2018 MC Film Festival
2018 NAME Multicultural Film Festival Descriptions: Memphis Conference8 Borders, 8 Days. Produced and directed by Amanda Bailey. TUGG Edu. www.tuggedu.com. 2017. 60 minutes.
A single mother shows us the consequences of closing America’s doors to families fleeing war. With no answer to her application for resettlement in the US, and every other path to safety closed off, a smuggler’s raft to Europe was the only way out. 8 Borders, 8 Days is her story; the intimate details of why a fiercely-determined mother is willing to risk her children’s lives for a better future and an immersive experience of their eight-day journey to safety.
’63 Boycott. Directed by Gordon Quinn. Produced by Rachel Dickson and Tracye Matthews. Kartemquin Films. 63boycott.kartemquin.com. 2017. 30 minutes
On October 22, 1963, more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, dubbed ‘Willis Wagons,’ on playgrounds and parking lots of overcrowded black schools rather than let them enroll in nearby white schools. Combining unseen archival 16mm footage of the march shot by Kartemquin founder Gordon Quinn with the participants’ reflections today, ’63 Boycottconnects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism.
Agents of Change. Produced and Directed by Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg. California Newsreel. www.newsreel.org. 2016. 66 minutes.
During the late 1960s, as Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations made national headlines, movements erupted for racial equity and meaningful education on college campuses throughout the United States. Agents of Change examines the conditions at these institutions that led to tumultuous protests at San Francisco State and Cornell University. Demands for Black and Ethnic studies programs became a clarion call across the country. The events come to life through extraordinary archival footage and the untold stories of the young men and women who were at the forefront of those transformative efforts.
At the River I Stand. Directors: David Appleby, Allison Graham, Steven Ross. California Newsreel. www.newsreel.org. 1993. 56 minutes.
At the River I Stand reconstructs the two eventful months in Memphis in 1968 leading to the tragic death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the climax of the Civil rights Movement. It demonstrates the integral connection between the struggle for civic and economic rights. At the River I Stand shows how Memphis’ Black community rallied behind a strike by grossly underpaid sanitation workers. Dr. King saw an opportunity to link this struggle to his growing, nationwide Poor People’s Campaign and challenge the economic power structure of the South. His non-violent strategy was sorely tested during the bitter 65 day strike and on April 4th, he was murdered.
Being Muslim in America: Acts of Courage and Healing. Produced by Mary Ann Watson and Christine Sheikh. Directed by Scott Houck. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, New York. www.films.com 2018. 34 minutes
Eight Muslim Americans living in Colorado with family histories from eight separate Muslim-majority countries, share their personal stories. They describe incidents of Islamophobia, as well as the healing processes they have experienced in their workplaces, in their neighborhoods, and through supportive organizations.
Being Muslim in America: An Afghan Family Story. Produced by Mary Ann Watson and Christine Sheikh. Directed by Scott Houck. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, New York. www.films.com. 2018. 24 minutes.
Jamshid and Huma Ebadi both came to the United States as young children with their families from Afghanistan under harrowing circumstances. As adults, with a young family of their own, they now live in a suburb of Denver, CO. Hear their stories of love, compassion and of hope.
Dawnland. Directed by Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip. Produced by Adam Mazo and N.Bruce Duthu. Upstander Films Inc. www.dawnland.org. 2018. 55 minutes.
For decades, child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their homes to save them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins a historic investigation. DAWNLAND goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.
Defiant Lives. Produced and Directed by Sarah Barton. Women Make Movies, New York. www.wmm.com. 2017. 85 minutes.
Defiant Lives is a triumphant film that traces the origins of the world-wide disability rights movement. It tells the stories of the individuals who bravely put their lives on the line to create a better world where everyone is valued and can participate. Featuring interviews and rarely seen archival footage, the film reveals how these activists fought to live outside of institutions, challenged the stigmas and negative image of disability portrayed by the media, demanded access to public transportation and battled to reframe disability rights as a social responsibility relevant to us all.
Don’t Tell Anyone. Produced and directed by Mikaela Shwer. Women Make Movies, New York. www.wmm.com. 2015. 74 minutes.
Since the age of 4, Angy Rivera has lived in the U.S. with a secret that threatens to upend her life. She is undocumented. Angy arrived with her mother, fleeing violence, poverty, and civil war in their native Colombia. For 20 years they lived in the shadows, struggling to stay afloat financially, and avoid deportation while battling a complex and inequitable immigration system. Now 24, unable to pay tuition for college and facing an uncertain future, Angy joins the youth-led New York State Youth Leadership Council with whom she dons a bullhorn at pro-immigration rallies, telling all who will listen that she is undocumented and proud.
En El Septimo Dia (On the Seventh Day). Directed and produced by Jim McKay. Cinema Guild, New York. www.cinemaguild.com. 2016. 92 minutes.
En el Séptimo Día (On the Seventh Day) is a narrative feature about a group of undocumented immigrants from Puebla, Mexico who live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Bicycle delivery guys, construction workers, dishwashers, deli workers, and cotton candy vendors, they work long hours six days a week and then savor their day of rest on Sundays on the soccer fields of Sunset Park.
Faces of Harassment. Produced and directed by Paula Sacchetta. Women Make Movies, New York. www.wmm.com. 2016. 82 minutes.
FACES OF HARASSMENT is an experiment in storytelling about trauma. When the hashtag #MyFirstHarassment swept across Brazil, it showed not only the widespread experience of sexual harassment and assault, but a widespread hunger to bring it out of the shadows. FACES OF HARASSMENT amplifies this movement, by opening space for women to speak their own truth. The film was shot in a mobile storytelling van, parked in rich and poor neighborhoods alike across São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and open to any woman. The van was a free, autonomous space, where women spoke to the camera directly, no interviewer or other influence present.
Home is a Human Right. Brave New Films. www.bravenewfilms.com. 2018. Total run time: 40 minutes.
These six short films—Pursuing the Dream: What You Need to Know About DACA, Immigration, and Beyond; We Can’t Turn Our Backs Again on Refugees; The Call to Sanctuary: How to Create Safety in Our Community; Divided by Deportation; Immigrant Stories: Doctors and Nurses; and Immigrant Stories: Teachers—examine issues related to immigration in the U.S. that impact undocumented and refugee communities.Pursuing the Dream looks at the protections provided to undocumented immigrants through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the threats they face from intensified deportation actions. We Can’t Turn Our Backs Again on Refugees tells the stories of everyday Syrians living amid a violent civil war and what has driven millions to flee their homeland. The Call to Sanctuary breaks down the ways that communities and individuals can support their undocumented neighbors through a how-to video guide. In Divided by Deportation, we hear directly from children whose lives are shadowed by constant fear and uncertainty due to our increasingly harsh immigration policies. Immigrant Stories: Doctors and Nurses exposes the inhumanity of our immigration policies which force people to choose between medical care or deportation, and Immigrant Stories: Teachers reveals how these policies are disrupting students' lives across the nation.
Immigrant Prison Series. Brave New Films. www.bravenewfilms.com. 2018. Total run time: 52 minutes.
The United States has the biggest immigrant prison system in the world, yet most Americans are unaware of the conditions found in immigrant prisons, and the mistreatment many detained immigrants endure. Brave New Films has created this series —Immigrant Prisons—to change that.
With the current surge of anti-immigrant rhetoric, stock in the immigrant prison industry is skyrocketing and more ICE agents are being hired to patrol communities and lock up immigrants. This means more people are being detained every day and forced to live for days, weeks, and even months at a time in unsustainable conditions, all while giant corporations turn a profit.
Watch our videos Immigrant Prisons, Immigrants for Sale, and No More Detention: Free Pastor Noe to learn more about the immigrant prison industry and how it profits off the detention and suffering of people.
The Issue of Mr. O’Dell. Produced and Directed by Rami Katz. Cinema Guild. www.cinemaguild.com. 2018. 35 minutes.
The Issue of Mr. O’Dell examines the lifelong work of a pioneering civil rights organizer Jack O’Dell, who was a close colleague and advisor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the years before the March on Washington. But after President John F. Kennedy named him the number five Communist in America, O’Dell was eventually forced out of King’s organization.
In soft-spoken interviews, O’Dell discusses systemic racism, past and present, and dissects America's troubled history with racial discrimination. The wisdom of the 94-year-old activist speaks to the present as his experiences fighting alongside Dr. King resonate strongly with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Love the Sinner. Produced and directed by Jessica Devaney and Geeta Gandbhir. Women Make Movies. www.wmm.com. 2016. 17 minutes.
LOVE THE SINNER is a personal documentary exploring the connection between Christianity and homophobia in the wake of the 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Queer filmmaker Jessica Devaney grew up deeply immersed in Evangelical Christianity in Florida. After breaking with her youth as a nationally recognized activist and leader among conservative Evangelicals, Jessica left Florida and didn’t look back. She built a life that took her as far away from home as possible. Over time, her daily life became a progressive echo chamber.
The mass shooting at Pulse was a wakeup call. By avoiding hard conversations with church leadership, had she missed opportunities to challenge homophobia?
Man On Fire. Produced and directed by Joel Fendelman. New Day Films. www.newday.com. 2017. 54 minutes.
Man on Fire investigates Charles Moore’s self-immolation in protest of racism in his hometown of Grand Saline, Texas and explores three major themes: the life and death of Charles Moore, the vestiges of racism in rural America, and the impact of Moore’s death on people in Grand Saline and surrounding areas. The film captures the authenticity of rural East Texas with engrossing interviews from members of Grand Saline, including a former mayor, a city administrator, business owners, elders, and young adults, to better understand their perspective on racism in their community. Outside of these interviews, the film explores communities of color near Grand Saline and investigates how these people fear the racism of their neighbors.
Lastly, the film explores how Grand Saline and communities nearby dealt with Moore’s death through grappling with the complexity of self-immolation as an effective protest act. Many of the interviews in the film express their raw emotions regarding Moore’s death and Grand Saline’s racism, demonstrating their anger, pain, fear, and resolve. They also express the shortcomings of Moore’s protest, questioning what it means for a preacher to kill himself as dissent. Overall, Man on Fire encapsulates the racial climate in Grand Saline and chronicles Moore’s life and death, presenting Grand Saline and Moore as two pillars of the film’s narrative: one a disjointed man seeking truth and communal repentance and the other a community whose present is inextricably tied to their past.
Racial Injustice Series. Brave New Films. www.bravenewfilms.com. 2018. Total run time: 8 minutes.
A three-part series that explores the many ways black Americans face racial bias. These short films—Racism is Real, Black Protests vs. White Riots, and Prison System by the Numbers—explore the effects of racial bias on the lives of black Americans and the ways in which racism impacts American society as a whole.
Racism is Real uses recent academic studies to juxtapose the life of an average black person with an average white person—demonstrating the unique discriminations that black Americans face on a daily basis. Black Protests vs. White Riots takes a hard look at how television news programs distort our perceptions of race in their coverage and analysis of protests and riots. Prison System by the Numbers exposes the racial disparities in America's prison system in a compelling dissection of drug-related incarceration rates.
By examining the pervasiveness of racial bias in black American life, this series seeks to highlight the lingering grip of racism on all Americans.
White Right: Meeting the Enemy. Produced and Directed by Deeyah Khan. Women Make Movies. www.wmm.com. 2018. 55 minutes.
In this Emmy-winning documentary, acclaimed Muslim filmmaker Deeyah Khan meets U.S. neo-Nazis and white nationalists including Richard Spencer face to face and attends the now-infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville as she seeks to understand the personal and political motivations behind the resurgence of far-right extremism in the U.S.
Speaking with fascists, racists and proponents of alt-right ideologies, Deeyah, attempts to discover new possibilities for connection and solutions. As she tries to see beyond the headlines to the human beings, her own prejudices are challenged and her tolerance tested. When she finds herself in the middle of America's biggest and most violent far right rally in recent years, Deeyah's safety is jeopardized. Can she find it within herself to try and befriend the fascists she meets?
With a U.S. president propagating anti-Muslim propaganda, the far-right gaining ground in German elections, hate crime rising in the UK, and divisive populist rhetoric infecting political and public discourse across western democracies, WHITE RIGHT: MEETING THE ENEMY asks why. The film is an urgent, resonant and personal look at race wars in America.