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A Portal to Voices in Action: Human Rights on Film
While cinema provides entertainment and escape, for many filmmakers and viewers it is a vital portal into the lives of others, a medium of engagement, and a powerful tool for social action. Tackling wide-ranging, thought-provoking issues, activist filmmakers and individuals help deepen our awareness of injustice, the values of dignity and equality, and the price of commitment as they tell passionate stories of struggle and triumph. NWFilm.org hopes that the informative and inspirational stories presented in this year’s series will broaden understanding and inspire involvement as they reveal the courage of individuals whose hearts and minds are focused on bettering our world.
Our special thanks go to Human Rights Watch, Mercy Corps, World Affairs Council of Oregon, and other organizations worldwide who help bring important events, issues, and media works to light.
THANKS TO MEDIA SPONSORS KBOO RADIO AND THE PORTLAND ALLIANCE.
OCT 4 THURS 7 PM
DIRECTORS: PAUL LOVELACE, JESSICA WOLFSON
WBAI radio in New York City was one of the nation’s first freeform radio stations, with overnight DJ Bob Fass and his show “Radio Unnameable” pioneering its conversational, community-focused ethos. Since 1963, Fass has used his show as a cultural hub for music, politics, and audience engagement, giving voice to everyone from up-and-coming musicians like Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie to activists organizing demonstrations in the heady era of the Vietnam War. RADIO UNNAMEABLE is a fascinating, entertaining portrait of Fass and his revolutionary radio, a look at the man behind the voice that defined The City That Never Sleeps. (87 mins.) Sponsored by KBOO.
OCT 10 WED 8:30 PM
FIVE BROKEN CAMERAS
DIRECTORS: EMAD BURNAT, GUY DAVIDI
“Five broken cameras—and each one has a powerful tale to tell. Embedded in the bullet-ridden remains of digital technology is the story of Emad Burnat, a farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, which famously chose nonviolent resistance when the Israeli army encroached upon its land to make room for Jewish colonists. Emad buys his first camera in 2005 to document the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. Over the course of the film, he becomes the peaceful archivist of an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements. Gibreel’s loss of innocence and the destruction of each camera are potent metaphors in a deeply personal documentary that vividly portrays a conflict many of us think we know. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, joins forces with Guy Davidi, an Israeli, and from the wreckage of five broken cameras, two filmmakers create one extraordinary work of art.”—Sundance Film Festival, where FIVE BROKEN CAMERAS won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award. (90 mins.) Sponsored by Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR).
OCT 11 THURS 7 PM
DIRECTORS: BETTINA BORGFELD, DAVID BERNET
RAISING RESISTANCE explores Latin American farmers’ struggle against the expanding production of genetically modified soy in South America. Biotechnology, mechanization, and herbicides have radically changed the lives of small farmers in Latin America. For farmers in Paraguay, this means displacement from their land, loss of basic food supplies, and a veritable fight for survival. Geronimo Arevalos and a group of small farmers stand defiantly in a corporate-owned soy field adjacent to his own, blocking a tractor from spraying herbicides that will decimate his crops and expose nearby families to toxic chemicals. As corporate farms seize farmland and rapidly expand production of genetically modified soy, Geronimo and the campesinos find themselves in a life and death struggle. (85 mins.) Dr. Lisa Weasel, Portland State University Associate Professor of Biology and author of the book “Food Fray: Inside the Controversy Over Genetically Modified Food,” will introduce the screening.
OCT 23 TUES 7 PM
WORDS OF WITNESS
DIRECTOR: MAI ISKANDER
Defying cultural norms and family expectations, 22-year-old Heba Afify takes to the streets to report on an Egypt in turmoil, using tweets, texts, and Facebook posts. Every time Heba heads out to cover the historical events shaping her country’s future, her mother is compelled to remind her, “I know you are a journalist, but you’re still a girl!” Her coming of age, political awakening, and the disillusionment that follows mirror that of a nation seeking the freedom to shape its own destiny, dignity, and democracy. Heba’s words bear witness to the heady optimism of a country on a path to self-determination and the celebration of a cultural shift where a younger generation inspired a country to “lead themselves.” (68 mins.) Journalist, author, and activist David Wolman will introduce the film. Sponsored by the Portland State University Middle East Studies Center and the World Affairs Council of Oregon.
OCT 24 WED 7 PM
DIRECTORS: BETH GAGE, GEORGE GAGE
In 2008, Tim DeChristopher, as Bidder #70, derailed a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil and gas lease auction in an attempt 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. 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, DeChristopher is willing to sacrifice his own future to bring a vitally important issue to global attention. (73 mins.)
OCT 30 TUES 7 PM
BROTHERS ON THE LINE
DIRECTOR: SASHA REUTHER
BROTHERS ON THE LINE explores the social action legacy of the Reuther brothers—Walter, Roy, and Victor—pioneering labor organizers and justice statesmen, and their remarkable leadership of the United Auto Workers union from 1946-1970. Directed by Victor’s grandson Sasha Reuther and narrated by Martin Sheen, the film follows the brothers from their rise as shop-floor organizers in 1930s Detroit to leaders in collective bargaining, pensions, healthcare, civil and worker rights, and international labor solidarity. Rare UAW archive footage, personal photos, oral histories, and interviews with a broad spectrum of labor, civil rights, and political personalities chronicle one family’s quest to compel American democracy to live up to its promise of equality. (80 mins.)
OCT 31 WED 7 PM
THE WORLD BEFORE HER
DIRECTOR: NISHA PAHUJA
Twenty handpicked contestants for the Miss India pageant enter an intense month-long beauty boot camp in Bombay. Winning the coveted title means instant stardom, a lucrative career, and freedom from the constraints of a patriarchal society. In another corner of India, young girls undergo physical combat training and learn how to be obedient Hindu women at a camp run by the women’s branch of the militant fundamentalist movement. As massive change sweeps through India, control over women and their behavior is at the epicenter of a violent clash between Western modernity and age-old patriarchal traditions. Pahuja gained extraordinary access to women and their families living in two very different worlds to craft a film that captures the choices and contradictions facing young women in India today. (90 mins.) Sponsored by Mercy Corps.
NOV 1 THURS 7 PM
THE FIGHT TO RESCUE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE
DIRECTORS: MATTHEW HEINEMAN, SUSAN FRÖMKE
How can the United States save its badly broken healthcare system? Healthcare costs could reach $4.2 trillion annually within 10 years, and unfortunately, as patients pay more, health outcomes are getting worse. The current battle over cost and access does not ultimately address the root of the problem, though: the US has a “disease-care” system, not a healthcare system. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into a high-tech, cost-efficient system is finally gaining ground. Heineman and Frömke interweave personal stories while exploring the efforts of medical, healthcare industry, and government leaders to transform healthcare at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government, and even the US military. (98 mins.)
NOV 7 WED 7 PM
THE INVISIBLE WAR
DIRECTOR: KIRBY DICK
The invisible war is a powerful exposé about the shameful and underreported epidemic of rape within the us military. With stark clarity and escalating revelations, it 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 that 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. Hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officers and members of congress 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 an audience award at the sundance film festival. (97 mins.)
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