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Advancing and Advocating for Social Justice & Equity


NAME 2016 Multicultural Film Festival
Robin Brenneman, Film Festival Chair,  email:

Check out the great films that were screened at the NAME 2016 Conference!

NAME 2016 Multicultural Film Festival:

NOTE: Several of the filmmakers were in attendance at the Cleveland conference to discuss their work. These films are indicated with an asterisk (*).
Between Allah & Me (and Everyone Else)*.
Produced and Directed by Kyoko Yokoma. Knit Vision Media/Connectedearth. Canada. 2016.  60 minutes.

The film Between Allah & Me (and Everyone Else) explores the challenges of four Torontonian Muslim women making decisions about wearing or taking off hijab.  This candid and beautifully crafted film follows their spiritual journeys and their interactions with different members of society, and in doing so reveals that the piece of fabric called hijab carries many diverse meanings and messages.  As these women try to follow their faith and their hearts at the same time, the film unveils the intricate and complex effects of hijab on Muslim women, their families and communities and the larger multicultural society in which they live.  Screening at Friday, 2pm.The Filmmaker will be present to discuss in the film in the 3pm break-out session immediately following the screening.
Chaldean Voices.
Directed by Peter Alkatib and Miguel-Angel Soria.  Produced by Dante Simi and Jeff Brown. Learn4Life films. United States. 2014. 82 minutes

Chaldean Voices is a story about Iraqi Christian students, formerly persecuted, and now seeking peace, opportunity and democracy in El Cajon, California. In light of the conflicts in the Middle East and drastic increase in hostility and persecution over the past 10-15 years, thousands of Chaldeans have fled Iraq and the Middle East seeking refuge in the U.S.  Over the past 30 years, they’ve arrived impoverished and traumatized; and today, over 40,000 Chaldeans reside in the City of El Cajon.  This documentary chronicles the experiences of several Chaldean high school students and they assimilate to life in the U.S. Screening at Thursday, 11am.
Cincinnati Goddamn*.
Produced and Directed by April Martin and Paul Hill. United States. 2015. 103 minutes.

This feature-length documentary is about police brutality, anti-black racism, and the power of grassroots activism in Cincinnati, Ohio.  From 1995-2001 there were fifteen black men killed by the Cincinnati police.  The film focuses on two of those murders, Roger Owensby, Jr and Timothy Thomas.  Martin Luther King said, “A riot is the cry of the unheard.”  Thomas's death sparked three days of civil unrest and protests.  This poignant and powerful story of injustice is told through news reports, first-person accounts and cinema verité footage of the surviving families' long-suffering battle for justice. Screening at Saturday, 7pm in Superior C. The Filmmakers will be present to discuss the film.
Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi.
Produced and Directed by David Shulman. California Newsreel. United States. 2015. 82 minutes.

Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi reveals the largely unknown and pivotal role played by Black landowning families in the deep South who controlled over a million acres of land in the 1960s.  They were prepared to put their land and their lives on the line in the fight for racial equality and the right to vote in America’s most segregated and violently racist state.  The film reveals the extraordinary story of a Delta community called Mileston in which 100 sharecropping families gained control of 10,000 acres of some of the most fertile land in the state as a result of a radical New Deal era experiment in the 1930s and in turn, became the local leaders of the movement in the 1960s. Screening at Friday, 5pm.
East L.A. Interchange*.  -- 2016 NAME Film Award Winner

Produced and Directed by Betsy Kalin. Bluewater Media. United States. 2016. 57 minutes.
East LA Interchange tells the story of working-class, immigrant Boyle Heights, the oldest neighborhood in East Los Angeles. Targeted by government policies, real estate laws, and California planners, this quintessential immigrant neighborhood survived racially restrictive housing covenants, Japanese-American Internment, Federal redlining policies, lack of political representation, and the building of the largest and busiest freeway interchange system in the nation, the East L.A. Interchange. The documentary explores how the freeways – a symbol of Los Angeles ingrained in America’s popular imagination – impact Boyle Heights’ residents: literally, as an environmental hazard and structural blockade and figuratively, as a conversational interchange about why the future of their beloved community should matter to us all. Screening Friday, 4pm. The Filmmaker will be present to discuss in the film in the 5pm break-out session immediately following the screening.
Fly By Light*.
Directed by Ellie Walton. Produce by Hawah. Meridian Hill Pictures. United States. 2015. 59 minutes.

A group of teenagers board a bus for West Virginia, leaving the streets of Washington, DC to participate in an ambitious peace education program. For the first time in their lives Mark, Asha, Martha, and Corey play in mountain streams, sing under the stars, and confront the entrenched abuse, violence and neglect cycles of their past. But as they return to DC, each young person faces an unforgiving series of hurdles and roadblocks that challenge their efforts to build a better life. Through breathtaking visuals from street corners to mountaintops, Fly By Light is an intimate exploration of the chaotic, confusing, and emotional journey to rewrite a young person’s future. Screening Saturday, 10am. The Filmmaker will be present to discuss in the film in the 11am break-out session immediately following the screening.
14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark & Vanessa Lopez.
Produced and directed by Graham Street Productions. 2014. 67 minutes.
The film 14 explores the recurring question about who has the right to be an American citizen. The film examines the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment through compelling personal stories and expertly-told history. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The story is told through the lives of three ordinary and extraordinary American families who changed history by their courageous challenges to the powerful status quo. The stories from descendants of Dred and Harriet Scott and Wong Kim Ark tell how their ancestors fought all the way to the Supreme Court and changed American history. Rosario Lopez and her daughter Vanessa are both activists in today’s immigrant rights youth movement. Born in the United States and a citizen under the 14th Amendment, Vanessa wants to be “either an artist, a photographer, a lawyer, or a marine biologist” and President of the United States. It is the citizenship of millions of children like Vanessa Lopez, born in the United States to undocumented parents, that is at stake now. Screening, Friday 11am.
Havana Curveball.
Directed by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider.  Executive Producer: Marc Smolowitz. Patchwork Films. United States. 2014. 52 minutes

Mica is a classic young teen. Enthusiastic. Idealistic. Dreaming baseball. At 13, he is studying for his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age ritual. He takes to heart his Rabbi’s requirement to help “heal the world.” Imagining himself a savior of sorts, he launches a grand plan to send baseballs to less fortunate kids in Latin America. Narrowing his focus, he lights on Cuba, a country with a mysterious pull. He knows only that Cubans lack resources and love baseball like he does. Many of their star players have defected to play in the U.S. professional leagues. He also knows that Cuba gave his grandpa refuge during the Holocaust. Nearly 70 years later, Mica feels a need to repay the debt. Enthusiastically collecting bats, mitts and balls, he never considers that his good intentions might not be enough. Screening Thursday 1pm.
Journey of Hope.
Produced and directed by Drew Martin. First Nations Films. United States. 2015. 60 minutes.
The amazing story of transformation in the lives of several aboriginal youth at risk who have struggled through alcoholism, drug abuse, physical and sexual abuse, attempted suicide, and lives of crime. 12 young people were "taken back to the land" in the wilderness of Northern Quebec to re-connect with their roots and regain their identity as young Cree men and women who have a hope and a future.  Screening Friday 10am.

Directed by Ursula Liang. Executive producer: Melanie Riley-Green. Center for Asian American Media and Corporation for Public Broadcasting. United States. 2014. 89 minutes.
9-Man uncovers an isolated and unique streetball tournament played by Chinese-Americans in the heart of Chinatowns across the USA and Canada.  Largely undiscovered by the mainstream, the game is a gritty, athletic, chaotic urban treasure traditionally played in parking lots and back alleys.  9-Man grew in the 1930s at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment and laws forced restaurant workers and laundrymen to socialize exclusively amongst themselves.  Today it’s a lasting connection to Chinatown for a dynamic community of men who know a different, more integrated world but still fight to maintain autonomy and tradition. Screening Friday 3pm.
Off the Rez.
Directed by Jonathan Hock. Cinema Guild. United States. 2012. 86 minutes.
An unforgettable story about a young Native American woman and her family and their determined pursuit of the American Dream.  Off the Rez is and award-winning documentary that follows one of the country’s top high school basketball prospects, 16 year old Shoni Schimmel, who must leave the reservation in order to play in a competitive, nationally-recognized basketball league. Screening Thursday, 5pm.
On the Way to School.
Produced and Directed by Pascal Plisson. Cinema Guild. United States. 2012. 75 minutes.

This film interweaves the stories of four children from around the world whose desire to learn and better their lives through education forces them to contend with arduous, often perilous journeys every day on their way to the classroom. These children live thousands of miles apart in Africa, South America, and India, but share the same thirst for knowledge. They understand that attending school, every single day, is their only hope for a brighter future, for themselves and their families. Screening Saturday, 11am.
One Drop of Love.
Directed and performed by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni. Producers: Cox DiGiovanni, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon. United States. 2015. 67 minutes.
One Drop of Love is a multimedia solo performance by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni. This extraordinary one-woman show incorporates filmed images, photographs and animation to tell the story of how the notion of ‘race’ came to be in the United States and how it affects our most intimate relationships. A moving memoir, One Drop takes audiences from the 1700s to the present, to cities all over the U.S. and to West and East Africa, where Fanshen and her father spent time in search of their ‘racial’ roots. The ultimate goal of the show is to encourage everyone to discuss ‘race’ and racism openly and critically. Screening Thursday, 2pm.
Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen.
Directed by Jennifer Abod and Jennifer Duprey. Women Make Movies. United States. 2015. 73 minutes.
Passionate Pursuits is a window into the life of Angela Bowen, who grew up in inner-city Boston during the Jim Crow era, went on to become a classical ballerina, a legendary dance teacher, a black lesbian feminist activist, writer and professor. Screening Thursday, 3pm.
Directed and produced by Kathleen Foster. Women Make Moves. United States. 2016. 52 minutes.
Profiled knots the stories of mothers of Black and Latin youth murdered by the NYPD into a powerful indictment of racial profiling and police brutality, and places them within a historical context of the roots of racism in the U.S, Some of the victims, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, are now familiar the world over.  Others, like Shantel Davis and Kimani Gray, are remembered mostly by family and friends in their New York neighborhoods. Profiled bears witness to the racist violence that remains an everyday reality for Black and Latin people in this country. Screening Saturday, 4pm.
Scenarios*. This session will feature two films created by students in the Cleveland area.

  1. Speechless. Produced and Directed by Karyn Kusama and Maura Minsky. Written by Roxanne Lasker Hall. Scenarios USA. 2012. 15.31 minutes.
Desmond has a secret he cannot share with anyone.  His grades are slipping, rumors are swirling and he feels powerless, especially when he sees his sister being hurt too. With the support of his father and a new friend, Desmond is able to tell his story of being sexually assaulted and the struggle to end the cycle of abuse. Desmond regains his power when he uses his voice. Speechless examines sexual assault and recovery through power / powerlessness, empathy, communication, and gender stereotypes.
  1. House Not Home. Produced and Directed by Joshua Butler and Maura Minsky. Scenarios USA. 2014. 15 minutes.

House Not Home is a firsthand account of Terran, an African American gender fluid teenager navigating bullying, violence and rejection from their father and peers before finding their courage and voice to come out. Both films screening Saturday, 2pm. The Filmmaker will be present to discuss in the films during the 3pm break-out session immediately following the screening.
Speaking in Tongues.
Produced and Directed by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider. Patchwork Films. United States. 2009. 56 minutes.
At a time when 31 states have passed “English Only” laws, four pioneering families put their children in public schools where, from the first day of kindergarten, their teachers speak mostly in a foreign language. Speaking in Tongues follows four diverse kids on a journey to become bilingual. This charming story will challenge you to rethink the skills that Americans need to succeed in the 21st century. Screening Saturday, 3pm.
Voices of Muslim Women in the U.S. South.
Directed by Rachel Raimist. Produced by Maha Marouan. Women Make Movies. United States. 2015. 30 minutes.
Voices of Muslim Women in the U.S. South is a documentary that explores the Muslim culture through the lens of five University of Alabama Muslim students.  The film tackles how Muslim women carve a space for self-expression in the Deep South and how they negotiate their identities in a predominantly Christian society that often has unflattering views about Islam and Muslims. Screening Thursday, 4pm.