Arts & Events

‘Villa Grimaldi’: a Film of Art and Exile

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday June 18, 2009 - 07:27:00 PM

Villa Grimaldi: Archaeology of Memory in Three Cantos, a documentary film by Berkeley producer and director Marilyn Mulford, follows Bay Area Chilean exile musician and writer Quique Cruz, traveling to Chile and back as he creates the multimedia masterwork of the title. The film—a healing task for Cruz and the other contributing artists, some of whom were victims of torture under the Pinochet regime—will be screened tonight, Thursday, June 18, at 7 p.m., and followed by a question-and-answer period with the filmmaker. The program is the latest in the Berkeley Filmmakers Screening Series, which is shown on the third Thursday of every month at the Saul Zaentz Media Center, in the third-floor screening room at the old Fantasy Films and Records Building, 2600 Tenth Street, where Fantasy Studios remains part of the community.  

Admission is free, but reservations are required; the screening room has limited capacity, and programs sell out, although names are taken for a waiting list. 

“Our intention for the series—our inaugural year started in March [with Justine Shapiro, B. Z. Goldberg and Carlos Bolado’s Promises, viewing the Middle Eastern conflict through the eyes of seven Israeli and Palestinian children]—is to bring new people to the Center and its wonderful, intimate screening room,” said Judith Wetter of Wareham Development in San Rafael, which bought the building two years ago, “and to attract a new generation of filmmakers.” 

Presently, all films shown are by tenants of the building, Wetter said, “though we intend to reach out to others as well.” So far, the free screenings have all sold out, reservations (and waiting list) booked from the first of each month. But Wetter said a second screening in the 60- to 65-seat room is being contemplated, “maybe one at 6, and the other at 8 o’clock.” 

Wetter also spoke with enthusiasm about the $100,000 grant fund for local filmmakers, established this year by the City of Berkeley with the Zaentz Company and Wareham Development, “all to keep the Media Center the thriving Bay Area treasure it is.” Grant applications are now closed; a review committee is going over the current submissions. 

Marilyn Mulford of Archaeology of Memory has received an award from Sundance and been nominated for an Oscar for her latest film, Freedom on My Mind. 

On July 16, the series will show Steven Okazaki’s film The Conscience of Nhem En, concerning a young Cambodian soldier who took ID photos of thousands of Khmer Rouge victims. Okazaki has been Oscar-nominated multiple times. 

On the program August 20 is Niall McKay’s The Bass Player, about the filmmaker’s relationship with his father, an Irish jazz musician who was a single parent. On September 17, the film will be Have You Heard from Johannesberg?, Connie Field’s fourth of six stories tracing the Anti-Apartheid Movement in America. 



The documentary film, Villa Grimaldi: Archaeology of Memory, about exiled Chilean artist Quique Cruz, plays Thursday, June 18, 7 p.m., at the Berkeley Filmmakers Screening Series. New and innovative films play each third Thursday monthly, 7 p.m., at Zaentz Media Center, 2600 Tenth Street. Free, with reservation (limited seating; waiting list for sold out showings).