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Social Sciences

Human Rights


Director: Matthew Ornstein

Musician Daryl Davis has an unusual hobby. He's played all over the world with legends like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, but it's what Daryl does in his free time that sets him apart. In an effort to find out how anyone can "hate me without knowing me," he takes an interesting line of research. Daryl likes to meet and befriend members of the Ku Klux Klan - something few black men can say. In his travels, he's collected robes and other artifacts from friends who have left the Klan, building a collection piece by piece, story by story, and person by person in hopes of eventually opening a "Museum of the Klan" - a testimony to what knowledge and respectful, personal communication can accomplish. In Accidental Courtesy, Daryl's journey takes him across the country, from DC to California, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Alabama, from old friends who have left the Klan, to friends still active in the organization, including a current Imperial Wizard of the KKK. In an age of digital disconnection, Daryl's method is rooted in personal interaction and we as viewers reap the rewards.

DVD / 2016 / 96 minutes

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Directed by Michael Honey

An exploration of nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Rev. James Lawson.

LOVE & SOLIDARITY is an exploration of nonviolence and organizing through the life and teachings of Rev. James Lawson. Lawson provided crucial strategic guidance while working with Martin Luther King, Jr., in southern freedom struggles and the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968. Moving to Los Angeles in 1974, Lawson continued his nonviolence organizing in multi-racial community and worker coalitions that have helped to remake the LA labor movement.

Through interviews and historical documents, acclaimed labor and civil rights historian Michael Honey and award-winning filmmaker Errol Webber put Lawson's discourse on nonviolent direct action on the front burner of today's struggles against economic inequality, racism and violence, and for human rights, peace, and economic justice.

DVD / 2016 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 38 minutes

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Directors: Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky

Lifta is the only Arab village abandoned in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that has not been completely destroyed or repopulated by Jews. Its ruins are now threatened by an Israeli development plan that would convert it into an upscale Jewish neighborhood. Discovering that his parents' Holocaust experiences may have distorted his views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Menachem - the filmmaker and an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn - sets out to establish a personal relationship with a Palestinian. He meets Yacoub, who was expelled from Lifta and now leads the struggle to save the haunting ruins of his village from Israeli plans to build luxury villas on the site. Learning that Lifta was once a place where Jews and Arabs got along, Menachem joins Yacoub's campaign in the hopes that Lifta can serve as a place of reflection and reconciliation. This sets up a climactic encounter between a Holocaust survivor and a Nakba refugee amidst the ruins of Lifta.

DVD / 2016 / 77 minutes

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Director: Amber Fares

The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, Speed Sisters takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you could.

DVD (Arabic and English with English subtitles) / 2016 / 80 minutes

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Director: Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker

Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. Arguing that cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights, Steve and his legal team are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform a chimpanzee from a "thing" with no rights to a "person" with legal protections. Unlocking the Cage captures a monumental shift in our culture, as the public and judicial system show increasing receptiveness to Steve's impassioned arguments. It is an intimate look at a lawsuit that could forever transform our legal system, and one man's lifelong quest to protect "nonhuman" animals.

DVD / 2016 / 91 minutes

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Director: Atsushi Funahashi

Nuclear Nation II follows a new group of people exiled from Futaba, the region occupied by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Since the 1960s, Futaba had been promised prosperity with tax breaks and major subsidies to make up for the presence of the plant... until the townspeople lost their homeland on March 11, 2011.

The film portrays their lives as refugees in an abandoned high school, and in temporary housing. The political fallout from the nuclear disaster results in conflict between residents, and the mayor is forced to resign. Many decide to move back to Fukushima prefecture, just outside the evacuation zone. The town finds itself divided by the arbitrariness of evacuation, radiation levels, and compensation guidelines from the plant's operator. And then, the Japanese government announces a plan to turn Futaba into an official, literal wasteland.

Is it possible to truly compensate the townspeople for what they have lost? Through their agonies and frustrations, the film questions the real cost of nuclear energy and unbridled capitalism. But perhaps more important, this film gives a fully textured, all-access account of governmental bureaucracy's attempt and ultimate incapacity to adequately deal with displaced peoples. This is a problem we continue to face: Hurricane Katrina uprooted over a million people in the Gulf Coast region, more than a million migrants and refugees entered Europe in 2015, and over 11 million unauthorized immigrants seek home in the United States. There are over 60 million refugees worldwide.

Teachers and students looking to understand the depth of challenges facing the fair and efficient administration of human rights in times of crisis will be pleased to find Nuclear Nation II.

DVD (Japanese with English subtitles) / 2015 / 114 minutes

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Directed by David Evans

Two elderly men possess starkly contrasting attitudes towards their high-ranking Nazi fathers. A study of brutality, self-deception, guilt and the nature of justice.

A bracingly rigorous examination of inherited guilt and pain, WHAT OUR FATHERS DID explores the relationship between two men, each of whom are the children of very high-ranking Nazi officials but possess starkly contrasting attitudes toward their fathers.

The film was written and is hosted by eminent human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, who became fascinated by its central figures, Niklas Frank and Horst von Wachter, while researching the Nuremberg trials.

The film comes to a climax when they travel to Lviv in Ukraine, where it becomes clear that Frank and von Wachter's Nazi fathers were responsible for the annihilation of Sands' own Jewish grandfather's entire family. WHAT OUR FATHERS DID is a compelling examination of brutality, self-deception, guilt and the nature of justice.

"This is both an intensely personal story for me as well as one with contemporary and universal relevance as anti-Semitism spreads across Europe and the wounds created in Ukraine during WWII can still be felt today." - Philippe Sands

DVD / 2015 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 92 minutes

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Directed by Rachel Lears, Robin Blotnick

Shy sandwich-maker Mahoma Lopez unites his undocumented immigrant coworkers to fight abusive conditions at a popular New York restaurant chain.

At a popular bakery cafe, residents of New York's Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. But behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick. Mild-mannered sandwich maker Mahoma Lopez has never been interested in politics, but in January 2012, he convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back.

Risking deportation and the loss of their livelihood, the workers team up with a diverse crew of innovative young organizers and take the unusual step of forming their own independent union, launching themselves on a journey that will test the limits of their resolve. In one roller-coaster year, they must overcome a shocking betrayal and a two-month lockout. Lawyers will battle in back rooms, Occupy Wall Street protesters will take over the restaurant, and a picket line will divide the neighborhood. If they can win a contract, it will set a historic precedent for low-wage workers across the country. But whatever happens, Mahoma and his coworkers will never be exploited again.

DVD / 2014 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 84 minutes

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Director: Guillaume Suon

Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians work abroad, and over a third have been sold as slaves. Most are young women, held prisoner and forced to work in horrific conditions, sometimes as prostitutes. Featuring brutally candid testimony, The Storm Makers is a chilling expose of Cambodia's human trafficking underworld and an eye-opening look at the complex cycle of poverty, despair and greed that fuels this modern slave trade.

At the age of 16, Aya was sold to work as a maid in Malaysia. She was exploited, beaten and eventually ran away, only to be captured and raped. When she returns to Cambodia with an infant son, just as poor as when she left, her mother greets her not with joy, but with anger that her daughter has come back with yet another mouth to feed instead of money. "I should have died over there," says Aya in a singsong, childlike voice that masks the horrors she endured.

Pou Houy, 52, is a successful trafficker who runs a recruitment agency in Phnom Penh and claims to have sold more than 500 girls. Shockingly outspoken and expressing no remorse, he sees himself as a smart businessman and good Christian.

Pou Houy's enterprise relies on local recruiters who bring him candidates from their rural communities. One of these is Ming Dy, who sold her own daughter and continues to supply Houy with new recruits from her village. In one wrenching scene, Ming Dy's husband cannot bring himself to speak to his daughter when she calls from a new job abroad, where she earns a dollar a day. "I told my wife not to sell young people from the village," he says. "Buddha condemns those who sell people like animals."

As Amnesty International, the United Nations, other NGOs, and governments argue over the best way to protect vulnerable migrants, The Storm Makers shows the real consequences for individuals, their families and communities.

DVD (Khmer with English Subtitles) / 2014 / 66 minutes

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Directed by Martha Shane, Lane Wilson

Sheds a humanistic light on the heated abortion debate by going inside the lives of the last four doctors in America who openly provide third-trimester abortions.

Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in May 2009, there are only four American doctors left who openly provide third-trimester abortions. AFTER TILLER paints a complex, compassionate portrait of these physicians--Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Dr. Warren Hern, Dr. Susan Robinson and Dr. Shelley Sella--who have become the new number-one targets of the anti-abortion movement, yet continue to risk their lives every day to do work that many believe is murder, but which they believe is profoundly important for their patients' lives.

The film weaves together revealing, in-depth interviews with the doctors with intimate verite scenes from their lives and inside their clinics, where they counsel and care for their anxious, vulnerable patients at an important crossroads in their lives. By sharing the moving stories of several of these patients, AFTER TILLER illuminates the experiences of women who seek late abortions and the reasons why they do so.

DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2013 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 88 minutes

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Director: Freida Mock

An entire country watched transfixed as a poised, beautiful African-American woman in a blue dress sat before a Senate committee of 14 white men and with a clear, unwavering voice recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had endured while working with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. That October day in 1991 Anita Hill, a bookish law professor from Oklahoma, was thrust onto the world stage and instantly became a celebrated, hated, venerated, and divisive figure. She has become an American icon, empowering millions of women and men around the world to stand up for equality and justice.

Against a backdrop of sex, politics, and race, ANITA reveals the intimate story of a woman who spoke truth to power. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, the film is both a celebration of Anita Hill's legacy and a rare glimpse into her private life with friends and family, many of whom were by her side that fateful day 22 years ago. Anita Hill courageously speaks openly and intimately for the first time about her experiences that led her to testify before the Senate and the obstacles she faced in simply telling the truth. Anita Hill's graphic testimony was a turning point for gender equality in the U.S. and ignited a political firestorm about sexual misconduct and power in the workplace that resonates still today.

DVD / 2013 / 77 minutes

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Director: Daniel Karslake

Every three seconds someone in the world dies from factors related to extreme poverty - 30,000 people a day and 10.5 million a year. The sheer magnitude can be overwhelming, causing people to ask the question, "What can one person do, to possibly make a difference?"

The movie, through its portraits of five ordinary folks, will show audiences that each one of us has the potential to do great things to change the world. We hope to inspire a movement and uncover a new wave of change agents and previously untapped resources.

DVD / 2013 / 100 minutes

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Director: Drew Taylor and Larry Weinstein

"In 1979 we found ourselves in an impossible situation. We had three CIA operatives in Tehran, but all three had been taken hostage in the American Embassy with the others. In those troubled days, we reached out to the Canadians. Ambassador Ken Taylor became our greatest asset. He was our man in Tehran." - President Jimmy Carter

Our Man in Tehran is an in- depth, intimate exploration of the true story behind Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning film Argo. In this gripping new documentary, the story of the "Canadian Caper" is told by the man who knows it best: Ken Taylor, Canada's former ambassador to Iran, who hid the six Americans in his official residence and obtained the counterfeit documents that allowed them to make their dramatic escape from Tehran. Based on Robert Wright's book, the film uncovers new information and adds valuable context, including an historical overview of Iran, interviews with the rescued Americans, former Prime Minister Joe Clark, ex-CIA officer Tony Mendez, and many others.

DVD / 2013 / 85 minutes

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Directed by Ben Achtenberg

Refugees, asylees and caregivers share their stories to help professionals and volunteers understand the needs of the more than a million survivors of torture rebuilding lives in the US.

It's estimated that more than a million refugees, asylum-seekers and other immigrants to the United States have been victims of politically motivated torture. They come here from all parts of the world -- some legally, some undocumented, some with families and some very much alone. They live in major American cities and in small towns. Some survivors bear visible scars, but many more have been wounded in ways that remain hidden.

Advocates for torture survivors, dedicated healthcare and social service professionals, and hundreds of citizen volunteers have united to create programs throughout the country that provide care and support to survivors who have come here to make new lives.

This documentary highlights five treatment and support programs in Minneapolis, Atlanta, the Boston Area, and Washington, DC. Based on interviews with dozens of survivors and with the professionals and volunteers who are helping them to heal, this film is a tribute to their courage and dedication, and a call to action.

DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2013 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 57 minutes

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Directed by Christopher McLeod

Aboriginal Australians and Native Hawaiians reclaim land from the government and the military, and resist the erosion of culture and environment.

Native Hawaiians and Aboriginal Australians resist threats to their sacred places in a growing international movement to defend human rights and protect the environment. In Australia's Northern Territory, Aboriginal clans maintain Indigenous Protected Areas and resist the destructive effects of a mining boom. In Hawai`i, indigenous ecological and spiritual practices are used to restore the sacred island of Kaho`olawe after 50 years of military use as a bombing range.

Featuring Patrick Dodson (Yawuru), Emmett Aluli and Davianna McGregor (Hawai`i), Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe), Oren Lyons (Onondaga), Satish Kumar and Barry Lopez.

DVD / 2013 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adult) / 57 minutes

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Directed by Christopher McLeod

In the Altai Republic of Russia and in Northern California, indigenous shamans resist massive government projects that threaten nature and culture.

In the Russian Republic of Altai, traditional native people create their own mountain parks, to rein in tourism and resist a gas pipeline that would cut through a World Heritage Site. In northern California, Winnemem Wintu girls grind herbs on a sacred medicine rock, as elders protest U.S. government plans to enlarge one of the West's biggest dams and forever submerge this touchstone of a tribe.

Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe), Oren Lyons (Onondaga), Satish Kumar and Barry Lopez provide insights on a growing global indigenous movement for human rights and environmental protection.

DVD / 2013 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adult) / 57 minutes

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Directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black

Six young Maya present a wholly indigenous perspective, in which all life is sacred and connected, as they resist the destruction of their culture and environment.

Featured at every Central and South American Human Rights film festival, HEART OF SKY, HEART OF EARTH follows six young Maya in Guatemala and Chiapas through their daily and ceremonial life. They put forth a wholly indigenous Mayan perspective in their own words, without narration. Their cosmology, in which all life is sacred and interconnected, presents a deeply compelling alternative to the prevailing worldview.

As giant corporations go to the ends of the earth to extract all resources, these Maya reveal their determination to resist the destruction of their culture and environment. they believe they are the guardians of the earth. Each of their stories touches upon a facet of the current global crisis.

Beautifully filmed, the intimate accounts of the protagonists interweave with images associated with the fragile beauty of nature and the creation myth of the Popol Vuh. Ruins of a former Mayan civilization stand in the background as harbingers of our own possible fate.

DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 98 minutes

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(The voices in this film emerge despite state censorship and repression. Exceptional in a country living in fear, they tell the chronicle of a forbidden Iran.)

While winds of freedom blow through the Arab world, the Iranian youth waits. They were the first to rise up against their leaders in 2009. The first to tweet, Facebook and post YouTube updates, filming the fallout of their failed revolution on camera phones. Now, Iran has closed itself off to the Western press, making it difficult to get the inside story from the outside.

For the past two years, Manin Loiseau has been following a group of Iranians inside Iran. Many lost loved ones or were tortured themselves in the aftermath of the elections. Piecing together interviews, footage from hidden cameras, YouTube clips and more, she paints a vivid portrait of the aftermath of the Green Revolution.

DVD / 2011 / (Senior High, College) / 78 minutes

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With the Iranian revolution of 1979 came the harsh imposition of Sharia law and the repression, persecution, state-sanctioned discrimination and murder of women. Over the last 30 years, the women's fight for freedom and equality led to an inner awakening. In 2003, Shirin Ebadi became the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian citizen to receive the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize acknowledging her courageous efforts for democracy and human rights in Iran.

Her crowning achievement inspired Iranian women to begin what has become the most powerful movement for reform in Iran's history, the One Million Signature campaign. The bravery of these women is remarkable as they risk their lives to gain freedoms under one of the world's most repressive regimes. Lion Women chronicles the untold story of the Iranian Women's Movement and its fight for democracy and human rights.

The fight culminated in Teheran's bloody streets in 2009 when the Lion Women were joined by hundreds of thousands protesting the controversial presidential election. For the first time, Iranian women reveal to the world their heartbreaking stories in this powerful documentary directed by filmmaker Gry Winther, who stood shoulder to shoulder with the Lion Women in Teheran amid the brutality and violence.

DVD / 2011 / (Senior High, College) / 52 minutes

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