One of the oldest solely documentary film festivals in the United States, UNAFF has earned the respect of audiences and filmmakers alike for its independence and integrity, with many of its selections going on to win Oscars and other major awards. For the sixth time, the Arts Arena curates a two-day screening as part of UNAFF’s 8th Traveling Film Festival and in the presence of its founder Jasmina Bojic.
BACK THEN, NOW, AND THEN WHAT? Remembering When Choices Were Made is a curated selection of films that looks back at “then,’” when determining societal choices of the last century were made, and at the defining choices before us now, and asks, “Then What?”
Films to be screened:
May 10, starting at 14h30
BACK THEN. Who Remembers?
The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today (57’). USA. Director/Producer: Jay Rosenstein
California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown (56’). USA. Director : Sasha Rice. Producers: Julia Mintz, Sascha Rice, Hilary Armstrong. (French subtitles)
A Flicker in Eternity (25’). Japan/USA. Director : Sharon Yamato, Ann Kaneko. Producer: Joanne Oppenheim
JFK: A President Betrayed (90’). Austria/Germany/Russia/USA. Director: Cory Taylor. Producer: Darin Nellis.
Alumbrones (72′). Brazil/Cuba/USA. Director/Producer: Bruce Donnelly.
A reception will be held between films.
May 11, starting at 19h00
NOW, AND THEN WHAT? Who Will Remember?
Bidder 70 (73′). USA. Directors/Producers: Beth Gage, George Gage.
Surviving Progress (86′). Canada/USA. Directors: Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks. Producer: Martin Scorsese.
A glass of wine will follow the screenings.
Unless otherwise indicated, these synopses are based on those of UNAFF.
The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today
She was called “that awful woman” by her neighbors and “that atheist mother” by virtually every newspaper in the country, and branded a Communist. The reason: Vashti McCollum, a young mother of three, filed a historic lawsuit in 1945 that would profoundly change the relationship between religion and public schools in America. This is the personal story behind one of the most important and landmark First Amendment cases in US history.
California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown
The story of how one man shaped the future of modern California. Rather than lionizing Brown, the film looks critically at his odyssey to build a “super state,” raising issues that transcend eras and geographic borders. Told from his granddaughter’s perspective, through interviews, archival footage, and cinema vérité, this portrait provides a template for what we can and should expect from our leaders today. English with French subtitles.
A Flicker in Eternity
The true story of Stanley Hayami, a young boy who chronicled his turbulent life and times in a diary that he kept while living behind barbed wire from 1942 to 1944, interned in the US because he was of Japanese origins. Deeply personal, poignant, and funny, this coming-of-age tale chronicles the internment and military service of a life with remarkable promise and puts a human face on one of the most shameful chapters in US history.
JFK: A President Betrayed
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy remains among the most controversial issues of the 20th century. Narrated by Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman, the film reveals the bold behind-the-scenes policy initiatives taken by JFK to reverse years of US government policy, including secret peace efforts with Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, and other sworn American enemies. It also documents how his initiatives were subverted by top US officials, provoked resentment among his own top military advisers, and how the world might be different had he lived.
A selection of multiple film festivals and the recipient of rave reviews, this is a documentary about life in Cuba as seen through the eyes, lives, and works of twelve contemporary Cuban artists. Moving from the troubled “special period” following the collapse of the Soviet Union to the uncertain future and radical changes Cuba faces, this is a film that captures the “then” and “now” of a country at a moment of significant transformation. (Alumbrones press kit)
On December 19th, 2008, Tim DeChristopher, known as Bidder #70, derailed the Bush Administration’s widely disputed federal BLM Oil and Gas lease auction, effectively safeguarding 22,000 acres of pristine Utah land. Bidding $1.7 million with no intention to pay or drill, Tim bought enough time for the incoming Obama Administration to invalidate the auction, and drew national attention to America’s energy policy and criticism of the BLM’s management of public lands. A personal story of citizen action and peaceful civil disobedience, demanding government and industry accountability.
Surviving Progress (86’)
Humanity’s ascent is often measured by the speed of progress. But what if progress is actually spiraling us downwards, towards collapse? As pressure on the world’s resources accelerates, can our globally entwined civilization escape a final, catastrophic progress trap? With potent images and illuminating insights from thinkers who have probed our genes, our brains, and our social behavior, this requiem to progress-as-usual challenges us to prove that making apes smarter was not an evolutionary dead-end.