2009 Human Rights Film Festival Runs from March 23 to April 3

March 20, 2009 — The plight of the uninsured in the United States. Rampant rape in the Congo. Soldiers stranded in a no-man's land war zone in Bosnia.

A coalition of University of Virginia student groups will present 10 films on different human rights issues around the world on Grounds March 23 to April 3. The series also includes a night of short documentaries and discussions with faculty, students and community speakers after each screening.

The festival will kick off March 23 with an opening discussion about health and human rights before the first screening. The films are free and open to the public. (See below for times and locations.)

Two of the films are selected from the Human Rights Watch, which puts on its own film festivals around the world. Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.

The student groups organized a similar film festival last year.

"We would like to be an annual event, because we have had great reviews," said Stephanie deWolfe, one of the organizers. "We believe that U.Va. can only benefit from learning about human rights issues, and how they can address them. Essentially, all of the groups are pooling resources to support the program."

With support from the Cultural Programming Board and the Arts & Sciences Council, the following student groups are involved: Human Rights Watch, Organization of African Students, Virginia Organizing Project, Amnesty International, Genocide Research and Awareness Organization, Students Take Action Now-Darfur, Middle Eastern Leadership Council, Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine and the Latino Student Union.


(Visit www.uvahumanrights.com/ for detailed descriptions of the films.)

• "A Closer Walk" — This documentary examines the world AIDS crisis.
March 23, 6:30 p.m., Cabell 222
Presented by Face AIDS

• "Critical Condition" — Ordinary hard-working Americans tell their stories of battling critical illnesses without health insurance.
March 24, 7 p.m., Clark 107
Presented by Virginia Organizing Project

• "Sand and Sorrow" — The camera follows activists through refugee camps, the halls of the U.S. Capitol and to peace agreement signings in order to see the horrors of the genocide in Darfur and the efforts to stop the Sudanese government.
March 25, 7 p.m., Clemons 201
Presented by Students Take Action Now-Darfur

• "Private" — After the family home is seized by Israeli soldiers as an observation post, Palestinian patriarch Mohammad must find a way to protect what's his without violating his nonviolent principles.
March 26, 7 p.m., Wilson 402
Presented by Students for Peace & Justice in Palestine

• "Cry of the Snow Lion" — The film takes audiences to the long-forbidden "rooftop of the world," showing rarely seen rituals in remote monasteries, horse races with Khamba warriors, brothels and slums in the holy city of Lhasa and magnificent Himalayan peaks still traveled by nomadic yak caravans.
March 27, 7 p.m., Clark 107
Presented by Students for a Free Tibet

• "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo" — Shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo, this film sensitively yet unflinchingly brings to light the plight of women and girls caught in that country's intractable conflicts.
March 29, 7 p.m., Gilmer 141
Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
Presented by Amnesty International

• "Mutluluk (Bliss)" — A young woman who has been raped and the young man who is supposed to kill her go on the run and join the crew of a charismatic professor who is embarking on a sailing trip.
March 30, 7 p.m., Cabell 345

• "No Man’s Land" — About a Bosnian and a Serb soldier stranded in a trench between enemy lines during the Bosnian war, this film bespeaks the absurdity and futility of war and leaves us with the haunting image of a man trapped on a live mine.
March 31, 7 p.m., Wilson 402
Presented by Genocide Awareness Research Organization

• "USA vs. Al-Arian" — This film tells the story of a Palestinian-American professor and civil rights activist who was arrested in 2003 and charged with supporting and funding Islamic Jihad, and his family's attempt at fighting the terrorism charges.
April 1, 7 p.m., Clark 107
Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
Presented by Middle Eastern Leadership Council

• "El Norte" — This story of two Guatemalan indigenous youths, their journey to the U.S. and their lives once crossing the border as undocumented immigrants was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1985.
April 2, 7 p.m., Maury 209
Presented by Latino Student Union

• "Youth Producing Change" — In this collection of short documentaries, young people armed with digital cameras, computers and their own creativity bravely expose human rights issues faced by themselves and their communities.
April 3, 7 p.m., Clark 107
Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival
Presented by Organization of African Students

— By Anne Bromley