We can’t help but look forward to spring because she brings with her sun-kissed weather and, for many college students, she is the marker towards the forthcoming summer commencement. Another spring event that the UCSB community can look forward to is the Sixth Annual Santa Barbara Human Rights Film Festival.
12th and Delaware by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing is the festival’s opening film. The makers of 2006’s Jesus Camp are back with a documentary theme that, like its predecessor, harkens back to the ever-present ideological battle lines that are integrated into the American society. With present political banter going on about the budget and goals of Planned Parenthood, this is the must-watch film for anyone who wants a real-world back story in the long-winded debate on abortion.
Set in a seemingly innocuous Florida town, Grady and Ewing follow the irony behind 12th and Delaware Streets. Unexpectedly, the intersection is home to an abortion clinic and a pregnancy care center, that, as if by fate, were built facing each other. The documentary plants itself in the lives of Anne and Candace, the unintentional neighbors who run the two aforesaid facilities. Theirs is a coin that shows the two sides to life and women’s health issues, a story in which the audience cannot help but respond and take sides because of its powerful message. This film is playing Tuesday, April 26 at 4 p.m. and, like all the films, will be shown in Campbell hall.
The next documentary in the festival’s run is Tony Gatlif’s film, Korkoro (Liberté). With careful artistry, Gatlif reminds the world of the alienation suffered by a family of Roma gypsies who, during the Holocaust, had to endure French bigotry and fears of increased discrimination set off by an impending war with Germany. With such unstable realities surrounding the family, Gatlif portrays the family’s painful and constant struggle for korkoro (the Romani word for freedom) and acceptance. The war may have long been over, but with Korkoro, the audience is shaken awake to the still-present persecution that European gypsies undergo. This film shows Tuesday, April 26 at 7p.m.
After Korkoro, the next featured film is Bhutto. Duane Baughman, owner of a political consulting firm and Johnny O’Hara, a writer-producer-director whose 2008 film Fuel won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary, are the film’s creators. Baughman and O’Hara collaborated to piece together broken and often indistinguishable interviews and coverage material on Pakistan’s first woman Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto.
In an interview with The Examiner, Baughman shares Pakistan’s reaction to their film in saying, “It’s the first United States documentary that ever played in Pakistan. …It was actually taken out on trucks to rural areas and projected on the side of the trucks!” Bhutto shows Tuesday, April 26 at 9p.m.
Moving to untangle the ambiguities and behind-closed-doors decision-making in international law, the next film, War Don Don, or “war is over” in Krio, the national language of Sierra Leone, sets out to reveal the over-lapping voices behind the international war crimes trial of Issa Sesay. In her debut film, Rebecca Cohen succeeds to unravel the complexities involved in the trial the former commander of the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone’s 2002 Civil war, as it overlapped with resolving global issues and integrated corruption that oils the Sierra Leone government. This film shows Wednesday, April 27 at 4p.m.
For all the women’s movements advocates out there, the film !Women Art Revolution is just the documentary for you. Creator Lynn Hershman Leeson takes her audience back to the 1960’s and 70’s, when feminism was still in its inception. Angry and frustrated from the closed ears and unwelcomed criticism met by women’s rights movements, women were pushed to find other venues where they could make their voices heard.
With the rise of the feminist movement came the birth of women’s movements into art. Through Leeson’s riveting story-telling, the film shows that the discrimination encountered by women artists is still present today. Double standards still exist in the male-dominated art scene. !Woman Art Revolution shows Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m.
Three other films set for screening during the festival are: Nostalgia for the Light (April 27, 7p.m.), Mugabe and the White African (April 27, 9p.m.), Pink Saris (April 28, 4p.m.), and Soundtrack for a Revolution (April 28, 9p.m.). All films are free for UCSB students, while a festival pass for the general public costs $20 and a daily pass is $10.
“It’s an opportunity to understand what other’s people’s lives are like,” said Arts and Lectures Associate Director Roman Baratiak. “It [helps] put your life in perspective for you.”