Special Events

Mind Reels

Journey with Mind Reels inside worlds you’ve never seen!

Each Mind Reels daytime event is paired with optional lunch (wine and hors d’oeuvres for our very first night-time Mind Reels event) and a panel of distinguished guest speakers (TBA) on stage and via Skype, often including the director, to take us beyond the film and engage in a lively Q A.

Award-winning documentary director/producer Stephen Olsson returns as our host.

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This is Home: A Refugee Story

Directed by Alexandra Shiva

This is Home

This is Home: A Refugee Story

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Tue, Nov 27 12:00pm Buy Tickets
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DescriptionGuest SpeakersOptional LunchTrailer

Syria to Baltimore – Welcoming the Stranger

This Is Home: A Refugee Story brings warmth and communal spirit to the table as it follows the travails of four Syrian refugee families finding their collective feet in Baltimore over the course of eight months. Largely foregoing mawkish sentimentality and ripped-from-the-headlines rhetoric for practical nuts and bolts, this straightforward heart-tugger casts a deserved spotlight on the work of the International Rescue Committee, foregrounding the everyday tasks and processes — from language lessons to fundraisers to the simple challenge of grocery-shopping — that make refugee resettlement possible.” — Variety

ALEXANDRA SHIVA, Director

Alexandra ShivaALEXANDRA SHIVA
Alexandra Shiva is an award-winning filmmaker, known for crafting intimate character-driven cinema verite documentaries for both theatrical release and broadcast.

Her most recent film, This is Home, premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 2018, where it won the Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary, and broadcast on EPIX. Her previous film, How to Dance in Ohio, won the Peabody Award, premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 2015 and aired on HBO to great critical acclaim. Her documentary Stagedoor premiered at SXSW in 2005, had its theatrical debut at Film Forum in New York in 2006 and aired on Sundance Channel.

After spending extensive time in India, Alexandra launched her documentary career producing and directing BOMBAY EUNUCH, a feature-length documentary that follows a makeshift family of eunuchs as they struggle to survive in modern Bombay. In 2001, the film was awarded Best Documentary at New York’s New Festival and the Special Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival and was released theatrically.

Alexandra graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Art History.

DR. KAREN FERGUSON

Dr. Karen FergusonDR. KAREN FERGUSON
The International Rescue Committee (IRC)** in Northern California is led by Karen Ferguson, PhD, who has been on board since 2015. Dr. Ferguson came to the IRC with over 20 years’ experience serving vulnerable populations and managing grant-funded service agencies and programs. She served as the State Refugee Coordinator in Alaska for over 10 years prior to joining the IRC, directing assistance and resettlement services for refugees, immigrants and victims of trafficking. She is a passionate and creative leader with extensive non-profit cross-cultural experience. Skilled at building strong teams, delivering services with measurable impact, and grounded in the rigors of doctoral training, Dr. Ferguson is committed to excellence in program design, delivery and sustainability.

**The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America. These individuals have survived against incredible odds. The IRC works with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers to help them translate their past experiences into assets that are valuable to their new communities. In Oakland and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.

STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv) 

Optional lunches include farm fresh sandwiches, salads and desserts from Farm House Local. Night-time event includes optional wine and hor d’oeuvres. Orders must be received by Saturday noon prior to show.

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51 Birch

Directed by Doug Block

51 Birch

51 Birch

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Tue, Dec 4 12:00pm Buy Tickets
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DescriptionGuest SpeakersOptional LunchTrailer

How Well Do You Really Know Your Parents?

“That’s the compelling, universal hook for Doug Block’s 51 Birch Street, an irresistible mystery in the form of a documentary about an ordinary family — his — who finds out it’s not quite, and never was, what it seemed to have been, even to the people living in it.

“The great enigma at the core of this movie is the one at the heart of every family: Who are these people, our parents? How much can we really know about them, and how much do we want to know?” — Roger Ebert

Additional Guest Speakers TBA prior to show.

DOUG BLOCK, Director

Doug BlockDOUG BLOCK
Doug Block (Director, producer, camera) is a New York-based filmmaker whose work includes some of the most acclaimed feature documentaries of the past 20 years.

Doug’s most recent film, 51 Birch Street, was named one of the Ten Best Films of 2006 by the New York Times, The Chicago Sun-Times and the Ebert & Roeper Show, and was selected as one of the outstanding documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review, the Boston Society of Film Critics and Rolling Stone Magazine. The film garnered numerous awards, including Best Overall Program at the 2008 Banff Television Awards. 51 Birch Street screened at dozens of international film festivals, followed by a 9-month U.S. theatrical release. It aired on HBO, ZDF/Arte, Channel Four and many other stations worldwide. 

ALICE ABARBANEL

Alice AbaranelALICE ABARBANEL
Alice Abarbanel, PhD, has worked as a psychotherapist for 45 years. She works with adults, specializing in anxiety issues and the challenges of life transitions as people age. She is fascinated by the impact of secrets revealed as parents age and die. 

STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv) 

Optional lunches include farm fresh sandwiches, salads and desserts from Farm House Local. Night-time event includes optional wine and hor d’oeuvres. Orders must be received by Saturday noon prior to show.


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Served Like a Girl

Directed by Lysa Hayland

Served Like a Girl

Served Like a Girl

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Tue, Dec 11 12:00pm Buy Tickets
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DescriptionGuest SpeakersOptional LunchTrailer

The Long Road Home: From Active Duty to Ms. Veteran America

Director Lysa Heslov’s documentary, Served Like a Girl, provides a candid look at several American women as they transition from active duty to civilian life after serving tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our wounded U.S. female service personnel often return to a stark reality, one that is rarely discussed or considered.

Struggling with PTSD, homelessness, broken families, serious illness, physical injuries, and the aftermath of military sexual abuse, these amazing women find ways to adapt and overcome debilitating challenges through participation in the “Ms. Veteran America” competition.

Additional Guest Speaker(s) TBA prior to show.

DANIEL LIBBY, Ph.D.

Daniel LibbyDANIEL LIBBY, Ph.D.
Dan is a founder and Executive Director of Veterans Yoga Project. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and yoga teacher specializing in the mindful integration of evidence-based psychotherapies and complementary and alternative medicine practices for the treatment of PTS(D) and other psychological and emotional distress in active-duty military and veterans.

As a Postdoctoral Fellow with Yale University’s Department of Psychiatry and the VA’s Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center, Dan conducted research investigating the physiological correlates of mindfulness meditation as well as the first epidemiological investigation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in VA PTSD treatment programs. He is also former Director of Clinical Services for the Starlight Military Rehabilitation Program and has taught mindfulness and yoga to hundreds of veterans and active-duty service members.

ELLEN HERBST, MD

Ellen Herbst, MDELLEN HERBST, M.D.
Ellen Herbst, M.D. is Associate Chief of the Addiction Recovery Treatment Services at San Francisco VA Healthcare System and Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is a clinician-researcher whose areas of study include health promotion and novel preventive and early treatment approaches to address PTSD, addictive disorders, and related mental health conditions in active duty and recently returned combat veterans. She has over 11 years of experience treating veterans with addiction and post-deployment conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and her clinical experiences directly inform her research program. She has a strong interest in innovative technology-based interventions to improve treatment outcomes in high risk populations with health disparities, including active duty military and veterans.

STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv)

Optional lunches include farm fresh sandwiches, salads and desserts from Farm House Local. Night-time event includes optional wine and hor d’oeuvres. Orders must be received by Saturday noon prior to show.

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The Force

NEW THIS YEAR: NIGHT-TIME MIND REELS!

Directed by Peter Nicks

The Force

The Force

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Mon, Nov 19 7:00pm Buy Tickets
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DescriptionGuest SpeakersOptional Hors d'oeuvresTrailer

The Force is a 2017 documentary film directed by Peter Nicks. The documentary describes two years of efforts by the Oakland Police Department to implement reforms against police misconduct and scandals, at a time of growing social unrest, protests demanding increased police accountability, and ongoing federal oversight.

The Force won the Documentary Directing Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and a Golden Gate Award at the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival.

OTIS TAYLOR, Jr.

Otis TaylorOTIS R. Taylor Jr.
Otis R. Taylor Jr. is the East Bay columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, focusing on the people who make the region a fascinating place to live and work. A South Carolina transplant, Otis spent more than a decade at The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, writing about arts, culture and entertainment. Previously, Otis was the managing editor of a tech startup. Otis is interested in reporting on issues relating to diversity and equality in the East Bay, as well as the region’s history, culture and politics. He studied English at Clemson University.

STEPHEN OLSSON, Host

Stephen OlssonSTEPHEN OLSSON
Stephen Olsson returns as our series host. Stephen has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and television series throughout the world for US and European broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS (Frontline, POV, Nova), CNN, Arte, Canal+ and National Geographic. He has worked with diverse personalities including HH.the Dalai Lama, Walter Cronkite, Noam Chomsky, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Carlos Santana, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Willy Nelson and others. His films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, The Lincoln Center, Mill Valley and at film festivals worldwide and have received the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award and the George Foster Peabody Award. Stephen is president of the Sausalito-based non-profit media group Cultural & Educational Media CEMproductions.org and has recently released Season Two of CEM’s Global Spirit series on PBS stations nation-wide. (www.GlobalSpirit.tv)

Optional hors d’oeuvres and beverage. Orders must be received by Saturday noon prior to show.