10th Annual Human Rights Film Series

Presented by the WCL Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

and

The Center for Social Media

October 8 - October 29, 2009

 

Burma VJ

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. 

Date: October 8, 2009

Time: 5:30 PM - 8 PM

Location: Katzen Arts Center

 

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Taking Root is a compelling documentary narrative about the first environmentalist and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1977, Maathai suggested rural women plant trees to address problems stemming from a degraded environment. Under her leadership, their tree-planting grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, defend human rights and promote democracy.

Date: October 15, 2009

Time: 5:30 PM - 8 PM

Location: Katzen Arts Center

 

New Muslim Cool

From behind the headlines on inner-city crime, clashing civilizations and the War on Terror comes filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s illuminating portrait of Puerto Rican Muslim Hamza Pérez, a former gang member and drug dealer turned politically outspoken hip-hop artist, anti-drug counselor, community activist, family man and devout convert to Islam. By following gentle but determined Hamza over the course of three years—during which he and a group of roughly 60 American Muslims move from Massachusetts to found a religious community in Pittsburgh’s crime-ridden North Side—New Muslim Cool offers an intimate vantage on a new generation of Latino and African American Muslims, youth in many cases drawn by the example of Malcolm X as well as the culture of hip-hop to weave a communal identity in the interstices between differing languages, ethnic backgrounds, religious ideals and the racial and class tensions in American society post-9/11. Far from a static account, these three years hold many changes and an evolving understanding for single father Hamza, who enters a new marriage and an expanded interracial family, performs and records his music—pointed rhymes and exhortations laid over brooding beats under the band name Mujahideen Team—and finds both his Pittsburgh masjid and his job as a religious speaker in the county jail subject to surveillance and challenges by suspicious federal authorities. Broaching urgent contemporary themes, New Muslim Cool is as inherently complex as it is strikingly American.

Date: October 22, 2009

Time: 5:30 PM - 8 PM

Location: Katzen Arts Center

 

The Reckoning

The Reckoning follows dynamic ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and his team for 3 years across 4 continents as he issues arrest warrants for Lord’s Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, puts Congolese warlords on trial, shakes up the Colombian justice system, and charges Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur, challenging the UN Security Council to arrest him. Building cases against genocidal criminals presents huge challenges, and the Prosecutor has a mandate but no police force. At every turn, he must pressure the international community to muster political will for the cause. Like a deft thriller, The Reckoning keeps you on the edge of your seat, in this case with two riveting dramas—the prosecution of unspeakable crimes and the ICC’s fight for efficacy in its nascent years. As this tiny court in The Hague struggles to change the world and forge a new paradigm for justice, innocent victims suffer and wait. Will the Prosecutor succeed? Will the world ensure that justice prevails?

Date: October 29, 2009

Time: 5:30 PM - 8 PM

Location: Katzen Arts Center