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Run Raven Run directed by Michael Rainin
Run Raven Run directed by Michael Rainin

The Archaeology Channel International Film Festival return for its 20th anniversary edition in Eugene, Oregon from May 17th to 21st, 2023. The five-day event offers film screenings, feature expert speakers and the TAC Conference on Cultural Heritage Media.

The 22 films in the competition cover a variety of fascinating subjects from around the globe: places as far apart as Iran and Suriname and across the human timeline from the Upper Paleolithic of 30,000 years ago to the contemporary Indigenous Chukchi of Siberia. The films subjects also include villagers in an arid region of Madagascar who store water in Baobab trees, wonderful music composed by inmates in Nazi concentration camps, an underwater cave in France that holds colorful prehistoric paintings, and a remarkably well preserved Roman ceremonial chariot uncovered in Pompeii.

The Keynote Speaker at the Festival Banquet will talk about his 20 years of excavations at the Ness of Brodgar site in Orkney. Discovered just two decades ago, unexpectedly comprising a massive complex of large 5000-year-old stone-walled buildings, the Ness of Brodgar site is probably the most significant Neolithic site currently under investigation in Europe. The scale of the site and the buildings, the architecture and the amazing collection of artifacts, art, and color, show that this was a vibrant and dynamic society spanning over a millennium. Continuing annual excavation of the site, under the direction of Nick Card, began in 2003. During Festival Week, Card will also make presentations about his Orkney research at The Archaeology Channel Conference on Cultural Heritage Media at Civic Winery on May 20, and in a free lecture at the Eugene Public Library on May 21.

Another important visitor from the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, scheduled to open in November 2023, is Islam Shaheen, who will make a presentation at the Conference about the Tutankhamun exhibit that will be the centerpiece of the Museum. That exhibit will display over 5000 artifacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb, 2000 of which have never been shown before.

“The film-making world is producing more and more truly outstanding films about the human past and diverse cultures around the globe. These films are inspiring as well as entertaining. A central goal for us is to promote the development of this genre of film-making and to draw audiences to support it. Film-makers and TAC Conference presenters will come from many countries and US states,” says Festival Director and ALI head Rick Pettigrew. “Our 2021 launch of Heritage Broadcasting Service gives film-makers another good reason to participate in Lane County’s longest-running film festival, as we are on the lookout for premium content to stream, and this competition is a perfect proving ground. This year’s lineup of films is outstanding in terms of diversity, innovation and quality film-making. We very much look forward to bringing people together safely to enjoy this wonderful form of storytelling.”

The following is a list and brief description of the films in this year’s Festival competition:

Beloved – Aged, fiercely independent, Iranian woman cares for her cows and enjoys her solitary life.

Burnt City – Re-enactment of life in an ancient and peaceful Iranian city where power was in the hands of women.

Detached – Indigenous Siberian people choose the blessings of civilization, but risk losing themselves.

A Gallarus Story – Unique, mysterious Irish stone structure: how and when was it built, and for what?

Into the Paleolithic: Nomads of the Rhone valley of France – 300,000 years of human existence.

Ladies and Princes of Prehistory – Exceptional human burials in Europe from 25,000 years ago: who were they?

Mamody: The Last Baobab Digger – Madagascar natives survive by taking special care of baobab trees.

Montaigne and the Mysterious Tomb – Is a famous philosopher buried under a Bordeaux museum?

Music Sets You Free: A Story of Musical Notes, Imprisonment, Horrors, and Hopes – Surprising story of remarkable music composed in concentration camps during World War II.

The Mystery of the Cosquer Cave – Exploring and preserving the most important decorated cave in Europe.

The New Whistlers of Aas – Villagers in the French Pyrenees keep their whistling language alive.

Persepolis – Chicago – Travels and travails of ancient Persian cuneiform tablets, borrowed and unreturned.

Peru: Sacrifices in the Kingdom of Chimor – Why were hundreds of children and animals sacrificed?

Pico Reja – Excavating and exposing a huge mass grave from the Spanish Civil war and the Franco regime.

Pink Pottery – .Animated film juxtaposes vibrant imagery of ancient objects with modern technological devices.

Pompeii: The Secret of the Villa of Civita Giuliana – Unique Roman ceremonial chariot unearthed and restored.

Run Raven Run – The resounding pain and pleasure that emanates from the unvanquished soul of Gypsy music.

Sagrada Família: Gaudí’s Challenge – Immense, unfathomable, but still unfinished Barcelona cathedral project.

Shepherds of the Earth – In Kenya, nomadic people’s stories, survival struggle, tribal wars, and prehistoric fossils.

The True Story of Pirates – Research paints a new portrait of the world of 17th-century piracy in the Indian Ocean.

The Tumuk Humak Expediton – Searching the Suriname jungle to share with the Wayana a piece of their history.

Unpacking the Universe: The Making of an Exhibition – Prehistoric art of the Tairona people of Colombia.

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