CineCulture fall lineup begins with ‘The Eagle Huntress’

Poster for "The Eagle Huntress" film

The Fresno State CineCulture Series kicks off its fall 2017 lineup of film screenings with “The Eagle Huntress” at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1.

Most CineCulture screenings are at 5:30 p.m. on Fridays during the fall semester in the Peters Education Center Auditorium (5010 N. Woodrow Ave. in the Student Recreation Center). Some screenings are held with Fresno Filmworks at Tower Theatre (815 E. Olive Ave.). See the full list below.

All films screened on campus are free and open to the public. Parking is not enforced after 4 p.m. on Fridays. The Fresno Filmworks screenings are $10 general admission, and $8 for students and seniors.

Sept. 1:The Eagle Huntress(2016)

  • Discussant: Dr. Ed EmanuEl
  • In Kazakh with English subtitles, 87 minutes

The Eagle Huntress” by British director Otto Bell follows Aisholopan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition handed down from father to son for centuries. Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe of Central Asia, “The Eagle Huntress” features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film. While many old Kazakh eagle hunters vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father Nurgaiv believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she is determined.

*Sept. 8: Filmworks: “Pop Aye(2017)

  • In Thai with English subtitles, 102 minutes.

Pop Aye” by filmmaker Singapore-born Kirsten Tan, is a road film about a disenchanted architect named Thana who bumps into his long-lost elephant, Pop Aye, on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand. After buying the elephant, Thana decides to travel back to the farm where the two grew up together, hoping to make sense of his career and marital troubles. Traveling across Thailand, Thana and Pop Aye deal with countless mishaps and meet colorful characters along their life-changing journey.

Sept. 15: “The Fencer(2015)

  • Discussant: Dr. Michelle Denbeste
  • In Estonian, Russian and Armenian with English subtitles, 99 minutes.

Directed by Finnish filmmaker Klaus Härö (“Letters to Father Jacob,” “Mother of Mine”), The Fencer” is a movie with a bit of everything: a thriller, love story and inspirational teacher tale based on a true Cold War episode, about an Estonian fencing champion on the run from the Soviet secret police. This film manages to find optimism, humanity and beauty in a tragic historical era. The narrative is inspired by the story of Estonia’s legendary fencing master, Endel Nelis, who founded a dynasty and nurtured several world-class swordsmen. Working under a pseudonym as a physical education teacher in a tiny Estonian village, Nelis instructs his pupils in the art and sport of fencing. When the kids push for their team to participate in the national competition in Leningrad, Nelis must choose between his safety and his true vocation. “Unfolding under a cloud of suspicion and paranoia fostered by the postwar Soviet occupation, this well-acted, smoothly crafted drama tells a story of cross-generational bonding in the face of historical oppression.”

Sept. 22: “Paper Lanterns(2016)

  • Discussant: Chad Cannon, composer
  • Co-Sponsors: Center for Creativity and the Arts, The Ethics Center, Peace and Conflict Studies and Peace Fresno
  • This film is being screened in honor of International Day of World Peace (Sept. 22). 60 minutes.

In the summer of 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan: the first on Hiroshima on August 6, and the second on Nagasaki three days later. An estimated 140,000 civilians were killed in Hiroshima that day, including twelve American POWs whose family were never told of their death. A young Japanese boy, Shigeaki Mori, witnessed the explosion and survived but his life was changed forever. “Paper Lanterns” by director Barry Frechette is a film about the true story of these twelve American POWs and Mori’s struggle to account for their story in the years and decades that followed the end of World War II. Not as enemies, but as human beings who suffered in one of history’s most tragic events. This film is about them, the horrors they witnessed, their families’ struggle to find the truth, and one man’s effort to give them the gift of closure and have each of these twelve airmen recognized as victims of the atomic blast at the Hiroshima Peace Museum. The witnesses and survivors of these horrific events are dying. They do not want anyone to forget their loved ones and the sacrifices they made. They strive for peace, for compassion and for a world free of nuclear weapons. They want us to never forget their story.

Sept. 29 (5 p.m.): “The Promise” (2016)

  • Discussant: Carla Garapedian, associate producer
  • Co-Sponsor: Armenian Studies Program
  • The Promise” is rated PG-13, 133 minutes.

In 1914, while the Great War looms, the mighty Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople, the once vibrant, multicultural capital on the shores of the Bosporus, is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries. Photojournalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale) has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father. Then Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men. As the Turks form an alliance with Germany and the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to survive even as events threaten to overwhelm them. Promises are made and promises are broken. The one promise that must be kept is to live on and tell the story.

Oct. 6: “Bitter Harvest” (2017)

  • Discussant: George Mendeluk, director and producer
  • Co-Sponsors: Department of History, College of Social Sciences and Ukrainian National Women’s League of America
  • Rated R, 103 minutes.

The romantic-dramaBitter Harvest” by German-Canadian director of Ukrainian descent George Mendeluk, is set in Soviet Ukraine in the early 1930s. Based on true historical events, the film conveys the untold story of the Holodomor, the genocidal famine engineered by Joseph Stalin. It is a tale of love, honor, rebellion and survival at a time when farmers in Ukraine were forced to adjust to the horrifying social engineering by the Soviet Union. The film has been nominated for a prestigious Political Film Society Award in all four categories for Democracy, Exposé, Human Rights and Peace.

Oct. 13: Filmworks: “Lucky”

Lucky” follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self-exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment. Acclaimed character actor John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut, “Lucky” is at once a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality and human connection. 88 minutes.

Oct. 20: “Frame by Frame” (2015)

  • Discussant: Farzana Wahidy, photographer featured in the film
  • Co-Sponsors: Department of Art and Design, Center for Creativity and the Arts, Asian Pacific Islander Programs and Services at Fresno State, Department of Communication, and Cross Cultural and Gender Center
  • In Dari and English with English subtitles, 85 minutes

After decades of war and an oppressive Taliban regime, four Afghan photojournalists face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own. Under Taliban rule it was a crime to take a photo. After the Taliban fell from power in 2001, a fledgling free press emerges and a photography revolution is born. Now, as foreign troops and media withdraw, Afghanistan is left to stand on its own, and so are its journalists. Set in modern Afghanistan bursting with color and character, “Frame by Frame” follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape – reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves. Through cinema vérité, intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism, and never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime, the film connects audiences with four photojournalists in the pursuit of the truth.

Oct. 27: “Nowhere to Hide” (2016)

  • Discussant: Zaradasht Ahmed, director and writer
  • Co-Sponsors: Center for Creativity and the Arts, Peace Fresno
  • In Arabic with English subtitles, 86 minutes

Nowhere to Hide is an immersive and uncompromising first-hand reflection of the resilience and fortitude of a male nurse working and raising his children in Jalawla, Iraq, an increasingly dangerous and inaccessible part of the world. While US troops withdraw from Iraq in 2011, director Zaradasht Ahmed gives Nori Sharif a camera and teaches him how to use it, asking him to capture the reality of life in his community and the hospital where he works. For the next five years, Nori films life around him, but the population — including the majority of the hospital staff—flees when the Iraqi army pulls out of his city in 2013 because of intensifying militant activity. Sharif is one of the few who remain. When the Sunni militias and the Islamic State advance on Jalawla in 2014 and finally take over the city, Sharif continues to film. However, he now faces a crucial dilemma: should he stay and dedicate himself to treating those he vowed to help, or should he leave to protect his family and become one of thousands of internally displaced people in Iraq? Winner of the 2017 Nestor Almendros award for courage in filmmaking and 2016 IDFA Winner for Best Feature-Length Documentary.

Nov. 3: “Menashe” (2017)

  • Discussant: Joshua Weinstein, director
  • Co-Sponsor: Jewish Studies Program and the Jewish Studies Association
  • In Yiddish and English with English subtitles, 82 minutes.

Deep in the heart of New York’s ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, “Menashe,” a kind, hapless grocery store clerk, struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven, following his wife Leah’s death. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven’s strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven before Leah’s memorial. It is his chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and a responsible father, and restore respect among his doubters.

Nov. 10-12: (10-10 Veteran’s Day) Filmworks/Festival

Nov. 17: “Footnotes (Sur quel pied danser…)” 2016

  • Discussants: Paul Calori and Kostia Testut, co-directors/writers)
  • Co-Sponsors: The French Program and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Inspired by the films of French filmmaker and lyricist Jacques Demy (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”) and American film director and choreographer Stanley Donen (“Singing in the Rain”), “Footnotes” by French directors Paul Calori and Kostia Testut, is a whimsical musical comedy. The film tells the story of Julie a young woman who might land a steady job in a luxury shoe factory. The film’s original French title is “Sur quel pied danser…” meaning literally “On which foot should I dance?” or in other words: “What should I do?  Which side should I be on?” The shoe factory could close and its jobs sent overseas. Julie has to decide between her livelihood and her life. Will she stand with her striking coworkers or follow her boss? What is more important: a permanent job or her future? No spoiler alert here: you will have to come and see “Footnotes” with its fun choreography and inspiring songs.

Nov. 22-24: Thanksgiving – no films

Dec. 1: “Evolution of Organic(2016)

  • Discussant: Mark Kitchell, director
  • Several local organic Central Valley farmers are featured in the film, including our own Tom Willey and David “Mas” Masomoto. 77 minutes

Directed by Mark Kitchell (Berkeley in the Sixties,” “A Fierce Green Fire”), “Evolution of Organic” is the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the organic movement in California. A motley crew of back-to-the-landers, spiritual seekers and farmers’ sons and daughters reject chemical farming and set out to explore organic alternatives. It is a heartfelt journey of change: from a small band of rebels to a cultural transformation in the way we grow and eat food. By now organic has gone mainstream, split between an industry oriented toward bringing organic to all people and a movement that has realized a vision of sustainable agriculture. It is the most popular and successful outgrowth of the environmental impulse of the last fifty years. “Evolution of Organic” is not just history, but also a look into an exciting and critical future.

Dec. 8: Filmworks: To be announced

CineCulture is a film series provided as a service to Fresno State students, faculty and staff and the community. CineCulture is also offered as a three-unit academic course (MCJ 179) in the Media, Communications and Journalism Department.

The CineCulture Club promotes cultural awareness through film and post-screening discussions. Fresno State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities.

For more information, contact Dr. Mary Husain, professor and club adviser, at, or visit the CineCulture website.


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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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