, hosted by The Archaeology Channel, will open Thursday.
The film festival, part of the five-day TAC conference on Cultural Heritage Media that starts Wednesday, will feature film screenings, expert speakers, a video bar for individual festival film viewing, a social and an awards reception.
TAC will screen 27 films out of 118 entries it received from 35 countries. Their stories portray a wide range of complex, multicultural subjects.
One film, “Stone Age Cinema,” shows how 2.9 million-year-old Paleolithic artists produced stop-motion images of animal movement on cave walls. Another, “Naachtun: The Forgotten Mayan City,” depicts the excavation of Naachtun, the last city of the Maya Golden Age in the tropical Guatemala forest.
The films surpass most conceptions of the archaeological genre, said Richard Pettigrew, festival director and head of the Archaeology Legacy Institute. They incorporate innovative historical storytelling and relate complex cultural issues to viewers.
“This is part of our effort to have an impact on the genre itself, to bring people together with many different interests,” he said. “I’m really excited about this year.”
Some films’ usage of contemporary technology brings little-known and forgotten pockets of history to life. “Approaches: Saint Michel de Cuxa” features a digital 3-D recreation of an early medieval monastery in southern France. NOVA’s “Iceman Reborn,” follows scientists, archaeologists and historians as they use new technology to create a replica of Oetzi the Iceman. Oetzi was murdered and frozen more than 5,000 years ago and has remained intact within the ice.
The conference portion of the festival will feature keynote speaker Dr. Christopher Thornton, senior director of Cultural Heritage and interim vice-chair of the Committee for Research and Exploration at the National Geographic Society.