Now more than ever, we are challenged to imagine how hope is a discipline and democracy our mission. The 2018 Social Justice Film Festival invites you to “Hold on to Hope and Democracy” (Oct. 5-7 and 11-14).
This year’s films explore the nature of democracy in the world today. Who belongs? Is it healthy? How are people shaping it and owning it? Amid turbulent times, films and panel discussions will reveal the bright and most human moments. Sometimes, they are flashes where creativity sparks activism. Sometimes, persistence and perseverance are True North.
Showing 37 films over seven days at five community venues, the festival expands its community reach from the University Christian Church, University of Washington Ethnic Cultural Theater, Northwest African American Museum, Seattle University and the Duwamish Longhouse.
The festival screens films about some of the most important public interest issues of our time.
This year’s festival opens up with a spotlight series of short films and a feature on immigrant rights, inhumane borders and the plight of separated immigrant families, topped off with a post-film discussion featuring the ACLU, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, immigrant students and Eva Lewis, filmmaker of the feature documentary “Undeterred.” The block of films brings to light the inhumanity of separating families, lives lost and lived at a rural border town along the U.S.-Mexico border and the dehumanization of immigrant communities.
The 2018 festival continues to expand community collaborations through special events at ethnic community venues, such as “Speaking Truth to Power: Unapologetically Black Voices in Civic Leadership” Oct. 6 at the Northwest African American Museum and “Indigenous Futures,” which is screening films about the movement to stop the pipeline at Standing Rock, Hopi and Navajo riders honoring veteran Native Americans and the BC First Nations Huu-Ay-Aht People. Both special events feature filmmakers and community members for post-film discussions on the political and cultural issues raised in the films and the power of film and digital storytelling to promote and preserve community identities and histories.
As always, the festival includes films on topics you might not see at any other festival. Prisoner rights and restorative justice are captured powerfully in the documentary “Circle Up” as told through the tearful eyes of a mother on a mission to heal from the murder of her son by reconciling with the man who stabbed him to death.
As she delves further, she circles up with others who struggle to rebuild their lives and, in the process, aim to reconcile their grief with the people who aggrieved them; together they share a deep glimmer of hope for restorative justice beyond a criminal sentence.
Whether it is the Gambian political asylum-seeker or those fleeing the U.S. to seek refuge in Canada, it is heartbreakingly difficult to hold on to hope given the terrorizing impact of current immigration and border police policies — but we believe that it can be done.
For a preview of the festival lineup, and a for a complete list of films and post-film discussions, go to our website.
Aurora Martin is the founder of popUP Justice and the managing director of the Social Justice Film Festival.
Check out the full Oct. 10 - 16 issue.
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