Since 1955, the Flaherty Seminar has provided an annual showcase for independent film. The Flaherty, as it’s often abbreviated, encompasses fiction and animation, but the emphasis is on personal and poetic documentary, which was the late Robert Flaherty’s own calling. This selection of films from the 2003 conference, held at Vassar College, spotlights the work of Japanese director Noriaki Tsuchimoto. His 1975 documentary, Shiranuhi Sea (pictured; at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22), is one of several he made about the residents of Minamata, a fishing village whose residents were poisoned by mercury discharged into the water by industrial polluters. A program of seven short films (at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21) includes two other Tsuchimoto works: 1963’s An Engineer’s Assistant was commissioned to promote a new railroad safety device, but instead it became a study of an assistant engineer on an old-fashioned steam engine; 1964’s On the Road: The Document is a cabbie’s-eye-view of traffic in a Tokyo that looks much less developed and yet much more chaotic than today’s megalopolis. Also included are Zyklon Portrait, an oblique Holocaust remembrance whose juxtaposition of the clinical and the emotional recalls Resnais’ Night and Fog, and two films about the human costs of the American mining industry: Montanans battle Anaconda Copper in An Injury to One, and Company Town considers an abandoned West Virginia site. The program runs from Saturday, Feb. 21, through Sunday, Feb. 22 (see Showtimes for a complete schedule), at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)