2009 Human Rights Film Series
Mountain Top Removal
Throughout southern Appalachia, mountain top removal coal mining is on the rise blasting and leveling highland forests and streams. The process literally changes the geology of the region. Citizens negatively impacted by the resulting flooding, pollution, and destruction of their homes are fighting back to oppose big coals impact on their lives and communities. The film documents the struggles of local citizens to stop this mining practice, focusing on people who live in the shadows of a mountain area that is being surface mined..
Fast Food Nation
This highly controversial film, which premiered in theatres around the country in 2006, presents an admittedly one-sided view of the fast-food industry. It presents a fictional account of what is supposedly the real life conditions behind the hamburgers we consume at popular fast food restaurants. The film follows Don Anderson, the Marketing Director for the hamburger chain Mickey's, who helped develop the "The Big One," its most popular menu item. When he learns that independent research has discovered the presence of animal waste in the meat, he travels to Cody, Colorado to verify if the local slaughterhouse, the main supplier for Mickey's, is guilty of sloppy production techniques. A secondary plot deals with the exploitation of illegal immigrants from Mexico.
A Killer Bargain
This is a searing human rights documentary unveiling corporations profiting from Indian textile production through the massive use of pesticides, which kill indigenous workers and destroy their environment. A Killer Bargain illuminates thoroughly and convincingly the dark side of globalization, one in which desperately needed jobs in the Third World cause the shortening of lives of many working poor.
Some time in the 1960's, in the heart of Africa, a new animal was introduced into Lake Victoria as a little scientific experiment. The Nile Perch, a voracious predator, extinguished almost the entire stock of the native fish species. However, the new fish multiplied so fast, that its white fillets are today exported all around the world. Huge hulking ex-Soviet cargo planes come daily to collect the latest catch in exchange for their southbound cargo. This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world's biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots.
The film investigates the future as it exists today in Los Angeles. The Sundance Film Festival describes Frozen Angels as "a mesmerizing work that is not so much a science film as a startling conduit into the future of the American Dream, where children can be added to the shopping list." The film makes the connection between individual desire and a society that would seek to design its children. With no narration, the characters tell their own conflicting stories; viewers are asked to contemplate their own thoughts about the coming of the new eugenics and the world we will leave for the children being created.
An animated, coming-of-age story, Persepolis is the tale of a young Persian girl, the film's director Marjane "Marji" Satrapi, and her idealistic family. They witness the overthrow of their country's hated dictator, the Shah, during the Iranian Revolution in 1979. However, as Marji grows up, she sees firsthand how the new Iran, now ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, has become a repressive tyranny on its own. With Marji dangerously refusing to remain silent about injustice, her parents send her abroad to Vienna, hoping that she will find a better life. This change, however, proves to be a difficult trial, as the young woman finds herself in an alien culture loaded with abrasive characters and profound disappointment