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Film and entertainment happenings from around The Land of Enchantment

Sundance shows the complex world of rare marine life

A screenshot from Lynette Wallworth’s film, “Coral: Rekindling Venus.” The film is screening as part of the Sundance Institute’s outreach program.
A screenshot from Lynette Wallworth’s film, “Coral: Rekindling Venus.” The film is screening as part of the Sundance Institute’s outreach program.

The Sundance Film Festival is underway in Park City, Utah. While many make the trek to see Hollywood glitz and glamour at the festival, the Sundance Institute is bringing a film to 14 different cities – and Albuquerque is one of them.

“Coral: Rekindling Venus” will screen at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.

The film is designed to immerse viewers in the complex world of rare marine life with the hope of creating an emotional connection between a global audience and the planet’s endangered coral reefs. The story is told without narration and there are no computer-generated scenes.

If you go
WHAT: “Coral: Rekindling Venus”
WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25
WHERE: New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, 1801 Mountain NW
HOW MUCH: $20 general, $18 museum members and seniors, $16 students

But the local connections don’t end there.

The film’s director, Lynette Wallworth, had a fellowship at the museum while she was beginning her career.

“This is a really cool connection for the museum to have with Sundance,” says Jayne Aubele, Museum Adult Programs educator/geologist. “We’re also excited to be one of the 14 places to showcase this beautiful film.”

Wallworth says working with Emmy Award-winning cinematographer David Hannan on deep-sea photography was important. She also worked with indie band Antony and the Johnsons with the music.

She says the point of the film is to offer an experience that would take the viewer beneath the sea and show a habitat that is at great risk because of warming sea temperatures.

“My intent with ‘Coral: Rekindling Venus’ is to leave the audience with a sense of wonder for the complexity and beauty of coral reefs and a stronger understanding of our connection to it,” she says. “In that vein, this tour is built on community, reaching audiences where they live, and with their friends and neighbors as fellow participants.”

Wallworth, who is an Australian artist, has made a career of creating video installations that reflect on the connections between people and the natural world.

Her work has been exhibited at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne.

But the filmmaker and artist have fond memories of the Duke City.

“As part of my research on my fellowship I went to Albuquerque, where I tested underwater material in the Planetarium at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, where David Beining had begun Domefest, experimental short works for full dome,” she recalls. “That was the first time I was actually in a full-dome environment. I loved it.”

Former Albuquerque resident Lynette Wallworth went into the deep sea to create her film, “Coral: Rekindling Venus.” The film is screening as part of the Sundance Institute’s outreach program.

Aubele says after the screening of “Coral” there will be a question-and-answer session with Wallworth through Skype.

“There will be an introduction and discussion before the film,” she explains. “After that, we were one of the venues selected to talk with Lynette. It will be great to hear what she thinks of the film.”

Aubele says there also will be a final showing of “Coral” at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. Tickets for that screening are $10 general admission, $8 museum members and seniors and $6 students. For more information, visit www.nmnaturalhistory.org.

New Mexico in Sundance: While two New Mexico-made films – “The Rambler” and “Sweetwater” – will premiere at Sundance, the newly announced Albuquerque Film & Media Experience will host a party at the festival.

Ivan Wiener, co-founder of AFME, says Sylvia Caminer, one of the producers for the festival, is promoting sponsors at Sundance and made the invitation to host an event. He says Caminer is working on a documentary on singer Rick Springfield called “An Affair of the Heart” that will be screened at the event.

“It’s won awards worldwide and we are honored to be able to participate in the event,” he says. “This will also give us a chance at AFME to showcase the type of film event destination we want to give.”

The AFME will run from June 3-9 at various locations in Nob Hill.

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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