Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival kicks off today; WWU is co-host

Western Today staff

Western Washington University is a co-host of the 11th Annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, which begins today and goes until Feb. 26 at venues throughout Bellingham.

This year’s lineup of films, which highlight human-rights concerns across the globe, will feature a facilitated discussion after most films and be screened at WWU’s Fairhaven College Auditorium, unless otherwise indicated. 

All films at all venues are free and open to the public. The Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival is made possible by a diverse group of volunteers, with the goal of creating awareness of human rights issues and encouraging ways to effectively respond.

Films, venues and times are as follows:

Thursday, Feb. 17

  • 7 and 9 p.m. – Pickford Film Center, 1416 Cornwall Ave. Budrus (2009 / Israel-USA / 58 minutes) Ayed Morrar and his 15-year-old daughter organize Palestinians, along with Israelis, in a nonviolent movement to save their village from destruction by Israeli’s separation barrier.

Friday, Feb. 18

  • 7 p.m.: Crude (2009 / USA / 105 minutes) A disturbing inside look at the infamous $27 billion “Amazon Chernobyl” case and the courageous lawsuit by tens of thousands of Ecuadorans against Chevron’s contamination of the Ecuadorean Amazon. Facilitators: Seth Vidana, WWU Office of Sustainability, and Lauren Squire, director of WWU’s Sustainability Programs.

Saturday, Feb. 19

  • 7 p.m.: The Power of the Powerless (2010 / Czech / 78 minutes) Examines the struggle for freedom during the communist era in Czechoslovakia, culminating in the student-led movement that sparks the 1989 bloodless Velvet Revolution and that catapulted black-listed playwright, Vaclav Havel, into the presidency. Facilitators: Cory Taylor, director, and Darin Nellis, producer.

Sunday, Feb. 20

  • Noon: The World According to Monsanto (2009 / France / 109 minutes) An investigation of the giant agricultural products company Monsanto. The film reveals the effects of Roundup, bovine growth hormone, genetically modified seeds and the tactics of a company intent on dominating world agriculture.
  • 2:15 p.m.: Orang Rimba (2008 / UK / 23 minutes) The way of life of this small cultural group of indigenous Indonesian forest dwellers is threatened by agricultural and industrial forces.
  • 3 p.m.: Deep Down (2009 / USA / 55 minutes) Examines an Appalachian community’s conflicts over a proposed mountaintop-removal coal mine.
  • 4:15 p.m.: Turtle World (1998 / USA / 9 minutes) This animated short follows a lone sea turtle traveling through space carrying a verdant world on its back, in a poignant parable about sustainability. Facilitator: Alex Ramel, policy and energy manager of Sustainable Connections.
  • 7 p.m.: Enemies of the People (2010 / UK-Cambodia / 94 minutes) The deaths of hundreds of thousands in the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain unexplained until now. This film shares first person accounts by those who perpetuated the massacres, including the second in command to Pol Pot. Facilitators: Vets for Peace.

Monday, Feb 21

  • 7 p.m.: TAPPED (2009 / USA 76 minutes) An examination of the unregulated bottled-water industry that aims to privatize and sell back water, which becomes a commodity rather than a human right.

Tuesday, Feb. 22

  • 7 p.m.: A Small Act (2010 / USA / 88 minutes) An inspiring tale of a young Kenyan whose life changes drastically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he replicates the kindness he once received. Facilitator: Tim Costello, director of WWU’s Center for Service Learning
  • 7 p.m. – Bellingham High School Library: Out in the Silence (2009 / USA / 65 minutes) An uplifting story of a small U.S. town challenged in their beliefs about homosexuality and confronted with a firestorm of controversy ignited by a same-sex wedding announcement and the brutal bullying of a gay teen. Facilitators: Queer Straight Alliance, Bellingham High School student group.

Wednesday, Feb. 23

  • 7 p.m.: Poto Mitan (2009 / USA-Haiti / 50 minutes) Told through compelling personal stories of five courageous Haitian woman workers, the film gives the neo-liberal global economy a human face and shows the impact of inhumane working conditions, poverty, health and education. Facilitator: Solange Pierre, Haitian human rights activist in the Dominican Republic.
  • 7 p.m. – Bellingham Technical College: Redlight (2010 / USA / 71 minutes) The sex trafficking of children is a growing worldwide problem. This remarkable, disturbing film looks into the lives of young Cambodian victims and two forceful advocates.
  • 7 p.m. – Bellingham High School Library: Papers (2009 / USA / 100 minutes) A story about 65,000 undocumented youth and the challenges they face and choices they must make as they graduate from high school. Facilitators: I Am, Bellingham High School student group.

Thursday, Feb. 24

  • 7 p.m.: Other Side of Immigration (2009 / USA / 55 minutes) A subtle, thought-provoking film that asks why Mexicans come to the U.S., what happens to the families and communities they leave behind and challenges audiences to find more creative and effective immigration solutions.
    • Which Way Home (2009 / USA / 62 minutes) Shows immigration through the eyes of children who, with enormous courage and resourcefulness, face harrowing dangers en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call “the beast”. Facilitators: Roy Germano, director and producer, and James Loucky, WWU professor of Anthropology.
  • 7 p.m. – Sehome High School Theater
    • Out in the Silence (2009 / USA / 65 minutes) An uplifting story of a small U.S. town challenged in their beliefs when they are confronted by a firestorm of controversy ignited by a same-sex wedding announcement and the brutal bullying of a gay teen.
    • Green (2010 / France / 48 minutes) A moving film that stir the hearts of people to act after knowing of the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest. Facilitators: Sehome High School student group.

Friday, Feb. 25

  • 7 p.m.: Redlight (2010 / USA / 71 minutes) The sex trafficking of children is a growing worldwide problem. This remarkable, disturbing film looks into the lives of young Cambodian victims and two forceful advocates. Facilitator: Midori Takagi, WWU professor at Fairhaven College.

Saturday, Feb 26

  • Noon: Tony and Janina’s American Wedding (2010 / USA / 83 minutes) Living in the U.S. for 18 years, with a son and a business, Janina is deported back to Poland, leaving their lives severely disrupted. Their struggle speaks to the federal immigration bureaucracy.
  • 1:45 p.m.: A Thousand Suns (2009 / USA / 28 minutes) Explores the worldview of the Gama people of Africa’s Rift Valley. Their concepts of interconnectedness and sustainability are contrasted with the modern world's separation from and superiority over nature.
  • 2:30 p.m.: No Tomorrow (2009 / USA / 84 minutes) A film within a film becomes important in the decision for capital punishment of an accused killer. Leading death penalty experts address the broader question of whether the state deserves to kill him. Facilitator: Hannah Stone.
  • 7 p.m. Cultures of Resistance (2010 / USA 72 minutes) A groundbreaking exploration of slum kids in Rio’s favelas, poets in Colombia, Tuareg musicains in Mali, rappers in Iran, dancers in Rwanda who creatively resist war and build peace, justice and sustainability.

For more information about the 11th Annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, contact James Loucky at (360) 650-3615, or James.Loucky@wwu.edu.