Illuminating Oppression: 6th Annual Human Rights Film Festival to feature award-winning films
Illuminating Oppression: 6th Annual Human Rights Film Festival to feature award-winning filmsSeptember 05, 2008Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Members of the Syracuse University and Central New York communities will have an opportunity to view award-winning films from around the world during Illuminating Oppression: 6th Annual Human Rights Film Festival, which runs Thursday, Sept. 25, through Saturday, Sept. 27. The festival is part of Migration: The 2008 Syracuse Symposium, presented by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. All of the films will be shown in the Life Sciences Complex Auditorium and are free and open to the public.
The film festival will feature a special appearance by Parvez Sharma, director of “A Jihad for Love” (81 minutes, 2007, USA/UK/France/Germany/Australia), one of two opening films, which will be shown beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25. The film’s characters have a vastly different take on Islam-some observe a rigorously orthodox regimen, while others lead highly secular lifestyles while remaining spiritually devout. As the camera captures their stories, the film’s gay and lesbian characters emerge in all their human complexity, challenging popular assumptions about a monolithic Muslim community. This film speaks with a Muslim voice and opens a dialogue that has been mostly non-existent in Islam’s recent history. By defining jihad as a “struggle” rather than a “war,” the film presents the struggle for love.
“A Jihad for Love” will be preceded by a showing of “The Women’s Kingdom,” directed by Xiaoli Zhou (23 minutes, 2005-06, China/USA). This short film offers viewers a rare glimpse into the extraordinary society of Mosuo women, keepers of one of the last matriarchal societies in the world, who live beyond structures of mainstream Chinese culture.
Further information about the Syracuse Symposium and the 6th Annual Human Rights Film Festival is available on the Web at http://syracusesymposium.org. Reduced-rate parking for Thursday’s film showings is available in the Booth Garage beginning at 5:30 p.m. for $3.50. Parking for Friday’s film showings is available beginning at 5:30 p.m. in all non-gated parking lots. Saturday parking is available in Booth Garage for $7 during the football game (time TBA; garage closes two hours after the football game ends). After the football game, parking will be available in all non-gated parking lots.
The annual film festival is co-sponsored by Breakthrough, an international human rights organization that uses media, education and popular culture to promote values of equality, dignity and justice; the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; the South Asia Center at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute for Global Affairs; the LGBT Resource Center at SU; and the South Asian Students Association.
Other films to be shown are:
Friday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.”I Want to be a Pilot”Director: Diego Quemada Diez (12 minutes, 2006, Kenya/Mexico/Spain)Deep in the slums of East Africa, a 12-year-old has only one dream-to be able to fly. This moving film depicts a poverty-stricken orphan boy, living in Kenya, who looks toward the heavens and dreams of being an airline pilot and of escaping his bleak life of poverty.
“China Blue”Director: Micha Peled (86 minutes, 2005, China/USA)This critically acclaimed film is a powerful and poignant journey into the harsh world of sweatshop workers. Shot clandestinely, it is a deep-access account of what both China and the international retailers don’t want seen.Saturday, Sept. 27, at 1 p.m. “The Mall on Top of My House”Director: Aditi Chitre (6 minutes, animation, 2006, India)The film explores the consequences of rampant land reclamation and the flouting of environmental laws through the eyes of a fisherman who lives in a dark underground tunnel. He constantly negotiates the chaos of traffic, fancy malls and luxury housing built on land that was once his to reach the sea and once sustained him and his community. “The Halfmoon Files”Director: Philip Scheffner (87 minutes, 2007, Germany)The film brings to life voices from the past, Indian soldiers imprisoned during WWI in a German POW camp. Their voices have been preserved on an old shellac record in an archive, produced as the result of a unique alliance between the military, the scientific community and the entertainment industry. Saturday at 4 p.m.”El Charango” Director: Jim Virga (22 minutes, 2006, Bolivia)Producer: Tula Goenka, S.I. Newhouse School of Public CommunicationsThis short, Spanish-language film explores the relationship between the Bolivian stringed instrument known as the charango and Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain), the richest silver deposit in the world, and the peasant miners who were forced to work the mines and their struggle for human rights. “My First Contact”Directors: Maria Correa and Karane Ikpeng (83 minutes, 2007, Brazil)This critically acclaimed film chronicles the story of a tribe of native Ikpeng Indians in Brazil who were relocated by white men to a reservation more than 40 years ago. The film gives painful testament to memory and captures how tribal elders re-enact the “first contact” with the white men for the younger generation.Saturday at 7 p.m. “The Devil Came on Horseback”Directors: Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg (85 minutes, 2007, Sudan)The film documents genocide in Darfur through the eyes of Brian Steidle, a former U.S. Marine who lands a job through the Internet as an unarmed military observer taking photographs for the African Union in Darfur. Stark footage makes the film challenging to watch as Steidle captures Sudan’s natural beauty as well as its turmoil from helicopters, moving vehicles and inside people’s homes.