2011 Film Guide

About a Village

Directed by: John C. Swanson

Where is one’s true home? For Elsa Koch and her circle of friends this question is more complicated than for most of us. Born in a German-speaking village in southern Hungary, they were forced to leave after the Second World War, still children. Although they eventually succeeded in building their lives in post-war Germany, the transition was not easy. Having been expelled from Hungary as Germans—a measure sanctioned by the Allies in 1945—they were regarded as outsiders in Germany as well, often referred to as ‘Hungarian Gypsies.’ They had to suddenly become adults when they did not yet feel ready for it. No wonder that the small Hungarian village keeps occupying a special place in their hearts. They yearn for the uncomplicated world of their childhoods, where their lives were mapped out by the village streets and nothing could penetrate their sphere of joy and playfulness, not even the cruelties of war and politics. Is that world gone forever or have they managed to hold onto it throughout the past six decades? Is it in fact a physical place or more of an inner landscape? The viewer is free to reply to these questions or leave them unanswered. The characters in the film tell the story and express their occasionally conflicting views in their own words, leaving room for interpretation. This is a film about people who were affected by historical events and not a film about “history.”

abUSed: The Postville Raid

Directed by: Luis Argueta

This film tells the gripping personal tales of those who survived the most brutal, costly, and largest immigration raid in the history of the United States. The film explores immigration and how the constitution was neglected and the rights of immigrant workers were cast aside. This film hopes to create a new narrative about immigrants and the political, economic, and social forces behind our broken immigration system. Immigrants are portrayed as a helpful neighbor to be welcomed, not as an enemy to be feared.  By looking with compassion into the human face of immigration we will regain some of our own humanity. By examining existing government policies, we will be fulfilling our role as citizens of a democracy.

A Balloon for Allah

Directed by: Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen

Norwegian-Turkish filmmaker Nefise decides to send a balloon letter to Allah in hopes of changing the role of women in Muslim culture. Following her grandmother’s Sufi path, she goes on a quest to find her grandmother’s Islam. This film fluctuates between her actual journey and her dreams. She experiences the diversity of Cairo, Istanbul and Oslo. As she strolls through this maze, the link between the three Abrahamic religions and the oppression of women becomes clear to her.

The Bagyeli Pygmies at the Fringes of the World

Directed by: François-Philippe Gallois

The hunting culture of the Bagyeli Pygmies has allowed them to live inside the jungle of South Cameroon for thousands of years, preserving their culture, as if in a time capsule, in the middle of an otherwise modern and changing world. But from the outside they were considered to be like animals. In Bipindi, the Pygmy Children Hostel is in the front line of their fight to survive, teaching Pygmy children to read and speak French in hopes of allowing them to integrate into modern Cameroonian culture. But when the Exxon pipeline arrives in the Pygmies’ forest, cultures collide. This film explores three Pygmies’ pursuit of integration and the universal story about a culture that is small, but doesn’t want to disappear.



Bonsai People -The Vision of Muhammad Yunus

Directed by: Holly Mosher

This film tells a story of human empowerment, detailing the work of Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist and founder of the Grameen Bank, an institution that provides microcredit to help its clients establish creditworthiness and financial self-sufficiency. “Bonsai People” tells the tales of people of all levels of economic status, from families living on less than a dollar a day, to examples of those that have directly benefited from the microcredit philosophy. Improvements in financial self-sufficiency of a people will help our society to tackle social issues from hunger, healthcare, alternative energy, and education; the possibilities are endless.

Burma- A Human Tragedy

Directed by: Neil Hollander

Narrated by: Angelica Huston

In this harrowing documentary, the brutal regime of the military Junta in Burma is fully exposed. Through interviews with refugees, survivors, and Burma’s democratically elected president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the terrifying landscape of an ongoing genocide comes horribly alive. Filmed surreptitiously and under constant life-threatening conditions, this film offers a rare glimpse into the systematic human extermination that has, until recently, gone virtually unnoticed.

Cartography of Loneliness

Directed by: Nocem Collado

This documentary traces the map of emotions of women who have found themselves alone after losing their husbands in three countries; India, Nepal and Afghanistan. India is home to the most widows in the world, totaling over 45 million. In Nepal, half of the female population is widowed or has been abandoned by their husbands. Afghanistan has the highest proportion of widows in the world after 30 years of war. Tradition, society and religion have determined the course of their lives following their husbands’ deaths. Many widows are abandoned by their families, are victim of human trafficking, or have been condemned to social ostracism. This film will explore the personal stories of these widows, and will examine the implications that religion, culture, and history have on their lives.

Cultures of Resistance

Directed by: Iara Lee

On the eve of the Iraq war, director Iara Lee embarked on a journey to better understand a world increasingly embroiled in conflict and, as she saw it, heading for self-destruction. After several years, traveling over five continents, Iara encountered growing numbers of people who had committed their lives to making a difference. This is their story. From Iran, where graffiti and rap became tools in fighting back the regime, to Burma, where monks acting in the tradition of Gandhi take on a dictatorship, moving on to Brazil, where musicians reach out to the children of the slums, transforming guns into guitars, and ending in a Palestinian refugee camp, where photography, music, and film have given a voice to those rarely heard, this film explores how art and creativity can be the ammunition in the battle for peace and justice.

DAMs- The Lethal Water Bombs

Directed by: Sohan Roy S K

For decades, dams have been considered to be an essential part of a nation’s infrastructure. But with every passing year, the benefits of dams are being outweighed by their financial costs and negative impacts on the environment and the surrounding people. What was once considered to be a major improvement for society is now becoming obsolete and possibly quite harmful.  It has been estimated that 85% of all the large dams around the world will have passed their recommended life spans by 2020. The 1975 Banqiao Dam disaster in China, which claimed the lives of 250,000 citizens, is examined. Torrential rains, floods, earthquakes and landslides are the major factors which can destroy dams around the world. This film brings to light the agony of a population living in constant fear of an imminent disaster downstream from an aging dam.


Directed by: Erin Davies

On the 11th Annual National Day of Silence, Erin Davies was victim to a hate crime in Albany, New York. Because of sporting a rainbow sticker on her VW Beetle, Erin’s car was vandalized, left with the words “fag” and “u r gay” placed on the driver’s side window and hood of her car. Despite initial shock and embarrassment, Erin decided to embrace what happened by leaving the graffiti on her car. She took her car, now known worldwide as the “fagbug,” on a 58-day trip around the United States and Canada. Along the way, Erin discovered other, more serious hate crimes, had people attempt to remove the graffiti, and experimented with having a male drive her car. After driving the fagbug for one year, Erin decides to give her car a makeover.


Directed by: Kirsten Boele

Of the 10.5 million refugees in the world, only one percent gets the chance to resettle in another country and start a new life. Fatuma is one of those refugees. After fleeing from Sudan and waiting four years in a refugee camp, Fatuma arrives in Tucson, Arizona. Together with her three young children and pregnant with a fourth, she begins her new life. This is the story of her first 90 days in the United States. Learning the American way of life, cooking with a stove, locking the door, learning the alphabet, going shopping, and visiting the doctor.  She struggles financially and feels lonely in a foreign country that she now calls her home.


The Forgotten Australians

Directed by: Nicola Woolmington

The inspiring story of two women fighting for national recognition of a shameful history. It is an untold history, shared by more than 500,000 Australian children who were raised in institutions in the 20th Century. Two of these children, the passionate activist Leonie Sheedy and academic Joanna Penglase, together fight for social justice. In doing so, they have dragged their history from obscurity to hear the nation’s leaders say ‘we are sorry.’

From Nomad to Nobody

Directed by: Michael Buckley

This documentary examines the plight of Tibetan nomads, who are being forcibly relocated by Chinese officials and shifted from their traditional grazing lands into concrete ghettos, where they are marginalized and have little chance of making a decent living. Previously, they were self-sufficient and lived in an entirely sustainable way. Now, they are unemployed and dependent on the Chinese government for their survival. This re-settlement policy seems to be designed to wipe out nomad culture and its strong connections to traditional Tibetan values. Nomads are the stewards of the vast grasslands of Tibet and have been grazing these lands with their yaks for close to 4,000 years. Without the nomads, the grasslands (already affected by climate change) will further deteriorate and desertification will occur.

The Global Village Project

Directed by: Ella Jane New and David Ray

Narrated by: Actor, Matthew Lillard

The global refugee crisis has reached vast proportions, with over 9 million refugees worldwide. There are 70,000 refugees legally relocated to the United States every year in hope for a better future, and 40,000 of these refugees are children. In Decatur, Georgia, thirty refugee girls have the opportunity to attend the Global Village School, a small nonprofit organization which provides formal education to adolescents whose education has been significantly interrupted by war and/or prolonged stays in refugee camps.  The goal of this school is to provide the enhanced educational and social services these children need to become fully participating citizens in the democratic process of the United States. Told through the eyes of the girls, you will go on a journey of survival, friendship and hope for an education and a promising future. The Global Village girls are a strong voice for the thousands of children who don’t yet have a Global Village School of their own.

Hard Truth, Levity and Hope

Directed by: Connor Crosby

This short film explores the lives of refugee teens who have settled in Lowell, Massachusetts. An urban city, Lowell has been a refuge for immigrants since its birth. The latest wave of refugees is from Nepal, Burma, Iraq, Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Liberia. Having faced incredible atrocities in their homelands and disparaging conditions in refugee camps, they have come to the U.S. seeking a new life, and a chance at peace. Many of them have faced significant gaps in their schooling and are learning English as a third, fourth, or sometimes even eighth language. We watch as they struggle to find their place in a world that is foreign to them, and ultimately succeed.

Hidden Battles

Directed by: Victoria Mills

“Hidden Battles” is a deeply personal film about the psychological impact of killing on the lives of soldiers. The soldiers represent a cross section of nationalities, gender, class, and race. In this film, we are invited into their homes, jobs, relationships, and minds, as they unveil intimate memories and unconscious revelations about the central act of war: the killing of another human being. How do these individuals make sense of what they have done? Consciously apolitical but deeply psychological, this film examines the strength and struggles of men and women who kill and how they create lives for themselves afterward.

Illusive Peace in Kashmir

Directed by: Shuja Paul

Paradise on earth seems serene, the mountain peaks waiting to be explored, the sparkling lakes changing colors. However, the peace here is always illusive. This film takes you to the foothills of The Himalayas and provides an in-depth story of Kashmir, its people, and the ever lurking conflict. This beautiful place is also a dangerous place. Caught up between the two nuclear countries of India and Pakistan, Kashmir is a hotbed for continued hostility and unrest.


Directed by: Cy Kuckenbaker

This film is an undercover investigation into the living conditions of Nepalese laborers working on U.S. military bases in Iraq. Thousands of nameless workers toil inside U.S. bases as food servers, custodians, construction workers, and more. But unlike the well-paid American contractors, these men typically make less than two dollars an hour. Many of these laborers paid illegal broker’s fees in order to gain employment and were brought into Iraq against Nepalese and Iraqi Law. One worker sneaks a camera into his room to show the unacceptable living conditions. “Indentured” also examines the U.S. State Department’s guidelines to define human trafficking, which strongly suggest that gross labor abuses are happening inside U.S. bases in Iraq.

INSPIRED: the Voices Against Prop 8

Directed by: Charlie Gage

On November 4, 2008, voters in California passed Proposition 8, revoking marriage rights for same-sex couples. The next day a movement was born. This film examines several people’s lives in the wake of the passage of Prop 8. Captivating live footage follows people from all walks of life, inspired to action in ways they never dreamed, to a conclusion they never expected. Experience the passionate rallies and defiant marches of the new gay rights movement as it swept through Los Angeles and ignited the world beyond. Intimate interviews reveal all the ways the movement came together, and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways it can be pulled apart from within. You will be inspired.

In the Hearts of Africa

Directed by: Ed Lachman

For more than a century, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by oppression, bloodshed, disease and famine. Conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Congo takes 45,000 lives per month. Most deaths are from easily preventable and treatable conditions. Without help, children with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, face a bleak future. These children and their families struggle to survive in the streets of the capital city Kinshasa. Dr. Marguerite De Clerck, a Belgian nun, has treated thousands of children with diabetes and their families in the Congo. Directed by Academy Award Nominee Ed Lachman, this film highlights the struggle of children with type 1 diabetes as well as Dr. De Clerck’s work to bring hope into their lives.

Kalinovski Square

Directed by: Yury Khashchavatski

Filmmaker Yury Khashchavatski, known as the Belarusian Michael Moore, attempts to discover how an astounding 83% of the population of Belarus voted for President Alexander Lukashenko in the March of 2006 election. Lukashenko has managed to stay in power for fifteen years despite the blatant corruption of his administration and a complete failure to provide even the most basic public services. The film takes a look at the country’s small but emerging democratic movement in contrast with the falsehoods of official state propaganda.

Killing Fields

Directed by: Callum Macrae

This documentary provides graphic evidence of the atrocities committed by both sides at the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war. With disturbing descriptions and video of executions and the shelling of civilians, this film features devastating new cinematic evidence of war crimes. This film was created and broadcast as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon faced growing criticism for refusing to launch an investigation into ‘credible allegations’ that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes during the closing weeks of the government’s bloody conflict with the Tamil Tigers. In April 2011, a report published by a UN-appointed panel of experts concluded that as many as 40,000 people were killed in the final weeks of the war. This film provides powerful evidence that will lend new urgency to the panel’s call for an international inquiry to be mounted, including harrowing interviews with eye-witnesses, new photographic stills, official Sri Lankan army video footage, and satellite imagery. Also examined in the film are some of the horrific atrocities carried out by the Tamil Tigers, who used civilians as human shields. The film raises serious questions about the consequences if the UN fails to act, not only with respect to Sri Lanka but also to future violations of international law.

The King’s Garden

Directed by: Phoebe Fronista

This documentary has one foot in the Bible and the other in the ‘volcanic core’ of the Middle East conflict: the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. In Silwan, the apple of discord is the City of David, an archaeological site where the most ancient finds in Jerusalem have been unearthed. Whoever controls the site controls the village; more importantly, they also control its history. Through the words of Palestinian residents, archaeologists, Jewish settlers, the Mayor, and a child orphaned by the conflict, ‘The King’s Garden’ chronicles the uneasy – and often bloody – relationship between archaeology, history and nationalism in present-day Jerusalem.

Land Lost, Culture Lost

Directed by: Daniel Lanctot

This documentary is a collaboration between the director and the indigenous village of Kong Yuk in northeastern Cambodia. It documents Kong Yuk’s land loss story and how its inhabitants were tricked and coerced into losing ancestral farmland to a rubber company. The issue of land grabs and ‘economic development’ in Cambodia serve as the subtext in this documentary which shows how this small village courageously filmed a PSA of their land loss story. They wanted to educate their indigenous neighbors so that they would not ‘make the same mistake’ that they did. The original PSA footage is used heavily in this documentary whose aim is to tell ‘the true story.’

Language of the Unheard

Directed by: Jacqueline Reyno and Matt Litwiller

The Pine Ridge Reservation is home to the Oglala Sioux. Located in the southwest corner of South Dakota, the Lakota speaking natives have one of the most fascinating, controversial, and difficult histories a group of people have ever told. From the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre to the loss of the Black Hills, to a present day unemployment rate of 80%, the residents of Pine Ridge have many difficult stories to tell. The Oglala Lakota’s incredibly rich culture and history are full of fascinating traditions and stories that have shaped the identity of the people and their home. This film captures some of these stories, both of struggle and of identity, in hopes of giving a voice to a group of people who have not had one.


Directed by: Andrew Hongo

Thirty years after Pol Pot’s regime devastated Cambodia, a new generation struggles to make their way toward a better future. This short documentary follows Coach Nia-a survivor whose family was murdered by the Khmer Rouge. Out of his own loss, he was motivated to open a boxing club to mentor orphans and street kids, one of whom is now fighting for a national amateur title. The documentary also follows Chak, a teenager addicted to sniffing glue who spends his days wandering the streets begging for food and his nights sleeping on the sidewalk.

Little Town of Bethlehem

Directed by: Jim Hanon

This film follows the story of three men of three different faiths and their lives in Israel and Palestine. It examines the struggle to promote equality through nonviolent engagement in the midst of incredible violence that has dehumanized all sides. Their three stories are interwoven through the major events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict starting with the 1972 massacre at the Munich Olympics and following through the first Intifada, the Oslo Accords, and the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, and the second Intifada. The individuals each describe the events from their unique perspective, interjecting their personal reflections and explaining how these events led them to become involved in the nonviolence movement. Despite threats from within their own communities, and the fact that they are considered a security threat by Israeli military for their work in this movement, they all continue to embrace their common humanity and equality for all, daring to have the hope that peace in the Holy Land can only be achieved through nonviolent struggle.

Living Proof

Directed by: Erin Davies

Twelve urban gay and lesbian youth from Baltimore, Maryland come together to write & perform a play based on their real life stories with the theme being to outlast storm or danger in order to discover truth. Directors Kalima Young & Erin Davies base the 6-month improvisation writing sessions on the Hero’s Journey, teaching each young person to see themselves as the heroes in their own lives. Together they come across allies, mentors, tricksters, shapeshifters, shadows, and ultimately reach a higher self.

Marching Utica From Burma

Directed by: Marco Martoccia

On August 27, 2008, a group of Burmese refugees and their supporters made a stop in Utica, on their historic 3,000-mile march from Portland, Oregon. The group’s destination was the United Nations Building in New York City. This film documents the march and rally, as the group makes its way through the streets of Utica. Utica was a destination on this route due to the large population of Burmese refugees in the Utica area. As one activist explained, “We are going to walk toward peaceful freedom and in witness to Burma,” he said, referring to the widespread persecution and lack of freedom reported in that country, now known as Myanmar. 

The march marked one year since the rise of the Saffron Revolution. This film also examines the resounding support of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

el Mocito

Directed by: Marcela Said & Jean de Certeau

This film tells the personal story of Jorgelino, a farm worker in the south of Chile. For many years, Jorgelino worked as an agent of General Pinochet´s regime. According to various reports, between 1,200 and 3,200 people were killed, up to 80,000 were captured, and up to 30,000 were tortured by Pinochet’s regime, including women and children. Jorgelino was the mocito, or young butler, who brought coffee to the agents during their torture sessions. He was the one who fed the prisoners and disposed of their bodies. Twenty years later, Jorgelino is facing charges for his role in these atrocities. He is being forced to recount his experiences and face the judicial system. This film is a psychological portrait of a human being destroyed by his past. A man who participated in the horrors and crimes of the Pinochet dictatorship and that today takes responsibility for his actions and looks for redemption.

Never Come Back

Directed by: Karl Nerenberg

This film tells the story of the recently-established Roma community in Canada and investigates the state of affairs for the Roma in Hungary and the Czech Republic. The film follows two Roma individuals in Canada and shows how these men and their families have successfully made a place for themselves in multicultural, urban Canada. But the status of Roma in Canada today is very uncertain. Since 1997, Roma have come to Canada seeking refugee status, and until recently Canadian authorities had granted that status in most cases. However, the government has changed its position and is now rejecting almost all claims, stating that it is not reasonable to consider people from democratic countries to be refugees. The Roma say that Hungary and the Czech Republic may indeed be democracies; nonetheless, Roma in those countries still suffer significant social and economic discrimination and face the daily threat of violence from skinheads and other extremists. As one Roma we meet advises to the Roma in Canada, “Never come back!”

Nomlaqa Bõda

Directed by: Harry Dawson

Nomlaqa Boda means both ‘I am Nomlaki’ and ‘we are Nomlaki’, a duality reflected in this visually rich feature-length documentary that intertwines the emblematic story of one family’s journey with the history of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. Beginning before the Gold Rush and continuing through present day, the film is also a universal American story of hard work, perseverance, and eventual success. Like many Tribes, the Nomlaki endured removal from their Native lands in the 19th century, and termination of sovereignty in the 20th. But losing their property and legal status did not erase their identity, language or cultural heritage. This evocative film blends contemporary Nomlaki storytelling with impressionist re-enactments, remaining true to the non-linear, interpretive and evolving nature of oral histories.

No Way Out But One

Submitted by: Garland Waller

In 1994, Holly Collins became an international fugitive, hunted by the FBI, for kidnapping her own children. She had been ordered to turn her two children over to live with the father who had been abusing them. Medical evidence of broken bones and domestic abuse just didn’t matter to the court. Holly believed she had exhausted all legal options, and had No Way Out But One to keep her kids safe. Holly and the kids eventually made it to Amsterdam where they spent two years in a refugee camp and then became the first Americans to be granted asylum by the government of the Netherlands on grounds of domestic violence. Today, her now grown children consider her a hero and their savior.

On One Field

Directed by: Mauricio Osorio

Patterson Park located in the city of Baltimore serves as the home for a diverse group of refugees and immigrants. They are bound together through a universal language, the love for soccer. Thanks to this common passion, they are able to transcend barriers in language, start new friendships, and share their experiences in their new homeland. For six years, filmmaker Mauricio Osorio documented the amazing stories of three individuals, from very different backgrounds, who came together on the soccer field.


Directed by: Greta Mendez

The universally known image of Ophelia by the British painter Sir John Everett Millais, is used as a metaphor for the country of Kashmir. Kashmir was once called, “Paradise on Earth” and is now caught between two countries, Indian and Pakistan. Since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, over 60 years ago, Kashmir has pleaded with the United Nations to exercise their right of self-determination. However, they have been caught between a boarder-dispute between two countries. With endless curfews and night raids many people in Kashmir are suffering from depression and some, like Ophelia, are driven to suicide.

Out in the Silence

Directed by: Joe Wilson & Dean Hamer

When filmmaker Joe Wilson runs an announcement of his wedding to another man in the newspaper of the conservative Pennsylvania town where he grew up, the resulting controversy enables him to examine the depth and fragility of his social bonds. By stepping outside of the traditional documentary frame, Wilson illuminates the challenges facing those who grow up “different” in rural America, and the courage that simple tolerance can sometimes require. It ignites a firestorm of controversy in his small hometown and a plea for help from the mother of a gay teen being tormented at school.

The Peacewalker

Directed by: Gary Forrester

Ashin Sopaka is a Burmese exile. The military government has taken away his political status and his right to express himself, but they haven’t taken his right to walk. Ashin is a Peacewalker. Following in the spirit of Gandhi’s peaceful protests, Ashin has encouraged people from all over the world to walk in the name of peace and freedom. In 2007, he started a Peacewalk that would span the length of Thailand. During the walk, Ashin and his followers were continuously harassed and threatened by military authorities that tried to sabotage the walk. In this documentary, Ashin recounts his experiences of the Peacewalk and his hope for a better future for Burma and her people.

Protect the Nation

Directed By: C.R. Reisser

In the spring of 2008, a shocking wave of xenophobic attacks against foreign immigrants spread across South Africa, leading to the deaths of sixty-two people and the displacement of over 40,000. “Protect the Nation” is a tender and intimate look inside the struggles of a community and the consequences of greed, miscommunication, and hate. When faced with the unexpected kindness of a stranger, a young boy begins to question himself. Does he have the courage to do what’s right?

The Right to the Main Hall

Directed by: Lobna Hassairi

Some claim that Muhammad preferred women to pray at home rather than at a mosque. In nearly two-thirds of American mosques, women pray behind partitions or in separate areas, not in the main prayer hall, and some mosques do not admit women at all due to the lack of space and the fact that some prayers are mandatory for men but optional for women. This film examines women’s rights to pray with men in the mosque’s main hall and the growing women’s movement to protest against their second-class status and facilities. In this film, Muslim women leaders, such as Asra Nomani, stage “pray-ins” to fight this discrimination.

A River Runs Through Us

Directed by: Carla Pataky and Lori Pottinger

“Rivers are life” is the unifying theme motivating activists in the global movement to protect rivers from the ravages of big dams. This film offers a personal and hopeful introduction to one of the biggest threats facing our world’s lifelines, as told by the people at the forefront of the global movement. This documentary touches on issues such as how climate change will affect rivers and dams; what happens to communities displaced by or living downstream of large dams; and what kinds of solutions exist that both preserve our life-giving waterways while meeting our needs for energy and water. This film is centered around lively interviews with an international cast of activists and experts from around the world, backed by moving footage that shows the places that are at risk and the people who are struggling to protect them.

A Road Unpaved

Directed by: Taylor Roberts and David Fitzgerald

This documentary highlights the lives of people who have physical disabilities in Nicaragua. The film explores problems with the physical layout of the country, the government, and social stigmas toward the individuals. It also will look at what the government is or is not doing to help improve their quality of life. Finally, it will explore the link between life with a physical disability and the development of depression.

Shed No Tears

Directed by: Kaitlyn Summerill

Advocating for the voiceless, this film exposes the threat of child trafficking. Children as young as three are forced into hard labor, exploited, and beaten.  “Shed No Tears” is a firsthand account of the stories of trafficked children, their parents, aide workers, and traffickers. This film is a production of Unseen Stories, a non-profit organization fighting for sustainable change and restoration of justice for the victims of child trafficking in Benin, Africa.

Ship of Life

Directed by: Rob West

This is the story about how the lives of the poor can be transformed by routine surgery. The Jibon Tari (‘Ship of Life’) is a hospital boat, which visits some of the poorest riverside communities in Bangladesh, to perform surgical operations at little or no cost. This short film follows life on the boat, some of the patients who undergo cataract surgery and the medical staff involved in the surgery.

To Educate A Girl

Directed by: Oren Rudavsky

What does it take to educate a girl in a world where 72 million children are not in school -two thirds of them female? Award-Winning Filmmakers Frederick Rendina and Oren Rudavsky set out to find the answer, traveling to two countries emerging from conflict and struggling with poverty, Nepal and Uganda. Framed by the United Nations global initiative to provide equal access to education for girls by 2015, the film takes a ground-up view of that effort through the eyes of girls out of school, starting school, or fighting against the odds to stay in school. This film is a compelling look at the lives of young women who are striving to get an education in the face of conflict, poverty, and gender bias.

To the Bone (Carne, Osso)

Directed by: Caio Cavechini

This film provides an in-depth look at the world of the Brazilian meat processing industry, exposing precarious conditions, risks and damage to the health of its workers. It examines the untold stories of employees who were put out of their jobs due to their intense, difficult work and undesirable working conditions.

Turkish Passport

Directed by: Burak Arliel

The Turkish Passport tells the story of diplomats posted to Turkish Embassies and Consulates in several European countries, who saved numerous Jews during the Second World War. Based on the testimonies of witnesses, who traveled to Istanbul to find safety, the Turkish Passport also uses written historical documents and archive footage to tell this story of rescue and bring to light the events of the time. The diplomats did not only save the lives of Turkish Jews. They also rescued foreign Jews condemned to a certain death by giving them Turkish Passports. In this dark period of history, their actions lit the candle of hope and allowed these people to travel to Turkey, where they found light.

Two Sides of the Moon: The Honor Killing of Hatun Aynur Surucu

Directed by: David Gould

Hatun Aynur Surucu was a Kurdish woman, living in Berlin, who was murdered by her youngest brother, Ayhan. These siblings were very close, but suddenly in 2005, Ayhan felt compelled to shoot his sister three times in the head. The murder was quickly classified as an honor killing. Hatun’s story is of a woman caught between two cultures. Ironically, had she broken free from her family she would have lived. Had she not questioned her family and culture she likely would have been kept safe. It was having a foot in both worlds that sealed her fate.

Voice Unknown

Directed by: Jinhee Park

This film represents the courageous choices one woman made during her escape from North Korea to the US through China, Cambodia, and Thailand as well as her experiences of exile, displacement, and hope. North Korean refugees are unable to make their voices heard because they have to hide their identity, thus protecting their remaining family at home. Thus, the making this film was a challenge and the narrative depicts unique aesthetics to represent a person whose face cannot be shown.

When the Guns Fall Silent

Directed by: Jake Herrle

This is the story of one woman’s struggle to go back home, to overcome the horrors of war, and provide a better life for her children. Lillian Akwero is a Ugandan woman who was abducted at age eight, forced to be a child soldier for the LRA, was impregnated by the rebel leader Joseph Kony, and later escaped, only to live in an internally displaced persons camp in Gulu, sharing a small hut with her four children.

Where Are the Men?

Directed by: Taraneh Salke

In 2001, international forces invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime. Substantial financial support and expertise has been dedicated to rebuild this war-torn country. Despite some improvements, Afghanistan still has world’s second highest maternal mortality rate. Afghanistan is a strongly male-dominated society. Many women suffer abuse, and most need their husband’s permission to leave the house, use health services, or contraceptives. Since men are the decision makers at all levels, educating and involving Afghan men is vital for women’s access to health services, thus reducing maternal and child mortality. Deteriorating security has also become a major problem in women’s access to health. This short documentary shows how ordinary Afghan men can become an asset to women’s health in Afghanistan.

Where Do I Stand?

Directed by: Molly Blank

When xenophobic attacks broke out across South Africa in 2008, many were shocked by a violence that felt like a violation of the principles of their democratic nation. This film is a window into the lives of seven young people grappling with their actions during and after this violence. They include a Rwandan refugee, a girl wrestling with the reality of foreigners in her township, a boy facing calls of cowardice, and a girl whose family sheltered their Malawian gardener. This violence was another challenge to a country still struggling with the legacy of apartheid — poverty, unemployment, racial divisions. This film captures the optimistic voices of youth struggling with their experiences and carving out their own places in this complex nation.

You Have the Right to an Attorney

Directed by: Matthew Bockelman

This film follows Matt and Scott, public defenders at the reputable defense firm, The Bronx Defenders.  Young and idealistic, Matt and Scott struggle on a daily basis to serve the never-ending tide of clients coming through the court while holding onto the hope that they can affect broader change in a system they consider broken. In the South Bronx, a community known for high arrest and poverty rates, public defenders often have over 100 open case files.  Each file represents a person in need and the attorneys must make difficult decisions about which clients to help first and which ones must wait, knowing that postponing a case could result in losing a job, eviction, or even deportation for a client. This film examines the daily stresses of their important work, the futility they feel when fighting a flawed system, and the joys as they persevere, one case at a time.