13th Human Rights Film Festival at USF
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Sunrise over Lone Mountain stairs

Past Festivals

2014 Festival Program

Thursday, April 3

12:00 PM

Program Curator: Cristina Pachano-Lauderdale
Q&A with Student Filmmakers

2013, 5:01 min, Filmmaker: Yannan Shen
To pursue her dream as a photographer, Wenxin Zhang moved to the San Francisco, California. Although, she continues to turn down job offers because she wants to pursue her own artistic vision through her photographs rather than sitting in a gallery for nothing. Unable to leave the United States without ever being able to return, she must attain an O1 visa to have basic right of pursuing her dream.

2013, 5:21 min, Filmmaker: Lauren Abuali
A commentary on the way society portrays women in the media. A beautiful representation of one girls story, looking at how she is influenced by the media's portrayal of women and how she overcomes the pressures that surround her.

2013, 6:34 min, Filmmaker: Moonui Choi
It's so easy to disregard those that called the streets their home, but it's imperative we remember that each person is significant and has a compelling story to tell. Hear this man's story.

2013, 7 min, Filmmaker: Jennifer de Leon
With the establishment of San Francisco's new bike share flooding the headlines, a dark cloud looms over our city streets. Four people have been hit and killed while biking in and around SoMa in the year 2013 alone. White Bike tells the story of one of these accidents, and the San Francisco Bike Coalition's project for safety and justice.

2013, 12:20 min, Filmmakers: Ellie Vanderlip & Sonia Tagare
72% of farmworkers in California are migrants who struggle daily in the fields of industrial agriculture giants. Lack of proper wages, job security, and health protection keep this population from thriving. Pastures of Plenty, centered around a small Biodynamic farm in Central California, examines how, in contrast, organic, small-scale farms can improve the safety, health, and success of migrant farmworkers and their families as they adjust to their life in a new country.

1:15 PM
USA, Filmmaker(s): Yoruba Richen, Year: 2013, 82 min

* Selection of the Human Rights Watch Film Traveling Film Festival
Q&A with Mary J. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach

The New Black
The New Black tells the story of how the African American community is grappling with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in light of the marriage equality movement and the fight over civil rights. We meet activists, families, and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland, a state with a 30 percent African-American population. Through this story, the film examines homophobia in the black community's institutional pillar—the black church—and reveals the Christian right wing's strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda. The New Black takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.


3:15 PM
USA, Filmmaker(s): Antonio Vargas and Ann Lupo, Year: 2013, 90 min
Q&A with Denisse Rojas, Ju Hong, and Miriam Uribe, Activist Dreamers

In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine. "Documented" chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his journey through America as an immigration reform activist/provocateur; and his journey inward as he re-connects with his mother, whom he hasn't seen in 20 years.

5:30 PM
Argentina, Filmmaker: Ines Compan, Year: 2009, 52 min
Q&A with Professor Dorothy Kidd, Media Studies, USF

Open Sky
In rural northwest Argentina, the indigenous Kolla's land and quality of life is threatened after the government permits a Canadian company, Standard Silver to open an ambitious open-sky silver mine in Mina Pirquitas. The residents, mostly poor llama, goat and chinchilla farmers with little political clout, become understandably inflamed that the government would allow this usufruct without offering any sort of compensation for long-term environmental damage and share of the profits of the non-renewable resources. The residents feel that they are being bamboozled with promises of mining jobs that will enable them to stay in the area, yet the government ministers turns a deaf ear when reminders are made of long ago requests for a local clinic, school and improvements to drinking water quality. A great community dialogue and discussion is established to educate and band together the locals who must fight against a powerful corporation and a government who rules by dividing and conquering and creating conflicts amidst the indigenous populace.

7:00 PM
Haiti/France/US, Filmmaker: Raoul Peck, Year: 2012, 100 min

Q&A with Nicole Phillips, Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). Professor of Human Rights, Université de la Fondation Dr. Aristide (UNIFA), Faculté des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Fatal Assistance
Award-winning Haitian born filmmaker Raoul Peck takes us on a two-year journey inside the challenging, contradictory, and colossal rebuilding efforts in post-earthquake Haiti. Through its provocative and radical point of view, Fatal Assistance offers a devastating indictment of the international community's post-disaster idealism. The film dives headlong into the complexity of the reconstruction process and the practice and impact of worldwide humanitarian and development aid, revealing the disturbing extent of a general failure. We learn that a major portion of the money pledged to Haiti was never disbursed, nor made it into the actual reconstruction. Fatal Assistance leads us to one clear conclusion: current aid policies and practices in Haiti need to stop immediately. Official Selection at the Berlin Film Festival.

Friday, April 4

12:00 PM

Program Curator: Erika Myszynski
Q&A with Alumni Filmmakers

2013, 8:31 min, Filmmaker: Mike Kuba (‘12 Alumn) in conjunction with Actuality Media: Dean Jacobson (Editor, Australian), Daniel Karnafel (Producer, American) and Cassandra Heikkila (Director, American)
Just outside the southern wall of Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa, is Sadili Oval Sports Academy. Meaning "well-being" in Swahili," Sadili is a social enterprise that uses sports as a means to reach out to children and young people in need - both in the slums and from across East Africa. "Dirt Court Dreams" centers on Flo --- a Kibera resident and tennis coach --- and reflects how Sadili has made her life better and through her has, and is, improving the lives of many others. Further Information on Sadili visit

2013, 22:33 min, Filmmaker: Kate Elston (‘09 Alumna)
Selection of SF Indie Fest 2013. Best Shorts, Award Winner
When Lucas was a girl named Laura, he always wanted to be a boy. Now he’s becoming one. This candid documentary follows Lucas Waldron, a 21 year-old transitioning from female to male, as he negotiates what it means to be transgender after years of struggling to identify himself. Told through personal interviews, old photos and footage, and verite scenes, “Sex: M” seeks to explain what the T in LGBT really means. For more information visit

1:15 PM
France, Senegal, Germany, Filmmaker: Moussa Touré, Year: 2012, 87 min 
Q&A with Nunu Kidane, Priority Africa Network


The Pirogue
Senegalese director Moussa Toure's powerful new epic fiction film: a group of 30 West African immigrants leave Senegal in a pirogue captained by a local fisherman facing the sea—and the possibility of never reaching their destination—to undertake the treacherous crossing of the Atlantic to Spain where they believe better lives and prospects are waiting for them. A mix of tribes and nationalities cohabit in this group and tensions run high under stressful conditions.

3:15 PM
Germany, Filmmaker: Marc Wiese, Year: 2012, 104 min
*Selection of the Human Rights Watch Film Traveling Film Festival


Camp 14 - Total Control Zone
Camp 14 – Total Control Zone is a fascinating portrait of a young man who grew up imprisoned by dehumanizing violence yet still found the will to escape. Born inside a North Korean prison camp as the child of political prisoners, Shin Dong-Huyk was raised in a world where all he knew was punishment, torture, and abuse. Filmmaker Marc Wiese crafts his documentary by quietly drawing details from Shin in a series of interviews in which Shin's silence says as much as his words. Weaving anecdotes from a former camp guard and a member of the secret police with powerful animated scenes capturing key moments in Shin's life, Wiese pulls audiences into Shin's world. Shin escapes and becomes a human rights 'celebrity,' but as we see, his life outside the camp is often just as challenging as it was inside it.Official Selection Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival 2012 and Toronto International Film Festival 2012.


5:30 PM
USA/Gaza Strip, Palestine, Filmmakers: Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill, Year: 2013, 71 min
Q&A with filmmaker Roger Hill

Flying Paper
Flying Paper is the uplifting story of Palestinian children in Gaza on a quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown. It showcases the creative resilience of these children making and flying kites despite the difficult realities they face in their daily lives. The film has been co-produced with young Palestinians in Gaza trained by the filmmakers through a youth media program called Voices Beyond Walls. Through the perspective of children and young people comes a story of determination and artistic expression as the youth in the film work together to achieve a shared goal. While the record-breaking event is what drives the film's narrative arc, it is the everyday stories of the young kite makers that will touch audiences through their humor and playful spirit. The film seeks to humanize the conflict through a touching cinematic rendering of the fascinating kite culture among children as a form of creative resistance in Gaza.


7:15 PM
Mexico, Filmmaker: Shula Erenberg, Year: 2013, 70 min
Q&A with director Shula Erenberg

The documentary is a portrait of Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, a woman whose son disappeared at the hands of the security forces in 1975 in the city of Monterrey and whose life was transformed forever. She became an indefatigable and emblematic activist searching for her disappeared son and dedicating her life to the struggle for social change and the defense of human rights in Mexico.

Saturday, April 5

11:00 AM
USA, Filmmaker(s): Lisa Biagiotti, Duy Linh Tu and Joe Lindquist, Year: 2013, 72 min

*Selection of the Human Rights Watch Film Traveling Film Festival
Q&A with Gloria Crowell, Chair of the AIDS Ministry, Allen Temple Baptist Church

Deep South
Deep south explores the rural American South and the people who inhabit its most distant corners. Beneath layers of history, poverty, and now soaring HIV infections, four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive. Josh, a college student, seeks the support of an underground gay family miles from his suffocating Mississippi Delta hometown. With no funds and few resources, Monica and Tammy tirelessly try to unite reluctant participants at their annual HIV retreat in rural Louisiana. Kathie, an Alabama activist, spends 120 days every year on the road fighting a bureaucracy that continues to ignore the South. Each of these stories shares a particular perspective on life with HIV in a region of the United States often ignored by politicians and the public – a point of view that turns out to be both educational and inspirational.


12:45 PM
Spain, Filmmaker: Joan Lopez Lloret, Year: 2012, 81 min
Q&A with Christian Figueroa, Filmmaker

La Ciguena Metalica
Twenty years have passed since the signing of the Peace Agreements of the Salvadoran Civil War, a conflict between the army and the FMLN guerrillas. Armed forces' operations in rural areas had devastating consequences for the civilian population, with thousands of dead and disappeared people. In the midst of the war, "la cigueña metálica" (the mechanic stork) determined the destiny of Ana Lilian, Ricardo y Blanca: Ricardo's adoption by a military family, Ana Lilian's wandering after surviving the massacre of her entire family, Blanca's arrival to Spain. In the 1980s, they were disappeared children. Today, they try to understand their past to bring peace to their future.


2:45 PM
USA, Filmmaker(s): Christopher Oscar, Doug Hecker, Mike Fischer, Year: 2013, 60 min
Q&A with Andy Lee Roth, Associate Director, Project Censored

Project Censored the Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News
The film takes a closer look at what is wrong with the news media in the US today and highlights the work of 37 year media democracy organization and media research program at Sonoma State University, also called Project Censored, and their commitment to media literacy education as an antidote to top-down, managed news propaganda and censorship. The movie explores media censorship in our society by exposing important stories that corporate media fails to report. It looks at the under-reported stories and proliferation of what Project Censored likes to call “junk-food news,” the endless pipeline of light stories about Tiger Woods’ paramours or the latest Kardashian divorce rum. Every year, Project Censored uses investigative research to create a ranking and summary of the 25 most censored or underreported news stories of the previous year, publishing a book each September.


4:15 PM
UK, Filmmaker: Marc Silver, Year: 2012, 85 min

Who Is Dayani Cristal?
Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, Arizona border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt, they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal”. Who is this person? What brought him here? How did he die? And who—or what—is Dayani Cristal? Following a team of dedicated staff from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Marc Silver seeks to answer these questions and give this anonymous man an identity. As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America. In an effort to understand what it must have felt like to make this final journey, he embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He experiences first-hand the dangers they face and learns of their motivations, hopes and fears. As we travel north, these voices from the other side of the border wall give us a rare insight into the human stories which are so often ignored in the immigration debate. Who Is Dayani Cristal? tells the story of a migrant who found himself in the deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration. As the real-life drama unfolds we see this John Doe, denied an identity at his point of death, become a living and breathing human being with an important life story. Winner of the Sundance 2013 Cinematography award and nominated in the World Documentary Competition, “Who is Dayani Cristal?” has been described by The Hollywood Reporter as “A deeply moving doc [which] finds a new way of making the immigration debate personal.”


6:15 PM
THE ACT OF KILLING (The Director's Cut)
Indonesia, Filmmaker(s): Joshua Oppenheimer Year: 2012, 159 min
Q&A with director Joshua Oppenheimer via Skype
*Nominee, Best Documentary Feature, Academy Award 2014

The Act of Killing
A true cinematic experiment, The Act of Killing explores a chapter of Indonesia's history in a way bound to stir debate—by enlisting a group of former killers, including Indonesian paramilitary leader Anwar Congo, to re-enact their lives in the style of the films they love. When the government of President Sukarno was overthrown by the military in 1965, Anwar and his cohorts joined in the mass murder of more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals. Now, Anwar and his team perform detailed re-enactments of their crimes with pride, holding numerous discussions about sets, costumes, and pyrotechnics. Their fixation on style rather than substance—despite the ghastly nature of the scenes—makes them mesmerising to watch. But as movie violence and real-life violence begin to overlap, Anwar's pride gradually gives way to regret. And we see a man overwhelmed by the horrific acts he has chosen to share with the world. Official Selection at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and winner of the 2013 Berlin Film Festival Panorama Audience Award – documentary film. The Act of Killing website:


2013 Festival Program

Thursday April 4

12:00 PM

Download the poster
2013 Poster Thumb

Program Curator: Jared Nangle
Q&A with Student Filmmakers


LA IDENTIDAD DE JUSTICIA: MUJERES TRANS EN COCHABAMBA (The Identity of Justice: Trans Women in Cochabamba)
2012, 14:04 min, Director: Lucas Waldron
La Identidad de Justicia exposes the struggles of the MTF transsexual community in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The film explores the experiences of transsexual women in the context of HIV infection, sex work, and political organizing.


2012, 15 min, Director: Stacey Mahealani Johnston
Set in Post-Genocide Rwanda 2012, this film follows the Anne Frank Project and Mashirika Theater Company on their journey to portray the horror that occurred in 1994 and find the beauty of a once-divided society struggling to forgive through theater and storytelling.

2013, 5 min, Director: Jared Nangle
In an interview at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly, Ellie Wiesel and Nathan Sharansky tell the forgotten story of the 1987 march on Washington for Soviet Jewry.

2012, 15:17 min, Filmmakers: Karla Gallardo–Director. Jean Pierre Bitchoka–Executive Producer. Betsey J. Blosser–Executive Producer
This documentary was produced in Kpando, Ghana in the summer of 2012, for Haven Children Home, an orphanage whose mission is to assist HIV/AIDS orphans and young victims. The purpose of the video is to help the orphanage raise money for its day-today activities, and find sponsors for the children.

1:30 PM
REPORTERO, 2011, Mexico/US, Filmmaker: Bernardo Ruiz, 72 min

* Selection of the Human Rights Watch Film Traveling Film Festival
* Selected by Cine Acción @ USF
Q&A with Samuel Orozco, News and Information Director, Radio Bilingue Network, Oakland, CA


Reportero follows veteran reporter Sergio Haro and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana, Mexico-based weekly, as they dauntingly ply their trade in what has become one of the most deadly places in the world to be a journalist. Since the paper's founding in 1980, two of the paper's editors have been murdered and the founder viciously attacked. "Impunity reigns in Mexico, especially here along the northern border," explains Adela Navarro, Sergio's boss and Zeta's co-director. Despite the attacks, the paper has continued its singular brand of aggressive investigative reporting, frequently tackling dangerous subjects that other publications avoid, such as cartels' infiltration of political circles and security forces. As a veteran member of Zeta's editorial team, Sergio contributes to the investigative crime pieces that are the paper's bread and butter, but at this stage of his career, he is also after what he calls the "deeper story" of the region—the human stories that tend to fall between the cracks.

3:30 PM
US, 2011, 60 min, Filmmaker: Adam Jonas Horowitz 
Q&A with Professor Evelyn Rodriguez, USF Sociology & Asia Pacific Studies Program & Professor Evelyn Ho, USF Communication & Asia Pacific Studies Program

Nuclear Savage

Horowitz shot his first film in the Marshall Islands in 1986, and was shocked by what he found in this former American military colony in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Radioactive coconuts, leaking nuclear waste repositories, and densely populated slums were all the direct result of 67 Cold War U.S. nuclear bomb tests that vaporized islands and devastated entire populations. Twenty years later, Horowitz returned to the Marshall Islands to make this award winning shocking political and cultural documentary exposé; a heartbreaking and intimate ethnographic portrait of Pacific Islanders struggling for dignity and survival after decades of intentional radiation poisoning at the hands of the American government. Relying on recently declassified U.S. government documents, survivor testimony, and incredible unseen archival footage, this untold and true detective story reveals how U.S. scientists turned a Pacific paradise into a radioactive hell. Marshall islanders were used as human guinea pigs for three decades to study the effects of nuclear fallout on human beings with devastating results. The film is a shocking tale that pierces the heart of our democratic principles.

5:15 PM
DEAR MANDELA, 2012, South Africa, Filmmakers: Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza, 90 min 
Q&A with filmmakers Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza

Dear Mandela

When Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa, his government was faced with a seemingly insurmountable task: providing a better life for those who had suffered under apartheid. The cornerstone of Mandela’s ‘unbreakable promise’ was an ambitious plan to ensure housing for all. When the South African government begins evicting shack dwellers from their homes, three friends living in Durban’s shantytowns refuse to be moved. Dear Mandela follows their journey to South Africa’s highest court as they invoke Nelson Mandela’s example and become leaders in a growing social movement led by shack dwellers. Mazwi, an enlightened schoolboy, Zama, an AIDS orphan and Mnikelo, a mischievous shopkeeper, discover that the new ‘Slums Act’ violates the rights enshrined in the country’s constitution. By turns inspiring, devastating and funny, the film offers a fresh perspective on the youth’s role in political change in a South Africa coming of age. Winner Grand Jury Prize and Best Documentary, Brooklyn Film Festival; Best South African Documentary, Durban International Film Festival; Best Documentary, Montreal International Black Film Festival.

7:30 PM
Sneak Preview
BIDDER 70, 2012, US
Filmmakers: Beth and George Gage, 73 min
* Selection from the Human Rights Watch Film Traveling Film Festival
Q&A with Dylan Rose Schneider, Tim DeChristopher's Power of Attorney, and Matt Leonard, U.S. Actions Team Coordinator,

Bidder 70

Bidder 70 tells the story of Tim DeChristopher and his stunning act of civil disobedience in a time of global climate chaos. On December 19, 2008, DeChristopher, as Bidder #70, derailed the Bush administration's last minute, widely disputed federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Oil and Gas lease auction, acting to safeguard thousands of acres of Utah land. Bidding $1.7 million, Tim won 22,000 acres of land with no intention to pay or drill. For his disruption of the auction, DeChristopher was indicted on two federal charges. Tim's civil disobedience has drawn national attention to America's energy policy and criticism to the BLM's management of public lands. Refusing to compromise his principles and rejecting numerous plea offers by the prosecution, Tim is willing to sacrifice his own future to bring this vitally important issue to global attention. Bidder 70 is Tim's story: his actions, his trial and his possible prison sentence. It is also the story of the scientists, activists, writers, and movements that influence and support his actions.!bidder70/c13x4

Friday April 5

12:00 PM

Program Curator: Erika Myszynski
Q&A with Alumni Filmmakers

2012, 7:45 min, Director: Kate Elston ('09 Alum)
Fifty million Americans do not have health insurance and suffer every day because of it. But thanks to a roaming clinic, hundreds of thousands of uninsured people have received free medical services over the last twenty years. Mobile Medicine is a project Kate Elston produced for a TV reporting class at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, where she currently studies.

2012, 8:20 min, Producer: Natalie Eakin ('12 Alum)
"Kids are like sponges. They absorb what they see, and if what they see is good they will have common sense in the future." SONATI is an organization in northern Nicaragua that is working to combat the destruction of the local environment by educating the youth so that the next generation can be better informed and make better choices. Natalie made this film through Actuality Media and collaborated with a cinematographer and director.
2012, 40 min, Director: Kevin Kunze ('11 Alum)
The documentary examines the controversy surrounding cell phone radiation and the possible long-term health effects such as cancer and infertility. Exploring recent scientific research, national policies regarding safety, and telecommunication companies’ response, Disconnect portrays a haunting perspective of the potential health consequences from cell phone radiation. It features interviews with the leading health and technology experts interwoven with accounts from brain tumor victims.
2012, 11:57 min, Director: Erika Myszynski ('11 Alum)
This piece encompasses a message that cooperation should be a way of life, a lifestyle, and not solely applicable to businesses or community projects. The film punctures the underlying conundrum of religion as something that separates and naturally undoes collaboration through the operations of a peaceful, interfaith coffee farm. The film exhibits Thanksgiving Coffee Company (TCC) that works as a propeller for the coffee farm in Mbale, Uganda to help them work through their differences.

1:30 PM
JUSTICE FOR MY SISTER, 2012, US, Filmmaker: Kimberly Bautista, 70 min

* Selected by Cine Acción @ USF
Q&A with professor Chris Loperena (USF, International Studies MA program)

Adela, 27, left home for work one day and never returned. Her ex-boyfriend beat her until she was unrecognizable and left her at the side of the road. Her story is all too familiar in Guatemala, where 6,000 women have been murdered in the last decade. Only 2% of those killers have been sentenced. Adela's sister Rebeca, 34, is determined to see that Adela's killer is held accountable. She makes tortillas at home and sells them in order to raise her five children, as well as the three children Adela left behind. The challenges Rebeca encounters in her search for justice are illustrative of the thousands of other cases like this one in Guatemala. However, her willingness to practically take on the role of investigator while she is still mourning is exceptional. She encounters many setbacks during her three-year battle: a missing police report, a judge accused of killing his own wife, and witnesses who are too afraid to testify. Completely transformed by her struggle, Rebeca emerges as a feminist leader in her rural community with a message for others: justice is possible.

3:30 PM
IN SHOPIAN, 2012, US, Filmmaker: Christopher Giamo, 32 min
Q&A with filmmaker Christopher Giamo

In Shopian

On May 29th, 2009, Shakeel Ahmad Ahanger, a Kashmiri man living in the town of Shopian, returned home from work to find his wife and sister missing. After notifying the police and searching through the night, he discovered their battered bodies in a nearby river. Although the initial post-mortem stipulated that they had been gang-raped and murdered, the Indian Government’s Central Bureau of Investigation later changed the ruling to death by accidental drowning. The incident immediately sparked massive strikes and protests against the Indian occupation, and continues to be a rallying cry for human rights and Kashmiri independence activism. Filmed in 2010, “In Shopian” presents a firshand account of Shakeel’s story amidst the current state of social unrest in the capital of Srinagar and outlying rural areas. It features rare on-site interviews with separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Yasin Malik, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, as well as street battles between local youths and security forces. Shakeel’s story is a contextualized example of the plight of ordinary Kashmiris, and an aesthetic portrait of present-day Kashmir as a torn paradise.

4:45 PM

* Selected by Cine Acción @ USF
Q&A with Professor Karina Hodoyan, Modern & Classical Languages, Director Chican@/Latin@ Studies

The Harvest

Every year there are more than 400,000 American children who are torn away from their friends, schools and homes to pick the food we all eat. Zulema, Perla and Victor labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive. The Harvest/La Cosecha profiles these three as they journey from the scorching heat of Texas’ onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards and back south to the humidity of Florida's tomato fields to follow the harvest. From the Producers of the Academy-Award® Nominated film, War/Dance and Executive Producer Eva Longoria, this award-winning documentary provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of these children who struggle to dream while working 12 – 14 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed America.

7:00 PM
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY, 2012, Germany, Filmmaker: Alison Klayman, 91 min
Q&A with Fang Zheng, Human Rights Activist & Tiananmen Survivor, Ge Xun, Chinese Human Rights Volunteer, & Cheryl Haines, Director, Haines Gallery; Executive Director, FOR-SITE

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Ai Weiwei is China's most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention. Ai Waiwei: Never Sorry is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.

Saturday - April 6

12:00 PM

Program Curator: Jared Nangle
Q&A with Student Filmmakers

2012, 13:28 min, Director: Luc "Luckie" Nguyen, School: Art Institute of California, San Francisco
A teenage girl trying to fight for a normal lifestyle, but her affiliation with the gang life makes it difficult.
2012, 6:23 min, Director: Michelle Ikemoto, School: San Jose State University
Tule Lake is an animated short film; set during the Japanese American internment of World War II, a woman held at the Tule Lake segregation camp with her family leaves her barracks one winter night...

2012, 14:38 min, Director: Livia Santos, School: City College of San Francisco
Shot in San Francisco, Oakland and New York City, this documentary gives an overview of the Occupy Wall Street movement from its inception to May 1, 2012, focusing on how the movement builds awareness about social change through community organizing.

2:00 PM

Q&A with director Mark Freeman and Claudia Quijano, clinic patient who received political asylum and is now graduating from cosmetology school

Transgender Tuesdays

The first Public Health clinic in the country specifically for transgender people opened in the Tenderloin in 1993, at the height of the AIDS Epidemic. Historically, trans people in the TL lived in lousy Single Room Occupancy hotels, or at times lived on and worked its streets. Distrustful of medical settings, the street is where they often got their hormones as well. The new clinic’s open-arms policy welcomed all who self-identified, breaking the old model of specialists and psychiatrists deciding who was trans.  It worked.  Within the first five years over 600 people “came for the hormones and stayed for the healthcare.” Transgender Tuesdays allows twelve of these courageous individuals to tell their stories of life in “the bad old days,” before any such clinic existed. The film also lets viewers go beyond labels or identities, to see transgender people—including those in the most harrowing circumstances—as normal, as neighbors, as part of us. And even as pioneers. FB: TransTuesdaysMovie.

3:45 PM
5 BROKEN CAMERAS, 2011, France/Israel/Palestine, Filmmakers: Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi, 90 min
* Nominee, Best Documentary Feature, Academy Award 2013
Q&A with Rose Levinson, Adjunct Professor, USF Jewish Studies and Social Justice Program; Author of forthcoming book Death of a Holy Land: Reflections in Contemporary Israeli Fiction

5 Broken Cameras

Winner at the Sundance Film Festival, 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil'in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat's cameras, the filmmakers' collaboration follows one family's evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. "I feel like the camera protects me," he says, "but it's an illusion."

6:00 PM
THE INVISIBLE WAR, 2011, US, Filmmaker: Kirby Dick, 95 min
* Nominee, Best Documentary Feature, Academy Award 2013
* Selection of the Human Rights Watch Film Traveling Film Festival
Q&A with Katie Weber, Advocacy Board Member, Protect Our Defenders; U.S. Veteran & Star Lara, Women Veterans Coordinator, Swords to Plowshares; U.S. Veteran

The Invisible War

The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about the shameful and underreported epidemic of rape within the US military. With stark clarity and escalating revelations, The Invisible War exposes the rape epidemic in the armed forces, investigating the institutions that perpetuate it as well as its profound personal and social consequences. We meet characters who embraced their military service with pride and professionalism, only to have their idealism crushed. Focusing on the emotionally charged stories of survivors, the film reveals the systemic cover-up of the crimes against them and follows their struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. The Invisible War features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officers and members of Congress that reveal the perfect storm conditions that exist for rape in the military, its history of cover-up, and what can be done to bring about much needed change. Winner of Nestor Almendros Award.

8:15 PM
PROJECT Z: THE FINAL GLOBAL EVENT US, 2012, 75 min, Filmmakers: Phillip Gara and James Der Derian
A special screening co-sponsored by City Lights, the Global Media Project at Brown University and the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia
Q&A with filmmakers Phillip Gara and James Der Derian

Beginning in the Mojave Desert at the end of the Cold War and ending a decade after 9/11 in the wake of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, Project Z tracks first-hand the most critical global security challenges of the Post-Cold War era. Combining rare footage of military war games with commentary by leading intellectuals and officials in the Department of Defense, the film chronicles the rise of an age of unpredictable global events. Moving at the speed of a news cycle from best to worst-case scenarios, Project Z challenges the viewer to understand the logic behind a "final global event." Project Z is an experimental Global Media Project collaboration by James Der Derian (Human Terrain, After 9/11, VY2K), Phillip Gara (Virtuous War 2.0, Disastrous Horizons, The Costs of War).
Film website: 
Film trailer:

2012 Festival Program

Thursday - March 29

1:00 PM

Download the poster
2012 Poster Thumb

Program Curator: Laura Waldron
Q&A with student filmmakers


One Million Bones, 2011, Filmmakers: Natalie Eakin and Paul Sowards

Exchange student Andrea Soto collaborated with activist and artist Naomi Natale who created the project One Million Bones. Together they hold workshops to make one million bones that will line the National Mall in a collaborative art installation that recognizes victims of past and ongoing genocides in the world.

The Rush and Sarah Movie All About Protesting, 2011, Filmmakers: Sarah Hulsman and Rush Sawhney

The documentary examines the nature of protesting by highlighting the current Occupy movement sweeping the United States. The documentary questions why people protest, what happens when both the police and protesters get carried away and, ultimately, how an individual can make an impact in a movement of thousands.

Arrupe Justice Immersion Programs, 2011, Dir. Laura Waldron

USF’s Arrupe Justice Immersion Programs take students out of the classroom and into the communities of San Francisco and Oakland that are the most affected by poverty, discrimination, and homelessness.

Change From Within, 2011, Dir. Jared Nangle

 A Short documentary film that explores a Bay Area organization called "Abraham's Vision," that seeks to change the consciousness of a new generation of Jews and Palestinians, while also looking at the Arab/Israeli conflict through the perspectives of Jewish, Palestinian, and non-affiliated citizens of the bay area. 

El Camino A Cambio, Actuality Media, 2011, Filmmakers: Victoria Mortati, Gabriela Ventuso, Sara Cabrera

Filmed in a barrio, La Plusia, in the outskirts of Granada, Nicaragua. Documents the struggle of three La Plusia residents struggling to survive. With the help of Las Casas de Esperanza, a non-profit which gives housing materials, job opportunities, and free education, the residents of La Plusia are able to make a better life for themselves and their families. The organization, however, struggles to ignite optimism and motivation within the members of this extremely poor community. The documentary follows the story of three strong-willed individuals who never lost their hope for a better life.

2:30 PM
THE PRICE OF SEX, 2010, US/United Arab Emirates/Bulgaria/ Moldova/Greece/Turkey/, Filmmaker: Mimi Chakarova (director), 73 min

* Selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Festival
Q&A with director Mimi Chakarova

Price of Sex

Intimate and revealing, The Price of Sex is a feature-length documentary about young Eastern European women who have been drawn into a world of sex trafficking and abuse. It is a story told by the young women who refused to be silenced by shame, fear, and violence. Emmy-nominated photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal journey– exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe. Filming undercover and gaining extraordinary access, Chakarova illuminates how even though some women escape to tell their stories, sex trafficking thrives. In English and Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian and Turkish with English subtitles. Winner, Nestor Almendros Award 2011; World Premiere, Sarasota Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, AFI/Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival 2011

4:30 PM
BETTER THIS WORLD, 2011, US, Filmmakers: Katie Galloway (director) & Kelly Duane de la Vega (co-director), 93 min
Q&A with filmmakers Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega
* Selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Festival

Better this World

When David McKay and Bradley Crowder, two boyhood friends from Midland, Texas, visit an Austin bookstore to hear a talk on upcoming protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention, they are approached by a charismatic local activist 10 years their senior, who quickly becomes their mentor. Six months later at the volatile 2008 Convention, McKay and Crowder cross a line that radically changes their lives. The result: eight Molotov cocktails, multiple domestic terrorism charges, and a high-stakes entrapment defense. A dramatic story of idealism, loyalty, crime, and betrayal, Better this World goes to the heart of the “war on terror” and its impact on civil liberties and political dissent in the United States after 9/11. Winner, Best Documentary Feature, San Francisco International Film Festival 2011; Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Sarasota Film Festival 2011; World Premiere, SXSW Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, Canadian International Documentary Festival 2011; Official Selection, AFI/Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival 2011

6:45 PM
NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT, 2011, France/Germany/Chile, Filmmaker: Patricio Guzmán (director), 90 min
Q&A with Zita Cabello-Barrueto, professor of human rights and filmmaker

Nostalgia for the Light

For his new film master director Patricio Guzmán, famed for his political documentaries (The Battle of Chile, The Pinochet Case), travels 10,000 feet above sea level to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, where atop the mountains astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars. The sky is so translucent that it allows them to see right to the boundaries of the universe. The Atacama is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact: those of Pre-Columbian mummies; 19th century explorers and miners; and the remains of political prisoners, “disappeared” by the Chilean army after the military coup of September, 1973. So while astronomers examine the most distant and oldest galaxies, at the foot of the mountains, women, surviving relatives of the disappeared whose bodies were dumped here, search, even after twenty-five years, for the remains of their loved ones, to reclaim their families’ histories. Melding the celestial quest of the astronomers and the earthly one of the women, Nostalgia for the Light is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey. Winner Best Documentary, Prix ARTE, European Film Academy Awards 2010; Winner Best Documentary, Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2010; Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2010; Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2010; Official Selection, San Francisco International Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, Miami International Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, Melbourne International Film Festival 2010

Friday - March 30

1:00 PM
THE LABYRINTH, 2010, US, Filmmaker: Jason A. Schmidt (director), 37 min

Q&A with producer/writer Ron Schmidt

The Labyrinth

Marian Kolodziej was on one of the first transports to enter Auschwitz. He was given number 432. He survived and never spoke of his experience for 50 years. After a serious stroke in 1993, he began rehabilitation by doing pen and ink drawings depicting the experiences he and others endured in the concentration camp. These drawings, in their skeletal detail, are a gripping depiction of the pain, death, and horrors of the camp. While most of the drawings represent the memories of a young man’s hellish experiences in Auschwitz, some tell stories of small acts of kindness and dignity. Marian’s drawings and art installations, which he called The Labyrinth, fill the large basement of a church near Auschwitz and draw visitors into the horrific reality of the holocaust. In The Labyrinth, Marian takes the audience on a journey through his drawings and art installations. Through the blending of his testimony and the graphic drawings, we explore the memories and nightmares of a man, who like so many others buried experiences deep within. Why would a confrontation with death late in life, trigger the need to record his long-suppressed memories? And why in this graphic, metaphorical way? This documentary raises these questions in a visually stunning way. This is eyewitness testimony that is unique in the annals of documenting the Holocaust. Marian is a Polish Catholic, who has used his drawings to give testimony to the horrors of Auschwitz and of the world today, and whose body of work provides a testament to suffering and “man’s inhumanity to man.” Official Selection, Docuweeks Theatrical Documentary Showcase 2010; Official Selection, Boulder International Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, The Tel-Aviv International Documentary Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, Beverly Hills Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, Boston Film Festival 2010; Official Selection, Polish Film Festival Los Angeles 2010; Official Selection, Peace on Earth Film Festival 2011; Winner, Reel Rose Best Short Film, John Paul II International Film Festival 2011; Official Selection International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography 2010; Winner, Redemptive Storyteller Award, Redemptive Storyteller Film Festival; Honorable Mention, Short Documentary Film, Los Angeles International Film Festival 2011

2:30 PM
PHOTOS OF ANGIE, 2010, US, Filmmaker: Alan Dominguez (director), 55 min

Q&A with director Alan Dominguez

Photos of Angie

This moving and powerful documentary chronicles the life and murder of Angie Zapata -- a transgender teen who was murdered in rural Colorado in 2008. The film includes extensive interviews with her family about her journey of self-discovery, transgender lives across the globe, hate crimes legislation, and the mysterious nature of her killer -- all against the backdrop of his trial. Statement by filmmaker: Great stories never begin with the beginning, they start at the end or somewhere in the middle. Tragically, I only came to know Angie Zapata in the days after the end of her brief life. Angie was born as Justin Zapata, and the man accused of her murder says that he did so in a fit of rage after discovering that Angie was biologically a male. Photos of Angie tells the tale of this tragic death, the subsequent trial and explores transgenderism in its historical context. Angie was from a small town in northeastern Colorado and from a cultural background that does not allow for Angie to be the person she felt deep inside. In researching this film, many aspects of this story struck me – Angie’s struggle to discover who she was and her courage to do right by herself, the fact that human sexuality is not nearly as neatly packaged as we like to think, and how common anti-transgender violence is. Angie’s family took me on a very personal journey through their lives and it lead me to realize that only through compassion and understanding, all of us have to work together to write the end of the story – to create a world governed by freedom to be who we are, without fear. -Alan Domínguez. Winner, Best Documentary, Long Beach Q Festival 2011

4:15 PM
GRANITO: HOW TO NAIL A DICTATOR, 2010, US, Filmmakers: Pamela Yates (director), Peter Kinoy (editor) & Paco de Onis (producer), 100min
Q&A with Almudena Bernabeu, Transitional Justice Program Director, Center for Justice & Accountability
* Selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Festival


Part political thriller, part memoir, Granito takes us through a haunting tale of genocide and justice that spans four decades, two films, and filmmaker Pamela Yates’s own career. Granito is a story of destinies joined together by Guatemala’s past and of how a documentary film from 1982, When the Mountains Tremble, emerges as an active player in the present by becoming forensic evidence in a genocide case against a military dictator. In an incredible twist of fate, Yates was allowed to shoot the only known footage of the army as it carried out the genocide. Twenty-five years later, this footage becomes evidence in an international war crimes case against the very army commander who permitted Yates to film. Irrevocably linked by the events of 1982, each of the film’s characters is integral to the country’s reconstruction of a collective memory, the search for truth, and the pursuit of justice. Through the work of American filmmakers, forensics experts in Guatemala, and lawyers in Spain, the quest for accountability in Guatemala continues—with each individual contributing his or her own “granito”, or tiny grain of sand. In English and Quiché and Spanish with English subtitles. Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2011; Grand Jury Prize, Politics on Film 2011

7:00 PM
WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE, 1984, US, Filmmakers: Pamela Yates (director) & Newton Thomas Sigel (co-director), 83 min
Q&A with Almudena Bernabeu, Transitional Justice Program Director, Center for Justice & Accountability
* Selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Festival

When the Mountains Tremble

In the early 1980s, death squads roamed the Guatemalan countryside in a war against the unarmed indigenous population that went largely unreported in the international media. Filmmakers Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel threw themselves into the task of bringing the crisis to the world’s attention by making a documentary that took them into remote areas of the country where civilian massacres were taking place. Central to their story is Rigoberta Menchú, a Maya indigenous woman who was spurred into radical action by the murders of her father and two brothers. No less admirable, however, is the courage of the filmmakers. When the Mountains Tremble, which was originally released in 1983, has been digitally re-mastered and updated since Menchú was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. In English and Quiché and Spanish with English subtitles. Winner, Sundance Film Festival 1984; Winner, Blue Ribbon Award, American Film Festival; Winner, Grand Coral Award/Best North American Documentary, Havana Film Festival

Saturday - March 31

12:00 PM
EDUCATION UNDER FIRE, 2011, US, Filmmakers: Jeff Kaufman (producer / director) & David Hoffman (executive producer), 30 min

Q&A with producer/director Jeff Kaufman and professor Shabnam Koirala (USF School of Education)

Education Under Fire

People of the Baha'i Faith in Iran have been subjected to systematic persecution, including arrests, torture, and execution, simply for refusing to recant their beliefs. They are also prohibited from going to college. In 1987, the semi-underground Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was formed to give young Baha’is their only chance for a university-level education. Education Under Fire profiles the persecution on the Baha'is of Iran, with a special focus on growth, struggle, and spirit of the at-risk BIHE. In May 2011 the government launched a coordinated attack against the BIHE raiding dozens of homes, confiscating computers and materials and detaining a number of that institution’s professors and administrators, some of whom continue to languish in prison without formal charges yet having been levied. Filmed in nine cities in the United States, the film also includes exclusive new footage from Iran, and never before shown footage from inside Tehran's Evin Prison.

1:00 PM
POR QUÉ MURIÓ BOSCO WISUM?, 2010, Ecuador, Filmmakers: Julian Larrea Arias & Tania Laurini, 35 min

Q&A with professor Susan Katz (USF School of Education)

In the demonstrations of September 2009, organized by indigenous organizations against the proposed Water Law, the Shuar were the only indigenous nationality to sustain roadblocks. Bosco Wisum, a Shuar bilingual intercultural teacher, dies from government-sponsored police repression at the Upano River in Macas, the provincial capital of Morona Santiago - the center of Shuar territory. Five days later, the President of Ecuador finally dialogues with the country's indigenous leaders. This documentary film won special mention for showing the struggle of the Shuar people and to expose the actions the government wanted to cover up. In Spanish and Shuar. Official Selection, International Documentary Film Festival Ecuador 2010; Official Selection, Montreal First Peoples’ Festival 2011

2:00 PM
KINYARWANDA, 2011, US, Filmmaker: Alrick Brown (director), 100 min

Q&A with producer Darren Dean


During the Rwandan genocide, when neighbors killed neighbors and friends betrayed friends, some crossed lines of hatred to protect each other. At the time of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Mufti of Rwanda, the most respected Muslim leader in the country, issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims from participating in the killing of the Tutsi. As the country became a slaughterhouse, mosques became places of refuge where Muslims and Christians, Hutus and Tutsis came together to protect each other. Kinyarwanda is based on true accounts from survivors who took refuge at the Grand Mosque of Kigali and the madrassa of Nyanza. It recounts how the Imams opened the doors of the mosques to give refuge to the Tutsi and those Hutu who refused to participate in the killing. The film interweaves six different tales that together form one grand narrative that provides the most complex and real depiction yet presented of human resilience and life during the genocide. With an amalgamation of characters, we pay homage to many, using the voices of a few. Winner, World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic, Sundance Film Festival 2011; Winner, Audience Award, Starz Denver Film Fest 2011; Grand Prize, Sony D-Cinema Award, Skip City International D-Cinema Festival 2011; Winner, World Cinema Audience Award, AFI Fest 2011

4:30 PM
THE GREEN WAVE, 2010, Germany/Iran, Filmmaker: Ali Samadi Ahadi (director), 80 min

 * A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Festival
Q&A with professor Targol Mesbah, California Institute of Integral Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies

The Green Wave

By providing an animated backdrop for the urgent blog posts and tweets that became a lifeline to Iranian pro-democracy activists, The Green Wave recounts the dramatic events of the most severe domestic crisis in the history of Iran. From the widespread hope of political change in Iran through the 2009 elections to the violent suppression of the mass protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, filmmaker Ali Samadi Ahadi brings us into the world of Iranian citizens who risked their lives in the hopes of a better future. Interweaving online posts, video footage caught by those present, and extensive interviews, The Green Wave is an artistic portrait of modern political rebellion, an exposé of government-sanctioned violence, and a vision of hope that continued resistance may galvanize a new future not just for Iran but for the region as a whole. In English and Farsi with English subtitles. Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2011; Official Selection, Hamburg Filmfest 2010; Official Selection, IDFA Amsterdam 2010

6:30 PM
IF A TREE FALLS, 2010, US, Filmmakers: Marshall Curry (director) & Sam Cullman (co-director), 85 min

* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Festival
Q&A with professor Gerard Kuperus (USF, Philosophy and Environmental Studies)

If a Tree Falls

How far would you go to create change? In December 2005 Daniel McGowan, a prominent New York City social justice organizer, was arrested by federal agents in a nationwide sweep of activists linked to crimes by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF)—a group the FBI has called America's "number one domestic terrorism threat." For years, the ELF had carried out arson from Oregon to Long Island against businesses they accused of destroying the environment. Filmmaker Marshall Curry (Street Fight) creates a timely chronicle of a young man facing a long prison sentence as a terrorist for crimes committed in defense of the environment. By providing a closer look at the group’s disillusionment with the strategies of non-violent protest —in which they suffered police abuse and public indifference—the film poses difficult questions about the possibility of effecting change from within the system and examines the raised stakes post 9/11 where the “terrorist” tag is broadly applied. Winner, Documentary Editing Award, Sundance Film Festival 2011; Winner of Best Documentary Award, Nashville Film Festival 2011; Winner, Environmental Visions Award, Dallas Film Festival 2011; Winner, Founder’s Award for Best Documentary, Traverse City Film Festival 2011; Nominee, Best Documentary Feature, Academy Award 2012

2011 Festival Program

Thursday, March 31

Download the poster
2011 Poster Thumb


12:00 p.m.

Opening Remarks
Father Stephen Privett, USF President

12:30 p.m.

Shorts Produced by USF Students

Program curator: Laura Waldron

Nice Country, Elle Robinson
The Generación Story of Hope, If Streets Could Speak., Erika Myszynski
Queer in Phoenix, Laura Waldron

1:30 p.m.

Youth Producing Change

Introduction by Patricia Cogley, USF School of Education, Program Manager Adobe Youth Voices
Documentary, 74 min., various filmmakers, countries, and languages *A selection of the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival Young people are on the frontlines of many of the world’s human rights crises, but we all too rarely get to hear their point of view. The third edition of Youth Producing Change shares powerful stories from young filmmakers across the globe as they turn the camera on their own lives and share their visions of change.

Films Include:

Hands of Love

Produced by 14 youth filmmakers from Voiceless Children in association with Listen Up! and Adobe Youth Voices. Kenya - 2008. 8 min., doc.
In Kiswahili with English Subtitles.
For David Were and his community in Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya, having access to simple facilities like a bathroom can be a matter of life and death. After a devastating attack on his father, David and his friends know their work to provide security, latrines, and clean-up projects is more than a struggle for a healthier environment - it is part of ensuring the survival of their community.

Click to play

Kamran's Story

Kamran Safi of Kent Refugee Action Network. UK / Afghanistan - 2008. 3 min., animation.
In English.
Drawing from a series of dramatic life-changing events, Kamran, a 14-year-old asylum seeker, narrates the story of his courageous escape from Afghanistan and his unaccompanied journey to the United Kingdom.


Eddy Perlaza, Cinthya Durán, and Sinchi Chimba of Agencia de Comunicación de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes (ACNNA). Ecuador - 2008. 5 min., doc.
In Spanish with English Subtitles.
Young people find themselves on their own when they seek refuge from violence in Colombia - or when parents are forced to seek work in other countries to support their families. Migration provides a new take on immigration, from the perspective of children left behind.

An Average Congolese Diet

Sylvain Koko of UNICEF Oneminutesjr. Project. Democratic Republic of Congo - 2007. 1 min., doc.
In French with English Subtitles.
For 14 years, Congo has been ravaged with conflict. Food insecurity remains the norm and millions have died, mostly due to malnutrition and lack of access to basic medicine. The simple truth for children in Congo - having a meal isn’t always a given.

17 & Unidentified

Alicia Wade of Global Potential. Dominican Republic / US - 2009. 5 min., doc.
In English and Spanish with English Subtitles.
Born in Batey Cuchillia, Dominican Republic of Haitian descent, Deivei was never provided with a birth certificate. Without it, he cannot continue his education, find a job, marry or travel.

Growing up in India

Produced by 17 youth filmmakers from Free the Children. Canada/India - 2009. 9 min., doc.
In Hindi with English Subtitles.
In the northeastern desert state of Rajasthan in India, Sangita feels the limitations of her culture’s caste system when she decides she must forgo an education to train as a dancer in order to support her family.


Martina Hudorovic of DZMP/ Luksuz Produkcija. Slovenia - 2008. 8 min., doc.
In Roma with English Subtitles.

The Roma people have been the target of persecution and discrimination for centuries. A Roma grandmother shares her hopes for future generations as she prepares bread with her granddaughter.


Produced by 12 youth filmmakers from Camera-etc. Occupied Palestinian Territories - 2008. 8 min., animation.
In Arabic with English Subtitles.
Being 16 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories today is to have one's life dictated by curfews, clashes with soldiers at check points, arbitrary searches and arrests. Hudud (an Arabic word for restriction) illustrates the challenges that Israeli construction of the "separation barrier" or wall pose for Palestinian youth.


Espie Hernandez, Wendy Sandoval, and Luna Serna of ImMEDIAte Justice Collective. US - 2009. 6 min., doc.
In English and Spanish with English Subtitles.
As Espie prepares for her quinceañera, a traditional rite of passage celebrating a 15-year-old Latina’s debut, her family adjusts to Espie's decision to "come out" in a different way. Espie’s story embraces the complexity of family tradition and sexual identity with an honest and brave heart.

See, Listen, Speak: Ngarrindjeri's Being Heard

Nukkan.Kungan.Yunnan) Edie Carter, Rita Lindsay, Victor Koolmatrie, Melanie Koolmatrie and Veronica Wilson from Change Media. Australia - 2009. 6 min., doc.
In English.
After water is diverted from natural streams and lakes in the rural Coroong community and delivered by pipeline to larger cities, the aboriginal Ngarrindjeri face a disastrous water crisis, threatening their way of life. Ngarrindjeri youth speak out to protect their culture and traditions.

Image of Contamination

Elizabeth Gonzalez and Antonio Rodriguez of SAY Sí in association with Listen Up! and Adobe Youth Voices. US - 2008. 8 min., doc.
In English and Spanish with English Subtitles.
The course of Air Force enlistee Diana López’s life changes forever when she learns that toxic waste has been seeping off nearby Kelly Air Force Base and into her community’s ground water. Realizing this pollution is likely responsible for cancer and birth defects, Diana decides to fight for her community’s right to clean water, soil, and air.

3:00 p.m.

The Dawn Will Break

Presentation and panel discussion. 60 min.
Micklina Peter Kenyi will discuss the film trailer and clips of her documentary in progress, along with the film's director David Alexander and Sudanese historical consultant, Dr. Lawrence Wongo, who recently returned from Southern Sudan where he witnessed and filmed the historic Referendum vote. As the dawn breaks on the world's newest country, this unique panel examines and answers questions regarding the possibilities, dangers and hopes facing the most vulnerable survivors of an ethnic cleansing campaign. The stories of a "lost" generation of children, whose way of life was ravaged by war, have been forever found in this beautiful and poignant narrative.

"Lost Girl" Micklina Peter Kenyi describes the horrific and ultimately inspirational journey that began in 1987 when she ran into the bush from her from her embattled Southern Sudanese village. After walking for weeks, only to languish as an orphan at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, Micklina found her way to "The Mother of Southern Sudan" Sister Luise Radlmeier and ultimately, to the United States. Now she is getting her masters degree, working with the fledgling government of Southern Sudan on women's rights issues and producing a documentary film. The Dawn Will Break is the never-been-told story of the Lost Girls of the Sudan and the extraordinary nun who single handedly saved them from genocide.

Film Website: »

4:00 p.m.

In the Land of the Free

Land of the Free cap

Dir. Vadim Jean
UK/USA - 2009. 84 min.
Q&A with Robert King, the only released member of the Angola 3, released on 2/8/01.

A selection of the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival.

Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King—the Angola 3—have spent a combined century in solitary confinement in Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Targeted by prison officials for being members of the Black Panther Party and for fighting against terrible prison conditions, they were convicted of the murder of a prison guard, a verdict they continue to challenge and for which new evidence continues to emerge. In the Land of the Free... presents their ongoing story as dramatic events continue to unfold. Narrated by Samuel L Jackson.

Film Website: »

6:00 p.m.

La Mission

La Mission cap
Dir. Peter Bratt
USA - 2009. 117 min.
Q&A with Director Peter Bratt

Growing up in the Mission district of San Francisco, Che Rivera (Benjamin Bratt) has always had to be tough to survive. He's a powerful man respected throughout the Mission barrio for his masculinity and his strength, as well as for his hobby building beautiful lowrider cars. At the same time he’s also a man feared for his street-tough ways and violent temper. A reformed inmate and recovering alcoholic, Che has worked hard to redeem his life and do right by his pride and joy: his only son, Jes, whom he has raised on his own after the death of his wife. Che's path to redemption is tested, however, when he discovers Jes is gay. In a rage, Che violently beats Jes, disowning him. He loses his son—and loses himself in the process. Isolated and alone, Che comes to realize that his patriarchal pride is meaningless to him, and to maintain his idea of masculinity, he’s sacrificed the one thing that he cherishes most—the love of his son. To survive his neighborhood, Che has always lived with his fists. To survive as a complete man, he'll have to embrace a side of himself he's never shown.

Film’s website: »

Friday, April 1

12:00 p.m.


Offside cap
Dir. Jafar Panahi
Iran/Austria - 2006. 93 min.

Q&A with Roshan Pourabdollah, Organizer, NorCal4Iran

Sponsored by PACSW (President’s Advisory Committtee on the Status of Women)
Who is that strange boy sitting quietly in the corner of a bus full of screaming fans going to the football match? In fact, this shy boy is a girl in disguise. She is not alone, women also love football in Iran. Before the game begins, she is arrested at the check point and put into a holding pen just by the stadium with a band of other women all dressed up as men. They will be handed over to the vice squad after the match. But before this, they will be tortured! They must endure every cheer, every shout of a game they cannot see. Worse yet, they must listen to the play-by-play account of a soldier who knows nothing about football. Yet, these young girls just won't give up. They use every trick in the book to see the match. Jafar Panahi’s films are often described as Iranian neo-realism, exploring the very human side of the conflicts in his native country. In the case of Offside, he used a fake name and false papers in order to get permission to shoot at an actual soccer match in Iran. As a result, Offside has a documentary feel which captures the very real humor and determination of the Iranian women - and men - who love soccer and are willing to go to extreme lengths for the opportunity to cheer on the home team. All of his films, including Offside, have been banned by Iran. In December 2010, Panahi was sentenced by an Iranian court to six years in jail and banned from making films, traveling abroad, and talking to local and foreign media for 20 years.

Film Website: »

2:00 p.m.


Badrus cap
Dir. Julia Bacha
2009. 81 min.

Q&A with Martha Wallner, Jewish Voice for Peace & Lizzie Guerra, International Studies Student; Participant Beyond Bridges: Israel-Palestine

Ayed Morrar, an unlikely community organizer, unites Palestinians from all political factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Victory seems improbable until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Struggling side by side, father and daughter unleash an inspiring, yet little-known movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today. In an action-filled documentary chronicling this movement from its infancy, Budrus shines a light on people who choose nonviolence to confront a threat yet remain virtually unknown to the world. The movie is directed by award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha (co-writer and editor Control Room, co-director Encounter Point). While this film is about one Palestinian village, it tells a much bigger story about what is possible in the Middle East. Ayed succeeded in doing what many people believe to be impossible: he united local Palestinian political factions, including Fatah and Hamas; he brought women to the heart of the struggle by encouraging his daughter Iltezam's leadership; and he welcomed hundreds of Israelis to cross into Palestinian territory for the first time and join this nonviolent effort. Budrus includes diverse voices from the Palestinian leaders of the movement and their Israeli allies to an Israeli military spokesman, Doron Spielman, and Yasmine Levy, the Israeli border police officer stationed in the village at that time. While many documentaries about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict either romanticize the notion of peace, or dwell entirely on the suffering of victims to the conflict, this film focuses on the success of a Palestinian-led nonviolent movement.

Film Website: »

4:00 p.m.

Occupation Has No Future: Militarism + Resistance in Israel/Palestine

Occupation cap

Dir. David Zlutnick
US - 2010. 84 min.
Q&A with Director David Zlutnick

In the Fall of 2009 a group of US veterans and war resisters traveled to Israel/Palestine to meet with their Israeli counterparts in an effort to strengthen connections and share experiences. Occupation Has No Future uses this trip as a lens to study Israeli militarism, examine the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and explore the work of Israelis and Palestinians organizing against militarism and occupation. Through conversations with Israeli conscientious objectors, former soldiers, and Palestinians living under occupation, the film creates a survey of the current atmosphere in the State of Israel and the West Bank. It explores the Israeli social environment that creates such heightened militarism and leads to attitudes of fear, exclusion, racism, and ultimately aggression; and examines the consequences of Israeli policies both for the Palestinian people as well as for Israeli civil society. Additionally, this documentary looks at the Israeli anti-militarist movement and those Israeli youth refusing conscription, refusing orders, and choosing to partner with a growing grassroots Palestinian campaign of civil disobedience to defeat the occupation. Honest about the extremely daunting challenges, Occupation Has No Future ultimately, tracks the hope of a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians to live together, free from occupation, with peace and justice.

Film Website: »

6:00 p.m.

Monseñor, the Last Journey of Óscar Romero

Dir. Ana Carrigan and Juliet Weber
El Salvador/US - 2010. 87 min.
Introduction by Salvadoran Consul General Ana Valenzuela
Q&A with Associate Producer Eugene Palumbo

On March 24, 1980, Monseñor Óscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, was killed by a professional hit man as he stood at the altar celebrating a memorial Mass for a friend. His assassination became the catalyst for a civil war that lasted for twelve years and cost more than 75,000, mostly civilian, lives. This film tells the story of the last three years of his life. The narrative spine of MONSEÑOR ( Monseñor, the Last Journey of Óscar Romero) develops through Romero’s own words, in extracts from his Sunday homilies and from his personal diary, in which each night he recorded the events of the day and his own thoughts and reflections. The story of El Salvador as the war approaches is told through the experiences of a cross section of Salvadorans: campesinos, guerrillas, soldiers, politicians, priests, nuns, catechists—providing a chorus of voices of people who shared with Romero the tragic history of their country. As this history evolves, so too will the reasons for Romero’s murder. There have been several films about Monseñor Romero; this one is different in several respects: It is the first film about Romero that goes beyond the classic genre of a filmed biography, to explore and probe the contemporary significance and legacy of his life and tragic death. It is the first film about Romero to place the Latin American campesinos at the center of the story: it was they who inspired Romero to find his mission; it was because of the relationship he developed with them that he was killed. Towards the end of his life, when his conviction and courage were leading him irrevocably to a "death foretold," Romero had transcended his own small country. In the telling of this story, the film will connect Romero’s life and death to the larger story of the cycles of poverty, rural abandon, and despair that—beyond the borders of El Salvador—are today’s reality across Latin America and beyond.

Reception will follow in Room 101

Saturday, April 2

12:00 p.m.

Enemies of the People

Enemies of the People cap

Dir. Rob Lemkin & Thet Sambath
Cambodia/UK - 2009. 94 min.
Q&A with Howard De Nike, Ph D., Instructor of course on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for USF Law School in Phnom Penh.

A selection of the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival Winner of the 2010 Sundance World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize. 2010 Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking.

Enemies of the People follows the project of Thet Sambath, whose parents were among the approximately two million people who perished under the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s. With unprecedented access and groundbreaking confessions from the notorious "Brother Number Two," Nuon Chea, and from numerous grassroots killers, he uncovers terrifying personal explanations for the genocide by allowing the perpetrators to speak for themselves.

Film Website: »

2:00 p.m.

Waste Land

Waste Land cap

Dir. Lucy Walker
USA/Brazil - 2010. 99 min.

Human Rights Film Award Amnesty International, Berlin Film Festival 2010 Audience Award World Cinema Documentary, 2010 Sundance Film Festival Nominated for 2011 Oscar for Best Documentary.

Filmed over nearly three years, Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of "catadores"—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to "paint" the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re- imagine their lives. Director Lucy Walker and co-directors João Jardim and Karen Harley have great access to the entire process and, in the end, offer stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

Film Website: »

4:30 p.m.


Testify cap

U.S. Human Rights Network
USA - 2010. 16 min.

Q&A with Richard Brown and William Crossman
Richard Brown, former Black Panther; former political prisoner/San Francisco 8 case; Member, U.S. Human Rights Network and Committee for the Defense of Human Rights. William Crossman, Adjunct Professor, Graduate Studies, Golden Gate University, SF; Member, U.S. Human Rights Network and San Francisco 8 Defense Committee.

In 2010, people throughout the U.S. spoke out on human rights issues in their communities as part of the United Nation's Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Through the Testify! Project recorded video testimonies were gathered and added to the written reports to the UN and testimonials given before U.S. government officials. This compilation of short videos provides a glimpse into contemporary human rights struggles within the U.S. Activists speak about police brutality, racism discrimination, profiling, torture, exploitation, health care, housing and indigenous rights.

Film Website: »

Cointelpro 101

Cointelpro cap

The Freedom Archives. USA - 2010. 56 min.
Q&A with Liz Derias, Malcom X Grassroots Movement.

COINTELPRO may not be a well-understood acronym but its meaning and continuing impact are absolutely central to understanding the government’s wars and repression against progressive movements. COINTELPRO represents the state’s strategy to prevent movements and communities from overturning white supremacy and creating racial justice. COINTELPRO is both a formal program of the FBI and a term frequently used to describe a conspiracy among government agencies—local, state, and federal—to destroy movements for self-determination and liberation for Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous struggles, as well as mount an institutionalized attack against allies of these movements and other progressive organizations. COINTELPRO 101 is an educational film that will open the door to understanding this history. This documentary will introduce viewers new to this history to the basics and direct them to other resources where they can learn more. The intended audiences are the generations that did not experience the social justice movements of the sixties and seventies.

Film Website: »

6:30 p.m.

Social Change and Media-New Tools for Continuing Problems

Dorothy Kidd, Media Studies
Susana Kaiser, Media Studies and Latin American Studies

7:30 p.m.

Nile Revolution 2.0: Egypt's Youth Uprising

Panel organized by Yalla! Students in Solidarity
The Yalla! Students in Solidarity group is a university student-led movement who, inspired by the courageous activism shown in Tunisia and Egypt, are committed to the resistance of authoritarian and repressive regimes around the world by conglomerating and using non-violent, direct-action methods and principles. We urge students to use social media tools/platforms as a medium to reach out to and educate their local community and beyond. Our purpose is to influence political, social, and economic landscape to create the conditions that support peaceful, democratic change throughout the world.

Ana Mish Fahim ("I Don't Understand")

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Dir. Mustafa Eck
USA/Egypt - 2006. 18 min.
Q&A w/director Mustafa Eck.

Finalist for the Student Academy Award 2007

A biracial young man explores the cultural misconceptions of his Middle Eastern heritage. Filmmaker Mustafa Eck travels to Egypt in hopes of capturing the average Middle Eastern attitude towards various current events. Ana Mish Fahim, meaning "I don't understand" in Arabic, features a rare interview with Gihan Sadat, the widow of Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat.

2010 Festival Program

2010 - FEBRUARY 18, 19, 20

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Thursday February 18



7 min, Directors: Meghan Raab and Daniela Ricci-Tam
The film explores how unrealistic media representations affect women's body image and self esteem. In response, About-Face, a local non-profit, teaches women and girls to understand harmful media messages and resist sexist advertisements.


11 min., Director: Kate Elston

Thousands of children in Lima, Peru live on the streets where they are victims of violence, police brutality, sexual exploitation and trafficking. Generación is an organization that supports the kids and gets them into homes where they are free to learn, play, and work. Visit to learn more and donate.


50 min., Director: Erika Myszynski

Initially created to document USF's Erasmus Community students' travels to Uganda, Ugandan Days, A Video Journal became more than just an immersion, observation and social analysis of the Ugandan people. In researching child soldiery in war-torn Gulu (northern Uganda), many of us had been surprised to witness a world quite different from what we had read. Instead, we found a peaceful and progressive nation. The video reveals a people little scarred by their past struggles and Joseph Kony's 23-year long war against order. The video journal exposes how the war victims' underlying pains are transformed into a humbling determination to improve the current situation. A message from Ugandans to Americans: Africa is not such a dark place. It is a place filled with strength, community, resilience, and joy because of an undying hope to forgive and to survive.


2009, Dir. Michealene Cristini Risley, USA, 76 min

* Presented by the President's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women
Tapestries of Hope, explores filmmaker and child rights advocate Michealene Cristini Risley's sojourn to Zimbabwe to document the work of Betty Makoni and the Girl Child Network. The film exposes an issue that continues to be ignored: the rape and sexual abuse of thousands of young girls in Zimbabwe, by men who believe their actions will cure them of HIV/AIDS.


2008, Dir. Johnny Symons, USA, 73 min
* Presented by the USF LGBT Caucus
Ask Not is a rare and compelling documentary film that explores the effects of the US military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy on gay and lesbian soldiers and service members. The award-winning film exposes the tangled political battles that led to the discriminatory law and examines the societal shifts that have occurred since its passage in 1993. Current and veteran gay soldiers reveal how “don't ask, don't tell” affects them during their tours of duty, as they struggle to maintain a double life, uncertain of whom they can trust. The film also explores how gay veterans and youth organizers are turning to forms of personal activism to overturn the policy. From a national speaking tour of conservative universities to protests at military recruitment offices, these public events question how the U.S. military can claim to represent democracy and freedom while denying one segment of the population the right to serve.


2009, Dir. Joe Berlinger, Ecuador/UK/USA, 101 min

* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
** Presented by Environmental Studies
Three years in the making, this riveting new documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother's Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) tells the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet. An inside look at the infamous $27 billion "Amazon Chernobyl" case, Crude is a real-life, high stakes legal drama involving global politics, the environmental movement, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, multinational corporate power, and the fate of disappearing indigenous cultures. Subverting the conventions of advocacy filmmaking, this award-winning film explores a complex situation from all angles, bringing an important story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus.

Friday February 19


2007, Dir. Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar, USA, 70 min

Made in L.A. is an Emmy award-winning feature documentary that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from trendy clothing retailer Forever 21. In intimate observational style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman's life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity, and the courage it takes to find your voice.


2008, Dir. Philippe Diaz , USA, 104 min

Global poverty did not just happen. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, the problem persists because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies -- in other words, wealthy countries taking advantage of poor, developing countries. Renowned actor and activist, Martin Sheen, narrates The End of Poverty?, a feature-length documentary directed by award-winning director, Philippe Diaz, which explains how today's financial crisis is a direct consequence of these unchallenged policies that have lasted centuries. Consider that 20% of the planet's population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate. At this rate, to maintain our lifestyle means more and more people will sink below the poverty line. Can we really end poverty within our current economic system? Think again.


2009, Dir. Daniel Schnorr & Justin Brandon, USA, 37 min

The Road to Fondwa tells the powerful story of a rural Haitian community poised to change the future of Haiti one University student at a time. Up against centuries of oppression and decimated natural resources, the people of Fondwa have taken matters into their own hands. Leaders and dreamers and dedicated workers. Children, mothers, priests, and students. Haitians, Cubans, Americans, and French- all pitching in for a better tomorrow. With unprecedented access to the entire Fondwa community, The Road to Fondwa weaves the seasoned voices and stunning imagery of Fondwa into a tangible story that challenges the status quo of international development and seeks to inspire a new paradigm of international cooperation- one founded on true partnership and understanding.



 Discussion of relief efforts with student organizations, faculty, staff, and community groups


Saturday February 20


2009, Filmmaker(s): Pamela Yates, Paco de Onis, and Peter Kinoy, USA, 95 min

* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
The International Criminal Court represents the most ambitious attempt ever to apply the rule of law on a global scale and to protect the most basic human rights. The Reckoning follows ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for three years across four continents as he and his team tirelessly issue arrest warrants for Lord's Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, prepare to put Congolese warlords on trial, challenge the UN Security Council to bring Sudan's president to justice for the Darfur massacres, and shake up the Colombian justice system. Moreno-Ocampo has a mandate but no police force. At every turn he must put pressure on the international community to muster political clout for the cause. Will the court succeed and will the world ensure that justice prevails? *Official selection, Sundance Film Festival 2009.


2008, Filmmaker(s): Gabriela Gutierrez Dewar and Sally Gutierrez Dewar, South Africa/Spain, 88 min

* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
Freedom Park squatter camp, situated in the Northwest province, accommodates a migrant workforce that mines the world's largest single source of platinum. The women in this community service the needs of the male miners as a means of basic survival. A group of former sex workers living with HIV have created a network called Tapologo and have learnt to be home-based care-workers, joining in solidarity to care for others in the community living with HIV. As we learn each woman's story, we come to understand how she herself was transformed—from someone who had lost hope into someone who decided to help others in the same situation. Film Website:


2008, Filmmaker(s): Andrea Segre, Dagmawi Yimer, Riccardo Biadene, Italy, 60 min

Come un uomo sulla terra/Like a Man on Earth is a journey of pain and dignity, in which Ethiopian refugee Dagmawi Yimer, with the collaboration of Italian filmmakers Andrea Segre and Riccardo Diabene, documents harrowing human suffering and denounces a tragic political and humanitarian situation. Giving voice to Ethiopian refugees living in Rome, this film exposes the ways in which Libya, with the financial and logistical support of Italy and the European Community, persecutes migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa. Dagmawi had been a law student in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 2005, because of the climate of political repression in the country, he decided to leave. In the winter of that year, he crossed the desert between Sudan and Libya. On his arrival in Libya, he met up with traffickers controlling the routes through the Mediterranean Sea. Just days before taking a boat to Italy, he was arrested by the Libyan police, which for the last five years has carried out arbitrary arrests and mass deportations against migrants. Dag survived his Libyan ordeal, managed to cross the sea, and reached the Italian coastline. He was granted asylum in Rome, where he attended a language school run by Asinitas, a local non-governmental organization catering to recent immigrants. There he learned Italian and basic film-making techniques. Using these skills he collected the testimonies of other Ethiopian migrants who shared his traumatic experience, breaking the silence about the fate awaiting African migrants in Libya.

2009 Festival Program

February 24, Wednesday 25, & Thursday 26

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Tuesday February 24



2007, Dir. Juan Pablo Young and Pablo Zubizarreta, Argentina, 98 min
On Sunday July 4th, 1976, three priests and two seminarists belonging to the Pallottine congregation were brutally murdered at Saint Patrick's church in Buenos Aires. The military authorities developed the hypothesis of a terrorist attack. But evidence revealed the involvement of a paramilitary group linked to the de facto government. The Church refused to talk about the murders and the judicial investigation covered up the incriminating evidence of the massacre that pointed to the government as murderers. In a country where the ecclesiastical hierarchy had backed up the military coup, such an attack to the heart of the Church seemed to offer no explanation. What were the motives for the murder?


2006, Dir. Peter Raymont, Canada, 92 min
* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
On September 11, 1973, Chile's military attacked its government. As the coup took hold, the democratically elected president Salvador Allende called government members to the presidential palace to stand against their attackers, facing certain death. Ariel Dorfman was Allende's cultural advisor, and should have been called too; he later discovered his name had been struck from the list so he could live to tell what happened that day. Three decades later, Dorfman is an internationally respected writer and human rights activist, winner of the Sir Laurence Olivier Award for the play "Death and the Maiden." Filmmaker Peter Raymont travels to Chile with Dorfman in late 2006, at the time when Augusto Pinochet, Allende's overthrower and Dorfman's long-time nemesis, is dying. Raymont follows Dorfman through emotional reunions with his friends and fellow resistors, to personal landmarks that are powerful both emotionally and historically. During the journey they explore exile, memory and the search for justice.


2008, Dir. Sergio De La Torre, USA/Mexico, 12 min
*Professor Sergio De la Torre will introduce his film and lead Q&A session
The Chinese first came to Tijuana in the early 1900s. They either came because they were kicked out of the United States, or they came from Mainland China. Now, more than 100 years after their arrival, thousands of Chinese are still invisible in/to the city. Nuevo Dragon City is a reenactment of a historical event that occurred in 1927 in northern Mexico, where six Chinese were either trapped or hid inside a building. Given the unresolved relations between Chinese and Mexicans, they were never rescued or they hid forever; no one knows what really happened. There are little or no film projects (as there are just a few articles on this topic) that focus on the Chinese presence in Tijuana. Nuevo Dragon City offers an experimental alternative to mainstream media fare: it plays with invisibility from the perspectives of Chinese-Mexicans.


2008, Dir. Alex Rivera, USA, 90 min
*Alex Rivera will introduce his film and lead Q&A session
Set in a near-future, militarized world marked by closed borders, virtual labor and a global digital network that joins minds and experiences, three strangers risk their lives to connect with each other and break the barriers of technology. The concept of a world connected by technology, but divided by borders, is the central concept of Sleep Dealer. This ironic reality pushed director Alex Rivera to imagine a future in which borders are sealed, and immigrants no longer come to America. Instead, in the world of Sleep Dealer, immigrants stay in their home countries, connect their bodies to 'the net,' and send their pure labor to robots in America. This is what used to be called the "American Dream."

Wednesday February 25


2007, Dir. Cynthia Wade, USA, 38 min
Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester spent 25 years investigating tough cases in Ocean County, New Jersey, protecting the rights of victims and putting her life on the line. She had no reason to expect that in the last year of her life, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, that her final battle for justice would be for the woman she loved. The documentary film "Freeheld" chronicles Laurel's struggle to transfer her earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree. With less than six months to live, Laurel refuses to back down when her elected officials - the Ocean County Freeholders -deny her request to leave her pension to Stacie, an automatic option for heterosexual married couples. Alternating from packed public demonstrations at the county courthouse to quiet, tender moments of Laurel and Stacie at home, "Freeheld" combines tension-filled political drama with personal detail, creating a nuanced study of a grassroots fight for justice. *Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2007. * Academy Award, Best Documentary Short Subject 2008


2008, Dir. David Novack, USA, 89 min
 Burning the Future examines the explosive conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia. Confronted by emerging “clean coal” energy policies, local activists watch a world blind to the devastation caused by coal's extraction. Faced with toxic ground water and the obliteration of 1.4 million acres of mountains, our heroes launch a valiant fight to arouse the nation's help in protecting their mountains, saving their families, and preserving their way of life.


2007, Dir. Lisa Jackson, USA, 76 min
* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
Shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this extraordinary film sensitively yet unflinchingly brings to light the plight of women and girls caught in that country's intractable conflicts. A survivor of rape herself, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Jackson travels through the DRC to understand what is happening and why. The film features interviews with activists, peacekeepers, physicians, and even the indifferent rapists. But the most remarkable moments of the film come as survivors the film come as survivors recount their personal stories-inspiring examples of resilience, resistance, courage and grace. *Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2008.


2007, Directed/produced by Tia Lessin & Carl Deal, USA, 93 min
Trouble the Water takes you inside Hurricane Katrina in a way never before seen on screen. It's a redemptive tale of two self-described street hustlers who become heroes-two unforgettable people who survive the storm and then seize a chance for a new beginning. The film opens the day before the storm makes landfall-twenty-four year old aspiring rap artist Kimberly Rivers Roberts is turning her new video camera on herself and her 9th Ward neighbors trapped in the city. "It's going to be a day to remember," Kim declares. With no means to leave the city and equipped with just a few supplies and her hi 8 camera, she and her husband Scott tape their harrowing ordeal as the storm rages, the nearby levee breaches, and floodwaters fill their home and their community. Seamlessly weaving 15 minutes of this home movie footage shot the day before and the day after the storm, with archival news segments and verite footage shot over two years, directors Tia Lessin and Carl Deal document a journey of remarkable people surviving not only failed levees, bungling bureaucrats and armed soldiers, but also their own past. * Winner Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary Sundance Film Festival 2008 *Nominated for 2009 Oscar for documentary feature

Thursday February 26



Interview with Davies Forum Students
* This event is co-sponsored with the Davies Forum
Alex Gibney is an Emmy and DuPont-Columbia Award winning American film director and producer. His work includes: The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002), Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) (nominated for an Academy Award), The Human Behavior Experiments (2006), Jimi Hendrix and the Blues, and Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) (winner of 2008 Oscar).


2007, Dir. Alex Gibney, USA, 106 min
*Alex Gibney will introduce his film and lead Q&A session
Winner of the 2008 Oscar for documentary feature, the film is a gripping investigation into the reckless abuse of power by the Bush Administration. A documentary murder mystery that examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base, the film exposes a worldwide policy of detention and interrogation that condones torture and the abrogation of human rights. This disturbing and often brutal film is the most incisive examination to date of the Bush Administration's willingness, in its prosecution of the “war on terror,” to undermine the essence of the rule of law. The film asks and answers a key question: what happens when a few men use the wartime powers of the executive to undermine the very principles on which the United States was founded?


2008, Dir. David Zlutnick, USA, 47 min
* Comments by Professors Jorge Aquino & Ron Sundstrom, response by D. Zlutnick
Post-Katrina reconstruction is still in progress throughout the Gulf Coast, with much of the City of New Orleans still in ruins. This documentary focuses on those rebuilding this city through interviews with some of the estimated 100,000 Latino migrant laborers who have converged in this area over the past two and a half years. Despite terrible working conditions, massive fraud, a housing crisis, severe harassment by law enforcement, and very limited resources, New Orleans' Latino community has mushroomed since the storm and is establishing an infrastructure proportional to its size. Take a look at how this community is organizing to defend itself against numerous injustices and the attempts to bridge the gap between themselves as new residents and the pre-Katrina population, all within the extremely unique and tragic context of post-Katrina New Orleans.

2008 Festival Program

March 10

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2007, Dir John Bohm, USA,
Narrated by Martin Sheen, director John Bohm's documentary chronicles the lives of 4 latino gangbangers over 3 years as they redirect their lives in a wartorn area of Los Angeles known as Boyle Heights. At one time, Boyle Heights was the street gang capital of the world. For 20 years, Father Gregory Boyle (Father G) and his organization "Homeboy Industries" have helped kids plan there future instead of their funerals.


2007, Dir. Daniel J. Karslake, USA, 95 min
Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

2007 Festival Program

MARCH 19, 20, 21

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2007 Poster Thumb

Monday March 19


2006, Dir. Lorena Riposati, Grupo de Cine Insurgente, Argentina, 74 min
The documentary is an account of the Guaraní community El Tabacal's enduring crusade to recuperate their ancestral lands. Framed within the indigenous peoples' increasing rebellion against genocide and exploitation, it exposes the main events of the Guarani people's battle against the crimes of the sugar mill San Martín del Tabacal. It speaks of a community's uprising against acts of brutality and historical violence perpetrated by local and multinational powers. It denounces the ongoing repression of what is called the "Sugar Mill of Terror," owned by the multinational corporation Seaboard. Yaipota Nande Igui (We Want Our Land) speaks of colonialism, domination, and exclusion. It also highlights the courageous strength of the indigenous peoples in defense or their identity and rights, and the struggles that are taking place in the north of Argentina against the oppression and barbarism imposed by the economic and political powers.


2006, Dir. Milena Kaneva, Bulgaria/Italy, 65 min
*A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
Total Denial is the inspiring story of fifteen villagers from the jungles of Burma whose quest for justice eventually leads them to bring suit in a U.S. court against two oil giants - UNOCAL and TOTAL - for human-rights abuse. For five years producer/director Milena Kaneva collected accounts from Burmese villagers of forced labor, re-location of villages, rape, and murder associated with construction of the Yadana pipeline. Her "guide" during this journey was Ka Hsaw Wa, described by Kerry Kennedy in her book "Speak Truth to Power" as "A man of incredible courage and commitment, with the firm belief that one man can make a difference." A member of Burma’s Karen ethnic minority, Ka Hsaw Wa was one of the leaders of the student movement for democracy in Burma in 1988 which was violently suppressed by the Burmese government. For more than a decade, he has gathered testimonies and other evidence on numerous cases of human rights and environmental abuse. Wanted by police in both Burma and Thailand, he is now based in the U.S., traveling back to both countries periodically at considerable personal risk, to document further abuses. In 1995, along with the co-founder of Earth Rights International, Katie Redford, Ka Hsaw Wa brought a landmark lawsuit against UNOCAL and TOTAL that drew international attention to the pervasive abuses in Burma.


2005, Dir. Manel Mayol, Spain, 87 min
*A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
The Pehuenche-Mapuche people live above the Bíobío River, in Ralco valley, Chile. For over four centuries they have fought off all invaders who tried to enter the valley, from the Incas to the Spanish conquistadors. In 2004, amongst the scenic beauty of the Chilean Andes, Spain's largest hydroelectric company, Endesa, constructed the world’s third largest dam. This dam flooded the Ralco valley and forced the "exchange" of whole villages to much higher ground. Despite protections for indigenous people enshrined in the Chilean constitution, the government has shown little inclination to enforce their rights against the wealthy Spanish multinational. Protestors—including activists, journalists, and lawyers—have found themselves arrested under Pinochet’s anti-terrorist laws, facing anonymous witnesses whose identities are concealed from even the court.


2006, Dir. Bernadine Mellis, USA, 53 min
*A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
The Forest for the Trees is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at an unlikely team of young activists and old lefties who come together to battle the U.S. government over alleged FBI and Police retaliation against an environmental activist. Filmmaker Bernadine Mellis is the daughter of legendary civil rights lawyer Dennis Cunningham, who started his career representing the Black Panthers and the Attica Brothers. Judi Bari was a leader in Earth First. Her car was bombed in 1990, and she was arrested as a terrorist on charges that were later dropped. Convinced it was a ploy by the FBI to discredit her and Earth First, Judi decided to sue. Cunningham took on Judi's case and after twelve years, Judi Bari v. the FBI finally gets a court date. Mellis is there at strategy meetings, at breakfast, and after court, documenting her morally driven, very tired dad, while offering us access into the life of the extraordinary Judi Bari, and a piece of U.S. history that is disturbingly resonant.

Tuesday March 20

MAQUILAPOLIS [City of Factories]

2006, Dir. Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre, USA, 68 min
Carmen works the graveyard shift in one of Tijuana's maquiladoras, the multinationally-owned factories that came to Mexico for its cheap labor. After making television components all night, Carmen comes home to a shack she built out of recycled garage doors, in a neighborhood with no sewage lines or electricity. She suffers from kidney damage and lead poisoning from her years of exposure to toxic chemicals. She earns six dollars a day. But Carmen is not a victim. She is a dynamic young woman, busy making a life for herself and her children. As Carmen and a million other maquiladora workers produce televisions, electrical cables, toys, clothes, batteries and IV tubes, they weave the very fabric of life for consumer nations. They also confront labor violations, environmental devastation and urban chaos -- life on the frontier of the global economy. In MAQUILAPOLIS, Carmen and her colleague Lourdes reach beyond the daily struggle for survival to organize for change: Carmen takes a major television manufacturer to task for violating her labor rights. Lourdes pressures the government to clean up a toxic waste dump left behind by a departing factory. To create MAQUILAPOLIS, the filmmakers brought together factory workers in Tijuana and community organizations in Mexico and the U.S. to collaborate on a film that depicts globalization through the eyes of the women who live on its leading edge. The factory workers who appear in the film have been involved in every stage of production, from planning to shooting, from scripting to outreach.


2005, Dir. Javier Corcuera, Spain, 78 min
*A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
Hitting just the right notes, filmmaker Javier Corcuera brings his gift of storytelling to this beautifully crafted film, allowing the viewer to integrate the political with the personal in the tragedy of Iraq that has unfolded since the war began in spring 2003. Corcuera spent several months in Baghdad in the winter of 2004 getting to know Iraqi families who were trying to carry on with daily life despite the constant violence, black outs, and lack of basic necessities. The filmmaker became especially close to a group of young, enterprising, and highly resilient teenage boys who despite the obstacles still managed to make it to school, hold down part-time jobs—which were not always strictly legal jobs due to constantly shifting U.S. regulations—and hang out with their friends in this forbidding environment. Winter in Baghdad is as beautiful visually as it is deep emotionally—a rich tapestry of life in Baghdad today which counterbalances the simplistic and repetitive images of this once great city that are presented by the vast majority of mainstream news media. *Winner Best Documentary at the 2005 Los Angeles Film Festival.


2005, Dir. Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater, USA/Nicaragua, 55 min
*A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
In January 2003, news spreads throughout Central and South America that a nine-year-old Nicaraguan girl has become pregnant as the result of a rape. Rosa, or Rosita as the girl becomes known in the press, is the only child of illiterate campesinos working in Costa Rica as coffee pickers at the time of the assault. Fearing for their daughter's life and mental health, Rosa's parents are determined to obtain an abortion for their child. In both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, abortion is illegal except when deemed necessary to save the life of the mother. Despite the odds of obtaining a rarely granted exception for a so-called "therapeutic" abortion, Rosa's parents move forward only to be forced into battle with two governments, the medical establishment, and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Representatives of both the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican governments attempt to remove Rosa from her family in order to force her to continue her pregnancy. Award-winning filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater draw viewers inside the story through intimate interviews, on-location footage and media coverage captured within months of the actual events. The drama unfolds chronologically, combining the public media reports with the private remembrances of those involved—Rosa's parents, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, priests and journalists. The film exposes the machinations of politicians, doctors, and clergymen, but shields the young protagonist from the camera—in keeping with the pledge the filmmakers made to Rosa's parents. Yet Rosa is at the heart of the film, revealing herself and her world through her own words and drawings.

Wednesday March 21

"Voices of the Past: The Plight and Stuggle of Filipino WWII Veterans in the United States"

Co-Produced by: Marie-Lorraine Feria Mallare, J.D. Adjunct Professor Maria Elena Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program and Asian American Studies (USF) and Aethel Cruz, USF Student, Knowledge Activism Fellow, USA, Part I: 9 minutes, Part 2: 30 minutes
Many Americans know that Filipinos fought for and with the U.S. armed forces in WWII. But not many are aware that President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised them U.S. citizenship and full veterans’ benefits, which they did not receive since Congress, enacted two Rescission Acts in 1946, which rescinded the promise. In 1990, the Filipino Veterans were naturalized sans the benefits. As of now, the Filipino veterans are still fighting for, not only full equity in terms of benefits and pensions, but social justice. Veteranos (a Filipino veteran) are forced to live off the small supplemental security income (SSI) which amounts to approximately $450-$650 a month. In some cases, four to five veteranos live cramped up together in single room occupancy (SRO) in residential hotels in areas like the Tenderloin in San Francisco. Having waited over sixty years for full equity, the veteranos are now in their 70s and 80s. Each day, a veteran dies, and each day, they have lived through this injustice. Ironically, this year marks 100 years of the Filipino diaspora to the US. This film will show how the US has failed to ignore the pleas of Filipino WWII veterans, thus subjecting each veteran to human rights abuse.




USA, 26m
A Civil War follows two women (one, a former lesbian and the child's biological parent, the other, the child's non-biological parent) through the turmoil that is caused when parents battle over custody of a child between state lines. Child custody fights are commonplace but with two mothers now residing in separate states and fighting for custody of a minor child, this particular case holds significant political and social ramifications for the LGBT community.


2004, Dir. Debra Chasnoff, USA, 20 min
In February 2004, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom made headlines when he decided to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. This 20-minute film reveals the inspiration, motivation and political challenges behind the mayor's landmark decision. It contains now-historic footage of the tearful exchange of vows between long-time lesbian activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon who, celebrating their 51st anniversary, were the first couple to tie the knot. Special features on the DVD include a director's interview. Packed with humor, compassion and political grit, One Wedding and a Revolution has won numerous documentary awards at film festivals all over the world. Awards include: Best Women's Short, Cleveland International Film Festival, Special Jury Prize, Barcelona International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Best Short Documentary, Fire Island Film and Video Festival, Audience Favorite Fresno Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Audience Favorite Pikes Peak Lavender Film Festival, Audience Favorite and Best Short Film Santa Barbara Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Best Short Documentary Long Island Gay and Lesbian Film Festival


2003, Dir. Peter Barbosa and Garrett Lenoir, USA, 57 min
Directed by Peter Barbosa and Garrett Lenoir, I Exist is a groundbreaking documentary that gives voice to a group that has long remained silent out of shame and fear of ostracism. Gay and Lesbian Middle Easterners who live in the United States must frequently combat the negative stereotypes revolving around both their sexuality and their race. This award-winning film features interviews with a variety of young men, women and their family members who share with viewers some of the experiences, joys and sorrows of this diverse community.


2005, Dir. Sebastian Cordoba, USA, 60 min
THROUGH THICK AND THIN will explore the lives of ten Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered binational couples who are facing the hurdles imposed upon them by the status quo, as thousands couples are hurting deeply in the United States. Shot in cinema verite style, intercut with interviews, will show the importance and depth of this phenomenon through the personal stories of the eight subjects, their travails, their hopes and their love for each other. In their small microcosm, the couples will reflect on the problem at large in America, and the pain caused by the lack of solutions at present. In their diverging paths what subjects are looking for is a way to hold on to a loving relationship, some only a few months old, some with many years of happiness behind them. [Director Sebastian Cordoba will lead the discussion following the film].

School of Education room 102

2006 Festival Program


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Monday February 6


2005, USA, Dir. Mark Dworkin & Melissa Young, 74 min
"Que se vayan todos!" Chants echo off the skyscrapers, burst through the plazas, and clamor down the streets of Buenos Aires. "Throw them all out!" shout legions of frustrated Argentine housewives, students and lawyers, weaving their way through the city one summer evening, banging on pots and pans. What would you do if you lost your job, they closed the banks so you couldn't access your savings, and the government seemed unable to help? In Argentina they stormed supermarkets for food; the police gunned down 30 people in just one day. But what happened next was truly extraordinary. Argentina: Hope in Hard Times joins in the processions and protests, attends street-corner neighborhood assemblies, visits workers' cooperatives and urban gardens, taking a close-up look at the ways in which Argentines are picking up the pieces of their devastated economy and creating new possibilities for the future. A spare narrative, informal interview settings, and candid street scenes allow the pervasive strength, humor, and resilience of the Argentine people to tell these tales. These are their inspiring stories - of a failed economy and distrusted politicians, of heartache and hard times, of a resurgence of grassroots democracy and the spirit of community - told in resonant detail.


2005, Colombia/USA, 18 min
La Piel de la Memoria or Skin of Memory documents a public art project in Barrio Antioquia, a neighborhood wracked by violence in Medellín, Colombia. Between 1998 and 200, a team of local youth, women, artists, craftspeople, and community activists created a moving exhibition of community history and memory from local people's memorabilia. The video was made in collaboration with Pilar Riaño, Colombian anthropologist, US public artist Suzanne Lacy, and produced by USF Media Studies professor Dorothy Kidd, with alumni Francisco McGee.


2005, Pamela Yates, Paco de Onís and Peter Kinoy, USA/Perú, 2005, 94 min
* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
How can an open society balance demands for security with democracy? State of Fear dramatizes the human and societal costs a democracy faces when it embarks on a “war” against terror, a “war” potentially without end, all too easily exploited by unscrupulous leaders seeking personal political gain. The film follows events in Perú, yet it serves as a cautionary tale for a nation like the United States. Filmmakers Pamela Yates, Paco de Onís and Peter Kinoy masterfully blend personal testimony, history, and archival footage to tell the story of escalating violence in the Andean nation and how the fear of terror undermined democracy, making Perú a virtual dictatorship where official corruption replaced the rule of law. Terrorist attacks by Shining Path insurgents provoked a military occupation of the countryside. Military justice replaced civil authority. Widespread abuses by the Peruvian Army went unpunished. Terrorism continued to spread. Nearly 70,000 civilians eventually died at the hands of Shining Path and the Peruvian military.


2004, Dir. Helene Klodawsky, Canada, 79 min
* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
A story of love, revolution, and betrayal, No More Tears Sister explores the price of truth in times of war. Set during the violent ethnic conflict that has enveloped Sri Lanka over decades, the film beautifully renders the courageous and vibrant life of renowned human rights activist Dr. Rajani Thiranagama. Wartime mother, university professor, wife, activist, and symbol of hope, Rajani was assassinated at the young age of thirty-five in 1989. Fifteen years after Rajani’s death, her older sister Nirmala, a former Tamil militant and political prisoner, journeys back to Sri Lanka. She has decided to break her long silence about Rajani’s passionate life and her brutal slaying. Joining her are Rajani’s husband, sisters, and grown daughters, as well as fellow activists forced underground. Superbly filmed, using rare archival footage and intimate correspondence, the story of Rajani and her family delves into rarely explored themes—revolutionary women and their dangerous pursuit of justice.

Tuesday February 7


2003, Dir. Marie-Monique Robin, France, 60 min
Death Squadrons: The French School convincingly reveals French veterans of the wars in Indochina and Algeria provided the inspiration, the training, and some of the intelligence that allowed Latin America's dictators to torture and kill thousands of their own citizens.
Filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin traces the development of the theory of counter-revolutionary warfare, first tested Indochina and in Algiers (where 20,000 civilians died). Some of its foremost practitioners, like French General Paul Aussaresses, freely admit their contributions, even with a hint of pride. Others are surreptitiously captured on a hidden camera, admitting high-level political and military links between the dictators and the French government. Many of those interviewed are now either in custody or under indictment. Though little documentary footage of these practices exists, the Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo realistically recreated the French interrogation methods in The Battle of Algiers. (The Battle of Algiers was recently shown to American officers confronted with ongoing attacks on their personnel in Iraq, and excerpts from this film illustrate Death Squadrons). Death Squadrons also shows how, during the 1960's, the French were instrumental in training U.S. officers at Fort Bragg on counter-insurgency techniques that were later used by the U.S. military in Vietnam. The film serves a cautionary note about what can happen when governments and the military are convinced that enemies are everywhere, and that any means necessary can be employed to fight them. It's an important lesson to bear in mind as the war on terror continues.


2004/2005, Dir. Katarina Rejger and Eric van den Broek, Bosnia and Herzegovina/Slovenia/Macedonia/Croatia/Serbia and Montenegro (including Kosovo), 75 min
* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
With strong vision and intense dedication, filmmakers Rejger and van den Broek present Videoletters, a truly groundbreaking and emotionally uplifting series of twenty short documentary films. Videoletters is remarkable for many reasons, not least because it exemplifies the power of change inherent in the documentary form; the very making of the films fostered reconciliation between estranged individuals of the war-scarred former Yugoslavia. After the war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and drove millions from hearths and homes, the country crumbled into five separate republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. In Videoletters, which was shot over five years frequently in tough and often dangerous conditions, the filmmakers act as initiators, mailmen, and recorders of a dispersed population who hardly have contact beyond the borders. In each episode, two people of different nationalities send each other a video letter, explaining how this could have happened. In each case, they were friends, neighbors, or colleagues before the war drove them apart. “We are still friends, none of you are guilty, we don’t blame all Serbs,” a Croatian man says on the screen; on the couch a Serb family is in tears as they watch the video letter of their friend whom they have not seen since the 1990s, when war drove the two families apart. People express their anger and sadness. They try to put rumors and false information behind them. They admit guilt. This stunning series of films literally reaches across the emotional and physical divide to open up a new path for the future. After exchanging the video letters, the participants usually arrange a meeting, the first since the war erupted.
And, in a true testament to the power of the series and commitment of the filmmakers, they have managed the remarkable feat of convincing every public television station in the former Yugoslavia to broadcast at least ten of the video letters. This is the first time the stations have agreed to work together on joint programming since before the war. The series began these broadcasts on April 7, 2005, ten years after the Dayton peace agreements that ended the 1992-95 war in Bosnia were signed. *Winner of the 2005 HRWIFF Nestor Almendros Prize.


2005, Dir. Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt, USA, 76 min
* A selection from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
The national debate over federally funded “abstinence-only” sex education programs plays out in full force in The Education of Shelby Knox. Fifteen-year-old Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas is a self-described “good Southern Baptist girl,” who herself has pledged abstinence until marriage. When she finds that Lubbock has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the nation, and her county’s high schools teach abstinence as the only safe sex, she becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex education, profoundly changing her political and spiritual views along the way. “I think that God wants you to question,” Shelby says, “to do more than just blindly be a follower, because he can’t use blind followers. He can use people like me who realize there’s more in the world that can be done.” Here is a story for our times, where the combustible mix of politics, family, and faith are not as predictable as the red state/blue state divide would suggest.

2005 Festival Program

February 22, 23, 24

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Selections from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival

Tuesday February 22


2003, Dir. Katy Chevigny & Kirsten Johnson, USA, 90 min
On the eve of his departure from office, George Ryan - longtime conservative Republican, supporter of the death penalty, and governor of Illinois-surprised the nation by commuting the sentences of all 167 prisoners on Death Row. Directors Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson bring us directly into the debate and the legal process that is set into motion when a group of Northwestern University journalism students uncover evidence that many people on Illinois' Death Row are innocent, undermining the credibility of the state's entire capital justice system. In the wake of this evidence, Ryan orders special clemency hearings for every prisoner awaiting execution. Within these courtrooms is human drama in its most distilled form. Using unique access to the hearings, prisoners on Death Row, and Governor Ryan, Deadline delivers a measured sense of justice for all its subjects and contributes reason and passion to the ongoing debate about whether nations should employ the ultimate punishment and how justly it is administered.


2003, Dir. Alison MacLean & Tobias Perse, USA, 63 min
After the September 11th terrorist attacks, more than 5000 people, mainly non-U.S. nationals of South Asian or Middle Eastern origin, were taken into custody by the U.S. Justice Department and held indefinitely on grounds of national security. Muslim immigrants were subject to arbitrary arrest, secret detention, solitary confinement, and deportation. Many were denied access to legal representation and communication with their families. During a period when the State Department has made every effort to depersonalize these detentions, refusing to reveal the names or even the number of immigrants detained, the voices of those affected — their testimonials and experiences — become our only window into the human costs of post September 11th immigration policies. Following an unconventional format, Persons of Interest presents a series of encounters between former detainees and directors Maclean and Perse in an empty room which serves both visually and symbolically as an interrogation room, home, and prison cell. Through interviews, family photographs, and letters from prison, the directors have fashioned a compelling and poignant film, allowing those affected a chance to tell their own stories.

Wednesday February 23


2004, Dir. Leslie Neale, USA, 66 min
Four years ago, high school student Duc Ta was arrested for driving a car from which a gun was shot. Although no one was injured, and Duc was not a member of a gang, had no priors, and was 16 years old, he received a sentence of 35 years to life. From award-winning documentary filmmaker Leslie Neale (Road to Return) comes a riveting look at a world most of us will never see: the world of juvenile offenders who are serving incomprehensibly long prison sentences for crimes they either did not commit or were only marginally involved in. For two years, Neale taught a video production class at Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall to 12 juveniles who were being tried as adults. Juvies is the product of that class. The film builds a powerful argument, questioning what in our American culture has caused us to demonize our youth and allow the collapse of the juvenile justice system, which has turned its back on its initial mission to protect young people and now sends over 200,000 kids through the adult system each year.


2003, Dir. Dong-won Kim, South Korea, 149 min
In the spring of 1992, documentary filmmaker Dong-won Kim met Cho Chang-son and Kim Seak-hyoung, two North Koreans arrested by South Korean authorities years before. Convicted of spying for the North, they were incarcerated and spent thirty years as political prisoners. These men, and many others like them, underwent conversion schemes in prison that involved torture: those who renounced their communist beliefs were released from prison early. The others, known as "the unconverted," served their full terms. None could return home to the North, however, until the turn of this century, when tensions between North and South eased significantly. Director Dong-won Kim followed these men for ten years, documenting how they survived — both physically and psychologically — the dehumanizing time spent in prison, and their quest, once released, to finally go home. Winner of the Freedom of Expression Award, Sundance Film Festival 2004

Thursday February 24


2004, Dir. Abigail Honor & Yan Vinzinberg, USA, 2004, 71 min
Saints and Sinners follows the challenging and emotional journey of a devoutly Catholic gay couple determined to marry in a Catholic church. Caring more about formalizing their seven-year union within the Catholic tradition than with legal recognition by the state, Edward DeBonis and Vincent Maniscalco pursue their dream, despite the expected rejection from the local church hierarchy. Even as previously supportive family members express their reservations about receiving communion from a gay Catholic priest, Edward and Vincent audaciously seek to become the first gay couple to have their wedding announcement published in the New York Times. SAINTS AND SINNERS is a highly timely vision of love and commitment, which demonstrates that the struggle for equal rights is not just about legal benefits, but the aspiration to find acceptance and affirmation, rather than rejection, from one's chosen religion.


2003, Dir. Francisco J. Lombardo, Peru, 149 min
Acclaimed filmmaker Francisco J. Lombardi (La Boca del Lobo; Tinta Roja; Don't Tell Anyone) delivers his most ambitious project to date with the political psychodrama What the Eye Doesn't See (Ojos que no ven.) Set in the final days of Alberto Fujimori's presidency in Peru, the film explores the corruption plaguing many Latin American governments as seen through the eyes of everyday people. What the Eye Doesn't See focuses on the scandal caused by the release of the infamous "Vladi videos" — hidden camera tapes of presidential advisor Vladimiro Montesinos blackmailing high-level government officials — which eventually led to the end of Fujimori's presidency. But rather than recreate true stories, Lombardi uses a colorful array of fictional characters to show the ramifications of dishonest government on individual lives. Six interweaving stories give us a picture of Peru's social reality as its citizens attempt to cope during a critical juncture in their history. Francisco Lombardi is the recipient of HRWIFF's 2004 Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award.

2004 Festival Program

FEBRUARY 17, 18, 19

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Selections from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival

Tuesday February 17


2002, Dir. Patricia Castaño and Adelaida Trujillo, Colombia/England, 78 min
For over four years, three Colombian filmmakers turned their cameras on themselves, using personal stories to expose the tough reality in their violent, war-ravaged country. According to these filmmakers, Colombia has been functioning for many years in the gray area between legalism and lawlessness. Their portrayal does not aim to confirm the image the outside world has of Colombia as a hotbed of excessive political violence and drug traffic, but instead draws out the beauty and warmth amidst the larger turmoil within their homeland. The humor borders on surreal as the film moves between conversations in the jungle with guerrillas to elegant dinner parties with society's elite. War Takes allows the real lives of its heroes, forever changed by war, to break through the stereotypes, forcing us to rethink our own conceptions, or misconceptions, of the beliefs and values by which these Colombians live.


2002, Dir. Paula Rodríguez, Chile/Germany, 83 min
Alejandro Goic was sixteen, Enrique Paris, twelve, and Carolina Tohá, eight years old, when General Pinochet seized power in Chile on September 11, 1973. During the coup Alejandro and Carolina lost their fathers, and all three lost their innocence and their youth. And eventually all went on to become powerful student leaders in the tumultuous eighties. With thoughtful, emotional interviews and rich archival footage, Pinochet’s Children is a remarkable film that beautifully renders three people's course of life against the background of the socio-political developments in their homeland.

Wednesday February 18


2002, Dir. Francois Verster, South Africa, 52 min
"Killing an enemy is nothing here. I would just do it, go home and sleep peacefully." - Marlon, former BMW militant. WHEN THE WAR IS OVER deals with the after-effects of the South African Struggle against Apartheid, as experienced by survivors from the Bonteheuwel Military Wing (BMW), a militant teenage self-defense unit from the mid-1980s and a guerrilla branch of the ANC. Focusing on two ex-activists, Gori and Marlon, this documentary reveals the scars left among what has become the country's lost generation. Gori has become an army captain, Marlon a gang member. Both are having problems finding their path in life: the battle is won against Apartheid, but what now? The documentary is dedicated to seven BMW comrades who were unfortunate casualties during this time and to the mothers who supported these teenagers during the anti-apartheid struggle. With his unadorned style, filmmaker Francois Verster presents an apt, and sometimes frightening, depiction of life in Bonteheuvel.


2002, Dir. Ramón Gieling, Israel/The Netherlands, 50 min
In Welcome to Hadassah Hospital director Ramón Gieling takes a startling, close-up look at the individuals who make up the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Filmmaker Gieling cleverly exposes the pulse of his film when he chooses as his main character the charismatic, controversial and bluntly philosophical Dr. Avi Rivkind who, along with his staff, must regularly treat those affected by, and sometimes those involved in the planning of the numerous suicide attacks which take place in Israel. In a tangible twist of irony, victims and offenders are often treated side by side. The doctors take the situation for granted and make no distinction between their patients; for the patients, the situation is more difficult to swallow. A powerful film about integrity and humanity set against the violence in Israel today.

Thursday February 19

DANS, GROZNY, DANS (The Damned and the Sacred)

2002, Dir. Jos de Putter, The Netherlands, 75 min
After The Making of a New Empire (1999), director Jos de Putter returns to Chechnya to follow a traditional youth dance group as they prepare for and embark on a European tour. De Putter creates a transcendent portrait of the group and their mentor revealing how dancing quickly becomes their life, despite the ubiquitous trauma of growing up in a country at war. Through insightful interviews, keen observations, and expert storytelling, which skillfully intercut between the children's home town in Grozny and their exuberance on tour in Europe, De Putter reveals how these young people discover comfort, confidence and dignity through dance, and the acknowledgement of their cultural identity and unquestionable talent. A half-torn poster found in their former, now destroyed practise space in Grozny reads: "They who dance lightly and beautifully bring joy to others and themselves".


2002, Dir. Norman Cowie, USA, 32 min
A humorous and biting experimental documentary on militarism, globalization, and the "war against terrorism." Part meditation, part commentary, SCENES employs recontextualized commercial images, rewritten news crawls, and original footage and interviews to question received wisdom and common sense assumptions about current American policies.

2003 Festival Program

March 10, 11, 12

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Selections from the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival

Monday March 10


2001 Dir Jon Osman & Jonathan Stack, USA
Academy Award nominee Jonathan Stack (Angola Prison Rodeo; The Farm) teams up with filmmaker Jon Osman to create this documentary based on the brutal murder of cousins Antonio Rosario and Hilton Vega, two Puerto Rican young men who were shot by two NYPD detectives in the Bronx in early 1995. One detective was Mayor Giuliani's former bodyguard. Carefully researching the events and questioning witnesses and investigators, the film builds a steady, powerful argument for a cover-up at the highest levels. The story follows Margarita Rosario as she is transformed from a mourning mother and aunt to a powerful community activist, questioning the police officers' actions. "I will never stop fighting until I see these two detectives behind bars," she says. "I fight not only for my son, but for all our sons."


2002, Dir. Rachel Leah Jones, France/USA
Presenter: Thomas Lucas, S.J.
Ayn Hawd is a Palestinian village that was captured and depopulated by Israeli forces in the 1948 war. In 1953 Marcel Janco, a Romanian painter and a founder of the Dada movement, helped transform the village into a Jewish artists' colony, and renamed it Ein Hod. This documentary tells the story of the village's original inhabitants, who, after expulsion, settled only 1.5 kilometers away in the outlying hills. This new Ayn Hawd cannot be found on official maps, as Israeli law doesn't recognize it, and its residents, deemed "present absentees" by the authorities, do not receive basic services such as water, electricity or an access road. Rachel Leah Jones' filmmaking debut is a critical look at the art of dispossession and the creativity of the dispossessed.

Tuesday March 11


2001, Patricio Guzmán, Belgium/Chile/France/Spain
Presenter: Margarita Lacabe, Derechos/Human Rights
It has taken twenty-seven years of hard work to demonstrate what we always knew to be true: history is made by the people, working anonymously. Whatever may finally happen to Pinochet, nothing will ever be the same in Chile or in the field of international justice,' says director Patricio Guzm?n. Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990 and for many years his name has been associated with human rights violations. Guzm?n's film documents the proceedings prior to the Chilean ex-dictator's arrest in January of this year. Covering the events from the moment Pinochet's plane touches down on English soil, to when he is placed under house arrest in Chile, the filmmaker presents a scrupulously balanced argument by including footage of pro and anti-protesters. Pinochet's Chilean victims give harrowing accounts of how they were subjected to horrific torture and interrogation in the regime's secret prisons, and of the way loved ones mysteriously disappeared. The Pinochet Case is a powerful insight into human suffering and survival.


2001, Dir Raoul Peck, France
Presenter: Tetteh Kofi, USF/Economics
Who said that the economy serves mankind? What is this world where one third of the population, in the rich countries, or more precisely the wealthiest two percent in the world, control everything? A world where the economy is law, where this law of the strongest is imposed on the rest of humanity? Why do we accept this cynical and immoral state of being? What happened to Solidarity? And to the militants? These are the questions Profit and Nothing But asks. Capitalism has succeeded in convincing us that it is the only truth, the only morality we need. It has even convinced its opponents that their failure lies within the normal scheme of things. Raoul Peck (director of Lumumba) contrasts this heavily documented illumination of the capitalist system with the devastating reality in his native land, Haiti "a country that doesn't exist, where intellectual discussion has become a luxury."

Wednesday March 12


2001, Dir Steven Silver, Canada
Presenter: Jean Pierre Bongila, USF Visiting Professor
It was the worst massacre since the Second World War. In just 100 days, 800,000 Rwandans were killed by machete and machinegun -- and it all happened on the watch of Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire. The Last Just Man shows a haunted Dallaire still questioning if he could have done more to try and stop the 1994 genocide. Dallaire, the leader of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, only saw the best when he arrived in Rwanda in 1993. A peace treaty between warring tribes had been signed and he was preparing to put a peacekeeping force in place to ensure calm. But in just a few months, peacekeeping would turn into an offensive. Dallaire tried frantically to tell the United Nations, and the world, what was about to happen. In the end, Dallaire failed to persuade the United Nations and others to intervene in time. As a result, Dallaire and the survivors of the genocide are forced to live with the memory of what could have been. Using a combination of intense interview footage and subtle scenes from Rwanda, Silver succeeds in recreating the tension of those months and the emotions that flooded Dallaire's mind as he attempted to stop a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.


2001, Dir Christian Frei, Switzerland
Presenter: Frederick Marx, Fillmmaker
"Every minute I was there, I wanted to flee. I did not want to see this. Would I cut and run, or would I deal with the responsibility of being there with a camera?" James Nachtwey. In one of the world's countless crisis areas, surrounded by suffering, death, and chaos, award-winning photographer James Nachtwey searches for the picture he thinks he can publish. He's a shy man who is considered one of the bravest and most important war photographers of our time, but he hardly fits the cliché of the hard-boiled war veteran. If we believe Hollywood pictures, war photographers are all macho men and cynical old troupers. How can they think about "exposure time" in the very moment of dread? Nachtwey is no rumbling swaggerer, but an unobtrusive man with gray hair and the deliberation of a lecturer in philosophy. 2002 Academy Award nominee, best feature-length documentary film