2011 Human Rights Film Series
Afghan Star (2009)
After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, pop culture has returned to Afghanistan, and Afghan Star, an American Idol-style television series, is searching the country for the next generation of music stars. The organizers, Tolo TV, believe with this program they can "move people from guns to music." But in a troubled country like Afghanistan, even music is controversial. Despite being deemed sacrilegious by the mujahadeen and banned outright by the Taliban, music has come to symbolize freedom for Afghani youth.
Crossing Arizona (2006)
Americans on all sides of the issue are up in arms, and Congress is locked in a policy battle over immigration. Crossing Arizona shows how we got to this impasse. Heightened security in California and Texas has pushed illegal border-crossers into the treacherous Arizona desert in unprecedented numbers - an estimated 4,500 a day. Most are men in search of work, but increasingly the border-crossers are women and children seeking to reunite with their families. This influx of migrants crossing the desert and the death toll from exposure and exhaustion have elicited complicated feelings about human rights, culture, class, labor and national security.
Three years in the making, this cinema-verite feature is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet. The inside story of the infamous "Amazon Chernobyl" case, Crude is a real-life, high-stakes legal drama. The landmark case takes place in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, pitting 30,000 indigenous and other rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron. The plaintiffs claim that Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, spent three decades systematically poisoning the water, air and soil in one of the earth's most biologically diverse regions.
Food, Inc. (2008)
How much do we really know about the food we buy in our grocery stores and serve to our families? Food, Inc. lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing a highly mechanized system hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's principal food regulatory agencies, the USDA and FDA. The film reveals how a handful of corporations control most of our food. These corporations often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers or the environment.
The Age of Stupid (2009)
In the year 2055, when the world has been devastated by climate change, a man sees video from our era and wonders why we didn't stop climate change when we had the chance. He begins searching for clues. In an archive near the iceless Arctic, he uncovers the stories of six people who lived in the early decades of the twenty-first century: a New Orleans resident in the aftermath of Katrina, an Indian businessman whose dream was affordable air travel, two children who fled war-torn Iraq, an octogenarian alpinist who witnessed the glaciers' retreat, a stymied sustainable energy entrepreneur and a Nigerian woman impoverished despite her country's oil wealth. Each of these people lived before cities lay under water, before fire consumed the rainforest, before ice and snow disappeared and before nuclear war destroyed India. Through their stories, the film sheds light on how people are causing, and can halt, global warming.
They Killed Sister Dorothy (2008)
They Killed Sister Dorothy chronicles the legal proceedings that followed the execution-style murder of a Catholic nun and activist. At age 73, Sister Dorothy Stang had lived in Brazil for 30 years, collaborating with the government to establish sustainable development in a remote corner of the Amazon. But along the way, she had made enemies among the ranchers who stood to benefit from the exploitation of the rainforest and its natural resources. In 2005, she was shot six times at point-blank range. Two men were arrested for the killing, but it quickly became clear that her death was part of a much greater conspiracy.