The University of San Francisco will be holding its eighth annual free Human Rights Film Festival today through Feb. 20. The festival will give a glimpse of the human rights that are violated daily around the globe. The films will offer perspectives on the world’s problems and perhaps hint at some solutions. The festival is also allowing USF student filmmakers to express their thoughts about conflicts on this planet, using cameras as their weapon to promote peace.
This festival was organized by Professor Susana Kaiser and the students of the human rights and film class in the media studies department.
Starting at 1 p.m. on Feb. 18, USF students’ short films will be shown to the public at the USF Presentation Theatre at 2350 Turk Blvd. Topics include negative portrayals of women and what the media think physical beauty should be, in a seven-minute film called, “Skinny, Sexy, Synthetic.” The directors, USF senior Meghan Raab and sophomore Daniela Ricci-Tam have spent time creating a film that shows the way modern media breaks down the self-esteem of young women.
Another USF film director, Kate Elston, made an evocative film about her travels to Lima, Peru, called “Generacion.” It was there that she encountered and witnessed the police brutality against the marginalized citizens of that country. This compelled her to create an eleven-minute film that comments on these issues.
Student and film director Erika Myszynski put together a piece that covers the Ugandans’ attempts to discuss peace in their war-torn country.
Along with these student films, feature films by award-winning directors will also be shown throughout the three-day festival. One of these, “The Reckoning: The Battle For The International Criminal Court,” will show the struggle the International Criminal Court has to face in order to find and prosecute those who have committed genocide and war atrocities.
“Ask Not,” is another thought-provoking film that is brought to USF by the USF LGBT Caucus. Director Johnny Symons examines the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for homosexuals in the United States military. The film has a running time of 73 minutes, and will comment on the stance that universities have about the inequalities brought on by what is said to be a democratically-run military. How this policy of, “don’t ask, don’t tell,” affects the way homosexual soldiers carry out their duty in war will be told through this powerful film.
Many other professional filmmakers who have devoted their lives to making a difference in the world will be presenting their films at the USF Human Rights Film Festival, to remind viewers of problems such as the illegal oil spill in the Amazon River of Ecuador, poverty and possible solutions that could build a better world, and an Emmy-award-winning documentary called “Made in L.A.” which shows the life and struggle of Latino immigrants in Southern California.
Director Michealene Cristini Risley’s 2009 feature film, “Tapestries of Hope,” will also be playing. The film sheds light upon the issue of Zimbabwean men raping young girls in the mistaken belief that this practice will cure HIV/AIDS.
Many more documentaries and films will be presented at the festival, for which attendance is free to the public. Any donations go towards aid for Haiti’s recovery from the recent earthquake.
To go along with this lineup of films, Haitian bands and dance groups will be there to perform during film intermissions.
For more information, go to www.usfca.edu/mediastudies/hrw.