EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL 2012
Friday March 30 through Saturday April 7, 2012
On the Campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

The Sixth and Last Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival. 

Thanks to everyone who has contributed over the past eight years to make this possible.  Thanks this year to Erin Bernardy, Morgan Gerke, April Heinzen, Brittney Paul, Sara Schultz, Bethany Sekora, Tyler Tworek, and Andy Yenish of IDIS 154, Social Justice in Film and Music.  Thanks to Nolan Thomas, April Heinzen, Erik Williams, and Laura Becherer for work on promotion and publicity.  Thanks to Ari Anand, Carey Applegate, Justin Hoelzen, and Sean McAleer for helping out in hosting sessions.  Thanks to the Department of English and the Social Justice Living-Learning Community at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for sponsoring this event on campus.  And thanks to my partner, Andy Swanson, for more than I can ever adequately express.  -- Bob Nowlan, Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival Founder and Executive Director


1.  FRIDAY MARCH 30, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 101, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154, SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

Route Irish

2. SATURDAY MARCH 31, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 1 PM, HOSTED BY PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH CAREY APPLEGATE:

Syria: the Assads' Twilight

3. SATURDAY MARCH 31, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 4 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154, SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

There Once Was an Island: Te Henua E Nnoho

4. SATURDAY MARCH 31, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154, SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?

5. SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 103, STARTING AT 1 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154: SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

The Battle of Orgreave

6. SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 4 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154: SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin

7. SUNDAY APRIL 1, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154: SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
 
8. MONDAY APRIL 2, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 101, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154: SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

Hot Coffee

9. TUESDAY APRIL 3, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES SEAN MCALEER:

Inside Job

10. WEDNESDAY APRIL 4, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154: SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

Neds

11. THURSDAY APRIL 5, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 101, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY JUSTIN HOELZEN, PAST ECPFF STUDENT DIRECTOR:

If I Should Fall



12. FRIDAY APRIL 6, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 101, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY IDIS 154: SOCIAL JUSTICE IN FILM AND MUSIC STUDENTS:

Made in Dagenham




13. SATURDAY APRIL 7, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 4 PM, HOSTED BY PROFESSOR OF GEOGRAPHY AND ANTHROPOLOGY ARI ANAND:

Fragments of a Revolution


14. SATURDAY APRIL 7, 2012, HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100, STARTING AT 7:30 PM, HOSTED BY PROFESSOR GEOGRAPHY AND ANTHROPOLOGY ARI ANAND:

Neither Allah, Nor Master!




*****



EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL 2011

Friday April 1-Sunday April10, 2011
On the Campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Bob Nowlan, Executive Director

Zach Finch, Assistant to the Executive Director

Jamie Browning Riehl, Publicity and Promotion Co-Director

Aaron Brewster, Publicity and Promotion Co-Director

Nolan Thomas, Art and Design Director

Katharine Kolb, Facebook Director

Evan Gillick and Dan Johnson, Staff

With thanks to: Mark Burkhardt, Tyler Lindeman, Sean Morrison, Nick Paulson, Becky Richeson and Aaron Zucker; Stephanie Turner and Chippewa Valley Civil Liberties Union; Ari Anand, Justin Hoelzen, Paul Kaldjian, Joel Pace, and Blake Westerlund; UWEC College Feminists; Cathy Pierce, Andy Swanson, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Eau Claire; UWEC Social Justice Living-Learning Community; UWEC Department of English; and all of the Courageous, Brilliant Filmmakers and the Courageous, Brilliant Men and Women and Children Whose Inspiring Struggles These Films Depict.  And all those who have helped promote and publicize ECPFF 2011--as well as you, our audience.  Without you, we are nothing.

* Make-Up Screening of _I am Slave_, Saturday April 9, in HHH 303 *

    Gabriel Range’s last film at the [Toronto International Film] Festival, Death of a President, caused intense controversy with its speculative fiction about an assassination of George W. Bush.  With I Am Slave, Range tackles a subject that would be equally incendiary if it were more on the public radar.  Currently in London, England, thousands of people are living in what could be considered a contemporary incarnation of slavery.  They have no legal papers, no freedom of movement, no pay for the work they do.  They live invisibly in a thriving, democratic metropolis – and of course London is not alone.  I Am Slave tells the story of one such modern captive.  As a young girl in the south of Sudan, Malia enjoys growing up within a close-knit community, including a father (Isaach de Bankolé) who exercises his strength and pride in magnificent scenes of traditional Nuba wrestling.  But even he can’t protect her when mujahideen raiders sweep down from the north.  They capture her and sell her in the capital, Khartoum, where she spends years doing domestic work for an Arab family, behind locked doors.  Her father searches the city for her, but never comes closer than a near miss.  When Malia (played by Wunmi Mosaku) turns eighteen, the matron of the family that owns her sends her to relatives in London.  There, Malia works trapped behind the gates of their wealthy home. She has no money and no passport; no one even knows of her whereabouts.  With Range at the helm, and supported by the same writer-producer team that made The Last King of Scotland, I Am Slave carries an impressive pedigree of serious, engaged drama. But pedigree is not what counts here. The success of this film lies in its ability to draw the viewer into Malia’s life.  Range’s camera is close and intimate; his perspective is hers.  Each time we may try to dismiss Malia’s world as impossible the film pulls us back into its horrifying truth.  -- Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival   Directed by Gabriel Range, 2010, 80 minutes, UK.


  We will be screening and discussing the following films:

FRIDAY APRIL 1

1.    _Looking for Eric_, 7:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    Cannes crowd-pleaser LOOKING FOR ERIC is a tender, life-affirming, and hilarious nod to the possibility of second chances.  When down-and-out postal worker Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) reaches the end of his rope - his two layabout stepsons are set on driving him to an early grave, his second marriage is in ruins, and that's just the start of his troubles - he finds some unexpected motivation to turn his life around and win back the love of his life from none other than his idol, the legendary footballer Eric Cantona of Manchester United.  "IRRESISTIBLE...AN UNABASHEDLY FEEL-GOOD CHARMER. CAPABLE OF LIFTING EVEN THE STONIEST HEART."  -- Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"★★★★★ (HIGHEST RATING) THE WINNING POWER OF ‘LOOKING FOR ERIC’ LIES IN THE MEETING OF THE MAGIC AND THE MUNDANE." -- Dave Calhoun, Time Out London  "A BUOYANT AUDIENCE-PLEASER." -- Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune   Directed by Ken Loach, 2009, 116 minutes, UK.


SATURDAY APRIL 2

2. _An Injury to One_, 12 noon, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323, UWEC

    AN INJURY TO ONE provides a corrective—and absolutely compelling—glimpse of a particularly volatile moment in early 20th century American labor history: the rise and fall of Butte, Montana.  Specifically, it chronicles the mysterious death of Wobbly organizer Frank Little, a story whose grisly details have taken on a legendary status in the state.  Much of the extant evidence is inscribed upon the landscape of Butte and its surroundings.  Thus, a connection is drawn between the unsolved murder of Little, and the attempted murder of the town itself.  Butte's history was entirely shaped by its exploitation by the Anaconda Mining Company, which, at the height of WWI, produced ten percent of the world's copper from the town's depths.  War profiteering and the company's extreme indifference to the safety of its employees (mortality rates in the mines were higher than in the trenches of Europe) led to Little's arrival.  "The agitator" found in the desperate, agonized miners overwhelming support for his ideas, which included the abolishment of the wage system and the establishment of a socialist commonwealth.  In August 1917, Little was abducted by still-unknown assailants who hung him from a railroad bridge.  Pinned to his chest was a note that read 3'-7'-77", dimensions of a Montana grave. Eight thousand people attended his funeral, the largest in Butte's history.  The murder provides AN INJURY TO ONE with a taut, suspenseful narrative, but it isn't the only story.  Butte's history is bound with the entire history of the American left, the rise of McCarthyism, the destruction of the environment, and even the birth of the detective novel.  Former Pinkerton detective Dashiell Hammett was rumored to have been involved in the murder, and later depicted it in Red HarvestArchival footage mixes with deftly deployed intertitles, while the lyrics to traditional mining songs are accompanied by music from William Oldham, Jim O'Rourke, and the band Low, producing an appropriately moody, effulgent, and strangely out-of-time soundtrack.  The result is a unique film/video hybrid that combines painterly images, incisive writing, and a bold graphic sensibility to produce an articulate example of the aesthetic and political possibilities offered by filmmaking in the digital age.  Directed by Travis Wilkerson, 2002, 53 minutes, US.

3. _Tapped_, 12 noon, Hibbard Humanities Hall 321, UWEC

    Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce? From the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car? and I.O.U.S.A., this timely documentary is a behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of the bottled water industry -- an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our water.  From the plastic production to the ocean in which so many of these bottles end up, this inspiring documentary trails the path of the bottled water industry and the communities which were the unwitting chips on the table. A powerful portrait of the lives affected by the bottled water industry, this revelatory film features those caught at the intersection of big business and the public's right to water.  Directed by Stephanie Soechtig, 2010, 75 minutes, US.

4._Presumed Guilty_, 2:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323, UWEC

    In December 2005 Toño Zuniga was picked up off the street in Mexico City, Mexico, and sentenced to 20 years for murder based on the testimony of a single, shaky eyewitness. PRESUMED GUILTY tells the heart-wrenching story of a man who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  A friend of Toño’s contacted two young lawyers, Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete, who gained prominence in Mexico when they helped bring about the release of another innocent man from prison. As Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) legal researchers, they tracked an alarming history of corruption in the Mexican justice system (93% of inmates never see an arrest warrant, and 93% of defendants never see a judge).  Looking into Toño’s case, Roberto and Layda managed to get a retrial–on camera—and enlisted the help of filmmaker Geoffrey Smith (THE ENGLISH SURGEON) to chronicle the saga. Shot over three years with unprecedented access to the Mexican courts and prisons, this dramatic story is a searing indictment of a justice system that presumes guilt.  Directed by Roberto Hernandez & Geoffrey Smith, 2009,  88 minutes, Mexico.

5._The End of the Line_, 2:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 321, UWEC

    THE END OF THE LINE delves beyond the surface of the seas to reveal a troubling truth beneath: an ocean increasingly empty of fish, destroyed by decades of overexploitation.  Exploring the tragic collapse of the cod fishery in Newfoundland in the 1990s, the imminent extinction of the prized bluefin tuna, and the devastation wreaked by illegal catches and surpassed fishing quotas, the film uncovers the dark ecological story behind our love affair with fish as food.  The film argues that unless we demand political action from governments, responsible menu selections from restaurateurs as well as changing our own consumption habits, we could see the end of wild fish by mid-century.  Directed by Rupert Murray, 2010, 82 minutes, UK.

6._I am Slave_, 5 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323, UWEC

    Gabriel Range’s last film at the [Toronto International Film] Festival, Death of a President, caused intense controversy with its speculative fiction about an assassination of George W. Bush.  With I Am Slave, Range tackles a subject that would be equally incendiary if it were more on the public radar.  Currently in London, England, thousands of people are living in what could be considered a contemporary incarnation of slavery.  They have no legal papers, no freedom of movement, no pay for the work they do.  They live invisibly in a thriving, democratic metropolis – and of course London is not alone.  I Am Slave tells the story of one such modern captive.  As a young girl in the south of Sudan, Malia enjoys growing up within a close-knit community, including a father (Isaach de Bankolé) who exercises his strength and pride in magnificent scenes of traditional Nuba wrestling.  But even he can’t protect her when mujahideen raiders sweep down from the north.  They capture her and sell her in the capital, Khartoum, where she spends years doing domestic work for an Arab family, behind locked doors.  Her father searches the city for her, but never comes closer than a near miss.  When Malia (played by Wunmi Mosaku) turns eighteen, the matron of the family that owns her sends her to relatives in London.  There, Malia works trapped behind the gates of their wealthy home. She has no money and no passport; no one even knows of her whereabouts.  With Range at the helm, and supported by the same writer-producer team that made The Last King of Scotland, I Am Slave carries an impressive pedigree of serious, engaged drama. But pedigree is not what counts here. The success of this film lies in its ability to draw the viewer into Malia’s life.  Range’s camera is close and intimate; his perspective is hers.  Each time we may try to dismiss Malia’s world as impossible the film pulls us back into its horrifying truth.  -- Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival   Directed by Gabriel Range, 2010, 80 minutes, UK.

7. _Money-Driven Medicine_ , 5 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 321, UWEC

    Produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side; Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) and inspired by Maggie Mahar's acclaimed book, Money Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much, the film goes beyond health insurance to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the $2.6 trillion U.S. healthcare system, how it went so terribly wrong and what it will further take to fix it.   "One of the strongest documentaries I have seen in years and could not be more timely.  The more people who see and talk about it, the more likely we are to get serious and true healthcare reform." -- Bill Moyers    Directed by Andy Fredericks, 2009, 86 minutes, US.


8.
_The Tillman Story_ , 7:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    When Pat Tillman gave up his professional football career to join the Army Rangers in 2002, he became an instant symbol of patriotic fervor and unflinching duty.  But the truth about Pat Tillman is far more complex, and ultimately far more heroic, than the caricature.  And when the government tried to turn his death into propaganda, they took on the wrong family.  From her home in Northern California, Pat’s mother, Dannie Tillman, led the family’s crusade to reveal the truth beneath the mythology of their son’s life and death.  THE TILLMAN STORY resounds with emotion and insight, and goes beyond an indictment of the government to touch on themes as timeless as the notion of heroism itself.  Directed by Amir Bar-Lev, 2010, 94 minutes, US.


SUNDAY APRIL 3


9. _Stolen Land_, 12 noon, Haas Fine Arts Center 105, UWEC

    For the Nasa indigenous community, a tightly knit and fiercely proud people, in southern Colombia, the land is their “Mother Earth.”  However, since the European conquest, the Nasa have been repeatedly displaced from their land.  Now they are caught in a crossfire between the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas and the Colombian Army.  STOLEN LAND tells the history of the Nasa’s resistance movement, with Dec. 16, 1991 being a symbolic day for the Nasa when 20 of them died claiming their land rights at Hacienda El Nilo Plantation.  The Colombian state admitted police complicity in the Nilo massacre before an international court in 1995 and prior to that pledged 39,000 acres of land to the Nasa over the next 3 years.  The film shows that in present day they have received only one-third of the land, making it nearly impossible for their growing community to continue with their traditional agrarian way of life.  After 15 years of waiting for their land, the Nasa block the Panamerican highway, demanding compliance with the Nilo agreement.  Their charismatic leader is Lucho Acosta, an imposing tactician descended from Indian warriors who hopes to “liberate Mother Earth.”  He knows from experience that violence only breeds more violence but facing insurmountable odds, Lucho’s beliefs are tested to their very core as the government attacks with tanks, helicopters, guns and tear gas.  STOLEN LAND illustrates the decades-long battle over land, unfortunately commonplace among indigenous populations, which continues in a nation where less than 1% of the population owns well over half the land.  Directed by Margarita Martinez and Miguel Salazar, 2010, 73 minutes, Columbia.

10. _South_, 2:30 pm, Haas Fine Arts Center 105, UWEC

    Inspired by her love of William Faulkner and James Baldwin, renowned director Chantal Akerman had planned to produce a meditation on the American South.  However, just days before she was to begin filming, James Byrd, Jr. was murdered in Jasper, Texas.  A black family man, Byrd has been severely beaten by three white men, chained to their truck, and dragged three miles through predominately black parts of the county.  This racially motivated killing shook the country, and revealed the intense hate that still lies just beneath the surface of our society.  Instead of following the story in a typical American media fashion, Akerman allows the story to slowly unfold on its own.  Long, panning shots set the stage, creating the world of Jasper.  Patient interviews reveal the thoughts and emotions of the local townspeople.  Akerman's access to their lives, including being allowed to film Byrd's funeral, allows her to tell the tale in a pensive and beautiful fashion.  Alternating static shots and dolly shots, Akerman reconstitutes the horrible incident.  "We found pieces of his body all along the road," says one witness.  But this is not an anatomy of his murder, nor the autopsy of a black man lynched by three white males.  Rather, it is an evocation of how this event fits in to a landscape and climate that is as much mental as physical.  Akerman writes, "How does the southern silence become so heavy and so menacing so suddenly?  How do the trees and the whole natural environment evoke so intensely death, blood, and the weight of history?  How does the present call up the past?  And how hoes this past, with a mere gesture or a simple regard, haunt and torment you as you wander along an empty cotton field, or a dusty country road?"  Directed by Chantal Akerman, 1999, 70 minutes, Belgium/US.

11. _Living with Emergency: Stories of Doctors without Borders_, 5 pm, Haas Fine Arts Center 105, UWEC

    Bosnia.  Rwanda.  Kosovo.  Sierra Leone.  Pakistan.  Just a few of the world’s humanitarian and political crises in the past years.  Whether the result of war or nature, these disasters devastate populations and cripple health systems.  Despite the immense dangers and difficulties of the work, one organization, Doctors Without Borders, has continuously intervened at these frontlines of overwhelming human need.  Set in war-torn Congo and post-conflict Liberia, Living in Emergency interweaves the stories of four volunteers with Doctors Without Borders as they struggle to provide emergency medical care under the most extreme conditions.  Two volunteers are new recruits: a 26 year-old Australian doctor stranded in a remote bush clinic and an American surgeon struggling to cope under the load of emergency cases in a shattered capital city.  Two others are experienced field hands: a dynamic Head of Mission, valiantly trying to keep morale high and tensions under control, and an exhausted veteran, who has seen too much horror and wants out.  Amidst the chaos, each volunteer must confront the severe challenges of the work, the tough choices, and test the limits of their own idealism.  Directed by Mark N. Hopkins, 2008, 93 minutes, US.

12. _Rachel_, 7:30 pm, Haas Fine Arts Center 101, UWEC

    RACHEL is a startlingly rigorous, fascinating and deeply moving investigatory documentary that examines the death of peace activist and International Solidarity Movement (ISM) member Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003.  A few weeks after her little-reported death, an inquiry by Israeli military police concluded that Corrie died in an accident. Simone Bitton (WALL), an award-winning documentary filmmaker who is a citizen of both France and Israel, has crafted a dispassionate but devastating essay investigating the circumstances of Rachel Corrie’s death—including astounding eyewitness testimony from activists, soldiers, Israeli Defense Force army spokespersons and physicians, as well as insights from Corrie’s parents, mentors and diaries.  In assembling a thorough and candid account of the event, using both visual and narrative evidence, Bitton’s quietly persistent questioning manages to accomplish what the inadequate legal proceedings and the overheated press coverage did not: an unflinching examination that refuses to exculpate or equivocate.  By aligning her filmmaking methodology with the ISM’s guidelines to state only objective and concrete details without placing judgment, Bitton examines the circumstances surrounding the unresolved case of Corrie's death.  The film begins like a classic documentary, but soon develops, transcending its subject and establishing a candid new visual approach for bearing witness.  With understated cinematic techniques, Bitton captures the spirit of Rachel's youth, idealism, and political commitment amidst sweeping landscapes of Gaza and a portrait of daily life under ever-present military aggression.  Directed by Simone Bitton, 2009, 100 minutes, France/Belgium and Palestine/Israel.


MONDAY APRIL 4

13._Bananas*!_, 7:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    Juan “Accidentes” Dominguez is on his biggest case ever.  On behalf of twelve Nicaraguan banana workers he is tackling Dole Food in a ground-breaking legal battle for their use of a banned pesticide that was known by the company to cause sterility.  Can he beat the giant, or will the corporation get away with it?  In the suspenseful documentary BANANAS!*, filmmaker Fredrik Gertten sheds new light on the global politics of food.  One third of the production price of the average banana is used simply to cover the cost of pesticides.  All over the world, banana plantation workers are suffering and dying from the effects of these pesticides.  Juan Dominguez, a million-dollar personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, is on his biggest case ever representing over 10,000 Nicaraguan banana workers claiming to be afflicted by a pesticide known as Nemagon.  Dole Food and Dow Chemicals are on trial.  Dominguez, a personal injury lawyer and a member of the “Million Dollar Club” of attorneys in Southern California, is making history.  As the legal representative of over 10,000 Nicaraguan banana workers, he is the first attorney ever to force American corporations to take responsibility for actions they have done outside US borders.  Directed by Frederick Gertten, 2009, 87 minutes, Sweden/Denmark.


TUESDAY APRIL 5

14.    _The Baader-Meinhof Complex_, 7:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    Germany 1967. The children of the Nazi generation have grown up in the devastation their parents created. They vowed fascism would never rule again.  In their fight for freedom they lost themselves in the cause and ignited a revolution around the world.  Meet the original faces of terrorism, the Baader Meinhof Group, in this Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated film based on the true story of the Red Army Faction.  Directed by Uli Edel (LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN).  Produced by Bernd Eichinger (LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN and DOWNFALL).  "The Baader Meinhof Complex is an unsparing cinematic look at the bloody career of the Red Army Faction, also called the Baader-Meinhof Gang, which terrorized Germany through bombings, bank robberies and killings, mainly during the 1970s and '80s.   The movie, directed by Uli Edel, is based on a new book by Stefan Aust, Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF, an extensive updating of the author's earlier history of the group.  The writer is a journalist who has been chief editor of both Der Spiegel magazine and Spiegel TV.  He co-wrote the script for Edel's movie, which was Germany's 2009 Oscar nominee for best foreign language film.  Aust was more than an onlooker - from his work at the leftist magazine Konkret, he knew Ulrike Meinhof, a former journalist who became the RAF's chief theoretician and wrote the group's manifestos and diatribes.  Aust even helped rescue the two children Meinhof abandoned, who were en route to be educated in the Palestinian territories, according to her wishes.  Dozens of killings were attributed to the RAF.  Eventually, Meinhof committed suicide in Stammheim prison, where she was awaiting trial.  Her co-defendants, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe, did the same the next year, in the same prison, after the failure of a plane hijacking aimed at freeing them. (German commandos stormed the plane at Mogadishu Airport in Somalia, rescuing all 86 passengers.)  The left in Germany long contended that the imprisoned RAF members were murdered by government agents, despite all evidence to the contrary.  The Baader-Meinhof story has inspired several other German features, including the omnibus Germany in Autumn (1979)."  -- Walter Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle   Directed by Uli Edel, 2008, 150 minutes, Germany.
 

WEDNESDAY APRIL 6

15._Hunger_, 7:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    HUNGER, the first feature film by the British artist Steve McQueen, recounts the final weeks of Bobby Sands, the imprisoned Irish nationalist who died in 1981, 66 days into a hunger strike.  But the movie, which does not examine the arc of Sands’s life or the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, is far from a conventional docudrama or issue movie.  Instead it is something starker and more precise, with a single-mindedness to match that of its subject, a man who decides to starve himself to death.  Recreating the brutal conditions in which that decision was made and the harrowing physical decline that followed, HUNGER is a visceral film with a philosophical bent, a meditation on will and endurance, on the human body as the ultimate site of protest.  “It’s the whole idea of the body as a weapon,” Mr. McQueen said. “If that’s all you have, how do you use it?”  -- Dennis Lim, New York Times   Directed by Steve McQueen, 2008, 96 minutes, UK/Ireland. 


THURSDAY APRIL 7

16._Trudell_, 7:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    TRUDELL follows the life work of Native American poet/activist John Trudell.  Filmmaker Heather Rae has spent more than a decade chronicling his travels, spoken word and politics in a poetic and naturally stylized manner.  The film combines archival, concert and interview footage with abstract imagery mirroring the coyote nature of Trudell himself.  Incorporating years of work, 16mm and Super 8 film, video, and archival footage, TRUDELL begins in the late sixties when John Trudell and a community group, Indians of All Tribes, occupied Alcatraz Island for 21 months creating international recognition of the American Indian cause and birthing the contemporary Indian people’s movement. The film goes to Alcatraz, returningtowhatJohnreferstoashis“birth.”  From Alcatraz we followJohn’s political journey as the National Spokesman of the American Indian Movement (AIM)--this work making him one of the most highly volatile political ‘subversives’ of the 1970’s with one of the longest FBI files in history (over 17,000 pages.)  In 1979, while protesting the US government’s policy on American Indians, John burned an American Flag on the the steps of the FBI headquarters in Washington DC.  Within a matter of hours his pregnant wife, three children and mother in law were killed in a suspicious arson fire on a Nevada reservation.  This ended John’s involvement in organizational politics.  He spent the next four years driving America in a car given to him by his friend and fellow activist, Jackson Browne.  It was during this period that John’s voice as a poet began to surface.  His gift as an orator carried him through his pain and he found a new way to represent his manifesto and cause.  In 1983 he began to put his words to music with the help of Kiowa guitar legend, the late Jesse Ed Davis, and Jackson Browne.  Even his early recordings reflect an articulate sensibility and eloquence about the state of the world, moving him into the realm of social theorist and philosopher.  John does not adhere to a dogma or school of thought but has created his own diatribe based in experience, having lived through and taken part in some of the most turbulent American political events of the past century.  In an interview with Native actor, Gary Farmer (Dead Man), he referred to Trudell as “the Native people’s prophet of these times, our Socrates.”  Trudell’s musical and film career have led him to work with the likes of Robert Redford (Incident at Oglala), Sam Shepard and Val Kilmer (Thunderheart), Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Amy Ray and more recently Angelina Jolie, who produced his album, Bone Days.  The film combines interviews with his allies from the entertainment community, the ‘movement’ days, and his friends and family with archival footage, concert footage from all over the world and abstract imagery.  TRUDELL is intended to be a film that steps outside of traditional forms, even for Native films, and explores a figure of our contemporary history in a way that fairly represents the evocative nature of his work and significance.  Directed by Heather Rae, 2005, 80 minutes, US.

FRIDAY APRIL 8

17._A Prophet_, 7:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    Condemned to six years in prison, Malik El Djebena, cannot read or write. Arriving at the jail entirely alone, he appears younger and more fragile than the other convicts.  He is 19 years old.  Cornered by the leader of the Corsican gang currently ruling the prison, he is given a number of “missions” to carry out, toughening him up and gaining the gang leader’s confidence in the process.  Malik is a fast learner and rises up the prison ranks, all the while secretly devising his own plans.  "Genre is powerful, especially in the hands of as gifted a filmmaker as France's Jacques Audiard.  His new film, the masterful A Prophet, is an answered prayer for those who believe that revitalizing classic forms with contemporary attitudes makes for the most compelling kind of cinema.  Part prison film, part crime story, part intense personal drama, this all-consuming narrative with the power and drive of a Formula One racer has been something of a phenomenon since it took the grand jury prize at Cannes last year.  A Sight & Sound poll of 60 critics worldwide named it the best film of 2009, it's one of the five foreign-language film Oscar nominees, it took Britain's prestigious BAFTA award in that category and, with 13 nominations overall, it's a prohibitive favorite to win the Cesar, France's Oscar, for best picture . . . It's especially gratifying to see how the full arsenal of modern filmmaking -- uncompromisingly gritty characterization, moments of quite graphic violence and sex, unlooked-for surreal elements like ghosts catching fire and eclectic music from the likes of Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Sigur Rós -- significantly up the ante on otherwise familiar proceedings.  As a filmmaker, Audiard not only believes in this style of storytelling in and of itself, he values it for what it can clandestinely say about larger issues.  'What interests me about genre', he said in an interview at Cannes, 'is that the public connects immediately with it.  I like that it's a popular form of cinema with mass appeal.  Art cinema aspects and elements can be inserted and reach the widest audience'."  --Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times.   Directed by Jacques Audiard, 2009, 155 minutes, France/Italy. 

SATURDAY APRIL 9

18._Brick by Brick: a Civil Rights Story_, 12 noon, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323, UWEC

    Brick by Brick: A Civil Rights Story shows that segregation has been as virulent and persistent in the North as in the South and that it too has resulted from deliberate public policies based in deep-rooted racial prejudice. The film uses the bitter struggle over equal housing rights in Yonkers, New York during the1980s to show the "massive resistance" the Civil Rights Movement confronted when it moved north.  Brick by Brick is not only a brilliant legal history of one of the most important cases in civil rights law, it narrates through the passionate experiences of Yonkers residents on both sides of the issue. The film demonstrates how courageous citizens and dedicated lawyers can enforce the constitutional rights of African Americans in the face of dangerous demagogues fomenting racial hatred.  Directed by Bill Kavanagh, 2008, 53 minutes, US.

19._Africa Rising (the Grassroots Movement to End Female Genital Mutilation)_, 12 noon, Hibbard Humanities Hall 321, UWEC

    Every day, 6,000 girls from the Horn of Africa to sub-Saharan nations are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).  With fierce determination and deep love for their communities, brave African activists are leading a formidable, fearless grassroots movement to end 5,000 years of FGM.  An insightful look at the frontlines of a quiet revolution taking the continent by storm, this extraordinarily powerful film is one of the first to focus on African solutions to FGM.  Beautifully directed by Emmy Award® winner Paula Heredia and produced by Equality Now, AFRICA RISING travels through remote villages in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Somalia and Tanzania.  Weaving together dynamic footage and the poignant stories of girls personally affected by FGM, it shows how African women and men are putting an end to this human rights violation.  Convincing circumcisers to lay down their knives, engaging the police to implement the law, and honing leadership skills in girls, these determined activists have been working tirelessly for years to conceptualize their campaign.  AFRICA RISING paints an intimate portrait of the broadly-based but little-known anti-FGM movement and shows that courageous, creative and resourceful individuals can change the course of history.  Directed by  Paula Heredia, 2009, 62 minutes, Kenya/Mali/Somalia/Tanzania.

20._Maquilapolis (City of Factories)_, 2:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323, UWEC

    "Maquilapolis is a wonderful fusion of expose and imagination, delivering an unprecedented look into the realities of life in the border communities where the maquiladoras reign.  Made in collaboration with the women whose lives center on these secretive factories, Maquilapolis succeeds in crossing borders and peering around corners to capture how the women caught in the contradictions of global capital understand their own positions.  A key case study for anyone interested in transnational realities -- and subjectivities." -- B. Ruby Rich, Community Studies Department & Social Documentation Program, University of California, Santa Cruz   "All who care about social justice, the environment, womens rights and labor rights, should view this film. Maquilapolis should be screened in theaters, union halls, college campuses, and at the annual meeting of the World Social Forum.  Many consider the U.S.-Mexico border to be 'the laboratory of the future'.  In Maquilapolis the border is also the site where global capitalism is facing profound resistance.  Maquilapolis is one of the most authoritative documentaries on cross-border organizing."  --  Rosa-Linda Fregoso, Chair, Latin American/Latino Studies, University of California Santa Cruz   Directed by Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre, 2006, 68 minutes, US.

21._After the Rape (The Mukhtar Mai Story)_, 2:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 321, UWEC

    In 2002, Mukhtar Mai, a rural Pakistani woman from a remote part of the Punjab, was gang-raped by order of her tribal council as punishment for her younger brother’s alleged relationship with a woman from another clan.  Instead of committing suicide or living in shame, Mukhtar spoke out, fighting for justice in the Pakistani courts—making world headlines.  Further defying custom, she started two schools for girls in her village and a crisis center for abused women. Mukhtar, who had never learned to read but knew the Koran by heart, realized that only a change in mentality could break brutal, archaic traditions and social codes.  Her story, included in the bestseller Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and the subject of Mukhtar’s own memoir, In the Name of Honor, has inspired women across the globe.  Revealing the progress and fruits of Mukhtar’s labor, this powerful documentary tracks the school’s profound impact on the girls and families of Meerwala and shows how the crisis center empowers women seeking its help.  An important look inside Pakistan, where the impact of Islamic fundamentalism is revealed and how women are fighting its oppressive and violent impact.  Directed by Catherine Ulmer, 2008, 58 minutes, Netherlands/Pakistan.

22._Megamall_, 5 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323, UWEC

    Twelve years in the making, MEGAMALL documents the origins of the massive Palisades Center mall and its impact on the suburban community of West Nyack, New York, 18 miles north of Manhattan.  The film kicks off when the biggest mall developer in the Northeast comes to the smallest county in New York to build its biggest mall yet on a toxic dump, one mile from the filmmakers' homes.  That move sparks a citizen uprising which lasts almost 20 years.  It also inspires the filmmakers' quest to understand the dramatic events unfolding right in their backyard.  MEGAMALL turns out to be a local saga of epic proportions.  We see big money overwhelm local governments, zoning and planning boards to impose a massive development project on a community, extract millions, and move on -- leaving the local community to bear the costs of road maintenance, increased crime, and shuttered stores downtown.  Featured throughout the film is provocative commentary from leading urban critics and writers, who give viewers the real story behind the mall-building business and challenge Americans to think about the consequences of our obsession with shopping. They include authors James Howard Kunstler (The Geography of Nowhere); Roberta Brandes Gratz ("Malling the Northeast" for The New York Times Magazine); and real estate economist Donavan Rypkema.  MEGAMALL is a gripping story of ordinary Americans who confront the forces that are changing the face of our nation.  It is designed to give students and communities around the country the tools they need to understand the forces propelling growth.  It encourages people to think of themselves as citizens--not consumers--and to take action in their own communities.  Directed by Vera Aronow, Sarah Mondale, and Roger Grange; 2010; 81 minutes; US.

23._Sin by Silence_, 5 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 321, UWEC

    From behind prison walls, a group of extraordinary women are shattering misconceptions of domestic violence.  An important film that profiles Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA), the US prison system’s first inmate initiated group and led by women, SIN BY SILENCE is an essential resource featuring more than two hours of bonus materials, including interviews with experts on abusive relationships, law enforcement leaders and leaders in faith-based communities about domestic violence, and more.  Created by Brenda Clubine in 1989, CWAA has changed laws for battered women, raised awareness for those on the outside, and educated a system that does not fully comprehend the complexities of domestic abuse. Like many CWAA members, Brenda’s years of inflicted abuse were never fully revealed.  But because of CWAA’s work and advocacy, new laws were enacted that now allow incarcerated survivors to challenge their original conviction. With unprecedented access inside the California Institution for Women, this emotionally packed documentary tells the stories of courageous women who have learned from their past, are changing their future, and teaching us how domestic violence affects each and every person.  Directed by Olivia Klaus, 2009, 49 minutes, US.

24._Howl_, 7:30 pm,  Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    It’s San Francisco in 1957, and an American masterpiece is put on trial.  HOWL, the film, recounts this dark moment using three interwoven threads: the tumultuous life events that led a young Allen Ginsberg to find his true voice as an artist, society’s reaction (the obscenity trial), and mind-expanding animation that echoes the startling originality of the poem itself. All three coalesce in a genre-bending hybrid that brilliantly captures a pivotal moment—the birth of a counterculture.  Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman navigate a seamless segue from their documentary roots to masterful storytellers.  They expand the notion of how a "true story" can be realized on film by not simply relying on facts but enlisting cinematic vision to capture the Zeitgeist of an era.  The amazing cast provides the extra passion and urgency that are sure to introduce HOWL to the best minds of a new generation.  -- Sundance Film Festival   "Howl is an amalgamation of five different vignettes.  First, a live reading of what is ostensibly the first time the poem is unleashed upon an audience by Allen Ginsberg (James Franco).  Second, interviews with an older Ginsberg, in which he discusses his life story.  Thirdly, a series of flashbacks serves as accompaniment to the interviews.  Fourth, a series of animations, set to a more subdued reading than the live version, which are as abstract as the poem itself.  Finally, and perhaps most palatably, a courtroom scene constructed from transcripts of the trial of publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti attempting to paint the book in which Howl appeared as obscene.  The vignettes are cut together in such a way that they parallel the structure of the poem, offering perspective on the various influences that created the poem, and ways it influenced the world.  James Franco is positively sublime in this film.  His cadence and physicalizations make Ginsberg his portrayal of Ginsberg familiar, without coming off as forced.  In the flashbacks he displays the exuberance and terror of youth, and in the interview footage, he displays wisdom and maturity."  --  Brendan Walsh, Screen Crave   Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 2010, 84 minutes, US.

SUNDAY APRIL 10

25._The Bill Douglas Trilogy_, 11 am, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323, UWEC

    Three of the most compelling films about childhood and adolescence ever made . . .  Bill Douglas's award-winning films - My Childhood, My Ain Folk and My Way Home - . . .  are three of the most compelling and critically acclaimed films about childhood ever made.  The narrative is largely autobiographical, following Jamie (played with heart-breaking conviction by Stephen Archibald) as he grows up in a poverty-stricken mining village in post-war Scotland.  In these brutal surroundings, and subject to hardship and rejection, Jamie learns to fend for himself.  We see him grow from child to adolescent - angry and bewildered, but playful, creative and affectionate.  In My Childhood (1972), eight-year old Jamie lives with his granny and elder brother in a Scots mining village in 1945. With his mother in a mental home, and his father absent, he is subject to the hardships of poverty.  In My Ain Folk (1973), Jamie is sent to live with his paternal grandmother and uncle; a life full of silence and rejection.  My Way Home (1978) sees Jamie's ultimate victory over his circumstances; after a spell in foster care, and a homeless shelter, he is conscripted into the RAF, where he embarks on a redemptive friendship with Robert, which allows him to emerge from his ineffectual adolescence to pursue his artistic ambition.  Watching the Trilogy is far from a depressing experience.  This is cinematic poetry: Douglas contracted his subject matter to the barest essentials - dialogue is kept to a minimum, and fields, slag heaps and cobbled streets are shot in bleak monochrome.  Yet with its unexpected humour and warmth, the Trilogy brims with clear-eyed humanity, and affection for an ultimately triumphant young boy.  -- British Film Insitute  Directed by Bill Douglas, 1972 through 1978, 165 minutes, UK.

26._The Sari Soldiers_, 12 noon, Hibbard Humanities Hall 321, UWEC

    Filmed over three years during the most historic and pivotal time in Nepal’s modern history, The Sari Soldiers is an extraordinary story of six women’s courageous efforts to shape Nepal’s future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King’s crackdown on civil liberties.  When Devi, mother of a 15-year-old girl, witnesses her niece being tortured and murdered by the Royal Nepal Army, she speaks publicly about the atrocity.  The army abducts her daughter in retaliation, and Devi embarks on a three-year struggle to uncover her daughter’s fate and see justice done. The Sari Soldiers follows her and five other brave women: Maoist Commander Kranti; Royal Nepal Army Officer Rajani; Krishna, a monarchist from a rural community who leads a rebellion against the Maoists; Mandira, a human rights lawyer; and Ram Kumari, a young student activist shaping the protests to reclaim democracy.  The Sari Soldiers delves into the extraordinary journey of these women on opposing sides of the conflict and the democratic revolution reshaping their country’s future.  Directed by Julie Bridgham, 2008, 92 minutes, US/Nepal.

27._Comrades_, 3 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323, UWEC

    The epic story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, six Dorset labourers deported to Australia in the 1830s for forming a trade union.  Unfolding in the pastoral haze of Dorset and blinding light of Australia, this beautiful film is rich with carefully layered visual illusions an nuances.  With moving, profound performances from a magnificent cast - including Alex Norton, Imelda Staunton, Robin Soans, Philip Davis, Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Allen and Barbara Windsor - this is a compelling account of struggle and injustice.  This distinctive feature from a director of singular vision . . . -- British Film Institute   "In his trilogy, Douglas filmed in black and white, but Comrades reveals his extraordinary feeling for colour.  The seasons change in the Dorset countryside from green, to brown, to snow white.  The silent landscapes are filmed in a painterly manner, the camera moves slowly through the mud of the village street and pans the bare interiors of the workers' homes.  The dialogue is sparse, pared down; the characters communicate in close-up.  Gale Tattersall's photography not only takes in the vast sweep of the fields and homes in on the intimacy of domestic life, but transmits us into the blinding sun of Australia, where the prisoners feel dislocated, yet have been released from the hold of parson and squire.  The gulf between the rich and the poor structures the visual composition of the film.  The worker in the field looks out at the carriage that passes in the distance; the camera moves to the scene from the carriage, showing the harvesters in the field so carefully positioned that they could be in a landscape painting.  The inequality textured into Comrades suggests that people from differing classes are not quite real to one another . . .  Douglas wrote and rewrote the script: what could be inferred and imagined by the viewer was to be as important as what was said.  And what is said is so carefully controlled that we dwell on looking and, in looking, enter the rhythm of 1830s rural life.  Even when there is dialogue, Douglas reminded his cast not to rush.  He wanted to focus on the emotions of the martyrs and their families, presenting the interior life of unionisation.  The men are promised an increase in wages and then abandoned.  Hope and betrayal knot into anger.  Driven by want and resentment, they organise to get paid a few more shillings, but there is something more - a vision of human union expressed by a mother to her daughter: 'We only have to love one another to know what we must do'. " -- Sheila Rowbotham, The Guardian   Directed by Bill Douglas, 175 minutes, 1987, UK.

28._Which Way Home_, Hibbard Humanities Hall 321, 3 pm

    As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, WHICH WAY HOME shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States.  The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call " The Beast." Director Rebecca Cammisa ("Sister Helen") tracks the stories of children like Olga and Freddy, nine-year old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota, and Jose, a ten-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and focuses on Kevin, a canny, streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, fleeing an abusive stepfather, and whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow.  They are the ones you never hear about - the invisible ones.  Directed by Rebecca Cammisa, 2009, 83 minutes, Mexico/US.

29._Raging Grannies: The Action League_, 8 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC

    Raging Grannies is a lively and thought-provoking 30-minute documentary that tells the story of The Action League of the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula. They are women over 50, some as old as 90, who are enraged by the conditions under which some people are forced to live, by threats to our environment, by war, and by injustice wherever they find it.  The Action League Grannies have been spied on by the California National Guard. They've been written about in Time magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News.  They've appeared on Fox News with Bill O'Reilly, Jon Stewart's Comedy Central, and are regulars in Bay Area evening news stories.  In public, they've been both booed and cheered, but they continue to protest with a sense of outrage, a sense of humor, and a commitment to non-violence.  How do these older women keep doing what they do?  As we travel with the Grannies to their many gigs, we see that life isn't over at 50 or 60 or even 90.  Directed by Pam Walton, 2010, 30 minutes, US.

30._What Would Jesus Buy?_, 8:30 pm, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102, UWEC 

    What Would Jesus Buy? follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they go on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse: the end of mankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt!  From producer Morgan Spurlock (SUPER SIZE ME) and director Rob VanAlkemade comes a serious docu-comedy about the commercialization of Christmas.  Bill Talen (aka Reverend Billy) was a lost idealist who hitchhiked to New York City only to find that Times Square was becoming a mall.  Spurred on by the loss of his neighborhood and inspired by the sidewalk preachers around him, Bill bought a collar to match his white caterer's jacket, bleached his hair and became the Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping.  Since 1999, Reverend Billy has gone from being a lone preacher with a portable pulpit preaching on subways, to the leader of a congregation and a movement whose numbers are well into the thousands.  Through retail interventions, corporate exorcisms, and some good old-fashioned preaching, Reverend Billy reminds us that we have lost the true meaning of Christmas.  What Would Jesus Buy? is a  journey into the heart of America – from exorcising the demons at the Wal-Mart headquarters to taking over the center stage at the Mall of America and then ultimately heading to the Promised Land … Disneyland.  Will we be led like Sheeple to the Christmas slaughter, or will we find a new way to give a gift this Christmas?  What Would Jesus Buy? may just be the divine intervention we’ve all been searching for.  The Shopocalypse is upon us … Who will be $aved?  Directed by Rob VanAlkemade, 2007, 91 minutes, US.

*****

EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL 2010

Bob Nowlan, Executive Director

Justin Hoelzen, Director

Nolan Thomas, Art and Design Director

Chris Kortes, Staff

Katharine Kolb, Staff


PRESS RELEASE: 2010 EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL

WHEN AND WHERE: APRIL 16-26, 2010, THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-EAU CLAIRE

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


    Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival 2010 runs from Friday April 16 through Sunday April 25 on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  21 films will screen in 20 sessions, followed by facilitated post-screening discussion.  Free admission throughout the festival, which is open to the public. 


    The Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival (ECPFF) is returning after a one-year hiatus for its fourth year in 2010.  The broad aims of the Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival  are to raise awareness and encourage activist engagement within ongoing struggles for human emancipation, social justice, collective equality, ecological sustainability, and a peaceful world.  As a result, ECPFF does not just show films; it includes discussions afterward–in the interest of sharing perspectives on and reactions to the films, and the issues they address, as well as in the interest of forging and strengthening progressive networks, coalitions, and alliances throughout the Chippewa Valley region–and beyond.  ECPFF strives to help reclaim and carry forward our state’s proud progressive heritage.  To this day, ECPFF represents a uniquely unrivaled and unprecedented 10 days-long, independent, non-profit, all-volunteer, campus- and community- based, small city, progressive film festival.


    For more information about ECPFF 2010, contact: Bob Nowlan, Founder and Executive Director, ranowlan@uwec.edu and/or Justin Hoelzen, Director, hoelzeja@uwec.edu


    Below is a schedule with descriptions of all screenings.


    **********


Friday 4/16

7:30 pm: The Bubble, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102

Directed by Eytan Fox [Israel/Palestine], 117 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter



    Vacillating provocatively between romantic comedy and political tragedy, The Bubble is photographed with a sunny brightness that belies the gravity of its intentions.  Set primarily in the fashionable Sheinkin Street district of Tel Aviv, the story follows three left-leaning 20-somethings (two men and a woman) whose notion of political action is to hold a “rave against the occupation.”  But when Noam (Ohad Knoller), a sweet-natured music-store clerk and reserve soldier, meets a handsome Palestinian named Ashraf (Yousef Sweid), their escalating affair forces everyone to face reality in the cruelest possible way.  Squeezing a lot of conflict — sexual, ethnic and intellectual — into its 117 minutes, The Bubble is about the appeal of self-delusion and the warmth of comfort zones.  Noam’s best friend, Yali (Alon Friedmann), a café manager, reproaches Noam for habitually choosing unavailable men yet denies his own attraction to casually aggressive partners.  Meanwhile, Ashraf’s fond sister (Roba Blal) and her future husband, a Hamas leader aptly named Jihad (Shredy Jabarin), negate Ashraf’s homosexuality by coercing him into a straight relationship.  Eytan Fox directs with compassion but also with impatience for his characters’ self-centered naïveté . . . Mr. Fox may be a romantic, but he understands that love is rarely all you need. [Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times]


Saturday 4/17


12 noon: Chavez Ravine: a Los Angeles Story and The Forest for the Trees: Judi Bari v. The FBI, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Chavez Ravine: a Los Angeles Story, directed by Jordan Mechner [US], 2005, 30 minutes, Unrated

    In 1949, photographer Don Normark visited Chavez Ravine, a close-knit Mexican American village on a hill overlooking downtown Los Angeles.  Enchanted, he stayed for a year and took hundreds of photographs documenting community life.  But little did Normark know that he was capturing the last images of a place that was about to disappear—within a few short years, the entire neighborhood would be gone.  Chavez Ravine: a Los Angeles Story tells the story of how this Mexican American community was destroyed by greed, political hypocrisy and good intentions gone awry.  During the early 1950s, the city of Los Angeles forcefully evicted the 300 families of Chavez Ravine to make way for a low-income public housing project. The land was cleared and the homes, schools and the church were razed.  But instead of building the promised housing, the city—in a move rife with political controversy—sold the land to Brooklyn Dodgers baseball owner Walter O’Malley, who built Dodger Stadium on the site.  The residents of Chavez Ravine, who had been promised first pick of the apartments in the proposed housing project, were given no reimbursement for their destroyed property and forced to scramble for housing elsewhere.  Fifty years later, filmmaker Jordan Mechner explores what happened . . .  [From the Official Website]



The Forest for the Trees:  Judi Bari v. The FBI, directed by Bernadine Mellis [US], 2005, 54 minutes, Unrated


The Forest for the Trees:  Judi Bari v. The FBI is an intimate look at an unlikely team of young activists and old civil rights workers who come together to battle the U.S. government. Filmmaker Bernadine Mellis is the daughter of 68-year-old civil rights lawyer Dennis Cunningham.  Dennis started out his career representing the Black Panthers and the Weathermen.  Judi Bari was an Earth First! leader who was one of the first to place as much importance on timber workers' lives and families as she did on the legacy and future of the trees.  But that strategic relationship was too much of a threat.  Her car was bombed in 1990, and three hours later, she was arrested as a terrorist--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 12 years, Judi Bari v. the FBI finally gets a court date.  Knowing this is one of her father's most important cases, Mellis is there at strategy meetings, at breakfast, driving to and from the court, documenting her morally driven, very tired dad.   Not your typical "Take your daughter to work day," The Forest for the Trees:  Judi Bari v. The FBI offers access into a unique father-daughter relationship, the painfully short yet extraordinary life of Judi Bari, and a piece of
U.S. history that everyday grows increasingly resonant as once again the lines between dissent and terrorism are being intentionally blurred. [Bullfrog Films]


3 pm: California Company Town, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Lee Anne Schmitt [US], 2008, 76 minutes, Unrated


    This documentary extends a critical gaze at the landscape of California industrial towns built and abandoned by large corporations during the mid-20th Century era of U.S. capitalist expansion.  Analytic editing juxtaposes these dilapidated landscapes with archival images from their pasts, in turn producing startling–if subtle–recognition of the limitations and structured absences of the visual archive and of the epistemology of traditional documentary reliance upon the archive as a guarantee of historical truth and authenticity.  Hence this film may be described, after [Michel] Foucault, as an archaeology of cinematic knowledge regarding these working-class ghost-towns, as well as a prophetic warning about the direction of the social struggle bound up with their histories and memories in the wake of their replacement–also depicted in the film–by overpriced middle-class housing and hi-tech office parks now just as easily subject to devastation and decay amidst today's heightened cycles of economic boom-and-bust.  [From the Director]


7 pm: Hyenas, Hibbard Humanities Hall 100

Directed by Djibril Diop Mambety [Senegal], 1992, 110 minutes, Unrated


    Anyone can be bought if the price is right.  That is the message of Friedrich Durrenmatt's viciously misanthropic drama The Visit, in which a woman buys an entire town in order to wreak revenge on the lover who betrayed her decades earlier.  In Hyenas, Djibril Diop Mambety's pungent film adaptation of the story, the setting has been moved from Europe to Africa.  Although the film by the Senegalese director keeps the outlines of the Durrenmatt play intact, the change of locale lends the tale a new political dimension. The vengeance that the richest woman in the world brings to the dusty African village of her birth is an avalanche of irresistible Western paraphernalia that will certainly eradicate the area's tribal culture.  The desert town of Colobane is so destitute that in the movie's opening scene its ramshackle city hall is repossessed.  Its social center is a scantily stocked market run by its most popular resident, Dramaan Drameh (Mansour Diouf), a jolly white-bearded grocer who keeps his cronies happy by doling out glasses of cheap wine.  The village would probably go on wasting away on the fringe of the Sahara were it not for the triumphal return of Linguere Ramatou (Ami Diakhate), a woman who left the town in disgrace 30 years earlier. Linguere, who was Dramaan's lover at the time, has mysteriously emerged as the world's richest woman. The townspeople, hoping that she will end their poverty, fall over themselves to offer her a welcome-home banquet . . . The town goes delirious with the cheap thrills . . .  even done so lightly, the film still carries a sting.  And its symbolism is enriched by frequent shots of fiery-eyed hyenas restlessly stalking the outskirts of the town like evil spirits alert to the scent of decay.   [Stephen Holden, New York Times]



Sunday 4/18

12 noon: Tulpan, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Sergei Dvortsevoy [Kazakhstan], 2008, 100 minutes, Unrated


    Winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, acclaimed Kazakh documentarian Sergey Dvortsevoy’s first narrative feature is a gorgeous mélange of tender comedy, ethnographic drama and wildlife extravaganza.  Following his Russian naval service, young dreamer Asa returns to his sister’s nomadic brood on the desolate Hunger Steppe to begin a hardscrabble career as a shepherd. But before he can tend a flock of his own, Asa must win the hand of the only eligible bachelorette for miles—his alluringly mysterious neighbor Tulpan.  Accompanied by his girlie mag-reading sidekick Boni (and a menagerie of adorable lambs, stampeding camels, mewling kittens and mischievous children), Asa will stop at nothing to prove he is a worthy husband and herder. In the tradition of such crowd-pleasing travelogues as The Story of the Weeping Camel, Tulpan’s gentle humor and stunning photography transport audiences to this singular, harshly beautiful region and its rapidly vanishing way of life. [Zeitgeist Films]       



3 pm: Privilege, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Peter Watkins [UK], 1967, 103 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter


    Recounts the tale of Steven Shorter, a charismatic pop star, whose meteoric rise to the top as well as his huge audience appeal, most notably to a new generation of youth, results from the deliberate crafting of his performance, and especially of his persona, by a sordid combination of big business, big media, big government, and established Christian religious interests.  This neo-fascist clique seizes upon Shorter as a privileged vehicle by which to callously promote its own reactionary agenda, and, in particular, to coopt youthful rebelliousness before this threatens the economic, social, cultural, and political status quo prevalent in a mythical 1970s Britain.  Strikingly, the major ‘players’ directing this project emanate from social positions virtually identical to those at the heights of power in the US today.  Shorter . . . succeeds in performing according to script as a conscience-tortured, now obeisantly repentant, physically/sexually attractive ex-rebel who encourages his audience to follow his lead in ‘embracing conformity’ as the new chic, hip, and cool. . .  Shorter’s managers contend that pop music culture can and should be coopted because it represents an especially effective mechanism to insure that this whole process will work smoothly while at the same time allowing young people harmless means both to vent rebellious energies as well as to learn, cathartically, how to convert these as they enthusiastically grovel before flag, gun, tank, and cross . . . If anything, Privilege is more relevant now than when it was initially released . . . [    Bob Nowlan, Professor of Cinema Studies, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, from Unpublished Article]


7 pm: Boy A, Hibbard Humanities Hall 100
   
Directed by John Crowley [UK]. 2007,106 minutes, Rated R


    Jack (Andrew Garfield) is released from prison, finally, at the age of 24; having been institutionalized for most of his life.  He and another boy murdered a child, when they were themselves children.  The film follows Jack's attempts to readjust to the world outside of confinement and restart a life which never really got going.  Under the fatherly mentor-ship of Terry (Peter Mullan) his parole contact and social worker, he experiences a coming of age, which would normally have happened years ago.  But forces from the past are constantly upon him, as we learn more about the events leading up to the crime which has ruined so many lives, there is an increasing sense of suspense, intrigue and ultimately doom: the tabloid press and Terry's real son are not going to let things lie.  [From the Official Website]  Overall, the film is very strong and compassionate . . . The movie rightly sets its sights on the atrocious social reasons, and social forces (courts and media), why [in William Faulkner’s words, “the past is never really dead; it’s not even the past] is so destructively true for Boy A and Boy B and many others.  It does so in a truthful and moving manner. [Joanne Laurier, World Socialist Website]


Monday 4/19

7:30 pm: The World According to Monsanto, Hibbard Humanities Hall 100

Directed by Marie-Monique Robin [France], 108 minutes, Unrated


     This is one of the most powerful, must see films for anyone interested in the behind the scenes world of the food industry, and how just one world dominating corporation holds the keys and patents to much of the worlds food supply.  Monsanto, which started out as one of the planets largest chemical companies is also responsible for such chemical compounds as Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone, PCBs and genetically-engineered crops.  [Twilight Earth]   A new movie has dealt yet another severe blow to the credibility of US based Monsanto, one of the biggest chemical companies in the world and the provider of the seed technology for 90 percent of the world’s genetically engineered (GE) crops.  The French documentary, called The World According to Monsanto and directed by independent filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, paints a grim picture of a company with a long track record of environmental crimes and health scandals. [Greenpeace International]
       


Tuesday 4/20

7:30 pm: Liberation Day (Munyurangabo), Hibbard Humanities Hall 100

Directed by Lee Isaac Chung [Rwanda], 2007, 97 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter



    Arkansas native Lee Isaac Chung’s Independent Spirit Award-nominated feature debut takes a closer look at the ongoing fallout from last decade’s brutal Rwandan genocide.  The story follows Munyurangabo (Jeff Rutagengwa) and Sangwa (Eric Ndorunkundiye), two young boys from opposing tribes who test their friendship on a quest for some measure of justice. Munyurangabo, in search of the people who killed his father, a Tutsi, in the wave of genocide that swept the nation in 1994, steals a machete from a Kilgali market.  Hutu-born Sangwa agrees to take his friend from their refugee camp to his family’s native village.  When the boys arrive in the seemingly peaceful Hutu town, they learn that old hatreds run deep, and that the ethnic lines they are so ready to overlook still carry a lot of weight for others.  Korean-American director Chung studied medicine at Yale before launching his filmmaking career.  While teaching film at a Christian youth outreach in Rwanda, he recruited a local cast of non-professional actors and filmed Munyurangabo over the course of 11 days.  The first film ever made in the Kinyarwandan language, Chung’s multiple award-winner has been called “one of the decade’s most moving feature debuts” (Eye Weekly Toronto) and “a voyage to the heart of African history, memory and identity.” (International Herald Tribune)  [Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival]



Wednesday 4/21

7:30 pm: Trouble the Water, Hibbard Humanities Hall 100

Directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessen [US], 2008, 90 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter
   

    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 of 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.  [From the Official Website]



Thursday 4/22

7:30 pm: Burma VJ, Hibbard Humanities Hall 102

Directed by Anders Høgsbro Østergaard [Myanmar], 2008, 85 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter


    Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker, Anders Østergaard, brings us close to the video journalists who deliver the footage.  Though risking torture and life in jail, courageous young citizens of Burma live the essence of journalism as they insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country.  Armed with small handycams the Burma VJs stop at nothing to make their reportages from the streets of Rangoon. Their material is smuggled out of the country and broadcast back into Burma via satellite and offered as free usage for international media.  The whole world has witnessed single event clips made by the VJs, but for the very first time, their individual images have been carefully put together and at once, they tell a much bigger story. The film offers a unique insight into high-risk journalism and dissidence in a police state, while at the same time providing a thorough documentation of the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, when the Buddhist monks started marching . . .
the Burmese condition is made tangible to a global audience so we can understand it, feel it, and smell it.  [From the Official Website]


Friday 4/23

7:30 pm: Wounded Knee, Hibbard Humanities Hall 100

Directed by Stanley Nelson [Native American], 2008, 74 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter


    On the night of February 27, 1973, a caravan of cars carrying 200 armed Oglala Lakota—led by American Indian Movement (AIM) activists—entered Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation and quickly occupied buildings, cut off access, and took up defensive positions. When federal agents arrived, they declared, “The Indians are in charge of the town,” and a 71-day standoff ensued.  Compiling an astonishing amount of archival film footage (notable for the key moments it captures) and firsthand accounts from participants, Stanley Nelson creates an immersive, comprehensive account of the occupation and its fascinating complexity.  The Oglala Lakota sought redress of old grievances and broken treaties (just miles from the massacre of 1890) but also demanded the ouster of Pine Ridge tribal leader Dick Wilson, who governed through corruption and intimidation as he pursued deeply divisive policies of assimilation.  Nelson also explores the climate of racism in border towns; the broad political context that shaped the AIM—its tactics, organization and ability to exploit the national media; and ultimately the role armed protest played in Native American self-conception. With its iconic images of Indians holding the government at bay, Wounded Knee not only brought national attention to an invisible community and its desperate conditions but contributed to the tribe's awakened sense of dignity and connection with their proud heritage.  [Sundance Film Festival]


Saturday 4/24

12 noon: When I Came Home, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Dan Lohaus [US], 2006, 70 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter


    When I Came Home is a film about homeless veterans in America: from those who served in Vietnam to those returning from the current war in Iraq.  The film looks at the challenges faced by returning combat veterans and the battle many must fight for the benefits promised to them.  Through the story of Herold Noel, an Iraq War veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and living in his car in Brooklyn, When I Came Home reveals a failing system and the veteran's struggle to survive after returning from the war.  When I Came Home is, regardless of how pessimistic it seems, still quite inspiring and will hopefully be very influential. There is no reason for the government to ignore vets at home anymore than they should abroad. For any conservative politician who spouted nonsense about how Americans who are against the war are also against the troops, this film is a must-see.  For everyone else, it is simply a reminder of hypocrisy and historical recurrence.  [Tribeca Film Festival]


2:30 pm: Ask Not, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Johnny Symons [US], 2008, 73 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter


    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 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.  [From the Official Website]


5 pm: Of Time and the City, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Terence Davies [UK], 74 minutes, Unrated


    Of Time and the City is both a love song and a eulogy to Liverpool.  It is also a response to memory, reflection and the experience of losing a sense of place as the skyline changes and time takes it toll.  Terence Davies returns to his native Liverpool and to his film making roots to capture a sense of the City today and its influences on him growing up in the late 40's and early 50's.  Liverpool’s phoenix-like rise is portrayed like it’s never been seen before; how a city can change itself and the people under its influence… [From the Official Website]  . . .
Of Time and the City
, his first film in eight years, was shown at Cannes.  It was hailed as a great work of cinema, it made people cry, and has re-established Davies's reputation as one of a handful of British directors with a singular and easily recognisable vision, in other words an auteur.  [Ian Jack, The Guardian]

7:30 pm: XXY, HHH 100
   
 Directed by Lucia Puenzo [Argentina], 2007, 86 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter


    Alex is not like other girls.  She is a 15-year-old with a secret, one that no other can claim.  Her parents keep her hidden away at a coastal town in amongst the dunes of the shoreline, buying time before they must decide on a life-threatening operation.  When old family friend and plastic surgeon Ramiro arrives with his teenage son Álvaro, Alex begins to realise that his visit could change her life forever.  As the parents wrestle with the complications that will arise as Alex reaches adulthood, Alex and Alvaro become close, their relationship causing tensions amongst the locals.  However, as the parents battle it out to instill a sense of open-mindedness amongst their society, it is the children who prove themselves to be flexible in understanding the sexual leanings and complexities of others. [Peccadillo Pictures]  The genius of the film is that it tells much more than Alex's story alone.  In fact, it becomes several stories, all of which focus on free will and personal destiny. We watch Alex's family struggle with allowing her to choose her path in life and, in so doing, find new grounding in their own lives.  On the eve of his family's departure, Alvaro attempts to bond with his father.  The results seem heartbreaking at first, yet we realize it's the boy's first step toward becoming his own person. The minimalist writing of this scene alone, enacted by Piroyansky with his eyes brimming with tears, is simply shattering.  [David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle]


Sunday 4/25

12 noon: Hunted Like Animals, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Rebecca Sommer [US/Hmong], 2007, 77 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter

 
    Hunted Like Animals is an eye-opening documentary about an ongoing, but unknown, genocide — against the Hmong people in the jungles of Laos.  Coerced into joining the CIA’s anti-communist efforts during the Viet Nam war, this ethnic minority became a Secret Army. When the U.S. pulled out of Southeast Asia in 1975 and the Lao kingdom was overthrown by the communists, the Hmong became targets of retaliation and persecution.  Hundreds of thousands fled the country; others ran to remote mountainous regions of Laos.  Over thirty years and two generations later, the Hmong in hiding are still mercilessly hunted, attacked, raped, tortured and killed by the military.  Since 2004, the crackdown has intensified and those who can escape seek refuge in Thailand.  The traumatized refugees have not been promised protection or help.  Instead, they are threatened with deportation back to Laos, the very place from which they barely escaped. In this documentary, the refugees speak for thousands of voiceless people still trapped in the jungle, surrounded by Lao and Vietnamese s soldiers — and hunted like animals. [From the Director’s Website]



2:30 pm: The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Ellen Kuras [US, Lao, Hmong], 2007, 92 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter

           
    Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath's debut film, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), tells the story of a family’s epic journey from war-torn Laos to the streets of New York.  Filmed over the course of 23 years, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) movingly chronicles the family’s struggle to reckon with that which was left behind while forging a new and difficult life in a foreign land. Thavisouk gives a first-hand account of his own boyhood survival of war, his later escape from persecution and arrest in Laos, his miraculous reunion with his family and their journey to America, and the second war they had to fight on the streets of New York City. Thavisouk’s mother also gives powerful testimony of her unflagging efforts to single-handedly raise and shepherd a family of ten amidst almost constant danger . . . Repeatedly arrested because of his father’s US affiliation, 12-year-old Thavi makes a life-changing decision to leave his family and Laos behind, swimming across the Mekong River on two inflated plastic bags to a refugee camp in Thailand. Reunited with his mother and siblings two years later, the family flees to the United States in 1981, his father presumed gone forever . . . Disoriented by the western culture and desperate to survive, Thavisouk and his mother try to imprint their eastern cultural values onto the younger children before the family disintegrates completely . . . In The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), Kuras and Phrasavath have created a lyrical film that fluidly incorporates archival footage, cinema verite, interview material and visually poetic montages . . . Thavisouk’s unforgettable journey reminds us of the strength necessary to survive unthinkable conditions, and of the human spirit’s inspiring capacity to adapt, rebuild, and forgive.  [From the Official Website]


5 pm: Killer’s Paradise, Hibbard Humanities Hall 323

Directed by Giselle Portenier [Guatemala], 2006, 83 minutes, Unrated: This Film Contains Mature Subject Matter

    Since 1999 more than two thousand women have been murdered in Guatemala, with the numbers escalating every year. Yet, lawmakers and government officials continue to turn a blind eye.  Powerful and uncompromising, Killer's Paradise uncovers one of the most emotionally-wrenching hidden human rights abuses taking place, while exposing the impunity allowed by an inept judicial system.  With its history of almost four decades of civil war, Guatemala is a troubled society but it can also be seen as a microcosm of the pervasive violence and injustice against women that exists in the world today . . . .  With stunning realism, Killer's Paradise documents these heartbreaking stories.  Victims' friends and family, police officers and investigators, rapists and gang members–even a serial killer who still roams freely–offer gripping testimonies to the stark reality in Guatemala.  Meticulously crafted and beautifully shot, Killer's Paradise is a bold film that captures the raw emotions of all those affected and the harsh reality of a struggling nation.  [National Film Board of Canada]



7:30 pm: Courting Justice, Hibbard Humanities Hall 100
   
Created by Ruth Cowan and directed by Jane Lipman [South Africa], 71 minutes, 2008, Unrated


    From tyranny to democracy.  Fourteen years after the defeat of apartheid, South Africa’s fledgling democracy is acclaimed for its constitutional promise of comprehensive human rights and unprecedented judicial reform.  But what is essential for transformation to succeed?  Courting Justice takes viewers behind the gowns and gavels to reveal the women who make up 18 percent of South Africa’s male-dominated judiciary.  Hailing from diverse backgrounds and entrusted with enormous responsibilities, these pioneering women share with candor, and unexpected humor, accounts of their country’s transformation since apartheid, and the evolving demands of balancing their courts, country, and families.  Creator Ruth Cowan, a feminist and developing world scholar, is a leader in the fields of microfinance, human rights, judiciary development, and gender and race issues.  With acuity and spirit, her film chronicles the hard fought progress of achieving gender and racial justice in a burgeoning new judiciary.  It is a pivotal work that examines the exciting transformation of an entire legal system, through the intimate, unique, and inspiring stories of women working to change it from the bench.  [From the Official Website]



Friday 4/16

7:30 pm: The Bubble, HHH 102

Directed by Eytan Fox [Israel/Palestine], 117 minutes

    Vacillating provocatively between romantic comedy and political tragedy, The Bubble is photographed with a sunny brightness that belies the gravity of its intentions.  Set primarily in the fashionable Sheinkin Street district of Tel Aviv, the story follows three left-leaning 20-somethings (two men and a woman) whose notion of political action is to hold a “rave against the occupation.”  But when Noam (Ohad Knoller), a sweet-natured music-store clerk and reserve soldier, meets a handsome Palestinian named Ashraf (Yousef Sweid), their escalating affair forces everyone to face reality in the cruelest possible way.  Squeezing a lot of conflict — sexual, ethnic and intellectual — into its 117 minutes, The Bubble is about the appeal of self-delusion and the warmth of comfort zones.  Noam’s best friend, Yali (Alon Friedmann), a cafe manager, reproaches Noam for habitually choosing unavailable men yet denies his own attraction to casually aggressive partners.  Meanwhile, Ashraf’s fond sister (Roba Blal) and her future husband, a Hamas leader aptly named Jihad (Shredy Jabarin), negate Ashraf’s homosexuality by coercing him into a straight relationship.  Eytan Fox directs with compassion but also with impatience for his characters’ self-centered naïveté, veering somewhat uneasily between these tones and relying on the competence of his actors to smooth the transitions.  And though his ending is more poetic than just, it effectively diverts partisan sympathies toward a more general condemnation of violence.  Mr. Fox may be a romantic, but he understands that love is rarely all you need. [Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times]

Saturday 4/17

12 noon: Chavez Ravine: a Los Angeles Story and The Forest for the Trees: Judi Bari v. The FBI, HHH 323

Chavez Ravine: directed by Jordan Mechner [US], 2005, 30 minutes

    In 1949, photographer Don Normark visited Chavez Ravine, a close-knit Mexican American village on a hill overlooking downtown Los Angeles.  Enchanted, he stayed for a year and took hundreds of photographs documenting community life.  But little did Normark know that he was capturing the last images of a place that was about to disappear—within a few short years, the entire neighborhood would be gone. CHAVEZ RAVINE: A Los Angeles Story tells the story of how this Mexican American community was destroyed by greed, political hypocrisy and good intentions gone awry.  During the early 1950s, the city of Los Angeles forcefully evicted the 300 families of Chavez Ravine to make way for a low-income public housing project. The land was cleared and the homes, schools and the church were razed.  But instead of building the promised housing, the city—in a move rife with political controversy—sold the land to Brooklyn Dodgers baseball owner Walter O’Malley, who built Dodger Stadium on the site.  The residents of Chavez Ravine, who had been promised first pick of the apartments in the proposed housing project, were given no reimbursement for their destroyed property and forced to scramble for housing elsewhere.  Fifty years later, filmmaker Jordan Mechner explores what happened, interviewing many of the former residents of Chavez Ravine as well as some of the officials who oversaw the destruction of the community.  Narrated by Cheech Marin and scored by Ry Cooder and Lalo Guerrero, CHAVEZ RAVINE combines contemporary interviews with archival footage and Normark’s haunting black-and-white photographs to reclaim and celebrate a beloved community of the past.  [From the Official Website]

The Forest for the Trees: THE FOREST FOR THE TREES is an intimate look at an unlikely team of young activists and old civil rights workers who come together to battle the U.S. government. Filmmaker Bernadine Mellis is the daughter of 68-year-old civil rights lawyer Dennis Cunningham.  Dennis started out his career representing the Black Panthers and the Weathermen. Judi Bari was an Earth First! leader who was one of the first to place as much importance on timber workers' lives and families as she did on the legacy and future of the trees.  But that strategic relationship was too much of a threat.  Her car was bombed in 1990, and three hours later, she was arrested as a terrorist--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 12 years, Judi Bari v. the FBI finally gets a court date. Knowing this is one of her father's most important cases, Mellis is there at strategy meetings, at breakfast, driving to and from the court, documenting her morally driven, very tired dad.  Not your typical "Take your daughter to work day," THE FOREST FOR THE TREES offers access into a unique father-daughter relationship, the painfully short yet extraordinary life of Judi Bari, and a piece of U.S. history that everyday grows increasingly resonant as once again the lines between dissent and terrorism are being intentionally blurred. [Bullfrog Films]

3 pm: California Company Town, HHH 323

Directed by Lee Anne Schmitt [US], 2008, 76 minutes

    This documentary extends a critical gaze at the landscape of California industrial towns built and abandoned by large corporations during the mid-20th Century era of U.S. capitalist expansion.  Analytic editing juxtaposes these dilapidated landscapes with archival images from their pasts, in turn producing startling--if subtle--recognition of the limitations and structured absences of the visual archive and of the epistemology of traditional documentary reliance upon the archive as a guarantee of historical truth and authenticity.  Hence this film may be described, after Foucault, as an archeaology of cinematic knowledge regarding these working-class ghost-towns, as well as a prophetic warning about the direction of the social struggle bound up with their histories and memories in the wake of their replacement--also depicted in the film--by overpriced middle-class housing and hi-tech office parks now just as easily subject to devastation and decay amidst today's heightened cycles of economic boom-and-bust. [From the Director]

7 pm: Hyenas, HHH 100

directed by Djibril Diop Mambety [Senegal], 1992, 110 minutes

    Anyone can be bought if the price is right. That is the message of Friedrich Durrenmatt's viciously misanthropic drama "The Visit," in which a woman buys an entire town in order to wreak revenge on the lover who betrayed her decades earlier. In "Hyenas," Djibril Diop Mambety's pungent film adaptation of the story, the setting has been moved from Europe to Africa.  Although the film by the Senegalese director keeps the outlines of the Durrenmatt play intact, the change of locale lends the tale a new political dimension. The vengeance that the richest woman in the world brings to the dusty African village of her birth is an avalanche of irresistible Western paraphernalia that will certainly eradicate the area's tribal culture.  The desert town of Colobane is so destitute that in the movie's opening scene its ramshackle city hall is repossessed. Its social center is a scantily stocked market run by its most popular resident, Dramaan Drameh (Mansour Diouf), a jolly white-bearded grocer who keeps his cronies happy by doling out glasses of cheap wine.  The village would probably go on wasting away on the fringe of the Sahara were it not for the triumphal return of Linguere Ramatou (Ami Diakhate), a woman who left the town in disgrace 30 years earlier. Linguere, who was Dramaan's lover at the time, has mysteriously emerged as the world's richest woman. The townspeople, hoping that she will end their poverty, fall over themselves to offer her a welcome-home banquet.  Though Dramaan is married, he woos Linguere obsequiously, ignoring the fact that she is now a stone-faced hag with a prosthetic leg and hand. At the height of the celebration, she announces that she intends to donate "one hundred thousand millions to the town." But there is a catch. She produces witnesses who swear that 30 years ago Dramaan paid them to testify that they had slept with her so he could deny the paternity of her unborn child. Before the town can get its reward, Dramaan must pay with his life.  Deeply insulted, the townspeople at first side with the grocer. But as greed eats away at their souls, their mood slowly shifts. The men in the town soon begin sporting fashionable yellow shoes from Burkina Faso. Truckloads of electric fans, air- conditioners, refrigerators and television sets arrive.  The more spoiled the townspeople become, the more luxuries they insist that Dramaan sell them on credit. In the film's most surreal moment, Linguere imports a carnival complete with a ferris wheel, fireworks and ads for Pepsi posted everywhere. The town goes delirious with the cheap thrills . . .  even done so lightly, the film still carries a sting. And its symbolism is enriched by frequent shots of fiery-eyed hyenas restlessly stalking the outskirts of the town like evil spirits alert to the scent of decay.   [Stephen Holden, New York Times]

Sunday 4/18

12 noon: Tulpan, HHH 323

Directed by Sergei Dvortsevoy [Kazakhstan], 2008, 100 minutes

    Winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, acclaimed Kazakh documentarian Sergey Dvortsevoy’s first narrative feature is a gorgeous mélange of tender comedy, ethnographic drama and wildlife extravaganza. Following his Russian naval service, young dreamer Asa returns to his sister’s nomadic brood on the desolate Hunger Steppe to begin a hardscrabble career as a shepherd. But before he can tend a flock of his own, Asa must win the hand of the only eligible bachelorette for miles—his alluringly mysterious neighbor Tulpan. Accompanied by his girlie mag-reading sidekick Boni (and a menagerie of adorable lambs, stampeding camels, mewling kittens and mischievous children), Asa will stop at nothing to prove he is a worthy husband and herder. In the tradition of such crowd-pleasing travelogues as The Story of the Weeping Camel, Tulpan’s gentle humor and stunning photography transport audiences to this singular, harshly beautiful region and its rapidly vanishing way of life. [Zeitgeist Films]       

3 pm: Privilege, HHH 323

Directed by Peter Watkins [UK], 1967, 103 minutes        

    Recounts the tale of Steven Shorter, a charismatic pop star, whose meteoric rise to the top as well as his huge audience appeal, most notably to a new generation of youth, results from the deliberate crafting of his performance, and especially of his persona, by a sordid combination of big business, big media, big government, and established Christian religious interests.  This neo-fascist clique seizes upon Shorter as a privileged vehicle by which to callously promote its own reactionary agenda, and, in particular, to coopt youthful rebelliousness before this threatens the economic, social, cultural, and political status quo prevalent in a mythical 1970s Britain.  Strikingly, the major ‘players’ directing this project emanate from social positions virtually identical to those at the heights of power in the US today.  Shorter . . . succeeds in performing according to script as a conscience-tortured, now obeisantly repentant, physically/sexually attractive ex-rebel who encourages his audience to follow his lead in ‘embracing conformity’ as the new chic, hip, and cool.  At the same time, though, Shorter off-stage and in what little he maintains of a private life is a sadly pathetic figure, a waif with next to no independent will of his own.  Eventually . . .Shorter makes a pitiful attempt at rebelling versus his handler-captors.  The latter, who have by this point milked the Steven Shorter phenomenon for all they could, retaliate by quickly denouncing and easily dismissing Shorter, moving on smoothly to craft and promote their next vehicle for mass indoctrination into mass submission . . . Throughout the film major figures in the Steven Shorter phenomenon are interviewed by a small number of faux-documentary reporters, whom we hear yet never see.  During the course of these interviews those who use Shorter for their neo-fascistic ends frankly, smugly admit their real motives and interests, while representing these, without any hesitation, and thereby quite chillingly, as ample justification for what they are doing.  In other words, the masses, especially of youth, need to be controlled–and disciplined–because the existing economic, social, political, and cultural order must be maintained as it is, with the new generation learning simply to accept this order for what it is and to identify with the positions that have been fabricated for them to take up in doing nothing more but maintaining and reproducing it.  Shorter’s managers contend that pop music culture can and should be coopted because it represents an especially effective mechanism to insure that this whole process will work smoothly while at the same time allowing young people harmless means both to vent rebellious energies as well as to learn, cathartically, how to convert these as they enthusiastically grovel before flag, gun, tank, and cross.  Among the most powerful scenes in the film is one in which we see virtually exactly this happening: a spectacle that bears close resemblance to a huge religious revival meeting where masses of ‘heathen’ are ‘saved’ as their minds and bodies are ‘spontaneously’ taken over by ‘the holy spirit’ who directs them to fall in line behind Steven Shorter’s messianic example . . . If anything, Privilege is more relevant now than when it was initially released . . . [    Bob Nowlan, from Unpublished Article]

7 pm: Boy A, HHH 100
   
Directed by John Crowley [UK]. 2007,106 minutes

    Jack (Andrew Garfield) is released from prison, finally, at the age of 24; having been institutionalized for most of his life. He and another boy murdered a child, when they were themselves children.  The film follows Jack's attempts to readjust to the world outside of confinement and restart a life which never really got going.  Under the fatherly mentor-ship of Terry (Peter Mullan) his parole contact and social worker, he experiences a coming of age, which would normally have happened years ago.  But forces from the past are constantly upon him, as we learn more about the events leading up to the crime which has ruined so many lives, there is an increasing sense of suspense, intrigue and ultimately doom: the tabloid press and Terry's real son are not going to let things lie.   [From the Official Website]

    The film, directed by John Crowley and written by Mark O'Rowe, paints an accurate portrait of working-class life in the north of England, the grimness of the streets contrasting with the beauty of the countryside . . .  . the movie poses the age-old question of forgiveness. At this moment in Chicago, children with handguns kill people. Can we say, father, forgive them, for they know not what they do? [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times]

    Overall, the film is very strong and compassionate. The festival catalogue cites an oft-quoted Faulkner observation in its notes on Boy A: “The past is never dead. It’s not even the past.” The movie rightly sets its sights on the atrocious social reasons, and social forces (courts and media), why this is so destructively true for Boy A and Boy B and many others. It does so in a truthful and moving manner. [Joanne Laurier, World Socialist Website]

Monday 4/19

7:30 pm: The World According to Monsanto, HHH 100

Directed by Marie-Monique Robin [France], 108 minutes

    The World According to Monsanto is an in-depth Documentary that looks at the domination of the agricultural industry from one of the world’s most insidious and powerful . . .  This is one of the most powerful, must see films for anyone interested in the behind the scenes world of the food industry, and how just one world dominating corporation holds the keys and patents to much of the worlds food supply.  Monsanto, which started out as one of the planets largest chemical companies is also reposonsible for such chemical compounds as Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone, PCBs and genetically-engineered crops. [Twilight Earth]  A new movie has dealt yet another severe blow to the credibility of US based Monsanto, one of the biggest chemical companies in the world and the provider of the seed technology for 90 percent of the world’s genetically engineered (GE) crops.  The French documentary, called “The world according to Monsanto” and directed by independent filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, paints a grim picture of a company with a long track record of environmental crimes and health scandals. [Greenpeace International]

Tuesday 4/20

7:30 pm: Liberation Day, HHH 100

Directed by Lee Isaac Chung [Rwanda], 2007, 97 minutes

    Arkansas native Lee Isaac Chung’s Independent Spirit Award-nominated feature debut takes a closer look at the ongoing fallout from last decade’s brutal Rwandan genocide. The story follows Munyurangabo (Jeff Rutagengwa) and Sangwa (Eric Ndorunkundiye), two young boys from opposing tribes who test their friendship on a quest for some measure of justice. Munyurangabo, in search of the people who killed his father, a Tutsi, in the wave of genocide that swept the nation in 1994, steals a machete from a Kilgali market. Hutu-born Sangwa agrees to take his friend from their refugee camp to his family’s native village. When the boys arrive in the seemingly peaceful Hutu town, they learn that old hatreds run deep, and that the ethnic lines they are so ready to overlook still carry a lot of weight for others.  Korean-American director Chung studied medicine at Yale before launching his filmmaking career. While teaching film at a Christian youth outreach in Rwanda, he recruited a local cast of non-professional actors and filmed Munyurangabo over the course of 11 days. The first film ever made in the Kinyarwandan language, Chung’s multiple award-winner has been called “one of the decade’s most moving feature debuts” (Eye Weekly Toronto) and “a voyage to the heart of African history, memory and identity.” (International Herald Tribune)   [Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival]

Wednesday 4/21

7:30 pm: Trouble the Water, HHH 100

Directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessen [US], 2008, 90 minutes
   
    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 of 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.   [From the Official Website]

Thursday 4/22

7:30 pm: Burma VJ, HHH 102

Directed by Anders Høgsbro Østergaard [Myanmar], 2008, 85 minutes

    Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker, Anders Østergaard, brings us close to the video journalists who deliver the footage. Though risking torture and life in jail, courageous young citizens of Burma live the essence of journalism as they insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country. Armed with small handycams the Burma VJs stop at nothing to make their reportages from the streets of Rangoon. Their material is smuggled out of the country and broadcast back into Burma via satellite and offered as free usage for international media. The whole world has witnessed single event clips made by the VJs, but for the very first time, their individual images have been carefully put together and at once, they tell a much bigger story. The film offers a unique insight into high-risk journalism and dissidence in a police state, while at the same time providing a thorough documentation of the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, when the Buddhist monks started marching.  ”Joshua”, age 27, is one of the young video journalists, who works undercover to counter the propaganda of the military regime. Joshua is suddenly thrown into the role as tactical leader of his group of reporters, when the monks lead a massive but peaceful uprising against the military regime. After decades of oblivion - Burma returns to the world stage, but at the same time foreign TV crews are banned from entering the country, so it is left to Joshua and his crew to document the events and establish a lifeline to the surrounding world. It is their footage that keeps the revolution alive on TV screens all over.  Amidst marching monks, brutal police agents, and shooting military the reporters embark on their dangerous mission, working around the clock to keep the world informed of events inside the closed country. Their compulsive instinct to shoot what they witness, rather than any deliberate heroism, turns their lives into that of freedom fighters. The regime quickly understands the power of the camera and the reporters are constantly chased by government intelligence agents who look at the ”media saboteurs” as the biggest prey they can get. During the turbulent days of September, Joshua finds himself on an emotional rollercoaster between hope and despair, as he frantically tries to keep track of his reporters in the streets while the great uprising unfolds and comes to its tragic end.  With Joshua as the psychological lens, the Burmese condition is made tangible to a global audience so we can understand it, feel it, and smell it.  [From the Official Website]

Friday 4/23

7:30 pm: Wounded Knee, HHH 100

Directed by Stanley Nelson [Native American], 2008, 74 minutes

    On the night of February 27, 1973, a caravan of cars carrying 200 armed Oglala Lakota—led by American Indian Movement (AIM) activists—entered Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation and quickly occupied buildings, cut off access, and took up defensive positions. When federal agents arrived, they declared, “The Indians are in charge of the town,” and a 71-day standoff ensued. Compiling an astonishing amount of archival film footage (notable for the key moments it captures) and firsthand accounts from participants, Stanley Nelson creates an immersive, comprehensive account of the occupation and its fascinating complexity. The Oglala Lakota sought redress of old grievances and broken treaties (just miles from the massacre of 1890) but also demanded the ouster of Pine Ridge tribal leader Dick Wilson, who governed through corruption and intimidation as he pursued deeply divisive policies of assimilation. Nelson also explores the climate of racism in border towns; the broad political context that shaped the AIM—its tactics, organization and ability to exploit the national media; and ultimately the role armed protest played in Native American self-conception. With its iconic images of Indians holding the government at bay, Wounded Knee not only brought national attention to an invisible community and its desperate conditions but contributed to the tribe's awakened sense of dignity and connection with their proud heritage.  [Sundance Film Festival]

Saturday 4/24

12 noon: When I Came Home, HHH 323

Directed by Dan Lohaus [US], 2006, 70 minutes

    WHEN I CAME HOME is a film about homeless veterans in America: from those who served in Vietnam to those returning from the current war in Iraq. The film looks at the challenges faced by returning combat veterans and the battle many must fight for the benefits promised to them. Through the story of Herold Noel, an Iraq War veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and living in his car in Brooklyn, WHEN I CAME HOME reveals a failing system and the veteran's struggle to survive after returning from the war.  When I Came Home is, regardless of how pessimistic it seems, still quite inspiring and will hopefully be very influential. There is no reason for the government to ignore vets at home anymore than they should abroad. For any conservative politician who spouted nonsense about how Americans who are against the war are also against the troops, this film is a must-see. For everyone else, it is simply a reminder of hypocrisy and historical recurrence. [Tribeca Film Festival]

2:30 pm: Ask Not, HHH 323

Directed by Johnny Symons [US], 2008, 73 minutes

    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 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. [From the Official Website]

5 pm: Of Time and the City, HHH 323

Directed by Terence Davies [UK], 74 minutes

    Of Time and the City is both a love song and a eulogy to Liverpool. It is also a response to memory, reflection and the experience of losing a sense of place as the skyline changes and time takes it toll.  Terence Davies returns to his native Liverpool and to his film making roots to capture a sense of the City today and its influences on him growing up in the late 40's and early 50's. Liverpool’s phoenix-like rise is portrayed like it’s never been seen before; how a city can change itself and the people under its influence… [From the Official Website]

    . . . Of Time and the City, his first film in eight years, was shown at Cannes. It was hailed as a great work of cinema, it made people cry, and has re-established Davies's reputation as one of a handful of British directors with a singular and easily recognisable vision, in other words an auteur. [Ian Jack, The Guardian]

7:30 pm: XXY, HHH 100
   
 Directed by Lucia Puenzo [Argentina], 2007, 86 minutes

    Alex is not like other girls. She is a 15-year-old with a secret, one that no other can claim. Her parents keep her hidden away at a coastal town in amongst the dunes of the shoreline, buying time before they must decide on a life-threatening operation.  When old family friend and plastic surgeon Ramiro arrives with his teenage son Álvaro, Alex begins to realise that his visit could change her life forever. As the parents wrestle with the complications that will arise as Alex reaches adulthood, Alex and Alvaro become close, their relationship causing tensions amongst the locals. However, as the parents battle it out to instill a sense of open-mindedness amongst their society, it is the children who prove themselves to be flexible in understanding the sexual leanings and complexities of others. [Peccadillo Pictures]  The genius of the film is that it tells much more than Alex's story alone. In fact, it becomes several stories, all of which focus on free will and personal destiny. We watch Alex's family struggle with allowing her to choose her path in life and, in so doing, find new grounding in their own lives. On the eve of his family's departure, Alvaro attempts to bond with his father. The results seem heartbreaking at first, yet we realize it's the boy's first step toward becoming his own person. The minimalist writing of this scene alone, enacted by Piroyansky with his eyes brimming with tears, is simply shattering.  Puenzo's gently masterful direction has elicited unerring performances from her cast, particularly Efron and Piroyansky. Darín and Bertuccelli are equally fine as Alex's parents.  The major elements of the film - Puenzo's script and direction, Natasha Braier's crystalline cinematography, the entire cast's performances - blend slowly and quietly at first, but once they take hold of our attention, we cannot look away. [David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle]

Sunday 4/25

12 noon: Hunted Like Animals, HHH 323

Directed by Rebecca Sommer [US/Hmong], 2007, 77 minutes
 
    Hunted Like Animals is an eye-opening documentary about an ongoing, but unknown, genocide — against the Hmong people in the jungles of Laos. Coerced into joining the CIA’s anti-communist efforts during the Viet Nam war, this ethnic minority became a Secret Army. When the U.S. pulled out of Southeast Asia in 1975 and the Lao kingdom was overthrown by the communists, the Hmong became targets of retaliation and persecution. Hundreds of thousands fled the country; others ran to remote mountainous regions of Laos. Over thirty years and two generations later, the Hmong in hiding are still mercilessly hunted, attacked, raped, tortured and killed by the military. Since 2004, the crackdown has intensified and those who can escape seek refuge in Thailand. The traumatized refugees have not been promised protection or help. Instead, they are threatened with deportation back to Laos, the very place from which they barely escaped. In this documentary, the refugees speak for thousands of voiceless people still trapped in the jungle, surrounded by Lao and Vietnamese soldiers — and hunted like animals. [From the Director’s Website]

2:30 pm: The Betrayal, HHH 323

Directed by Ellen Kuras [US, Lao, Hmong], 2007, 92 minutes
           
    Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath's debut film, THE BETRAYAL (Nerakhoon), tells the story of a family’s epic journey from war-torn Laos to the streets of New York. Filmed over the course of 23 years, NERAKHOON movingly chronicles the family’s struggle to reckon with that which was left behind while forging a new and difficult life in a foreign land. Thavisouk gives a first-hand account of his own boyhood survival of war, his later escape from persecution and arrest in Laos, his miraculous reunion with his family and their journey to America, and the second war they had to fight on the streets of New York City. Thavisouk’s mother also gives powerful testimony of her unflagging efforts to single-handedly raise and shepherd a family of ten amidst almost constant danger.  As its involvement in the Vietnam War deepened and conflict spilled into the surrounding territories, the United States clandestinely operated within Laotian borders. By 1973, almost 3 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos in the fight to overcome the North Vietnamese - more than were used during WWI and WWII combined. A former commander in the Royal Army, Thavisouk’s father is recruited (alongside thousands of his countrymen) by the CIA, and works intelligence along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. When the United States withdraws from Laos and the Communist Pathet Lao gains power, Thavi’s father is declared an enemy of the state and sent to a hard labor re-education camp – putting Thavi and his family in mortal danger. Repeatedly arrested because of his father’s US affiliation, 12-year-old Thavi makes a life-changing decision to leave his family and Laos behind, swimming across the Mekong River on two inflated plastic bags to a refugee camp in Thailand. Reunited with his mother and siblings two years later, the family flees to the United States in 1981, his father presumed gone forever. Hoping to find safety and redemption in a country whose ideals had attracted their father to service, the family’s optimism evaporates after their American sponsors deposit them in single cramped room in a crowded tenement building – right next door to a volatile crack house in Brooklyn, New York. Disoriented by the western culture and desperate to survive, Thavisouk and his mother try to imprint their eastern cultural values onto the younger children before the family disintegrates completely. Robbed of his own childhood, Thavisouk struggles to reconcile his dual role as head of the household and older brother. He journeys through the rest of the film trying to reunite his lost family and regain a sense of peace and harmony in a world marked by borders and chaos.  In THE BETRAYAL (Nerakhoon), Kuras and Phrasavath have created a lyrical film that fluidly incorporates archival footage, cinema verite, interview material and visually poetic montages.  The result is a story of what it means to be banish, of the far-reaching consequences of war, and of the resilient bonds of family. Thavisouk’s unforgettable journey reminds us of the strength necessary to survive unthinkable conditions, and of the human spirit’s inspiring capacity to adapt, rebuild, and forgive.

5 pm: Killer’s Paradise, HHH 323

Directed by Giselle Portenier [Guatemala], 2006, 83 minutes

    Since 1999 more than two thousand women have been murdered in Guatemala, with the numbers escalating every year. Yet, lawmakers and government officials continue to turn a blind eye. Powerful and uncompromising, Killer's Paradise uncovers one of the most emotionally-wrenching hidden human rights abuses taking place, while exposing the impunity allowed by an inept judicial system. With its history of almost four decades of civil war, Guatemala is a troubled society but it can also be seen as a microcosm of the pervasive violence and injustice against women that exists in the world today . . . .  With stunning realism, Killer's Paradise documents these heartbreaking stories. Victims' friends and family, police officers and investigators, rapists and gang members - even a serial killer who still roams freely - offer gripping testimonies to the stark reality in Guatemala. Meticulously crafted and beautifully shot, Killer's Paradise is a bold film that captures the raw emotions of all those affected and the harsh reality of a struggling nation. [National Film Board of Canada]

7:30 pm: Courting Justice, HHH 100
   
Created by Ruth Cowan and directed by Jane Lipman [South Africa], 71 minutes, 2008

    From tyranny to democracy. Fourteen years after the defeat of apartheid, South Africa’s fledgling democracy is acclaimed for its constitutional promise of comprehensive human rights and unprecedented judicial reform. But what is essential for transformation to succeed?  Courting Justice takes viewers behind the gowns and gavels to reveal the women who make up 18 percent of South Africa’s male-dominated judiciary. Hailing from diverse backgrounds and entrusted with enormous responsibilities, these pioneering women share with candor, and unexpected humor, accounts of their country’s transformation since apartheid, and the evolving demands of balancing their courts, country, and families. Creator Ruth Cowan, a feminist and developing world scholar, is a leader in the fields of microfinance, human rights, judiciary development, and gender and race issues. With acuity and spirit, her film chronicles the hard fought progress of achieving gender and racial justice in a burgeoning new judiciary. It is a pivotal work that examines the exciting transformation of an entire legal system, through the intimate, unique, and inspiring stories of women working to change it from the bench.  [Official Website]


***


THE THIRD ANNUAL EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL


Bob Nowlan, Executive Director 

John Nicksic, Director



FRIDAY APRIL 18-SUNDAY APRIL 27, 2008


A PROGRESSIVE MEDIA NETWORK PROJECT


The Campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


ECPFF 2008 Schedule.  All Sessions in Hibbard Humanities Hall Room 100. Admission is FREE!

Friday April 18, 8 pm: No End in Sight

Saturday April 19, 5 pm: Hacking Democracy

Saturday April 19, 8 pm: La Haine [Hate]

Sunday April 20, 5 pm: Fires on the Plain

Sunday April 20, 8 pm: Inland Empire

Monday April 21, 8 pm: Black Gold

Tuesday April 22, 8 pm: Half Moon

Wednesday April 23, 8 pm: Killer of Sheep

Thursday April 24, 8 pm: The Price of Sugar

Friday April 25, 8 pm: King Corn

Saturday April 26, 5 pm: Titicut Follies

Saturday April 26, 8 pm: Belfast, Maine

Sunday April 27, 5 pm: La Commune, Paris, 1871, Part One [The Paris Commune]

Sunday April 27, 8 pm: La Commune, Paris, 1871, Part Two [The Paris Commune]

THE 3RD ANNUAL EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL
SUNDAY APRIL 19-SUNDAY APRIL 27,
HIBBARD HUMANITIES HALL ROOM 100
THE CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-EAU CLAIRE

    ALL EVENTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC   

    For more information: (715) 836-4369 and www.myspace.com/ecpff


Friday April 18, 8 pm: No End in Sight

    Iraq’s descent into chaos: the inside story from the ultimate insiders.  The first film of its kind to chronicle the reasons behind Iraq’s descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality and anarchy, offering an insider’s tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality after the fall of Baghdad in 2003.  Exposes how the errors of U.S. policy created the insurgency and chaos in Iraq.    NR/102 minutes/2007.

Saturday April 19, 5 pm: Hacking Democracy

    A nonpartisan, clear-eyed look at the secrecy, cronyism, and incompetence of elections in present-day America.  The film the Diebold corporation doesn’t want you to see, this revelatory journey follows tenacious Seattle grandmother Bev Harris and her band of extraordinary citizen-activists as they set out to answer one simple question: How does America count its votes?
Starkly revealing a broken system riddled with secrecy, incompetent election officials, and electronic voting machines that can be programmed to steal elections.  NR/81 minutes/2006.

Saturday April 19, 8 pm: La Haine [Hate]

    A gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically in the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’ outskirts.  Gives human faces to France’s immigrant populations, with their bristling resentment at their social marginalization slowly simmering until it reaches a climactic boiling point.  A work of tough beauty, a landmark of contemporary French cinema and a gripping reflection of it’s country’s ongoing identity crisis.  NR/97 minutes/1995.

Sunday April 20, 5 pm: Fires on the Plain
   
    Ana agonizing portrait of desperate Japanese soldiers stranded in a strange land during World War II in one of the most harrowing anti-war films ever made.  Focusing on a convincing descent into psychological and physical oblivion, following an increasingly debased cross section of Imperial Army soldiers, wandering aimlessly in an unfamiliar Philippine landscape, who eventually give into the most terrifying craving of all.  Grisly yet poetic, one of the most powerful works from one of Japanese cinema’s most versatile of filmmakers, Kon Ichikawa.  NR/104 minutes/1959.

Sunday April 20, 8 pm: Inland Empire
   
    David Lynch’s most thoroughly bizarre, complexly challenging, and fully avant-garde feature-length film, picking up where Mulholland Drive left off and pushing far past.  “Dark as pitch, as noir, as hate, by turns beautiful and ugly, funny and horrifying, the film is also as cracked as Mad magazine, though generally more difficult to parse . . . “– Manohla Dargis, New York Times  “Strange, electrifying, terrifying, beautiful . . .”–Glenn Kenny, Premiere magazine
R/179 minutes/1979.

Monday April 21, 8 pm: Black Gold

    This mesmerizing documentary tells the dark back-story of coffee, from the raw bean to your to-go cup.  Do you know where your latté comes from?  Follow Ethiopian coffee co-op manager Tadesse Meskela as he travels the world seeking fair trade policies for his growers in the exploding international coffee market.  NR/78 minutes/2006.

Tuesday April 22, 8 pm: Half Moon

    Mamo, an iconic Kurdish musician in the twilight of his life and failing health, must lead a dozen of his sons to Iraq for a concert–“a cry of freedom”–to celebrate the fall of Saddam Hussein and the end of the repression of Kurdish music.  Their plan is to drive across the border between Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan, but the road will be long and winding and the local wise man has predicted calamity.  On their quest, the men will encounter the most sublime visions alongside the most horrendous brutality–primarily meted out by border guards.   NR/107 minutes/2006.

Wednesday April 23, 8 pm: Killer of Sheep

    Charles Burnett’s masterpiece of African American filmmaking, set in the Los Angeles community of Watts, focusing on Stan, a sensitive dreamer who is growing detached and numb from the toll of working in a slaughterhouse.  Frustrated by money problems, he finds solace in moments of simple beauty as Burnett combines lyrical moments with neorealist style in his directorial debut.  Chosen for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress and named one of the 100 Essential Films by the National Society of Film Critics.   NR/81 minutes/1977.

Thursday April 24, 8 pm: The Price of Sugar
   
    Exposes the tragic, near slave-like conditions of Haitian plantation workers in the
Dominican sugar industry.  Narrated by Paul Newman, the film is a disturbing, emotionally affecting, and yet optimistic look at this largely unknown atrocity.  The crew put its own life at risk to capture incriminating footage that will change forever the way we look at our dinner table.  NR/90 minutes/2007.   

Friday April 25, 8 pm: King Corn

    A feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation.  Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the East Coast, move to the Midwest heartland to learn where their food comes from.  With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, nitrogen fertilizers, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil.  But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat–and how we farm.  NR//88 minutes/2007. 

Saturday April 26, 5 pm: Titicut Follies

    From direct cinema/cinema verité master Frederick Wiseman, a stark and graphic portrayal of the conditions that existed at the State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts that documents the various ways the inmates are treated by the guards, social workers, and psychiatrists.  “Titicut Follies is a great work, a near-masterpiece not just of the documentary form, but of moviemaking in any category.  It’s a film that transcends the time and place of its manufacture, and it should be seen not just by documentarians and film students but by anyone interested in the movies as a medium capable of powerfully presenting the human condition.” – Ray Greene, Village View.  NR/84 minutes/1967.

Saturday April 26, 8 pm: Belfast, Maine

    From direct cinema/cinema verité master Frederick Wiseman, a film about ordinary experience in a beautiful old New England port city that focuses on daily life with particular emphasis on the work and the cultural life of the community.  “An immensely rich and immeasurably valuable microcosm of American life at the end of the twentieth century . . .  It reminds us, movingly, of the persistent strength and beauty of the natural world, which is made to serve the economy; and it pays tribute to the courage and good will of people who go out, day after day, to ease what suffering they can.”  –Stuart Klawans, The Nation.  NR, 1999, 248 minutes.

Sunday April 27, 5 pm: La Commune, Paris, 1871, Part One [The Paris Commune]

    Explores that famous, brief, romantic, and tragic period when poor and working-class Parisiens rose up against and seized power from the bourgeois French national government, which fled the capital and re-established itself in Versailles.  Inside a giant warehouse director Peter Watkins assembles a cast of over 200 non-professional actors to re-create the events of March, 1871–the rise and fall of the Paris Commune.  Including strikingly deliberately anachronistic devices, and persistently mixing past and present, while steadfastly revolutionary in form as well as content, Watkins’ audacious masterpiece forces us to confront notions of a safe or objective reading of the past, and also to reflect, inevitably, upon the present.  NR/2001/A Total of 345 minutes; A Break Will Take Place Between Parts One and Two.


Sunday April 27, 8 pm: La Commune. Paris, 1871, Part Two [The Paris Commune]

    Explores that famous, brief, romantic, and tragic period when poor and working-class Parisiens rose up against and seized power from the bourgeois French national government, which fled the capital and re-established itself in Versailles.  Inside a giant warehouse director Peter Watkins assembles a cast of over 200 non-professional actors to re-create the events of March, 1871–the rise and fall of the Paris Commune.  Including strikingly deliberately anachronistic devices, and persistently mixing past and present, while steadfastly revolutionary in form as well as content, Watkins’ audacious masterpiece forces us to confront notions of a safe or objective reading of the past, and also to reflect, inevitably, upon the present.  NR/2001/A Total of 345 minutes; A Break Will Take Place Between Parts One and Two.



THE SECOND ANNUAL EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL

Bob Nowlan, Executive Director 

John Nicksic, Director



FRIDAY APRIL 13-SUNDAY APRIL 22, 2007


A PROGRESSIVE MEDIA NETWORK PROJECT


The Campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
 

FESTIVAL STAFF:


Behreandt, Jeremy
   
Barker, Katherine

Boland, James

Boland, Maria

Cooper-Murphy, Lisa
 
 
Janes, Sarah

Miles, Katie

Nichols, Katie
       
Phillippi, Tracy

Pichotta, Joe
   
Slembarski, Rick
 
Smith, Victor
 
Troge, Matt

Verthein, Bill
   
Waldbillig, Ted


*****


THE SECOND ANNUAL – 2007 – EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL

A PROGRESSIVE MEDIA NETWORK PROJECT


THE CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-EAU CLAIRE

FRIDAY, APRIL 13-SUNDAY APRIL 22, 2007


BOB NOWLAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

JOHN NICKSIC, DIRECTOR


STAFF:  Katie Barker, Jeremy Behreandt, James Boland, Maria Boland,  Lisa Cooper-Murphy, Sarah Janes,  Katie Miles, Katie Nichols, Tracy Phillippi, Joe Pichotta, Danielle Ryan, Rick Slembarski, Victor Smith, Matt Troge, Bill Verthein, and Ted Waldbilig



    Our broad aims with the Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival are to raise awareness and encourage activist engagement within ongoing struggles for human emancipation, social justice, collective equality, ecological sustainability, and a peaceful world.   As a result, we are not just showing films; we are also conducting extended, facilitated discussions afterward–and we encourage you to stay for these, and participate in them, as you can, to help forge and strengthen progressive networks, coalitions, and alliances throughout the Chippewa Valley region–and beyond.   We hope you will join us as part of a broader, growing progressive movement that is developing right now in the Eau Claire area, a movement that is striving to reclaim and carry forward our state’s proud progressive heritage.   Join us either way–just for the screenings or for the screenings and discussions–and participate in an unrivaled and unprecedented 10 days-long, independent, non-profit, all-volunteer, campus- and community- based, small city, progressive film festival!


*****


    I want to thank the following supporters of the Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival for all they have done to help us make it happen this year: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Department of English, WHYS Community Radio, The Liberator, Volume One, the Progressive Media Network, Jeremy Gragert, Davin Haukebo-Bol, Dana Thompson, Andy Swanson, Paul Kaldjian, Sean McAleer, Brian Standing, Marty Wood, Judy Knoll, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Learning and Technology Services, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Facilities Planning and Management, Elsa Va, Mike Fries, Patti See, Shane Leonard and Northern Cities Vowel Shift, Hot Sauce Holiday, Allanna Wood, Greg Bauwens and Company, Jarrett Waite, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire WAGE center, Erin Polnaszek, Rachel Hawkins, Mary Jo Klinker, Jessica Bryan, Sara Harless, Kirby Harless, and Laurel Kieffer. I also want to thank all of the film makers and film distributors who have worked with us to bring you the great films that make up our festival line-up. And of course you our audience–without you our festival would be nothing! But most of all I want to thank the great staff of people who have shown tremendous, inspiring dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment in working to produce and conduct this film festival: John Nicksic, Katie Barker, Jeremy Behreandt, James Boland, Maria Boland, Lisa Cooper-Murphy, Sara Janes, Katie Miles, Katie Nichols, Tracy Phillippi, Joe Pichotta, Rick Slembarski, Victor Smith, Matt Troge, Bill Verthein, and Ted Waldbillig.  I dedicate this festival to the sixteen of you.


Bob Nowlan
Executive Director, Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival



                                               

PROGRAM

(DATES, TIMES, TITLES, SCREENING TIMES, AND FILM DESCRIPTIONS)

* All Sessions in HHH (Hibbard Humanities Hall) Room 100 Unless Indicated *



FRIDAY 4/13

6 pm

Why We Fight   98 minutes  HHH 100

Eugene Jarecki’s thorough, judicious, yet powerfully compelling, critical anatomy and indictment of the history of the military industrial complex in the United States from President Eisenhower’s late-term warnings against its grave dangers onward through the present time over four decades, and nine presidents later.   Since Eisenhower's time, everything has become much worse, as Eugene Jarecki describes it.  The war in Iraq was made possible by a new range of weapons systems: a bomb called the "bunker buster" was dropped by stealth bombers on the first night of the conflict.  Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life?  Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

This Land is Your Land   117 minutes   HHH 103
                               
Offers a funny and moving look at the impact of major corporations on American life, told largely from the point of view of ordinary citizens.  The film examines both evident and lesser known areas of corporate influence, hears how people across the country feel their own lives have been affected, and looks at some of the brave, compelling and sometimes hilarious ways in which individuals and communities are reacting.

9 pm

War is $ell   56 minutes   HHH 100

Inquires extensively into what its title involves, how this works and has worked, with and by and for whom with particular emphasis on the US, especially since its emergence as a global ‘superpower’.  The history, tactics and culture of war propaganda.   From Madison, Wisconsin independent filmmaker Brian Standing.

The World According to Shorts   95 minutes  HHH 103  
   
Six films culled from the best short films to screen internationally in recent years, from Chile, Australia, Norway, Poland, Brazil, and Germany.  La Perra–caustic class satire (Chile); We Have Decided Not to Die–surrealistic triptych of characters appearing to float free of time and space (Australia); United We Stand–black comedy resulting from an unexpected hiking discovery (Norway); AntichristLord of the Flies Polish-style; The Old Woman’s Step–haunting seaside idyll (Brazil); and Ring of Fire–surreal animated tale of bowlegged cowboys stumbling upon a sagebrush Sodom and Gomorrah (Germany).  


SATURDAY 4/14

2 pm

Manderlay   139 minutes  HHH 100

The second of Lars Von Trier’s three-part USA series, beginning with Dogville, that offers a savage indictment and blunt critique of American hypocrisy, sanctimony, and venality through creatively imagined scenarios and stagings.

Alabama, 1933. A caravan of black limousines carries gangsters from a gold mining town in Colorado to a rural Alabama area where slavery still survives as an institution. Alabama looks uncannily like Colorado, as it must: The story that began in Lars Von Trier's Dogville (2003) continues here, with the same visual strategy of placing all the action on a sound stage, with chalk lines indicating the outlines of locations.  A few rudimentary props flesh out the action, including doors, windows, and machine guns.  The movie is the second in a trilogy by Von Trier, who has never visited the United States but has set several movies here, all of them generated by his ideas about American greed, racism and the misuse of power.  To say his America is not recognizable to any American is beside the point; neither is the America in most Hollywood entertainments.  Presenting imaginary worlds as if they were real is how movies work.  Von Trier's purpose is fiercely polemical. The Danish iconoclast holds strong ideas about our society, and expresses them in satiric allegories of such audacity that we cast loose from realism and simply float with his conceits . . .  Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

5 pm

Strange Fruit   57 minutes  HHH 100

Exploring the history and terror of the long all-too-extensive practice of lynching in the US and its political and cultural legacy and impact.  As well as the heroism of those who fought back.  STRANGE FRUIT explores the history and legacy of a song unique in the annals of American music. Best-known from Billie Holiday's haunting 1939 rendition, the song "Strange Fruit" is a harrowing portrayal of the lynching of a black man in the American South.  The film tells a dramatic story of America's past by using one of the most influential protest songs ever written as its epicenter.  The saga brings us face-to-face with the terror of lynching as it spotlights the courage and heroism of those who fought for racial justice when to do so was to risk ostracism and livelihood if white - and death if black.  It examines the history of lynching, and the interplay of race, labor, the Left, and popular culture that would give rise to the civil rights movement.

8 pm

Doing Time: Life Inside the Big House   60 minutes   HHH 100
                       
Documents what life is like on the inside in Lewisberg, one of the most brutal and feared prisons in the US.  The institution gained its reputation in part because of the brutal nature of many of its prisoners, and of their treatment within this complex.

Called "riveting and beautifully made" by The New York Times, the Academy Award®-nominated DOING TIME: LIFE INSIDE THE BIG HOUSE takes a hard-edged look at life inside the walls of Lewisburg, a maximum security federal penitentiary where rehabilitation and parole have all but been abandoned.  After gaining unprecedented permission from the Justice Department, Emmy® Award winning-director Alan Raymond spent five unescorted weeks inside Lewisberg.  Focusing on several inmates as well as the corrections officers, DOING TIME details the often-shocking prison conditions and raises questions about the effectiveness of a term inside what is known as the "Big House."  A rare, unprecedented look at prison subculture, DOING TIME will change the way you look at incarceration in America. ~docuramafilmfestival.com


SUNDAY 4/15

2 pm


The God Who Wasn't There    62 minutes   HHH 100

Documentary filmmaker Brian Flemming examines the Bible and discusses the history of early Christianity, raising doubts as to whether the New Testament personage Jesus ever really existed.  Flemming examines the similarity of the Jesus story to other savior myths of the time and points to inexplicable gaps in early Christian history that combine to shed doubt on the Bible's Jesus story.  Bowling for Columbine did it to the gun culture.  Super Size Me did it to fast food.  Now The God Who Wasn't There does it to religion.  Holding modern Christianity up to a bright spotlight, this bold and often hilarious new film asks  questions few dare to ask.  Your guide through the world of Christendom is former fundamentalist Brian Flemming, joined by such luminaries as Jesus Seminar fellow Robert M. Price, professor Richard Dawkins, author Sam Harris and historian Richard Carrier.  A  movie the Los Angeles Times calls "provocative - to put it mildly."  Hold on to your faith.  It's in for a bumpy ride.

5 pm

The Cult of the Suicide Bomber   96 minutes   HHH 100
                               
On 7 July 2005, explosions on three underground trains and one bus in London killed 56 people. The victims represented the diversity of Britain's most cosmopolitan city. It is believed that the attackers killed themselves in carrying out this act.  If so, this is Britain's first suicide bombing. David Rosenberg explores the history and politics behind such terror attacks and finds out about people who organise and carry them out.  This film explores the history of suicide attacks as weapons in warfare, and related conflicts, as well as attempt to investigate what range of factors foster an inclination to fight through this means.   

8 pm

Who Killed the Electric Car?   92 minutes   HHH 100

Inquires into exactly this question, certainly a timely topic today as ever before, directed by Chris Paine.

A murder mystery, a call to arms and an effective inducement to rage, Who Killed the Electric Car? is the latest and one of the more successful additions to the growing ranks of issue-oriented documentaries .  . . . The answers may not surprise you, particularly if you are predisposed to watching a film titled "Who Killed the Electric Car?," but they're eye-and-vein-popping nonetheless. As Mr. Paine forcefully makes clear, the story of the electric car is greater than one zippy ride and the people who loved it. From the polar ice caps to Los Angeles, where many cars truly are to die for, it is a story as big as life, and just as urgent. – Manohla Dargis, New York Times       


MONDAY 4/16

6 pm


Laramie Inside Out   56 minutes   HHH 100

An inquiry into the cultural politics of Larmie, Wyoming past and present, in the aftermath of the Matthew Shepard murder.  In October 1998, Wyoming college student Shepard was brutally beaten and left to die.  His shocking murder pushed Laramie into the media spotlight and sparked a nationwide debate about homophobia, gay-bashing and hate crimes.  Filmmaker Beverly Seckinger, a Laramie native, returns home to the site of her own closeted adolescence to investigate the impact of Shepard's murder.  She encounters students, teachers, parents, and clergy suddenly moved to speak out and take action.  An inspiring story of personal discovery and the meaning of community.

"With warmth, humor, and insight, Bev Seckinger gives us a vision of Laramie that few have imagined.  By documenting the strength and resiliency of Laramie's gay and lesbian residents, her film offers a complex corrective to most media depictions of her hometown.  A lovely, loving testament." –Beth Loffreda, Author, LOSING MATT SHEPARD


The Hour of the Furnaces (Pt. 1)     95 minutes   HHH 203

Perhaps the most famous and influential film in the history of Third Cinema, in three parts, focusing on revolutionary liberation struggles in Argentina in the 1960s.   A landmark in the history of revolutionary world cinema, still often unseen by even many serious film audiences. 

The Hour of the Furnaces, a collectively produced experimental documentary, is one of the most influential films ever to come out of Latin America.  First released in 1968, it came to represent one of the most articulate voices of the western world's first supra-national revolution: the radical student, worker and civil rights movements in Europe and the Americas which were then spilling over local and national borders with lighting speed.  The Hour of the Furnaces defined itself as the first embodiment of a ‘Third Cinema’–a radical cinema in which group production and the politics of distribution and presentation took precedence over ‘mere' aesthetic concerns.  The four-hour film was a tool for education, debate and agitation, not just cinematic non-fiction.  The film translates revolutionary fervor into a dynamic visual narrative. In a highly graphic style, the images and pulse of the film viscerally challenge political and cultural oppression. With amazing black-and-white documentary footage, assaultive title sequences, powerful editing and a radical-left sensibility, The Hour of the Furnaces lays out how a large, resource-rich country impoverishes and disenfranchises so many of its people, and what's to be done about it.  Stalking pampas, mineshafts, factories and cane fields, the film documents overwork and  underemployment, military repression, police brutality, illiteracy and a low standard of living.  The collective energies of Octavio Getino, Fernando E. Solanas and their filmmaking compatriots indict an entrenched Argentine oligarchy–seen golfing and sipping cocktails–who sell out their countrymen to foreign capital, especially in the U.S. and Great Britain.  – Cinematexas     

9 pm

Daddy & Papa   57 MINUTES   HHH 100
 
Focusing on current controversies surrounding same-sex couples adoption and parenting in the US today.  Through the stories of four different families, DADDY & PAPA delves into some of the particular challenges facing gay men who decide to become dads.  From surrogacy, foster care, and interracial adoption, to the complexities of gay marriage and divorce, to the battle for full legal status as parents, DADDY & PAPA presents a revealing look at some of the gay fathers who are breaking new ground in the ever-changing landscape of the American family.

“With emotional intelligence, humor, honesty, and courage, DADDY & PAPA brings to life the rich social and racial diversity and challenges of gay parenting. This artful, heart-full documentary should be mandatory viewing for every family judge, social worker, educator, mental health professional, policy maker, and neighbor.”  —Judith Stacey, Professor of Sociology and Gender & Sexuality, New York University

The Hour of the Furnaces (Pt. 2 & 3)  165 minutes   HHH 203

Perhaps the most famous and influential film in the history of Third Cinema, in three parts, focusing on revolutionary liberation struggles in Argentina in the 1960s.   A landmark in the history of revolutionary world cinema, still often unseen by even many serious film audiences. 


The Hour of the Furnaces, a collectively produced experimental documentary, is one of the most influential films ever to come out of Latin America.  First released in 1968, it came to represent one of the most articulate voices of the western world's first supra-national revolution: the radical student, worker and civil rights movements in Europe and the Americas which were then spilling over local and national borders with lighting speed.  The Hour of the Furnaces defined itself as the first embodiment of a ‘Third Cinema’–a radical cinema in which group production and the politics of distribution and presentation took precedence over ‘mere' aesthetic concerns.  The four-hour film was a tool for education, debate and agitation, not just cinematic non-fiction.  The film translates revolutionary fervor into a dynamic visual narrative.  In a highly graphic style, the images and pulse of the film viscerally challenge political and cultural oppression.  With amazing black-and-white documentary footage, assaultive title sequences, powerful editing and a radical-left sensibility, The Hour of the Furnaces lays out how a large, resource-rich country impoverishes and disenfranchises so many of its people, and what's to be done about it.  Stalking pampas, mineshafts, factories and cane fields, the film documents overwork and  underemployment, military repression, police brutality, illiteracy and a low standard of living.  The collective energies of Octavio Getino, Fernando E. Solanas and their filmmaking compatriots indict an entrenched Argentine oligarchy–seen golfing and sipping cocktails–who sell out their countrymen to foreign capital, especially in the U.S. and Great Britain.  – Cinematexas     


TUESDAY 4/17

6 pm


Zero Degrees of Separation     89 Minutes   HHH 100
 
How's this for lovers in dangerous times: Israelis and Palestinians living in inter-ethnic relationships–and they're gay.  Elle Flanders frames their struggles with a mournful eloquence, integrating her own family's home movies–which depict her grandparents' happy arrival in Israel in 1950–to strong effect. There is a political bias here–and it's not pro-Israel–but it's a basic humanism that resonates the strongest.  (Eye Weekly

The mixed Palestinian-Israeli couples in Elle Flanders' Zero Degrees of Separation are gay, but the obstacles they face have less to do with sexual preference–or cultural homophobia–than they do with the cruelly unequal treatment accorded two sides of a religious, ethnic and political divide.  Fine entry in this subject's ever-growing documentary library is strong meat that warrants attention from Jewish, Arab, human rights, gay and general fests, as well as specialized broadcasters.  (Variety)

Domestic Violence I   196 Minutes   HHH 103

Frederick Wiseman, one of the historically most famous and pioneering exemplars of cinema verité, with exhaustive, harrowing two-part documentary series focusing on what is often enough actually involved in the working class experience of attempting to deal with the impact and consequences of domestic violence, especially through our criminal justice system.  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE was filmed in Tampa, Florida.  The film shows the police responding to domestic violence calls and the work of The Spring, the principal shelter in Tampa for women and children.  Sequences with the police include police response, intervention, and attempted resolution of domestic violence calls.  Sequences at the shelter include intake interviews, individual counseling sessions, anger management training, group therapy, staff meetings, and conversations among clients and between clients and staff.  Since two thirds of the residents at the shelter are children, the film also has sequences of school activities, therapy sessions for children where domestic violence is discussed, and counseling for parents and children organized around children's issues and experiences with domestic violence.  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2 takes place in the arraignment, misdemeanor, and injunction courts in Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida.  The courts deal with such issues as bail, bonds, release pending trial, the specific context of injunctions regulating time and place of parental visits, restraining orders, contact with children, support payments, and the court's decision about fault and punishment.  The judges and lawyers ask questions which elicit the stories of couples' relationships and the specific form of violence between them.

9 pm

Brother Outsider : the Life of Bayard Rustin  83 Minutes   HHH 100

The life of the lead organizer of the Black Civil Rights Movement, responsible for teaching Martin Luther King, Jr. much of what he learned about organization and activism, as well as for assisting King throughout much of his career, yet needing to remain in the background because he was always openly, unapologetically gay.  BROTHER OUTSIDER takes a multifaceted approach to the material, reflecting the complexity of Rustin’s story.  This feature-length portrait unfolds both chronologically and thematically, using interviews and traditional documentary techniques, as well as experimental approaches.  The work of Marlon Riggs and the pastiche quality of his groundbreaking documentaries have inspired the production team.  The historical aspects of the piece are based on meticulous primary research in the Rustin papers and other archives, and will incorporate elements such as archival footage, stills, posters and broadsheets, government propaganda films, paintings, and other cultural artifacts.  Though Bayard Rustin did not keep a journal, the film uses his first-person voice wherever possible, gleaned from his extensive writings (compiled in the volume Down the Line, published in 1971, and other unpublished collections), papers and personal correspondence, and numerous recorded interviews.  The extensive oral interviews conducted by the Columbia University Oral History Research Project constitute a primary recorded source of Rustin’s reflections and perspectives.   Beyond this, Rustin’s and other first-person voices contrast with excerpts from Rustin’s FBI files, which present J. Edgar Hoover’s view of Rustin as a "suspected communist and known homosexual subversive."  BROTHER OUTSIDER creates an aesthetic that reflects Rustin’s position as an outsider, a troublemaker and an eloquent speaker who refused to be silenced.


Drug Wars/Religious Freedom (ACLU Freedom Files)   60 minutes  HHH 103

From Robert Greenwald who brought you Unconstitutional, Outfoxed, Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, and more, produced and directed by Jeremy Kagan for the American Civil Liberties Union, ten 30-minute long films, made between 2005 and 2006, focusing on the following issues: Drug Wars, Religious Freedom, Racial Profiling, Dissent, Beyond the Patriot Act, Youth Speak, Women’s Rights, Gay and Lesbian Rights, The Supreme Court, and Voting Rights.   A revolutionary, 10-part series that tells the stories of real people in America whose civil liberties have been threatened, and how they fought back.  This dynamic new series combines interviews, documentary footage, comedy, drama, music and animation to engage viewers and alert them about critical civil rights issues ranging from free speech to religious freedom. The programs are reaching millions of viewers on cable network Court TV and satellite network Link TV, campus network Zilo TV, DVD's, and new media such as blogs, podcasts, and streaming video.


WEDNESDAY 4/18

6 pm


The Forsaken Land   108 Minutes   HHH 100

A subtle but forceful combination of visual poetry, political commentary, and feverish eroticism, winner of the Camera d/Or at Cannes for best first feature, focusing on the human and ecological impact and legacy of 23 years of Civil War in Sri Lanka.

. . . The Forsaken Land sidesteps battle scenes and rallying cries to seek out a language for what war feels like on a personal scale.  And not just any war - this is Sri Lanka's twenty-two-year-long civil war between the Sinhala government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.  When conflict lasts this long, the stories that emerge change, and so must the storytelling.  One of the first images in the film is of a dead arm jutting up from a river, the hand frozen in half-grasp. What follows is a procession of similarly structured images, each one distilling the daily experience of war down to simple essentials: cruelty, despair, numbness and, above all, absurdity.  Writer-director Vimukthi Jayasundara rejects the clearly drawn lines of a conventional war tale because Sri Lanka's on-and-off slaughter has not been kind enough to provide them.  Instead, scenes butt up against each other in measured collage.  A woman watches a lone tank rumbling aimlessly in the dusk.  A hapless soldier mans a pointless checkpoint on a deserted road. When his fellow soldiers show up, it is to drag him off to a lake and dump him naked in the water for a joke.  Later, he is driven out to an open field where an anonymous man lies whimpering inside a burlap sack. He is asked to beat the man to death.  The events of The Forsaken Land exist in a twilight between war and truce, allowing for moments of reflection and surprising eruptions of erotic desire.  Death, sex and waiting–this is the picture of paradise at war.  –Cameron Bailey, Toronto Film Festival 

Domestic Violence II  196 Minutes   HHH 103

Frederick Wiseman, one of the historically most famous and pioneering exemplars of cinema verité, with exhaustive, harrowing two-part documentary series focusing on what is often enough actually involved in the working class experience of attempting to deal with the impact and consequences of domestic violence, especially through our criminal justice system.  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE was filmed in Tampa, Florida.  The film shows the police responding to domestic violence calls and the work of The Spring, the principal shelter in Tampa for women and children.  Sequences with the police include police response, intervention, and attempted resolution of domestic violence calls.  Sequences at the shelter include intake interviews, individual counseling sessions, anger management training, group therapy, staff meetings, and conversations among clients and between clients and staff.  Since two thirds of the residents at the shelter are children, the film also has sequences of school activities, therapy sessions for children where domestic violence is discussed, and counseling for parents and children organized around children's issues and experiences with domestic violence.  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2 takes place in the arraignment, misdemeanor, and injunction courts in Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida.  The courts deal with such issues as bail, bonds, release pending trial, the specific context of injunctions regulating time and place of parental visits, restraining orders, contact with children, support payments, and the court's decision about fault and punishment.  The judges and lawyers ask questions which elicit the stories of couples' relationships and the specific form of violence between them.

9pm

Darwin's Nightmare    107 minutes    HHH 100

                   

The larger scope of the story explores the gun trade to Africa that takes place under the covers--Russian pilots fly guns into Africa, then fly fish back out to Europe.  The hazards and consequences of this trade are explored, including the pan-African violence propagated by constant flow of weapons into the continent. If it is a "survival of the fittest" world, as Darwin concluded, then the capitalist interests that fund the gun runners are climbing the evolutionary ladder on the backs of the Africans in this stark Darwinian example. Much like the foreseeable extinction of the Lake Victoria perch, and death of Lake Victoria itself, the Africans are in grave jeopardy, even as they survive in the only ways they know how.  In the 1950s or 1960s, the Nile perch was released into the Lake Victoria.  In just a few decades, the large, voracious predator has all but eliminated the other species of fish, turning the lake into an ecological wasteland.  "But economically, it's good--and indeed, perch fillet is Tanzania's best selling export to Europe. Fishermen, factory workers, civil servants, pilots of cargo aircrafts, delegates of the European Commission, communities living around Lake Victoria: plenty of people are involved in some way in this new industry.  But if Africa exports hundreds of tons of premium-priced fish each day, what exactly do Africans get in return?  A powerful documentary film, that is as visually and aurally striking as it is deeply disturbing, while focusing on a nexus of exploitation little-known in the US.

Racial Profiling/Beyond the Patriot Act (ACLU Freedom Files)  60 minutes   HHH 103
   
From Robert Greenwald who brought you Unconstitutional, Outfoxed, Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, and more, produced and directed by Jeremy Kagan for the American Civil Liberties Union, ten 30-minute long films, made between 2005 and 2006, focusing on the following issues: Drug Wars, Religious Freedom, Racial Profiling, Dissent, Beyond the Patriot Act, Youth Speak, Women’s Rights, Gay and Lesbian Rights, The Supreme Court, and Voting Rights.   A revolutionary, 10-part series that tells the stories of real people in America whose civil liberties have been threatened, and how they fought back.  This dynamic new series combines interviews, documentary footage, comedy, drama, music and animation to engage viewers and alert them about critical civil rights issues ranging from free speech to religious freedom. The programs are reaching millions of viewers on cable network Court TV and satellite network Link TV, campus network Zilo TV, DVD's, and new media such as blogs, podcasts, and streaming video.


THURSDAY 4/19

6 pm


What is Indie?    121 minutes   HHH 100

Inquiring into what is truly independent music today, and what are true musical artists and distributors like and about, featuring a whole host of them.  At a time when independent artists in the music industry have more power and control over their careers than ever before, What is INDIE? tries to determine just what it really means to be 'indie'.  The film features interviews with indie music experts including Derek Sivers (Founder of CD Baby), Panos Panay (Founder of Sonicbids) and Suzanne Glass (Founder of Indie-Music.com), as well as with 20 artists including Ember Swift and Paul Cargnello.   Does being 'indie' mean that you're 'unsigned', or that you're just not signed to a major record label? Is it possible to be 'indie' on a major label?!  Taking a look at the changing music industry and its effect on independent artists, the film draws some surprising conclusions!   Directed by Dave Cool and self-financed through his record label Stand Alone Records, the documentary was filmed primarily in his home town of Montreal, with additional filming in New York City, Boston and Toronto.  With the incorporation of musical performances from a considerable range of ‘indie’ artists.

Dissent/Youth Speak (ACLU Freedom Files)   60 minutes   HHH 101

From Robert Greenwald who brought you Unconstitutional, Outfoxed, Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, and more, produced and directed by Jeremy Kagan for the American Civil Liberties Union, ten 30-minute long films, made between 2005 and 2006, focusing on the following issues: Drug Wars, Religious Freedom, Racial Profiling, Dissent, Beyond the Patriot Act, Youth Speak, Women’s Rights, Gay and Lesbian Rights, The Supreme Court, and Voting Rights.   A revolutionary, 10-part series that tells the stories of real people in America whose civil liberties have been threatened, and how they fought back.  This dynamic new series combines interviews, documentary footage, comedy, drama, music and animation to engage viewers and alert them about critical civil rights issues ranging from free speech to religious freedom. The programs are reaching millions of viewers on cable network Court TV and satellite network Link TV, campus network Zilo TV, DVD's, and new media such as blogs, podcasts, and streaming video.

9 pm

Before the Music Dies     95 Minutes   HHH 100

Never have so few companies controlled so much of the music played on the radio and for sale at retail stores. At the same time, there are more bands and more ways to discover their music than ever.  Music seems to have split in two–the homogenous corporate product that is spoonfed to consumers and the diverse independent music that finds devoted fans online and at clubs across the country.  BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES tells the story of American music at this precarious moment.  Filmmakers Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen traveled the country, hoping to understand why mainstream music seems so packaged and repetitive, and whether corporations really had the power to silence musical innovation. The answers they found on this journey–ultimately, the promise that the future holds–are what makes BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES both riveting and exhilarating.  At the heart of BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES are interviews with musicians, industry insiders, music critics, and fans that reveal how music has reached this moment of truth.  Featured performances from a truly diverse group of artists, ranging from The Dave Matthews Band and Erykah Badu to Seattle street performers and Mississippi gospel singers show us that great music is always out there… as long as you know where to look.  BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES will renew your passion for great music, and inspire you to play an active part in its future.
     
Women’s Rights/Gay & Lesbian Rights (ACLU Freedom Files)    60 minutes   HHH 101

From Robert Greenwald who brought you Unconstitutional, Outfoxed, Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, and more, produced and directed by Jeremy Kagan for the American Civil Liberties Union, ten 30-minute long films, made between 2005 and 2006, focusing on the following issues: Drug Wars, Religious Freedom, Racial Profiling, Dissent, Beyond the Patriot Act, Youth Speak, Women’s Rights, Gay and Lesbian Rights, The Supreme Court, and Voting Rights.   A revolutionary, 10-part series that tells the stories of real people in America whose civil liberties have been threatened, and how they fought back.  This dynamic new series combines interviews, documentary footage, comedy, drama, music and animation to engage viewers and alert them about critical civil rights issues ranging from free speech to religious freedom. The programs are reaching millions of viewers on cable network Court TV and satellite network Link TV, campus network Zilo TV, DVD's, and new media such as blogs, podcasts, and streaming video.


FRIDAY 4/20

6 pm

I Know I'm Not Alone   86 Minutes   HHH 100

Michael Franti, of Spearhead, travels to and throughout the Middle East, to inquire into sources of conflict, as well as hope for peace and reconciliation beyond, playing and sharing his music as a contribution to overcoming cultural and political divides.  From a still young but nonetheless by now long-time committed progressive musical activist.   With its raw video and editing techniques, the documentary is unlike the many academic and politically driven pieces in the marketplace, instead offering the audience a sense of intimate travel and the opportunity to hear the voices of everyday people living, creating and surviving under the harsh conditions of war.

"Just an amazing film.  Really one of my all time favorites." -- Andrew Werthmann, Northwest/West-Central Wisconsin Progressive Organizer and Activist


The Supreme Court/Voting Rights (ACLU Freedom Files)   60 minutes    HHH 101

From Robert Greenwald who brought you Unconstitutional, Outfoxed, Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, and more, produced and directed by Jeremy Kagan for the American Civil Liberties Union, ten 30-minute long films, made between 2005 and 2006, focusing on the following issues: Drug Wars, Religious Freedom, Racial Profiling, Dissent, Beyond the Patriot Act, Youth Speak, Women’s Rights, Gay and Lesbian Rights, The Supreme Court, and Voting Rights.   A revolutionary, 10-part series that tells the stories of real people in America whose civil liberties have been threatened, and how they fought back.  This dynamic new series combines interviews, documentary footage, comedy, drama, music and animation to engage viewers and alert them about critical civil rights issues ranging from free speech to religious freedom. The programs are reaching millions of viewers on cable network Court TV and satellite network Link TV, campus network Zilo TV, DVD's, and new media such as blogs, podcasts, and streaming video.

9 pm

Pick up the Mic    95 minutes   HHH 100

Feature-length documentary on the homohop (aka queer hip-hop) movement.   Performances, history, background, context and perspective.  An excellent introduction to and overview of an exciting movement, with powerful performances from talented musical artists.  Queer Hip-Hop: it’s a lot more than a stylish oxymoron in this surprising, fast-paced documentary on the world of queer rappers.  Featuring searing public performances and raw, revealing interviews with the community’s most significant players, the film captures an unapologetic underground music movement just as it explodes into the mainstream–defying the music industry's most homophobic genre in the process.  Shot over a three-year period, the film traces their intertwining relationships from San Francisco’s underground music scene of the early ‘90s through performances as recent as 2005.  It was recorded in such major cities as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, but breaks down coastal stereotypes by also covering performers in such diverse areas as Houston, Minneapolis, and Madison, Wisconsin–and a particularly memorable outdoor gig in the Ozarks. The artists are followed rehearsing, performing, and struggling– always revealing their raw, most intimate feelings, including experiences with homophobia, gender identification issues, and suicide.  PICK UP THE MIC reveals these artists and producers as they attempt to express their lives through hip-hop music–a medium from which they’ve often felt alienated because of it’s widespread misogyny and anti-gay rhetoric.  But their stories resonate far beyond the music industry and queer communities, reminding us all of the surprising resiliency of the human spirit.  PICK UP THE MIC is not only a captivating record of a burgeoning culture, but is ultimately–and perhaps more importantly– an inspiring exploration of the universal desire to voice the passion and pain of one’s individual existence.


SATURDAY 4/21

2 pm


The Gleiwitz Case    70 Minutes   HHH 100
 
The Gleiwitz Case (Der Fall Gleiwitz, 1961) is a visually-striking film from East Germany, about the Nazis' implementation of a plan to fake an attack on a German radio station, and thus justify the invasion of Poland. The austere film is like no other, made in early-'60s communist Germany that deliberately borrows cinematic styles from the 1930s and earlier yet somehow, in 2006, plays as very contemporary.  Raising many interesting questions about interrelations among fascism, aesthetics, and politics.

5 pm

The Murderers are Among Us   81 minutes   HHH 100

The Murderers are Among Us is a haunting and indelible film on the process of healing and reconciling with personal accountability . . .  Filmed in 1946 amid the ruins of the former Soviet-controlled East Germany, The Murderers are Among Us is a compassionate portrait of hope, resilience, and personal atonement. Rooted in the tradition of German expressionism, Wolfgang Staudte juxtaposes the bleak austerity of realistic filmmaking with rapid montage sequences, unusual camera angles, and sharp contrasts of light and darkness to create a pervasive sense of disorienting harsh reality that reflects the fractured lives of the war's survivors: the exaggerated shadows cast by the gossiping tenants as they discuss Hans and Susanne's unorthodox living arrangements; the ominous darkness and sharp angle of the tenement staircase as an inebriated Hans staggers up the stairs; the suffused light that punctuates Susanne's presence. What emerges is not a menacing portrait of a faceless Cold War enemy, but a poignant tale of profound humanity and a sincere, desperate cry for justice. – Wolfgang Staudte, Strictly Film School

8 pm

Your Unknown Brother   103 minutes    HHH 100  

A Communist is released from prison in 1935 Hamburg.  He tries to link up with the Party again, but is unsure as to who he can trust, and has difficulty adjusting to life in Nazi Germany.  This landmark film exploring the role of the individual in confronting anti-fascism was invited to the Cannes Film Festival.  Ironically (and tellingly) it was withdrawn by the East German authorities, who from that point undermined the artistic activities of Ulrich Weiss, an independent, untamable and unpredictable talent.  Based on the novel by Willi Bredel.

"A MILESTONE." -MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

“Uses a keen sense of psychological drama to investigate the intrigue, betrayal and paranoia of the underground resistance movement to National Socialism in 1930s Hamburg.” - LEEDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

"Director Ulrich Weiss was the greatest talent to emerge from the Babelsberg film school in the 1970s."-THE OXFORD HISTORY OF WORLD CINEMA


SUNDAY 4/22

2 pm


Act of War : the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation  60 minutes   HHH 100

Hawaiian history through Hawaiian eyes: from the events leading up to and surrounding the mid-January, 1893, coup d’etat against the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen Lili’uokalani, through contemporary movements for the restoration of indigenous Hawaiian independence and sovereignty.  Focusing on one of the most sordid chapters in the dark history of American imperialism, an overthrow that marked the culmination of a century of foreign intervention in Hawaii and what was denounced at the time by U.S. President Grover Cleveland as an unwarranted and illegitimate act of war.

5 pm

Aloha Quest (Parts 1 and 2)   118 minutes  HHH 100

On Sunday, December 19, 1999, an historic six-hour educational television presentation was broadcast throughout Hawai'i on KFVE television. The "educast" was simultaneously webcast to the world over the Internet. Featuring a mix of live interviews, musical performances, and pre-recorded segments, the entire six hours was brought to the Hawai'i community and the world commercial free.  Co-produced by Aloha First and Na Maka o ka 'Aina, Aloha Quest was hosted by Ed Ka'ahea, Iaukea Bright and Ka'iulani Edens. The telecast featured interviews with many prominent spokespeople in government, law, education and the arts. Various historians, educators, cultural experts, artists, actors and activists shared their knowledge of history and culture and expressed views on the contemporary case for Hawaiian sovereignty and independence.  Historical segments presented new findings regarding the legal basis for the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the popular opposition to U.S. annexation in 1897-98. Selected segments from the six-hour broadcast are available as two 1-hour programs, Aloha Quest - Part One and Aloha Quest - Part Two.                                
  
DAM/AGE   50 Minutes   HHH 101

Arundhati Roy’s campaign against the Narmada Dam project in India, which will displace over a million people.  Focusing on the consequences of globalization and development as well as the urgent need for state accountability and exercise of free speech in protest and dissent.  The film shows how Roy chose to use her fame to stand up to powerful interests supported by multinational corporations and the Indian government.  For her, the story of the Narmada Valley is not just the story of modern India, but of what is happening in the world today, "Who counts, who doesn't, what matters, what doesn't, what counts as a cost, what doesn't, what counts as collateral damage, what doesn't."  Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1998.  Roy has also published The Cost of Living, a book of two essays critical of India's massive dam and irrigation projects, as well as India's successful detonation of a nuclear bomb.  In her recent book Power Politics, Roy challenges the idea that only experts can speak out on such urgent matters as nuclear war, the privatization of India's power supply by Enron and issues like the Narmada dam project.

8 pm

Kaho' olawe Aloha ‘Āina   57 minutes   HHH 100

Tracing the history of the Hawaiian Island of Kaho’olawe, currently still the one Hawaiian island without any settled human population, from pre-historic times through years of plantation ranching and onto the conversion of the island into a site of U.S. Navy heavy bombardment target practice, up through the heroic effort to stop the bombing and reclaim the island for the indigenous Hawaiian people.  And culminating with the efforts of the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana to clean up after the decades if military destruction, protect archaeological sites, control plant erosion, restore native plants, and preserve the island as a spiritual and educational resource for the people of Hawaii.

Fight Back, Fight AIDS: Fifteen Years of ACT UP   75 Minutes   HHH 101

A comprehensive insider history of one of the most powerfully influential and impactful movements in postmodern progressive politics, ACT UP: AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.
   
In 1987 with AIDS deaths in the thousands and government policy still criminally indifferent, activists formed ACT.UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) with the sentiment "turn anger, fear, and grief into action."  James Wentzy's documentary Fight Back, Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP uses archive footage of speeches, demonstrations and ACT.UP meetings as it follows the group's imaginative, inspiring and in-your-face campaigning over 15 years.  Deploying increasingly bold tactics such as demonstrations, civil disobedience, die-ins and political funerals, ACT UP has addressed issues including more research funding, quicker drug testing, AIDS prevention education, government intervention, and most recently, measures to combat the disease in Africa.  –  BERLINALE.PANORAMA       

In March 1987, the first AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) event took place on Wall Street. In the 15 years since the protest that shut down the world's financial center, ACT UP has been at the forefront of public awareness. Their demonstrations, die-ins, political funerals, marches, and speeches were key in propelling issues related to HIV/AIDS into major political and international topics. ACT UP member and AIDS video activist James Wentzy has constructed a vivid compilation documentary with Fight Back, Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP. The powerful clips depict the multiple bold events that ACT UP has staged, including: the inspiring First ACT UP action on Wall Street protesting the profiteering of the pharmaceutical companies that made AIDS-related drugs; National Nine Days of Rage, in which more than 50 ACT UP chapters congregated on the New York state capital to protest AIDS policies (or the lack thereof) involving IV drug use, homophobia, people of color, women, prison programs, and children with AIDS; and intense coverage of political funerals of ACT UP and affinity group The Marys, which included carrying an open coffin from Washington Square to the New York Republican Party headquarters on West 43rd Street, as well as an open casket political funeral in front of the White House. With fierce images and speeches, including many poignant ones by film historian and ACT UP pioneer Vito Russo, Fight Back, Fight AIDS is a dynamic alternative historical record of the queer political landscape, HIV/AIDS, and AIDS activist video. – TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

[THIS IS A PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE, STILL SUBJECT TO LAST-MOMENT CHANGES.]


*****


LAST YEAR'S FIRST-EVER EAU CLAIRE PROGRESSIVE FILM FESTIVAL


FRIDAY APRIL 28-SUNDAY MAY 7, 2006


A PROGRESSIVE MEDIA NETWORK PROJECT


ON THE CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-EAU CLAIRE

  

Partial Staff Photo, May 7 2006


Introductory Note


    Welcome to the first-ever, and we hope, with your interest, and your support, the first annual, Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival.   Our broad aims are to raise awareness and encourage activist engagement within ongoing struggles for human emancipation, social justice, collective equality, ecological sustainability, and a peaceful world.   As a result, we are not just showing films; we are also conducting discussions afterward–and we encourage you to stay for these, and participate in them, as you can.  We hope you will join us as part of a broader, growing progressive movement that is developing right now in the Eau Claire area, a movement that is striving to reclaim and carry forward our state’s proud progressive heritage.


    Putting together a festival like this, from scratch, in three months’ time, has been quite a challenge–and it certainly has required a lot of work.  But we expect you will be pleased with the quality of the twenty-five films we will share with you over the course of these ten days.  Twenty-five films in ten days!  That’s quite an impressive film festival for a city the size of Eau Claire and a campus the size of UWEC, but we are proud to make it happen here.   I want to thank my tremendous staff of great people, all students here at UWEC, who have made this festival happen: Maria Boland, David Gardner, Jerad Hill, Liz Hirschmann, Eddy Kaiser, Jeff Kesterson, Katharine Kolb, Zach Koss, Jed Mortenson, John Nicksic, Juli Pitzer, Joe Reichert, Jackie Rose, Matt Royten, Rick Slembarski, Karl Thomalla, Andrew Werthmann, and Andy Wilkins.   You all have been fantastic!   I want to thank our sponsors–The Progressive Media Network, Volume One magazine, The UWEC Department of English, and The UWEC Foundation–as well as our host–The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  Thanks so much to all of you!  Thanks for additional encouragement and support as well to Jeremy Gragert, Andy Swanson, Stacy Thompson, Paul Kaldjian, James Boland, Joel Pace, Logan Duginske, and Anne Moser.   Thanks to all the distributors who have worked with us to make these films available to you, thanks to the film makers for their dedication and their accomplishment, and thanks to you, our audience–without you no festival like this would be worth anything at all.   I hope you find it an interesting and valuable experience. 

Bob Nowlan
Director, Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival



Screening and Post-Screening Discussion Schedule



Friday April 28
 
6-9 pm      HHH 323    

Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and Selling the American Empire
(Jerad Hill and Rick Slembarski, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

68 minutes,  2004,  Produced, written and directed by Sut Jhally and Jeremy Earp; USA; Produced by the Media Education Foundation and Distributed by imMEDIAte Pictures. 

You won't see President Bush swinging any golf clubs in Hijacking Catastrophe, which opens today at Cinema Village. You won't see his and his advisers' heads attached to the bodies of stars from Bonanza. This is not Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11  revisited. You will, however, see and hear Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other members of the administration say again and again, with various phrasings, "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction." (That is an exact quotation from Mr. Cheney.)  Throngs of Democrats believe that Mr. Bush was determined to go to war with Mr. Hussein, come hell or high water. The pop-psychology reasoning goes that Bush the Younger is trying to prove himself to his father or to best him, at the expense of thousands of lives.  The writers and directors of this openly polemical but also sobering documentary — Sut Jhally, a professor of communications at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Jeremy Earp, a doctoral candidate there — suggest that the reality is much bigger and even more disturbing.  They suggest that the real reason for the war with Iraq is a two-decade, three-administration, neo-conservative master plan to — well, let's let Norman Mailer say the words, as he does in the film. At the end of the cold war, he proposes, the Republicans saw a "golden opportunity, now that Russia is out of the way, to take over the world." Or as the author Chalmers Johnson says on camera, without irony, they wanted to create "a new Rome, beyond good and evil." You don't hear phrases like "take over the world" often these days without a James Bond movie review attached, but Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire makes a convincing case with simple methods: talking heads, newspaper articles, an authoratative narrator (Julian Bond) and the occasional chart on military spending or the national debt. The voices speaking out are not all wild-eyed liberals. In addition to predictable administration critics like Mr. Mailer, Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, they include Scott Ritter, a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq; Stan Goff, a retired Army Special Forces master sergeant; and Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (Air Force, retired), a former staff officer at the Pentagon. Their arguments appear to support the filmmakers' most serious accusations.  Documents seem to do the same. A 2000 government report, Rebuilding America's Defense, suggests that this global empire-building would be a long, tedious process unless some huge event, "like a new Pearl Harbor," speeds it up.  The filmmakers are definitely playing hardball.  Hijacking Catastrophe begins with a quotation about the ease of making people do what a country's leaders want. "All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked," it begins. Then, after a deliberate pause, the screen reveals that this is something Hermann Göring said during the Nuremberg trials.   --   Anita Gates, New York Times
 
9pm-12 am     HHH 100  

School of Americas Assassins
and A Place Called Chiapas 
(Jerad Hill and Maria Boland, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

School of Americas Assassins: 18 minutes, 1995, Robert Richter, Producer and Director, USA, Distributed by Richter Videos.

This Academy Award-winning documentary looks at a United States institution that trains Latin American military officers. Few Americans have heard of the school--the U.S. Army School of the Americas--nor are they aware that some of its graduates have gone on to become dictators and violators of human rights in their home countries. The program contrasts the mission statement of the school with the actions of its graduates, among whom are former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, numerous other strongman throughout Central and South America, and a large number of lower-level officers who have been charged with the murders of thousands of civilians, including North American missionaries. Using rarely-seen footage, the program shows how officers who studied at the school are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people--including Archbishop Romero of El Salvador. The camera reveals the hidden world of the School of the Americas, and the work of church people, activists and members of Congress to close it down.

A Place Called Chiapas:  89 minutes, 1998,  Directed by Nettie Wild, Canada/Mexico; Distributed by Zeitgist Films.

Wild, who co-wrote and narrated the script, takes us on a journey to Chiapas, one of the poorest states in Mexico, where an army of indigenous Indians made history on January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. "In Canada," Wild, as narrator, intones, "we debated the Free Trade Agreement. Here in Chiapas, they went to war over it." The film traces the uprising of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, led by Subcommandante Marcos, a charismatic, Internet-savvy intellectual from Mexico City, who sparked the revolt of Indians seeking to reclaim their lives and their land by taking control of five towns and more than 500 ranches. Chiapas hasn't been a pretty picture since. Heavily armed paramilitary forces (with which the Mexican government denies its alignment) have kept up their aggressive opposition to the Zapatista movement. . . .  These emotions of fear and despair and hope are set against a beautiful backdrop of southern Mexico, where milky veils of mist drape lovingly over lush jungles. The eagle-sharp eyes of Kirk Tougas, who shares cinematography credit with Wild, captures the villagers in startlingly clear angles: the gnarled, bare feet that look as though they sprouted from the earth; the woman raising a crudely made ax over her head and bringing it down in one cool, swift slice; the mother nursing her child; the smiling, toothless woman. At times, it is easy to forget you are watching a documentary about true-to-life struggles --  Amy Smith, The Austin Chronicle

 
Saturday April 29
 
2-5 pm     HHH 323 

The War at Home (Katharine Kolb and Liz Hirschmann, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)
 
100 minutes, 1979,  Produced and Directed by Barry Alexander Brown and Glenn Silber; USA;  Produced by Catalyst Media and Distributed by First Run Features.

Nominated for an Academy Award and widely considered one of the most important political films ever made, The War at Home vividly chronicles the anti-war protest movement of the 1960's and 70's. The film provides an illuminating look at the home front of the Vietnam War - the war that students and other anti-war dissidents waged on America's political system, military and notions of patriotism. Through a powerful combination of rare archival footage and interviews with students, community leaders, Vietnam veterans, and participants from all points of view, The War at Home shows how the anti-war movement grew into a genuine people's revolt in tandem with the escalation of war in Vietnam.

"A turbulent decade superbly evoked!" -Los Angeles Times

"No-holds-barred! Takes us places that The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, and Coming Home forgot to tread." -Atlanta Constitution

"Brilliant!" -Boston Globe

"Extraordinary! The whole world was watching. Remember?" -Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


5-8 pm   HHH 323 

Blood in the Face (Jerad Hill and Karl Thomalla, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

78 minutes, 1991, Produced and Directed by A
nne Bohlen, Kevin Rafferty & James Ridgeway;  USA; Produced by Right Thinking and Distributed by First Run Features.

A darkly humorous and frightning closeup view of today's far-right movement. Blood in the Face uses archival footage and interviews to reveal the workings of the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, the Aryan Nations, and David Duke. The most controversial and compelling film of the year, Blood in the Face is as timely and powerful. With interviews by Michael Moore (Roger & Me and Bowling for Columbine), the film was conceived by James Ridgeway (political correspondent for The Village Voice and author of the book Blood in the Face) with co-producers Anne Bohlen (Academy Award Nominee) and Kevin Rafferty (co-producer of The Atomic Cafe) who also shot and edited the film.

"Forget The Silence of the Lambs - Blood in the Face is definitely the scariest movie of the year. Silence after all, is fiction - Blood is for real." - New York Daily News

"David Duke's entrance into the area of legitimate politics should make one thing clear: the people this movie reveals with such creepy intimacy can't quite be written off as irrelevant fanatics." - Entertainment Weekly

"Riveting... insidiously spooky... full of outrageous details... first rate journalism." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times

"A gutsy, scary, almost appallingly funny look at the threatning world few of us see, from a vantage point few could imagine." - The LA Times

 
8-11 pm    HHH 100 
 
Justifiable Homicide (Andy Wilkins and Joe Reichert, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

85 minutes; 2002; Produced and Directed by Jonathan  Stack and Jon Osman; USA;  Produced by Gabriel Films and Reality Films, and  Distributed by Cinema Guild..

Justifiable Homicide is a feature documentary based on the brutal murder of two Puerto Rican young men Antonio Rosario and Hilton Vega who were shot by two NYPD detectives in the Bronx in early 1995. One of the detectives was Mayer Giuliani's former body guard. The story follows Margarita Rosario, as she transforms from a mourning mother and Aunt to a powerful community activist, questioning the police officers' actions and raising the possibility of a cover-up. A police inquiry affirmed the detectives' claims: that Rosario and Vega and third accomplice Freddie Bonilla (who survived the shooting) were shot while perpetrating an armed robbery. According to the report, the detectives opened fire in self-defense after the alleged robbers instigated a shoot-out. As far as the NYPD was concerned, the incident was over. Case closed, justifiable homicide.   Margarita Rosario, doubting the police version and realizing that one of the detectives who shot her son served as Mayor Giuliani's body guard in 1993, seeks help from the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), and independent city agency whose responsibility is to serve as watchdog over the NYPD. After a lengthy invesstigation, the CCRB report affirmed that the two detectives used excessive and unnecessary force. The City's response? The CCRB director along with the lead investigators are forced to resign. An independent Pathologist hired by the Margarita Rosaio also counters the police version, demonstrating that all the shots struck the victims in their backs as they lay prone on the floor and not from the front as th City Medical Examiner's and the police had claimed.  With a legal system unwilling to address these profound inaccuracies, Margarita takes her anger to the streets, organizing protests and rallies. She soon realizes that there are many others who have lost family members to police action. Margarita responds by organizing Parents Against Police Brutality, to unify their struggle against a that sems to be stacked against them.  Margarita's words still echo loud, "I can not bring my son back but I can work to prevent other parents from suffering a similar loss."


Sunday April 30
 
2-5 pm   HHH 323 
 
The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers' Struggle (Andy Wilkins, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

120 minutes, 1997,  Rick Tejada-Flores and Raymond (Ray) Telles, Producers, Writers, and Directors; USA; Produced by Independent Television Network Services and Paradigm Productions; Distributed by Cinema Guild.
 

The Fight in the Fields, Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers' Struggle tells the story of Cesar Chavez, the charismatic founder of the United Farmworkers Union, and the movement that he inspired and led.  Chavez was the most important Latino leader in this country's history. His vision reached out beyond farmworkers to touch millions of Americans from all walks of life. Chavez combined traditional Mexican American values and grass roots organizing with the nonviolent tactics of Mahatma Gandhi. The result was more than a traditional labor union - it was an all-encompassing struggle for social and economic justice. La Causa, the cause, inspired the Chicano civil rights movement and changed American society. The union's friends included Robert Kennedy, among their enemies were Ronald Reagan and the powerful Teamsters Union. At the height of the movement more than 14 million Americans supported the farmworkers' grape and lettuce boycotts, moved by Chavez' fasts and committment to nonviolence.  Using archival footage, newsreel, and present-day interviews with Ethel Kennedy, former California Governor Jerry Brown, Dolores Huerta, and Chávez' brother, sister, son and daughter, among others, the documentary traces the remarkable contributions of Chávez and others involved in this epic struggle.


5-8 pm   HHH 323 
 
A Grin without a Cat (Bob Nowlan, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

180 minutes, 1977/1992;  Directed, Written, and Edited by Chris Marker; France;  Produced by Dovidis/ISKA/Institut Nationel de l'Audiovisuel;  Distributed by First Run/Icarus Films.

A Grin Without a Cat  (Le Fond de l'air est rouge) is Chris Marker's epic film-essay on the worldwide political wars of the 60's and 70's: Vietnam, Bolivia, May '68, Prague, Chile, and the fate of the New Left.   Released in France in 1978, restored and "re-actualized" by Marker fifteen years later (after the fall of the Soviet Union), we are proud to release the film now for the first time in the United States.  Described by Marker as "scenes of the Third World War," the film (the original French title is virtually untranslatable) is divided into two parts, each weaving together two strands:

Part 1: Fragile Hands
1. From Vietnam to Che's death
2. May 1968 and all that

Part 2: Severed Hands
1. From Spring in Prague to the Common Program of Government in France
2. From Chile to - to what?

From 1967 (the year Marker argues was the real turning point) on, A Grin Without a Cat  is a sweeping, global contemplation of a defining ten years' political history.

"The subject at hand is how, in the sixties, the 'universal standard of civilization' assumed from the fifties began to collapse. The war in Vietnam - that 'nation placed at the convergence of the world's contradictions' - was the watershed, and Marker skillfully and hauntingly depicts its effect. He goes on to show the many civilian-police battles throughout Europe; the revolution within the revolution in Asia, South America, and Czechoslovakia; the space between the police and union stewards into which the French Left rushed in May '68; the assassination of princes (Che Guevara) and the deposing of kings (Richard Nixon); and those Cheshire Cats commonly known as politicians who cannot explain why what was in the air never quite materialized on the ground." - Pacific Film Archives

 
8-11 pm    HHH 100 
 
Blacks Britannica (Jerad Hill, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

58 minutes, 1978, Directed by David Koff, USA/UK, Produced by WGBH-Boston; Independently Distributed.  


    An innovative, ground-breaking, independent documentary film that critically examines Britain's colonial legacy and its contemporary ramifications. 

Of all the films which have so far been made about the black community in Britain, this one comes closest to telling it how it is. The thesis is that the black community in Britain is the most oppressed section of an oppressed working class. The fact that young blacks reject their decreed role in the country's social and economic structure has meant that the state has been obliged to use a number of devices to reinforce its intentions, including the police, the judiciary, the media and the schools. The whole picture is linked by a number of interviews with activists in the black community, which means that the picture which emerges is an authentic black view of affairs. British TV could have, and should have, done this years ago.  -- Time Out London  

Blacks Britannica  is a relentless and engrossing indictment of racism toward black immigrants to England, told from an obvious Marxist perspective. The film argues that discrimination in England is based on economics and fueled by opportunists across the entire spectrum of British politics. Told through the eyes and words of a cross-section of blacks, David Koff's film uses interviews, stock footage, and scenes of street life and violence to show how blacks in England are trapped at the bottom of an economic and political system which shows little compassion or concern about their fate. Rapid editing, overlapping dialogue and cinema verité all build to an emotional and violent climax, whose conclusion is underscored by a reggae band's call for revolution. As Koff puts it, the film "reflects the increasingly militant response within the black community to the continuing attacks upon it, both by the fascist elements on the street and by the state itself." An official of the British Information Service in Washington called the film "dangerous" and asked for equal time. New York Times critic John O'Connor said the film not only documents the growing militancy, "but, quite clearly, the structure and tone endorse it." The program was originally scheduled to air on July 13, 1978, but the showing was postponed so that WORLD's executive producer David Fanning could make some changes. "I never had any dispute with the central premise of the film or with its contents," Fanning said at the time. He argued that the changes were intended to make it more understandable to the American public. But later, Fanning told Newsweek: "I was concerned with the film's endorsement of a Marxist viewpoint"  . . . Blacks Britannica  is a reminder that there are other ways to see the world, to analyze events and to place them in a context that enlightens and informs us even as we are aware of its political bias. What made the film less palatable for officials at WGBH was that Blacks Britannica analyzed a subject much too close to home. It did not fit in with the official discussions of income, education and middle-class status that are comfortable for the majority of Americans . . .  David Koff's Blacks Britannica became an affront to Fanning and WGBH. The station's lawyers have gone to court in this country and in England to block showings of Koff's version. This raises issues of artistic integrity, of the ability of independent filmmakers to gain access to the airwaves and many other legal and moral questions. But most of all the controversy should make us all aware of how power is distributed. There is no guarantee for blacks in Britain, or for powerless groups anywhere, to have their views expressed without modification or censorship in our highly touted system of Western democracy.  -- Joel Dreyfuss, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media


Monday May 1
 
6-9 pm      HHH 230 

Weekend (Stacy Thompson, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)
 
105 minutes, 1967, Directed and Written by  Jean-Luc Godard, France;  Produced by Cinecedi, Comacio, Films Copernic, and Lira Films; Distributed by Grove Press/New Yorker Film and Video. 

Week-End/Week End   A Film Adrift In The Cosmos  A Film Found On A Scrap Heap.  End of Story  End of Cinema.

Those first two titles ["Week-End" and "Week End"] are Weekend’s early self-designations; the latter two the last of many raspberries Godard blows at the audience in the course of the film. Weekend is a film of loathing . . . Loathing of the bourgeoisie. Loathing of the state of French society. Loathing of the state of the wider world. Loathing of the failure of mainstream politics. And a loathing of what “cinema” represents . . .  Weekend is the first of Godard’s new style of filmmaking. It marks a clear break with La Chinoise, its immediate predecessor — gone are the romanticism, the poetry, the cinematic pleasure, the psychological closeness to its protagonists. In the case of the latter, the two central characters of the bourgeois couple Roland and Corinne (who are separately conspiring to murder one another, in some grotesque refraction of classic film noir, and jointly planning to speed up the death of Corinne’s father in order to collect the inheritance) are sketched in the thinnest possible terms. Godard only means to give us an archetypal “case” of the contemporary bourgeois: amoral, self-centred, and materialist. The lack of emotional investment in them as characters on the part of the audience is a deliberate strategy on Godard’s part. We are meant to keep at a distance from them . . .  The film’s stunning, most famous sequence, one that is often invoked as the essence of what Weekend is about is the long 8-minute tracking shot (interrupted only by flashing titles giving the time) of the cacophonous anarchy of a long traffic jam on a country road, Godard’s potent image of a civilisation on the verge of collapse.  But in Weekend there’s a sense that this is no longer what concerns Godard . . . The film becomes increasingly fractured, devolving into a series of scattershot set pieces whose comic-satiric tone is set early on with the cutaway in the first scene down to the fight over a car prang, and then with the escalating slapstick fight . . . These set pieces continue: the argument between the young bourgeois woman and the farmer, over an even more serious car accident, where the class struggle is sardonically shown to dissolve in the face of a common enemy . .  . The encounter with Emily Bronte (made up to look more like Little Bo Peep) and Tom Thumb transforms this comic-satiric tone to a metaphoric one, contrasting the worlds of literature, philosophy, and geology with the inherent violence and (self-)destructiveness of the bourgeoisie.  The entry into the film of the FLSO (Seine and Oise Liberation Front) guerillas is a further ratcheting-up of this metaphoric level, where the very distance of the camera from the events being portrayed underline how Godard is denying any level of psychological or emotional involvement. . . .  An incessant, rhythmic, aggressive drumming is the aural backdrop — a contrast to the Mozart played in the farm courtyard — to the violence and aggression in the last part of the film: . . . Which leads to the final shot of the film, Corinne’s off-handed and unemotional comment to the guerillas’ chef on learning (in one of the few close-ups in this latter part of the film) that she’s eating her husband: “I’ll have a bit more later, Ernest.” With this Godard brings Weekend to an abrupt, cynical end, exhausted as he is by the world he is portraying and by cinema itself. “End of story.” “End of Cinema.”  -- Ian Johnston, Not Coming to a Theater Near You  


9pm-12am    HHH 100 

Out: the Making of a Revolutionary (Bob Nowlan, Liz Hirschmann, and John Nicksic, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

60 minutes, 2000, Produced, Written, and Directed by Sonja de Vries & Rhonda Collins, USA;  Distributed by Third World Newsreel.

Convicted of the 1983 U.S. Capitol Bombing, and "conspiring to influence, change, and protest policies and practices of the United States government through violent and illegal means", Laura Whitehorn, an out lesbian and one of six defendants in the Resistance Conspiracy Case, spent 14 years in prison.  Out: the Making of a Revolutionary  is the story of her life and times: five tumultuous decades of struggle for freedom and justice. Whether you agree or disagree with radical left politics, this is a documentary that will challenge you to think about what you might be willing to risk for your own beliefs.

"The film skillfully interpolates historical footage of a 'whites only' world with the life story of an exceptionally engaging woman who was not only a revolutionary who acted on her principles, but also a lesbian." - Bay Area Reporter

"Seeing 'OUT' is worthwhile not only for progressive politicos, but for anyone who can appreciate the story of a classic American type: the conscientious rebel" - San Francisco Express
 

Tuesday May 2
 
6-9 pm      HHH 321 

Brothers and Others (Katharine Kolb and Jackie Rose, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

54 minutes, 2002,  Directed by Nicholas Rossier, USA; Produced by  Baraka Productions, Nicolas Rossier, and Trilby MacDonald; Distributed by Arab Film Distribution

The atrocities witnessed by the world on September 11th were hateful acts by terrorists who chose to view their victims not as people but as symbols of a perceived evil. By jailing thousands of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians without evidence or due process, is America perpetuating the cycle of hate and ignorance which claimed so many innocent lives?  Featuring interviews with such experts as Noam Chomsky and James Zogby, Brothers and Others  is a one-hour documentary on the impact of 9/11 on Muslims and Arabs in America. The film follows a number of immigrants and Americans as they struggle in the heightened climate of hate, FBI and INS investigations, and economic hardships that erupted following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"It reminds us of the need to balance our desire for security with an equal concern for the rule of the law and civil liberties which make America the great nation that it is." --John Esposito, Author of Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality


9pm-12 am     HHH 100 

Lost Boys of Sudan (Jeff Kesterson, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

87 minutes, 2003,  Directed by Megan Mylen and Jon Shenk; USA/Sudan;  Producec by Actual Films and Principe Productions; Distributed by Shadow  Distribution. 

Lost Boys of Sudan is a feature-length documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America. Orphaned as young boys in one of Africa's cruelest civil wars, Peter Dut and Santino Chuor survived lion attacks and militia gunfire to reach a refugee camp in Kenya along with thousands of other children. From there, remarkably, they were chosen to come to America. Safe at last from physical danger and hunger, a world away from home, they find themselves confronted with the abundance and alienation of contemporary American suburbia.  Lost Boys of Sudan won an Independent Spirit Award and screened theatrically in 70 cities across the U.S. to strong audience and critical praise. The film was broadcast nationally on the PBS series POV in the fall of 2004 and earned two Emmy nominations.  An extensive national outreach campaign has brought Lost Boys of Sudan to thousands of community settings to build awareness and support for refugees and the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. The film screened on Capitol Hill with the Congressional Refugee and Human Rights Caucuses as well as with the State Department's Refugee and Migration Bureau. It is in use as an educational tool by Amnesty International and the United Nations. Lost Boys of Sudan has already raised more than a half million dollars in direct educational support for the Sudanese youth across the country, recruited thousands of volunteers for local community organizations and raised funds and political action for the Darfur crisis.


 
Wednesday May 3
 
6-9 pm    HHH 323 

Farmingville (Paul Kaldjian, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

79 minutes, 2004, Directed by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Sambini; USA; Produced by Camino Bluff Productions; Distributed by POV (Point of View Television).


The hate-based attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers catapults the Long Island town of Farmingville into national headlines, unmasking a new frontline of the border wars -- suburbia. Blending the stories of town residents and day laborers, Farmingville reveals the human impact of mismanaged national policies that lead to fear, racism and violence.


In the summer of 2000, amid growing tensions between longtime residents and illegal-immigrant day laborers in the Long Island town of Farmingville, two young Mexican men were lured to a job site by white supremacist youths and beaten nearly to death. Many documentaries might be content to begin and end with that grim story, but Farmingville, a new one produced and directed by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini, goes much further, taking the attempted murders as a starting point for larger questions about hatred, tolerance and the future of labor and immigration law in this country. In the late 1990's, some 1,500 workers from Mexico flooded Farmingville (population: 15,000), lured by the promise of work in the contracting, landscaping and service industries. Soon residents were complaining about overcrowded rental housing — up to 30 men in one — and the packs of men standing on street corners, waiting for work.  One disgruntled resident, Margaret Bianculli-Dyber, started a group to protest the immigrants' presence; other groups quickly sprang up to protect the workers' rights, including an informal union organized by the laborers. The film soberly documents how legitimate quality-of-life grievances like overcrowding and noise can degenerate into racially inflected intolerance. As Ms. Bianculli-Dyber's efforts draw support from extremist hate groups nationwide, verbal and physical harassment of the workers escalates, and the residents argue bitterly with their local legislators and one another. Even the beating incident of 2000 fails to shock the community into a peaceful solution; rather, each side uses the horrific event as further evidence for its position. Though it has the slight, informal feel of a made-for-television documentary shot on video, Farmingville is an unusually sensitive and sophisticated piece of investigative journalism (to gain their subjects' trust, Ms. Tambini and Mr. Sandoval lived and worked in Farmingville for nine months during the filming.) In 78 minutes, the film manages to do justice to the experience of the newly arrived immigrants (who, in one of the film's few heartening moments, gather for a morale-boosting soccer game), to the complexities of federal immigration policy, and even to the often-disturbing views of the quality-of-life contingent. There is occasionally some subtle irony in the filmmakers' choice of frame (as when Ms. Bianculli-Dyber is interviewed in front of her collection of grinning troll dolls) but they generally steer clear of editorializing about their subjects, no matter how extreme the views they voice. If everyone listened to one another with such patient even-handedness, films like Farmingville might not need to be made at all.  -- Dana Stevens, New York Times, October 20, 2004


 
9pm-12 am     HHH 100 

The Future of Food (Paul Kaldjian, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

88 minutes, 2004, Written and Directed by Deborah Koons; USA;  Produced by Liliy Films and Distrributed by Cinema Libre Studio.


The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. From the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada to the fields of Oaxaca, Mexico, this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed about the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply. Shot on location in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that are changing what we eat as huge multinational corporations seek to control the world's food system. The film also explores alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture, placing organic and sustainable agriculture as real solutions to the farm crisis today. The Future of Food reveals that there is a revolution going on in the farm fields and on the dinner tables of America, a revolution that is transforming the very nature of the food we eat.

"Fighting for the Future of Food - Deborah Koons Garcia's film documents how genetically engineered foods slipped into our supply" - San Francisco Chronicle

"The Future of Food provides an excellent overview of the key questions raised by consumers as they become aware of GM foods... [The film] draws questions to critical attention about food production that need more public debate."   --- Excerpt from " Fahrenheit agbiotech" - Film review by Thomas J. Hoban - Nature Biotechnology  

"If you eat food, you need to see The Future of Food"   -- Newstarget.com

"This stylish film is not just for food faddists and nutritionists.  It is a look at something we might not want to see: Monsanto, Roundup and Roundup-resistant seeds, collectively wreaking havoc on American farmers and our agricultural neighbors around the world. In the end, this documentary is a eloquent call to action."   --- The Telluride Daily Planet



 
Thursday May 4
 
6-9 pm    HHH 323 

Bonhoeffer (Rick Slembarski, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

90 minutes, 2003, Directed by Martin Doblmeier; USA; Produced and  Distributed by First Run Features.

The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the first, and strongest, voices of resistance to Adolf Hitler. An acclaimed preacher, pacifist and author, Bonhoeffer came to the famed Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on a teaching fellowship. When Bonhoeffer returned to Germany in 1932 he had a new awareness of racial prejudice and challenged Christian churches to stand with the Jews in their moment of need. Bonhoeffer eventually joined the unsuccessful plots to assassinate Hitler and was executed three weeks before the end of the war.

“Though structured as the biography of the late German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Doblmeier’s engrossing documentary also offers a well-researched history of his times.” – New York Daily News

“A touching narrative on the nature of faith.” –The New York Times


 
9pm-12 am     HHH 100 

Priest (John Nicksic, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

105 minutes, 1994, Directed by Antonia Bird; UK;  Distributed by Swank Pictures.
 

Because film by its very nature is steeped in images of the real world and oriented in action, it has trouble capturing a sense of the spiritual. But it is precisely that elusive sense, emerging from the mire of sin and guilt, that makes Priest an exceptional movie . . .  This powerful drama looks at the tortured soul of a gay priest and comes up with a curiously inspiring statement about faith and morality . ..   Set in inner-city Liverpool, it stars the hot young British actor Linus Roache as the Rev. Greg Pilkington, a dutiful, idealistic diocesan priest assigned to a tough parish to replace an older clergyman who has lost his marbles because of the pressures of working in grim, poor neighborhoods.  Full of a desire to do right in his new job, Father Greg hits a snag almost the minute he arrives. He discovers that the gregarious parish pastor, the Rev. Matthew Thomas (Tom Wilkinson . . .), is living an essentially married life with the parish housekeeper, Maria, played by Cathy Tyson  . . .  Fans of novelist Graham Greene may recognize a touch of the tortured discussions of faith and morality that crop up in his books -- at one point Greg weighs the agonies of his soul in a rambling speech during a seaside walk with his gay friend. But he's essentially talking to himself.   Roache plays the priest so deftly you get a rare sense of a man's inner struggle, and of his inability to ease up on himself because he takes his responsibilities as a clergyman so seriously. It's an amazing performance that makes utterly human a man's quest for spiritual truth while he tries to hide from the truth about himself.   This film is extraordinary for the themes it explores -- sometimes with delicious humor -- beyond the obvious. It's one thing to see a man struggle to find himself, another for a film to carry the fight to a luminous moment that brings that struggle into the larger world where differing visions of truths contend.  All of this is played out against a background of a working-class parish filled with strong characters who make their mark, for better or worse, in telling moments on the screen.  The movie becomes a fascinating glimpse at a vast subject -- intolerance vs. understanding.  --  Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle


Friday May 5
 
6-9 pm    HHH 323

Punishment Park (Eddy Kaiser, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

88 minutes, 1971, Directed by Peter Watkins, The Netherlands/USA/UK;  Produced by Chartwell and Francoise and Distributed by Project X.

In an imagined world all too close to reality, draft-dodging radicals are given a stark choice: go to prison or spend three days in Punishment Park. Peter Watkins' riveting pseudo-documentary reveals the gruelling consequences of option B, as one 'corrective group' begins a 57-mile desert trek to reach a US flag, with a pack of rifle-toting National Guardsmen just a couple of hours behind. Made in 1971 as a response to the social upheavals of the late 60s, the film feels just as shockingly relevant today.  America's involvement in Vietnam looms large in the movie, bringing to mind the debate over more recent conflicts. It's impossible not to see a parallel between Punishment Park and Guantanamo Bay. On top of that, the film evokes the sadistic rituals of reality TV, with Watkins' verite technique having hardly dated at all. Working with a cast of mostly non-professionals (many of whom subscribed to their characters' views), he creates a searing sense of authenticity. But what really resonates is the supple back and forth cuts between the desert ordeal and the trial of seven rebels, implying that the latter's fates have already been set . . .  this is still a vividly executed piece of political provocation. As the Punished face 'justice' in the blazing heat, you'll be chilled to the bone.  --Matthew Leyland, BBC


Twenty-five years on, Peter Watkins's dystopian nightmare still grips, imagining hippies and radicals getting tortured for quasi-judicial sport by the National Guard, licensed by "internal security" tribunals convened by the US senate. Punishment Park is supposed to have assumed a new and horrible relevance in the era of 9/11 and Guantánamo. So it does, in part. But Watkins's fierce and palpable outrage is very different from our postmodern world, which shrugs at extensively ironised reality TV and fails to be scandalised for very long at photos of giggling soldiers brutalising their prisoners at Abu Ghraib. For me, the movie evoked more potent localised memories and anticipatory echoes of the real-life Stanford Experiment, Death Race 2000 and even Cool Hand Luke.  The crisp voice of a BBC announcer narrates a pseudo-documentary, showing students and dissidents being hauled up in front of a reactionary board of accusers. They are offered a choice of 20 years in jail or four days in Punishment Park. Of course, everyone opts for the park, only to find that this is a sadistic nightmare in the burning Californian desert which can be concluded only by their violent death. The concluding bloodbath is attended by futile shrieks of anger from our British narrator at the ultimate breach of fair play: the good ol' boy in charge contemptuously reminds him that their kind saved his kind in the second world war. Like Watkins's classic The War Game, this is satire of the most intimately powerful sort.  -- Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

 
9pm-12 am     HHH 100 

The War Game (Eddy Kaiser, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

1965, 48 Minutes, Directed by Peter Watkins; UK; produced by BBC, distributed by the Briish Film Institute.

Intended for broadcast in 1965, writer / director Peter Watkins' nuclear war drama was withheld by the BBC - possibly as a result of political pressure - and remained unshown for nearly twenty years, finally being transmitted on 31st July 1985. Continuing the experiments in blending fiction and documentary techniques which he had begun with his earlier play Culloden (1964), Watkins presented data drawn from his detailed research - encompassing interviews, Civil Defence documents, scientific studies and accounts of the effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts and the non-nuclear devastation of Dresden, Hamburg and other cities during World War II - in the form of charts, quotes and vox-pop style face-to-face interviews with ordinary people. These he embedded into his own imagined scenario of the impact of a blast in Kent following the escalation of an East-West conflict.  The result was a controversial and harrowing film which, after the BBC had reluctantly allowed a cinema release (distributed by the British Film Institute), garnered huge critical praise internationally, winning a number of prizes, including an Academy Award (intriguingly in the Best Documentary category). The film had a significant influence on the growing Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.   Furious after his battle with the BBC, Watkins left the UK, and for more than thirty years has worked largely in Scandinavia. He continues to make highly political work: his La Commune (2000) - a six-hour re-enactment of the 1871 Paris Commune which examined the role of media in the modern global economy and featured a cast of non-professionals - was commissioned for French television channel Arte.   -- Mark Duguid, British Film Institute Screenonline



 
Saturday May 6
 
2-5 pm    P 265 

No Dumb Questions (Liz Hirschmann, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

24 minutes, 2001, Produced and Directed by Melissa Regan, USA;   Distributed by New Day Films.

Uncle Bill is becoming a woman! This lighthearted and poignant documentary profiles three sisters, ages 6, 9 and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. These girls love their Uncle Bill, but will they feel the same way when he becomes their new Aunt Barbara?   With just weeks until Bill's first visit as Barbara, the sisters navigate the complex territories of anatomy, sexuality, personality, gender and fashion. Their reactions are funny, touching, and distinctly different.  This film offers a fresh perspective on a complex situation from a family that insists there are no dumb questions.

"No Dumb Questions addresses some of the real problems someone who is transgendered may face, but it also shows a world that can be warm, loving, and accepting. This is an excellent primer for parents whose children are encountering this type of a situation. These parents and their new aunt Barbara handle the situation extraordinarily well, encouraging the children to ask questions, doing their best to answer them, and acknowledging their own confusion. Again and again, family members reinforce the reality that Barbara is still the same person she was when she was Bill. This film is entertaining for almost any audience, telling a story filled with humanity that may challenge many viewer’s notions about gender."  -- Educational Media Reviews Online

 
5-8 pm    P 265 

Knock Off: Revenge of the Logo (Katharine Kolb and Jackie Rose, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

45 Minutes, 2004,
A Film by Anette Baldauf & Katharina Weingartner With Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping; USA; Distributed by First Run/Icarus Films.


Knock Off: Revenge of the Logo is a reflection on branding and globalization, framed by a journey up the world's longest shopping strip, Broadway in New York City, a veritable meridian of counterfeit selling. We begin in Chinatown, as Canal Street stirs in the morning, then move up through Soho, and stop for an interlude in Times Square before rolling uptown for a night in Harlem. Along the way we meet corporate lawyers and anti-sweatshop activists, girly-girls searching for the perfect handbag, and immigrants selling knocked off merchandise to make a living (while staying a step ahead of the police).  In the logo-malls and designer zones, cultural critics sift through the baffling effects of underwear models who loom seven stories tall, while anti-shopping preachers testify to street side congregations about resisting the temptation of "the brand."  In Harlem, we watch as people create and crush selective branding strategies, and their knock-offs become an attempt to take back the means of cultural production, which have evaporated from their neighborhood.  With provocative interviews and witty editing and cinematography illuminating the power logos have on the street, KNOCK OFF documents an underground economy of people who resist the globalized culture of brands, by using the science of branding against itself. 

"The subject of "knock offs" is usually treated one-dimensionally, similarly to the way that music file-sharing is defined, simply, as a crime. [KNOCK OFF] moves far beyond this simplistic approach, offering a multi-faceted picture of the "knock off" as a complex artifact of contemporary consumer culture. [KNOCK OFF] is an excellent piece of story-telling, approaching knock-off goods as essential components of the economy of urban life; as products produced by the same people who produce the "real thing"; as objects that carry viewers into the business of branding and image-marketing, and as things that are transformed and renegotiated into new and unanticipated forms of creative expression. Excellent work. I found the film very stimulating." - Stuart Ewen, Author, Channels of Desire



8-11pm     P 007 
 
My Name is Joe (Maria Boland and Jeff Kesterson, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

105 minutes, 1998, Directed by Ken Loach, Written by Paul Laverty, UK, Distributed in the US by Lions Gate.

Joe is a recovering alcoholic in Glasgow, a city whose high levels of unemployment, poverty, and drug addiction are becoming movie legend. Loach shows us the scrappy life of the have-nots, with the observant script by Paul Laverty picking up on the smaller things - intrusive bureaucrats for the social service system, public clinics, even the problem of where a guy with barely a pence to his name can take a girl on a date. He also shows us how economic deprivation and immersion in a drug infested community change values; survival transcends mainstream moral concerns.  Peter Mullan won the best actor award at Cannes for his portrayal of Joe, an eminently deserved recognition for one of the finest performances on celluloid in recent years. This is a fully realized character whose pain doesn't eradicate his sense of fun, whose smarts don't prevent him from making mistakes, who has felt shame and disgust at his own misbehavior and tried to turn it around. Mullan has a combination of good looks, virility, and sensitivity all at once - a terrific package.  Loach has always been thoughtful, sympathetic to his downtrodden working class subjects, creating films about them that are based on solid characterization. This is all true of My Name is Joe, but Loach's artistry has grown. This is his most structured, tightly plotted story to date. By the end of its hour and three-quarter length, it attains something like the stature of a classic tragedy, with the insights, pathos, and catharsis that such a label would imply.  - Arthur Lazere, culturevulture.net


 
Sunday May 7
 
2-5 pm    HHH 323 

Working Women of the World (Joe Reichert and Andy Wilkins, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

53 minutes, 2000, Marie France Collard, Director; France, Indonesia, The Phillippines, Turkey, Belgium;  Produced by C.R.R.A.V.,
Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel et des Télédistributeurs Wallons, Latitudes Productions, Movimento Production, Radio Télévision Belge Francofone; WIP; and Arte Belgique; First Run/Icarus Films, Distributor. 


Focusing on Levi Strauss & Co., Working Women of the World (Ouvrières du monde) follows the relocation of garment production from Western countries to nations such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Turkey, where low wages are the rule and employee rights are nonexistent.  The film introduces us to women like Yanti, a 26-year-old Indonesian who works ten hours a day, six days a week, for $60 a month (the price of a pair of Levi's in Jakarta). Conditions at the factory are dreadful. There are five filthy toilets for 2000 women, and with no ventilation, the factory is an inferno. Any protest is met with immediate intimidation and increased surveillance until the offender quits. Working Women of the World also presents the stories of her western counterparts who are losing their jobs. Maria Therese worked in the Levis factory in Yser La Basse, France, and was a union representative there. In interviews, she describes the work, the wage structure, and her negotiations with management and the government after the closure announcement. Behind the new gospel of free trade are the real lives of women in the North and South. Filmed in Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, France, and Belgium, Working Women of the World puts these women's stories into the larger history and development of globalization.

"Informative... Exposes the treatment of garment production employees. The viewer will learn of the conditions which plague these women daily: low wages, strenuous schedules, ambiguous contracts, and the constant threat of job loss due to company relocation and/or closure." - Educational Media Reviews Online


 
5-8 pm   HHH 323 

Medium Cool (Stacy Thompson, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitator)

110 minutes, 1969, Written and directed by Haskell Wexler, US, Distributed by Paramount.

Where is the line between fantasy and reality? Check out Medium Cool and you'll have trouble finding it.  Robert Forster smolders as Chicago TV cameraman John Cassellis, jaded but calmly professional as he coldly documents car wrecks and generous cab drivers, waiting for the Convention to arrive. Meanwhile, he has a few romps in the hay, with a sultry nurse named Ruth (Marianna Hill) and a single mother from Appalachia named Eileen (Verna Bloom), caring for her son in one of the worst slums of Chicago. As Cassellis becomes entwined with Eileen, becoming a surrogate father for the boy, he loses his job and apparently his mind as well -- all while the politically-charged world he lives in begins to melt.  Pioneering cinematographer Haskell Wexler got the bright idea that the 1968 Democratic National Convention would be a hotbed of riots (with Vietnam in its worst years, MLK recently assassinated, and a growing movement fed up with the government) and he was right. Wexler decided to make a (fictional) movie set during all of this -- but rather than wait until it was over and done with, he took a group of actors to ground zero, tossed them in among the cops and the protesters, and had them "act." The result is one of the most vibrant and eye-opening films ever made, a bit of fantasy that seems devastatingly real -- because, in large part, it is.- Christopher Null, filmcritic.com

 
8-11 pm     HHH 100
 
The Take (Eddy Kaiser, Maria Boland, and Bob Nowlan, Post-Screening Discussion Facilitators)

87 minutes, Produced, Written, and Directed by Naomi Kl;ein and Avi Lewis, 2004, Canada/Argentina; Produced and Distributed by the National Film  Board of Canada.

In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act - "the take" - threatens to turn the globalization debate on its head.  In the wake of Argentina's spectacular economic collapse in 2001, Latin America's most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The Forja San Martin auto plant had been dormant until its former employees take action. They're part of a daring new movement of workers who are occupying bankrupt businesses and creating jobs in the ruins of the failed system.   But Freddy, the president of the new worker's co-operative, and Lalo, the political powerhouse from the Movement of Recovered Companies, know that their success is far from secure. Like every workplace occupation, they have to run the gauntlet of courts, cops and politicians who can either give their project legal protection or violently evict them from the factory.  The story of the workers' struggle is set against the dramatic backdrop of a crucial presidential election in Argentina, in which the architect of the economic collapse, Carlos Menem, is the front-runner. His cronies, the former factory owners, are circling; if he wins, they'll take back the companies that the movement has worked so hard to revive.  Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers, and a legal system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale.   In The Take, director Avi Lewis and writer Naomi Klein (author of the international best-seller, No Logo) combine the stories of the workers and their families, stories of their struggle for jobs and dignity, with comments from factory owners, politicians and judges, and an examination of the macro-economic policies of globalization. The result is a compelling political thriller that pits ordinary workers against the local ruling elite and the powerful forces of global capitalism.  Amid the current debates over globalization, The Take champions a humane economic manifesto for the 21st century.

"Stirring!" - The New York Times

"Extraordinary!" - The New Yorker

"[Its] greatest achievement is in personalizing the globalization debate." - New York Post

"Moving! Fierce! Inspiring! Committed and compassionate." - Washington Post

"Excellent! A classic victory for the little guy... If it were shown in U.S. cities hit by factory closures, it might give unemployed Americans ideas." - New York Daily News

"Vitally important...a deeply moving and informative film. Its purpose is to inspire further battles just like the one it portrays-not violent revolution, but small-scale, incremental political progress, the kind that doesn't make news, but does make real change." - Cinema Scope



ON THE CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-EAU CLAIRE




BOB NOWLAN, FESTIVAL DIRECTOR



JED MORTENSON, ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR


JACKIE ROSE, PROGRAMMING COORDINATOR


PROGRAMMING TEAM

MARIA BOLAND

JERAD HILL

LIZ HIRSCHMANN

EDDY KAISER

JEFF KESTERSON

KATHARINE KOLB

JOE REICHERT

ANDY WILKINS


JULI PITZER AND DAVID GARDNER, PROMOTION/PUBLICITY COORDINATORS



FUNDRAISING/PROMOTION/PUBLICITY TEAM

ZACH KOSS

JOHN NIKSIC

MATT ROYTEN

RICHARD SLEMBARSKI

KARL THOMALLA

ANDREW WERTHMANN