Screen shot from 'Run Raven Run' / photo courtesy of TAC

Spanning The Globe With Documentaries

The five-day Archaeology Channel International Film Festival opens May 17

For those who would love to trek around the world and glean significant amounts of history, the Archaeological Legacy Institute is here for you.

The Archaeology Channel International Film Festival, now in its 20th year, will showcase 22 films starting Thursday, May 18, at Sheffer Recital Hall at The Shedd Institute. The films are from far-flung locations such as Iran and Suriname and trace the human timeline from the Upper Paleolithic some 30,000 years ago to the contemporary Indigenous Chukchi of Siberia.

As in past years, all films at the TAC Film Festival are wonderfully made with tight and informative narratives. Two films stand out for their historical examinations of music.

Music Sets You Free: A story of musical notes, imprisonment, horrors and hopes — the fruition of 30 years worth of work by Italian composer, pianist and musicologist Francesco Lotoro — looks at music from inside concentration camps in World War II. The film has voices and memories of direct and indirect witnesses. It’s a journey in search of a ray of light in the darkness and barbarity of wat.

Run Raven Run, directed by Michael Rainin, is a tribute to the enduring soul of the Gypsy people, more properly known as Romani, and their music, from the deserts of Rajashan to the ghettos of Bucharest. 

Yes, the documentary examines the past and present of Roma music, but it also depicts how venerable traditions are turned upside down by new movements, especially inside inaccessible ghettos. Run Raven Run shines a light on youth culture and how it is redefining the outdated values of society.   

The five-day event opens Wednesday, May 17, with the annual festival banquet at The Gordon Tavern inside The Gordon Hotel.

This year’s keynote speaker is Nick Card, who is directing the excavations at the Ness of Brodgar site in Orkney Islands in the Northern Isles of Scotland. Discovered just two decades ago, the massive complex has large 5,000-year-old stone-walled buildings and is considered the most significant Neolithic site currently under investigation in Europe.

Card also will make presentations about his Orkney research at The Archaeology Channel Conference on Cultural Heritage Media Saturday, May 20, at Civic Winery and in a free lecture Sunday, May 21, at the Eugene Public Library.

The Archaeology Channel International Film Festival opens  6 pm Wednesday, May 17, with the Festival Banquet  and keynote speaker Nick Card at The Gordon Tavern inside The Gordon Hotel, 555 Oak Street. $65. The TAC Conference on Cultural Heritage Media is 10 am to 5 pm Saturday, May 20 at Civic Winery, 50 E. 11th Avenue ($50 for a day pass or $10 for a specific presentation). The awards presentation is Sunday, May 21, at Capitello Wines, 540 Charnelton Street, and the film screenings at Sheffer Recital Hall at The Shedd Institute, 868 High Street. Both are FREE. Film screening schedule, the time for the award presentation and ticket information is at 


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