The systematic repression of indigenous peoples of Guatemala led to a bloody armed conflict from 1960 to 1996 that left behind more than 200,000 dead, most of whom were Maya. In an environment of fear and threats, the photographer Miquel Dewever-Plana documented the exhumation process and gathered testimonies of numerous victims. Years later, he returns to the Mayan communities to bring his book to those who had shared their stories.
Sonia Warshawski at ninety has been an inspirational public speaker at schools and prisons for years. Her stories of surviving the Holocaust as a teenager have inspired countless people who once felt their own traumas would leave them broken forever. When Sonia is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop, she’s confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop, or retire. Staying busy has kept the dark parts away. Now that Sonia faces retirement, her horrific past resurfaces.
Narrated with the words of the men who survived, brought to life with thousands of individual paper cutouts, And We Were Young is an animated oral history of American soldiers, a story of the ‘Doughboys’ in France in the last months of the Great War. Filmed in luminous Ektachrome on an old Russian Super 8 camera, the film is both brutal and beautiful; a painting of an unforgettable picture of the “War to End All Wars.”
“1989” is the story of Prime Minister Miklós Németh of Hungary, and at the same time it is the inside story of the events leading to the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Németh plays himself in reenactments making novel use of historical film. As the plot unfolds young Németh takes power as a reformer amongst hardliners but events accelerate as he takes down the border fence. His survival and triumph are portrayed in archival video.
For three months in 2015, a group of Syrian girls living in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan participated in a media workshop designed to empower them to tell their own stories and those of the surrounding community. Given cameras and encouragement, these young women set out and created the seven short films depicting their experience and reality. The resulting work is named “Waves of Childhood” by one of the girls of the group.
The U.S. military faces a mental health crisis of historic proportions. “Thank You For Your Service” seeks to reveal the reality of war trauma and the failed policies that have brought us to where we are. Director Tom Donahue weaves compelling interviews from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen, Generals David Patraeus and Loree Sutton and others with the tales of four struggling veterans, and we learn about the wounded warriors who need our help.
“Rwanda & Juliet” follows eccentric Ivy League professor Andrew Garrod to Kigali, Rwanda, where he mounts Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with Rwandan college students from both Hutu and Tutsi backgrounds. Predominantly orphans, the cast of young Rwandans tackle their country’s past and their own futures. Hopes, expectations, pasts, personalities and cultures collide as opening night approaches.
This hard-hitting inside look at the ongoing conflict in South Sudan presents a close-up view of everyday wartime life in the Nuba Mountains. The film is shot both in the refugee camp where women and their starving children, such as Madina, have fled, and village life under a siege in which Nuba men are daily forced to defend themselves against attacks from Sudanese troops. Their personal stories, told alongside skirmishes and bombings, create a riveting commentary of the effects of war on civilians.
Filmmaker Brusilovsky takes us for a nostalgic tour of his family history as he unfolds the life of his mother. Leveraging family photo albums and home movies, along with archival material, he brings his mother’s experience to life. The film is a saga revealing how history, culture and politics affected and shaped his mother’s impressive life in this heartfelt tribute.
The incredible journey of John Nance Garner, from a two-horse Texas town to the corridors of power in Washington. The hard-charging “Cactus Jack” becomes the most influential vice president in modern history and the muscle behind The New Deal. The film traces Nance’s career from his ‘safe’ district in Texas that elected him to congress for 30 years to his eight year stint as FDR’s back-room deal-making vice president.
The island of Culebra, located off the coast of Puerto Rico, has one of the richest ecosystems in the Caribbean. Just beneath the waves, however, sit countless amounts of unexploded World War II-era munitions, prompting activists, fishermen, and former military to come together in an attempt to restore the coral reefs.
In English and Spanish with English subtitles
Part of our “Women Filmmakers” and “Saturday Shorts 4” special programs.