The world of film

I rarely strike up a conversation these days without it leading somehow to the topic of film. Recently I attended an event at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, where I sat at a table with several MIM volunteers.

There wasn’t a boring one in the bunch, and I felt a whole lot smarter walking out the door than I’d felt walking in.

One of the remarkable volunteers I chatted with beamed when telling me the story of her son in law’s move from a career with Goldman Sachs to a career in screenwriting.

She clearly applauds his decision to follow his heart.

It reminded me that I’ve long wanted to write about the MIM’s first annual film series — which begins with a screening of “BACH & Friends” on Oct 23 (a reprise screening is scheduled for Oct 28 @ 6:30pm).

Here’s a brief rundown of upcoming film offerings at the MIM — which are free with museum admission:

Laya Project. Sat, Nov 6 at 2:30pm. Features “the peoples of coastal and surrounding communities in the 2004 tsunami-affected regions of Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, and India.”

Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders. Live with host Marco Werman. Sun, Dec 5 at 2:30pm. Features “the adventures of travel and the sould-satisfying, hip-shaking pleasures of great music.”

Mighty Uke. Sat, Jan 8 at 2:30pm. Features insights into “why so many people of different cultures, ages, and musical tastes are turing to the ‘uke’ to express themselves, connect with the past, and with each other.

nomadak tx. Sat, Feb 5, 2:30pm. Features two musicians as they “embark on an extraordinary quest to Mongolia, India, Lapland, and the Sahara in search of sounds and voices.”

Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037. LIVE with filmmaker Ben Niles. Sun, March 20 at 2:30pm. Features “the hand-crafted creation of one concert grand (#L1037) from forest floor to concert hall” and “the relationship between musician and instrument.”

So what of the financial whiz turned film maker? Turns out his talents mirror his instincts. He’s Jon Hurwitz, writer for several “Harold & Kumar” films — whose “American Pie 4” project is expected to hit movie theaters in 2012.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts opens its 2010-2011 “Talk Cinema” season this week — on Tues, Oct 19 at 7pm — in their lovely Virginia G. Piper Theater.

The monthly film series features screenings, discussions and opportunities to offer feedback on featured films.

I can’t share the titles because they’re kept under wraps until shortly before showtime for patrons who prefer the element of surprise (others can go online to read a spoiler shortly before each film’s screening).

I’ll have to miss “Talk Cinema” this month because I’m already scheduled to see and review Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” on opening night at ASU Gammage — but I’m eager to attend future screenings.

Student tickets run just $10 (with current student ID) so it’ll be easy to take along any of my kiddos (now in high school and college) who can manage to tear themselves away from homework for the night.

Film as an art form is coming into its own — with a following far beyond those with the financial resources to cross the globe from one film fest to another.

I’m delighted to have these two remarkable venues, and several others in the Valley, for enjoying some of the finest that filmmakers have to offer.

— Lynn

Note: Several museums, including the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum, offer film selections — as do local libraries, community colleges and other venues. To learn more about the fine art of film criticism, save the date: “Film Criticism with Harlan Jacobson” comes to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Tues, Jan 18, 2011 from 5:30-6:30pm. Admission is free (first come, first served).

Coming up: Award-winning storytellers take to Valley stages, Kennedy Center tours Arizona