Cinevegas film festival

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Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
Directed by Jessica Oreck
2009, 90 min

Working backwards through history, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo explores the mystery of the development of Japan's love affair with bugs using insects like an anthropologist's toolkit, the film uncover Japanese philosophies that will shift Westerners' perspectives on nature, beauty, life, and even the seamingly mundane realities of their day-to-day routines.


March 18, 2014
Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival
Charleston, IL


March 29-30, 2013
Culver Center for the Arts
Riverside, CA

October 20, 2011
Carbon Arc Cinema
Halifax, Nova Scotia

June 3-5, 2011
Mendocino Film Festival
Mendocino, CA

May 19, 2011
Bell Museum of Natural History
Minneapolis, MN

May 6, 2011
Hot Docs
Toronto, ONT

February 24 - March 2, 2011
Phoenix, AZ

February 19-27, 2011
Visions of Nature, Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival
St. Petersburg, FL

Dec 22, 23, 26, 2010
Portland Art Museum
NW Film Center

November 10 - 14, 2010
Lone Star International Film Festival
Fort Worth, TX

November 11, 2010
Ibrahim Theater @ International House
Philadelphia, PA
Director Jessica Oreck in person

November 13, 2010
Norton Museum Of Art
West Palm Beach, FL

October 29-31, 2010
Sonoma Film Institute
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park, CA

October 21-23, 2010
East Oregon Film Festival
La Grande, OR

October 21, 2010
The Horticultural Society of New York
New York, NY

October 19-21, 2010
Reel Pizza Cinerama
Bar Harbor, ME

October 19, 2010
Michigan Theater
Ann Arbor, MI

October 15 & 17, 2010
Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, OH

October 6, 7, 2010
Union Theatre
Milwaukee, WI

October 2-3, 2010
Pickford Film Center
Bellingham, WA

September 24-30, 2010
Ross Arts Center
Lincoln, NE

September 9-12, 2010
Martha's Vineyard Film Festival
Martha's Vineyard, MA

September 11, 2010
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Raleigh, NC

August 20-23, 2010
Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Pittsburgh, PA

July 30 - August 11, 2010
The ScreenSanta Fe, NM

July 30 - August 5, 2010
Grand Illusion Cinema
Seattle, WA

July 21, 2010 
The Loft 
Tuscon, AZ

July 16-22, 2010
Gene Siskel Film Center
Chicago, IL

July 17-18, 23-25, 2010
Detroit Institute of the Arts
Detroit, MI

July 13, 15, 2010
Maine International Film Festival 
Westville, ME

July 15, 16, 20, 2010
Cornell Cinema
Ithaca, NY

July 10-14, 2010
The Guild CinemaAlbuquerque, NMh

July 9-22, 2010
Sundance Kabuki Cinema
San Francisco, CA
Director Jessica Oreck in person 7/9 & 7/10 at the 7:10pm show with live insects.
Copresented by SaveNature.Org and the Japan Society of Northern California.

June 27, July 4, 11, 2010
Symphony Space
New York, NY
6/27: Director Jessica Oreck in person at the 5:15pm show

July 8- 10, 2010
Time & Space Limited
Hudson, NY

June 18-20, 2010
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Oklahoma City, OK

June 16, 2010 7:30pm
Rivertown Film Society 
Nyack, NY
Director Jessica Oreck in person

June 9-13, 2010
Museum of Fine Arts
Boston, MA
June 9: Jessica Oreck in person!

June 4-10, 2010
Real Art Ways
Hartford, CT

June 3-10, 2010
Denver Film Society
Denver, CO
Jessica Oreck in person!

June 1, 2010
Cinema Arts Centre
Huntington, NY
Jessica Oreck in Person!

May 31 & June 2, 2010
Seattle International Film Festival
Seattle, WA
May 21- June 3, 2010
IFC Center
New York, NY

May 12-18, 2010
Film Forum
New York, NY
Director Jessica Oreck in person with live insects!
Wed., 5/12 & Thur., 5/14 at 6:30pm & 8:20pm
Jessica Oreck and Hugh Raffles, author of Insectopedia

Sun., May 16 at 4:40pm
April 25, 2010
Off Screen - University of Virginia Screening series
Charlotesville, VA


Imagine cramming 128 million people onto an island the size of Montana – you would be pretty close to replicating the density of Japan. Not surprisingly, space is at a premium and ergonomic design is right up there next to godliness.

Yet even in Tokyo, the pinnacle of this figurative “can of sardines,” people of all ages still make room for a tiny bit of wilderness. It is only fitting that they have become captivated by nature’s most efficient invention in space, design and function – insects.

Sold live in vending machines and department stores, plastic replicas included as prizes in the equivalent of a McDonald’s Happy Meal and the subject of the No. 1 videogame, MushiKing, from the smallest backyard to the top of Mt. Fuji, insects inspire an enthusiasm in Japan seen nowhere else in this world. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo discovers why Japan developed this rich and enriching social relationship with insects.

Like a detective story, the film untangles the web of influences behind Japan’s captivation with insects. It opens in modern-day Tokyo where a single beetle recently sold for $90,000 then slips back to the early 1800s, to the first cricket-selling business and the development of haiku and other forms of insect literature and art. Through history and adventure, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo travels all the way back in time to stories of the fabled first emperor who named Japan the “Isle of the Dragonflies.”

Along the way the film takes side trips to Zen temples and Buddhist Shrines, nature preserves and art museums in its quest for the inspirations that moved Japan into this fascination while other cultures hurtled off towards an almost universal and profound fear of insects.

Interspersed with the philosophies of one of Japan’s best-selling authors and anatomists, Dr. Takeshi Yoro, and laced with poetry and art from Japan’s history, this film becomes about much more than insects. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo is set to the rhythm of traditional Japanese values in its attention to detail, harmony, and the appreciation of the seemingly mundane. It quietly challenges the viewer to observe the world from an uncommon perspective that will shift the familiar to the fantastic and just might change not only the way we think about bugs, but the way we think about life.

need trailer

"Invested with fantastic images".
Jeff Meyers,  Metro Times

"Hushed and meditative."
liff Doerksen, Chicago Reader

"Delightful essay."
Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun Times

"Fully engaged from start to finish."
Hank Sartin,  Time Out Chicago

"A mesmerizing film-essay"
Stephen Gossett,  Flavorpill Chicago

"Oreck's unconventional travelogue of the Japanese bug hunter's mindset is as artistic as it is educational".
Stefan Gruenwedel, SF Station

"This may be your only chance this year to take a pair of 6-year-olds to a subtitled film that will hold their interest".
Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

"Truly joyous moments to behold".
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

"Delightftully weird".
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"Remarkable. Stunningly gorgeous".
Noel Murray, The Onion

"An expansive take on the world in miniature."
Eric Hynes, The Village Voice

"Beautifully filmed, seductively narrated."
V.A. Musetto, New York Post

Mark Rifkin, This Week in New York

"Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo manages to be an illuminating, delightful, breathtaking and captivating documentary for all ages."
Avi Offer, New York Movie Guru

"Engaging and poetic"
Maria Garcia,The Film Journal

Jessica Oreck on the Leonard Lopate Show

"Jessica Oreck’s documentary essay about Japan’s fascination with insects observes the phenomenon with a curious, incisive eye."
Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"Delightful [...]. A doorway to something huge and eternal. Bring the kids."
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York,****

New York Magazine, Critics' Pick

"A striking micromasterpiece"
Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

"More than just simple nature film or an anthropological examination, Beetle Queen becomes the attitude itself, and a fascinating immersion into another society's vision of the world".
Dan Persons,The Huffigton Post

"Meditative and adorably hypnotic".
Hunter Stephenson, Slashfilm

Interview of Jessica Oreck
AM New York

"Remarquable..quietly spellbinding".
Justin Chang, VARIETY 

"Beetle Queen bristles with kinetic energy...A film to be heard as as seen".
Micheal Chaiken, FILM COMMENT

"Breathtaking...transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary".


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