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2008 Human Rights Film Series

 

Black Gold

Multinational coffee companies now rule our shopping malls and supermarkets and dominate the industry worth over $80 billion, making coffee the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil.But while we continue to pay for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price paid to coffee farmers remains so low that many have been forced to abandon their coffee fields.  Nowhere is this paradox more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Tadesse Meskela is one man on a mission to save his 74,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality coffee beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price.

Against the backdrop of Tadesse's journey to London and Seattle, the enormous power of the multinational players that dominate the world's coffee trade becomes apparent. New York commodity traders, the international coffee exchanges, and the double dealings of trade ministers at the World Trade Organisation reveal the many challenges Tadesse faces in his quest for a long term solution for his farmers. (Source: www.blackgoldmovie.com)

Maquilapolis

Millions of maquiladora workers produce televisions, electrical cables, toys, clothes, batteries and IV tubes; they weave the very fabric of life for consumer nations. Just over the border in Mexico is an area peppered with maquiladoras: massive factories often owned by the world's largest multinational corporations. Carmen and Lourdes work at maquiladoras in Tijuana, where each day they confront labor violations, environmental devastation and urban chaos. In this lyrical documentary, the women reach beyond the daily struggle for survival to organize for change, taking on both the Mexican and U.S. governments and a major television manufacturer. A co-production of the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Source: PBS)

Death on a Friendly Border

The border that runs between Tijuana and San Diego is the most heavily militarized border between "friendly" countries anywhere in the world. Since 1994 when the U.S. instituted Operation Gatekeeper, an average of one person a day has died crossing into the U.S. The policy has been condemned by the UN Commissioner of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

This poignant film puts a human face on a tragedy that occurs daily.  (Source: Adademic Video Store)

10

10 (Ten) is perhaps the quintessential Kiarostami film, because it has taken his minimalist tendencies to an extreme. It is set entirely inside an automobile and has only two camera setups: one directed towards the driver and the other directed towards the passenger in the front seat. The film comprises ten dialogues between a young nameless woman and various people, mostly other women, in her life. Thus the film is exclusively a set of medium close-ups, and this gives the film a certain spare intensity. Kiarostami, himself, was not even present when the camera shots were taken, thereby maximising his direct cinema credentials - his physical absence thereby presumably shielding him from the charge that he could manipulate (and thereby make artificial) the performances. Instead, he set his amateur actors, driver and passenger, off into the Tehran traffic with the camera running. After collecting 23 hours of footage, he selected what he wanted in order to produce a 90-minute film. (Source: Film Sufi)

Faces of Change

"Oppression is the same everywhere.... These dusty African children are the same as the dusty children of India," says an Indian activist. Oppression is the common denominator between the causes of five global crusaders in Faces of Change.

God Grew Tired of Us

 Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, God Grew Tired of Us explores the indomitable spirit of three "Lost Boys" from the Sudan who leave their homeland, triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversities and move to America, where they build active and fulfilling new lives but remain deeply committed to helping the friends and family they have left behind.

Sophie Scholl

Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (German: Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage) is a 2005 German film by director Marc Rothemund and writer Fred Breinersdorfer. It is about the last days in the life of Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old member of the anti-Nazi non-violent student resistance group the White Rose, part of the German Resistance movement. She was found guilty of high treason by the People's Court and executed the same day, February 22, 1943.

The film was presented at the Berlinale in 2005 and won Silver Bear awards for Best Director and Best Actress (Julia Jentsch). It was nominated in September 2005 for an Oscar in the category Best Foreign Language Film. (Source: Wikipedia)