The special-events calendar is bursting for Omaha movie lovers, starting Thursday and continuing steadily into early November.
A lively mix of topics should appeal to fans of the green movement, women and young Christians. There will also be films for those interested in the politics of race, class and opportunity in this country, as well as in Pakistan, and to gays and fans of local filmmakers.
Let's start with two events tonight:
“Surge,” a high-energy interactive movie event aimed at young Christians, includes music, comedy and an inspirational message. It's playing at theaters all across North America tonight. That includes 7 p.m. screenings at Twin Creek in Bellevue and Village Pointe in west Omaha. The show will have an encore at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Twin Creek.
Headliners for the big-screen performance will be platinum-selling Christian pop-rock band Newsboys and worship artists of the Christian youth conference Acquire the Fire. Grammy-winning Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae will debut his new music video. The event's main speakers are Ron Luce and John Gray. Information: surgeexperience.com.
Also at 7 tonight, “The Other Half of Tomorrow,” a series of seven vignettes that introduces us to Pakistan's complex culture, is being screened at Film Streams' Ruth Sokolof Theater, 14th and Mike Fahey Streets. Kaneko, the downtown center that promotes creativity in the arts, sciences and philosophy, is presenting the screening. It will be followed by a discussion led by one of the film's directors, Sadia Shepard.
“The Other Half of Tomorrow” looks at Pakistan through the perspectives of women who are working to change their country. The film roams from a women's rights workshop in a rural village to an underground dance academy in Karachi to the playing fields of the Pakistan Women's Cricket Team. Information: filmstreams.org or call 402-933-0259.
Lunafest, a national touring short-film festival by, for and about women, is coming to Aksarben Cinema, 2110 S. 67th St., Oct. 17. Tickets for this fundraiser to support the Breast Cancer Fund and Omaha's Women's Center for Advancement are $35. That includes the film screening, cocktails, guests speakers and a silent auction.
Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m. and the screening at 7 p.m. Nine short films by women range from animation to fictional drama, covering such topics as women's health, motherhood, body image, aging, cultural diversity and breaking barriers. Lunafest is sponsored locally by Woodmen of the World, Aksarben Cinema and NRG Media. Buy advance tickets at http://aksarbencinema.com/lunafest.html. Information and a trailer: lunafest.org/omaha.
“Lioness,” a documentary, follows women who served in forward combat positions in Iraq before the government officially sanctioned such roles for women. The Nebraska Veteran Leader Corps and Film Streams are presenting the screening at 7 p.m. Oct. 24.
Afterward, World-Herald columnist Erin Grace will moderate a panel discussion with veterans from several branches of the military, some of whom served in Iraq. Discussion will focus on recent policy changes pertaining to women in the military. Information: http://j.mp/18rA98C.
“Growing Cities,” a documentary about the urban farming movement made by two local filmmakers, will screen at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at Film Streams. Director Dan Susman of Omaha and director of photography Andrew Monbouquette, along with production manager Brent Lubbert, will be on hand for an audience Q and A afterward.
Filming, coast to coast, began in spring 2011. The young filmmakers discovered urban farmers were not only growing food but also a sense of community. Their film challenges viewers to see farming in a whole new way. Information: filmstreams.org or growingcitiesmovie.com.
The Center for Holistic Development will team with Film Streams in presenting a Nov. 5 screening of “American Promise,” a documentary about two boys from middle-class African-American families who attend a historically white private school in Manhattan.
The 6:30 p.m. screening kicks off a weeklong run for “American Promise,” which follows the gifted boys from age 5 through graduation. The film looks at the challenge posed by the black male educational achievement gap and what is required to close it. A panel discussion after the screening will be led by Omaha educators and community leaders. Information: filmstreams.org or buy tickets at http://j.mp/1fG3UbG.
Don't forget the Local Filmmaker Showcase at Film Streams, which premieres at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 and continues for a week. Included are short films by Pat Clark, Ryle Smith, Kelly Rush, Jerry Johnston, Pat Aylward, Joseph Knapp and Sally Nelson Barrett.
Finally, Omaha documentarian Jim Fields (“Preserve Me a Seat,” “Bugeaters”) is ready to premiere his first narrative feature, “Flyover Country,” at the Omaha Community Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 and 9. It's about two Midwestern college students whose friendship is tested when one learns the other is gay. Advance tickets, $10, are available at flyovermovie.com.
Look for more on “Flyover Country” in this space as the opening nears.