Film Descriptions

April 5, 6, 7, 2018 Presentation Theater
Free and Open to the Public

Thursday, April 5

11:00 a.m.

Student Shorts

Q&A: Student Filmmakers

Roots #1 - Filmmaker: Kiko Valle, 6 min
A series on first generation college students.

The College Fund - Filmmakers: Tera Thompson-Garner and Kacie Laguire, 6 min 30s
Two best friends struggle to pay their bills and dream of attending a university. After they both apply for a full-ride scholarship and only one of them is awarded it, their dreams test their friendship.

Hijab Stigma - Filmmaker: Sara Alghesheyan, 4 min 30s
Hijab Muslim females were never part of Fashion industries. Today Hijabi women broke the wall of fashion domination of stereotypes to be included as respected empowered women.

Expansion (On Eating) - Filmmaker: Sarah Frei, 8 min
An artist explains her eating disorder through visual metaphors in this experimental documentary.

Roots #2 - Filmmaker: Kiko Valle, 6 min
A series on first generation college students.

From my Barrio to your Barrio - Filmmaker: Edward Wild Cat, 26 min
The film focuses on a doctoral student at USF conducting ethnographic research on gentrification and displacement through video footage, personal observations, and discussions with locals living in urban neighborhoods during a cross-country trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Boston. As the researcher travels further east, he provides a gritty and uncompromising analysis of how gentrification has displaced locals, created a divided society, and complicated social problems in communities.

12:15 p.m.

Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock

Filmmaker(s): Josh Fox, James Spione, and Myron Dewey | USA | 2017 | 89 minutes

Q&A: Anthony Gonzales (American Indian Movement-West)

Standing Rock protesters facing police in full riot gear.Moving from summer 2016, when demonstrations over the Dakota Access Pipelines demolishing of sacred Native burial grounds began, to the current and disheartening pipeline status, AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock is a powerful visual poem in three parts that uncovers complex hidden truths with simplicity. The film is a collaboration between indigenous filmmakers: Director Myron Dewey and Executive Producer Doug Good Feather; and environmental Oscar-nominated filmmakers Josh Fox and James Spione. The Water Protectors at Standing Rock captured world attention through their peaceful resistance. The film documents the story of Native-led defiance that has forever changed the fight for clean water, our environment and the future of our planet. It asks: “Are you ready to join the fight?”

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2:30 p.m.

Stranger in Paradise

Filmmaker(s): Guido Hendrikx | Netherlands | 2016 | 77 minutes

Q&A: USF Professor Marco Jacquemet (Communication Studies)

A migrant featured in Guido Hendrikx's documentary "Stranger in Paradise"If Lars Von Trier were to make a documentary about the current immigration crisis in Europe, it might very well turn out like “Stranger in Paradise,” the debut feature by Guido Hendrikx. Aged just 28, the ambitious director – who believes himself a late-starter, having “only” taken up filmmaking in his early twenties – is already committed to thorny issues, as evidenced by his controversial 2014 short “Among Us,” which focused on the stories of three adult pedophiles. Developed in his native Netherlands but shot in Italy, “Stranger in Paradise” offers three takes on immigration, first from an aggressive right-wing tabloid perspective, then from a more humane, liberal stance. Finally, a classroom of real-life migrants are told how their cases may yet be handled. Special Jury Award for Dutch Documentary, IDFA 2016.

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4:30 p.m.

Last Men in Aleppo

Filmmaker(s): Feras Fayyad | Syria | 2017 | 104 minutes

Q&A: USF Professor Lindsay Gifford (International Studies)

Rescuers marching through the rubble of AleppoIn this Oscar-nominated documentary, Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad’s breathtaking work — a searing example of boots-on-the-ground reportage — follows the efforts of the internationally recognized White Helmets, an organization comprised of ordinary citizens who are the first to rush towards military strikes and attacks in the hope of saving lives. Incorporating moments of both heart-pounding suspense and improbable beauty, the documentary draws us into the lives of three of its founders – Khaled, Subhi, and Mahmoud– as they grapple with the chaos around them and struggle with an ever-present dilemma: do they flee or stay and fight for their country.

Awards: 2017 Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary.

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6:45 p.m.

Food Evolution

Filmmaker(s): Scott Hamilton Kennedy | USA | 2016 | 92 minutes

Q&A: Belinda Martineau (UC Davis), Ignacio Chapela (UC Berkeley), Doug Gurian-Sherman (Independent Consultant), USF Professor Brian Dowd-Uribe (International Studies)

A protester wearing a skull mask with "GMO" painted on it.Amidst a brutally polarized debate marked by passion, suspicion and confusion, Food Evolution explores the controversy surrounding GMOs and food. Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves, to banana farms in Uganda to the cornfields of Iowa, the film, narrated by esteemed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, wrestles with the emotions and the science driving one of the most heated arguments of our time. In the GMO debate, both pro and anti camps claim science is on their side. Who’s right? How do we ensure that our food supply is safe, and that everyone has enough to eat? Has genetic engineering increased or decreased pesticide use? Are GMO foods bad for your health? While the passionate advocates in the film are all concerned with the stewardship of safe, nutritious food for the planet, their differing views over what constitutes the truth pit them against each other, rendering the subject of food itself into an ideological battleground. This documentary separates the hype and emotion from the science and data to unravel the debate around food, and help audiences reach their own conclusions.

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Friday, April 6

11:00 a.m.

Mama Colonel

Filmmaker(s): Dieudo Hamad | Democratic Republic of Congo / France | 2017 | 72 minutes

Q&A: USF Professor Jeffrey Paller (Politics, Director of African Studies)

Colonel Honorine Manyole speaking to assembled police officersColonel Honorine Manyole, commonly known as “Mama Colonel,” works for the Congolese police force. More or less on her own, She runs a small police unit dedicated to protecting women who’ve been raped and children who’ve suffered abuse in the war-plagued regions of the Congo. She wields her uniform, beret and black handbag like a protective shield, which her daily work desperately requires. Having worked for 15 years in Bukavu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she learns she is transferred to Kisangani. There, she finds herself faced with the new challenges. Through the portrait of this extraordinarily brave and tenacious woman, who fights for justice to be done, this film addresses the issue of violence towards women and children in the DRC and the difficulty of overcoming the past war. The film is a tribute to a heroine of our times and the document of a true achievement with respect to civilization.

Awards: Grand Prize, 2017 Cinema du Reel Documentary Festival; Jury Prize, 2017 Berlinale Film Festival. (from Icarus and Berlinale Archive)

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1:00 p.m.

Out of State

Filmmaker(s): Ciara Lacy | USA | 2017 | 82 minutes

Q&A: Philip Melendez (Prison Project's Restorative Reentry Fellow), Harrison Seuga (Reentry Director, Asian Prisoner Support Committee), and Ke Lam (Reentry Coordinator, Asian Prisoner Support Committee)

Hawaiian prison inmates practicing their native dancesIn 2007, the state of Hawaiʻi outsourced the care of roughly two thousand male prisoners to a private, for-profit prison on the continental U.S. Now, deep in the desert of Arizona, exiled thousands of miles from their island home, a group of indigenous Hawaiian inmates has discovered their calling on the inside –– teaching each other their native language and dances while behind bars. It’s from this unlikely setting that David and Hale finish their terms and return to Hawaii, hoping for a fresh start. Eager to prove to themselves and to their families that this experience has changed them forever, David and Hale struggle with the hurdles of life as formerly incarcerated men, asking the question: can you really go home again? Out of State explores complex questions of cultural and religious identity; the overabundance of native Hawaiians and minorities in the prison system; the cycle of criminal behavior and its impact on the family; and prisoner entitlement in a character-driven documentary.

Awards: Inaugural Made in Hawaii award, 2017 Hawaii International Film Festival; Best Feature Documentary, 2017 San Diego Asian Film Festival.

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3:00 p.m.


Filmmaker(s): Heather White and Lynn Zhang | USA | 2017 | 90 minutes

Q&A: Filmmaker Heather White

Girl working in electronics factoryShot below the radar, Complicit follows the journey of Chinese factory migrant worker-turned-activist Yi Yeting, who takes his fight against the global electronic industry from his hospital bed, where he helps other workers, to Silicon Valley and the international stage. While battling his own work-induced leukemia, Yi Yeting teaches himself labor law in order to prepare a legal challenge against his former employers. But the struggle to defend the lives of millions of Chinese people from becoming terminally ill due to working conditions necessitates confrontation with some of the world’s largest brands including Apple and Samsung. Unfortunately, neither powerful businesses nor the government are willing to have such scandals exposed. Yi’s efforts along with the support of others, ultimately contributes to Apple banning two of the most toxic chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, in its final assembly.

Awards: Best Feature Documentary, 2017 Valencia Spain's Human Rights Film Festival, Journalism Prize for Best Research and Investigation.

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5:00 p.m.

Company Town

Filmmaker(s): Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow | USA | 2017 | 77 minutes

Q&A: USF Professor Rachel Brahinsky (Director, MA in Urban and Public Affairs) and Sunny Angulo (USF Alumna, BA in Media Studies, and District 3 Supervisor, Chief of Staff)

Signs in San Francisco apartment windows saying, "Evicted" and "Us Too"The once free-spirited city of San Francisco is now a “Company Town”, a playground for tech moguls of the “sharing economy.” Airbnb is the biggest hotel, Uber privatizes transit. And now these companies want political power as well. Meanwhile, middle class and ethnic communities are driven out by gentrification, skyrocketing rents and evictions, sparking a grassroots backlash. Can an insurgent electoral campaign overcome corporate power and billionaires megabucks to change a city’s course? Company Town shows how a grassroots coalition of unions, tenants, neighborhoods of color, activists and artists can come together to win.

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6:45 p.m.

500 Years: A Life in Resistance

Filmmaker(s): Pamela Yates | USA | 2017 | 108 minutes

Q&A: Andrea Ixchiu Hernández, Maya K'iche' leader, activist, social communicator, and law student featured in the film

Stern-looking Mayan woman500 Years tells the epic story that led Guatemala to a tipping point in their history, from the genocide trial of General Rios Montt to the popular movement that toppled President Otto Perez Molina. While indigenous peoples of Guatemala are no stranger to oppression, the recent events that took place over a tumultuous three-year span, change finally seems possible when their movement is met with popular society’s outcry to end corruption. As witness to this heroic moment in Guatemalan history, The film documents the beginning of the end of an unaccountable rule of law, and a society ready for change. Focusing on universal themes of justice, racism, power and corruption, it tells the story from the perspective of the majority indigenous Mayan population, and their struggles in the country’s growing democracy. This is the third chapter of the trilogy of documentaries on Guatemala, led by Pamela Yates, and follows the films When the Mountains Tremble (1983) and Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (2011).

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Saturday, April 7

12:00 p.m.

What Doesn't Kill Me: Domestic Violence and the Battle for Custody

Filmmaker(s): Rachel Meyrick | UK | 2017 | 81 minutes

Q&A: Sarah Kerlow (MA candidate in Human Rights Education at USF; Graduate Fellow at Center for Judicial Excellence) and Kathleen Russell (Director of Center for Judicial Excellence)

86-year-old Charlotta HarrisonEvery day, 5 million children in the U.S. either witness or are victims of domestic violence. In the current system, a judge is more likely to award child custody to the violent father if the mother tries to escape the abusive relationship. In fact, fathers win up to 70 percent of contested cases even when they’ve been found guilty of domestic or sexual violence against the mother or the children. In this bold and provocative film, mothers, lawyers, and domestic violence experts share intimate personal stories, hard-hitting facts and frank discussions about what is wrong with the system and how to fix it. What Doesn’t Kill Me features the indomitable 86-year-old Charlotta Harrison, who stayed 60 years in an abusive marriage to protect her son. She speaks hauntingly about the pressures and fears that made it so difficult to leave. You will also meet other women and children who have been separated, silenced, and pushed to extreme solutions in order to escape. Hear their stories and what they're doing to fight back.

Awards: Special Jury Activist, Awareness Film Festival.

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2:00 p.m.

Bones of Contention

Filmmaker(s): Andrea Weiss | USA / Spain | 2017 | 75 minutes

Q&A: USF Professor Pedro Lange-Churión (Modern & Classical Languages, Urban Studies)

Gravestone of Federico Garcia LorcaBones of Contention is the first nonfiction feature film to explore the theme of historical memory in Spain, focusing on the repression of lesbians and gays under Franquismo. Lining the roads of Spain are unmarked graves in which over a hundred twenty thousand victims of the Franco regime are buried. Today the families of the desaparecidos lead a grassroots effort to uncover and identify their loved ones bones despite opposition from Spanish government. Invisible to the eye but hyper-visible in the mind, these mass graves of Spain’s missing persons are an apt metaphor for the historical memory conundrum. How does a country excavate a past that is actively suppressed? The film weaves together two strands, the historical memory movements campaign to uncover the past, and the search for the hidden lives of lesbians and gays under Franco. These strands are connected through poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, who was killed by a right-wing firing squad during the Spanish Civil War. The mystery of his missing remains and the debates over their significance provide the narrative spine of the documentary, as he has become the symbol today for both the historical memory movement and the LGBT movement.

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3:45 p.m.


Filmmaker(s): Peter Bratt | USA | 2017 | 95 minutes

Q&A: USF Professor Nicole Gonzales Howell (Rhetoric and Language)

Dolores Huerta speaking through a megaphoneDolores Huerta bucks 1950s gender conventions by starting the country’s first farm workers union with fellow organizer Cesar Chavez. What starts out as a struggle for racial and labor justice, soon becomes a fight for gender equality within the same union she is eventually forced to leave. As she wrestles with raising 11 children, three marriages, and is nearly beaten to death by a San Francisco tactical police squad, Dolores emerges with a vision that connects her newfound feminism with racial and class justice.

Awards: Audience Award best documentary feature, 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival.

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6:00 p.m.

Disturbing the Peace

Filmmaker(s): Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young | Israel / Palestine / USA | 2017 | 86 minutes

Q&A: USF Professor Sarah Anne Minkin (Sociology)

An interviewee in Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young's documentary, "Disturbing the Peace"In a world torn by conflict, an energy of determined optimism emerges. Disturbing the Peace follows everyday people who took extraordinary actions by standing for what they believe in. The movie challenges us to understand the narratives we live within, to look at our current roles in society, and to decide what role we are going to play in creating a humane world for all. It is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us and, with the power of our convictions, take actions to create new possibilities. It follows former enemy combatants — Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison--who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film reveals the transformational journeys from armed soldiers to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace, a movement that has the potential to shift the conversation from the inevitability of conflict, to the possibility and process of establishing peace.

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2018 Schedule

Thursday, April 5

Friday, April 6

Saturday, April 7