WWU to host the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival on campus Feb. 21- March 3

  • "The Sacred Place Where Life Begins" tells the story of the women of the Gwich’in Alaska Native peoples and their efforts to speak out for their sacred land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
    "The Sacred Place Where Life Begins" tells the story of the women of the Gwich’in Alaska Native peoples and their efforts to speak out for their sacred land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival will feature 18 short and full-length films on Western Washington University’s campus between Feb. 22 and March 2 at Fairhaven College Auditorium (FCA), Academic West 204 (AW) and Communications Facility 115 (CF).

Free and open to the public, these films will explore critical human rights issues with the goal of promoting thoughtful dialog about the dilemmas facing us today.


Friday, Feb. 22

Disaster Capitalism (52 min) 7 p.m. (FCA):

The multi-billion dollar world of global development and aid entails a complex web of interests and movement. This investigative film reveals the investment industries and how aid dollars are spent. Co-presented with: Whatcom Human Rights Task Force.


Saturday, Feb. 23

Alive and Kicking: The Soccer Grannies of South Africa (20 min) 7 p.m. (FCA):

A group of South African grandmothers come together on the pitch for a weekly time for camaraderie and health in the face of poverty and community disruptions.

Burkinabe Rising (72 min) 7:30 p.m. (FCA)

Burkina Faso, a small landlocked country in West Africa, is home to a vibrant community of artists, musicians, and engaged citizens who carry on the revolutionary spirit behind a popular insurrection that overturned the country’s dictatorship. Co-presented with Allied Arts.


Sunday, Feb. 24

Plane Truths (33 min) 12 p.m. (FCA):

As the U.S. defense "Pivot to Asia” is being felt and heard through massive jet operations at the navy base on Whidbey Island, in western Washington, does making life unbearable for locals and wildlife become no more than collateral damage for ever-increasing militarization of our society? Co-presented with Veterans for Peace and Citizens of Ebey's Reserve. Facilitator: Melissa Young, film producer.

The Other Walla (19 min) 1 p.m. (FCA):

Latinx high school students in eastern Washington face uncertainties about lives and dreams, despite bright academic potentials, because of where they were born and how current immigrant policies undermine their futures. Co-presented with: Raid Relief for Families, American Association of University Women.

Children of the Civil Rights (60 min) 2 p.m. (FCA):

For six years, a group of youths repeatedly asked for services in the restaurants of Oklahoma City. While this never made national news, it was part of long and nonviolent activism that resulted in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Co-presented with Black Lives Matter Bellingham. Facilitator: Julia Clifford, the film’s director, discussion after next film.

The Issue of Mr. O’Dell (35 min) 3 p.m. (FCA):

In the early 1960s, Jack O’Dell was marching alongside Martin Luther King. At age 94, O’Dell eloquently recounts his organizing experiences and views—from early membership in the Communist Party to opinions on the current state of racial affairs in the U.S. including the Black Lives Matter movement. Co-presented with Black Lives Matter Bellingham. Facilitator: Rami Katz, film director.

Warrior Women (67 min) 7 p.m. (FCA):

The story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement. The film unveils not only a female perspective of history, but also the impact of political struggles on the children who bear witness. Co-presented with Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival.


Monday, Feb. 25

Patrimonio (83 min) 4:30 p.m. (AW):

When natural resources and a way of life are threatened by multinational interests, a group of fishermen rally their Baja community to protect water sources as well as the sea, through challenging their government, denouncing corruption, and demanding justice.


Thursday, Feb. 28

Water Warriors (22 min) 4 p.m. (CF):

When an energy company begins searching for natural gas in New Brunswick, Canada, First Nations and settler families unite to protect their water and way of life. An inspiring account of community priorities resisting the fossil fuel industry.

Indigenous Nation Blocks Pipeline (8 min) 4:25 p.m. (CF):

 This film highlights the recent efforts of the news of Unist’to’ten Yintah nation efforts to stop a gas pipeline in northern British Columbia. From TheRealNews.com

Keepers of the Future (24 min) 4:35 p.m. (CF):

Drawing on a courageous legacy of resistance to the violence of military governments in El Salvador, a tiny coastal hamlet continues commitment to community wellbeing and building resilience to climate change as well as pressures to cede their land to outside investors.


Monday, March 1

Transmilitary (93 min) 7 p.m. (FCA):

Around 15,500 transgender people serve in the U.S. military. The film chronicles four individuals who defend their country’s freedom while fighting for their own, and how they put careers and family livelihoods on the line by coming out as transgender.


Saturday, March 2

The Sacred Place Where Life Begins (19 min) 12 p.m. (FCA):

Gwich’in women speak out for their sacred land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, inspiring people around the world and in our own communities to recognize and oppose the revived threat of oil and gas development in the far north. Co-presented with Sierra Club. Facilitator: Miho Aida, film director, via Skype.

Redefining Prosperity (57 min) 12:45 p.m. (FCA):

A small Sierra mountain town whose legacy of mining and timber extraction included severe ecological degradation and human rights abuses comes together around the battle to save a beautiful pristine river. Co-presented with Transition Whatcom and Sustainable Connections.

Land (8 min) 2:15 p.m. (FCA):

A film focusing on he fears associated with human search for refuge. Co-presented with Amnesty International.

The Unafraid (87 min) 2:30 p.m. (FCA):

Follows the personal lives of three DACA students in Georgia, a state that has banned them from attending top state universities and disqualified them from receiving in-state tuition at any other public college. Co-presented with AAUW.

Singing Our Way to Freedom (87 min) 7 p.m. (FCA):

A vibrant, multilayered look at the life of Chicano musician, composer and community activist Ramon ‘Chunky’ Sanchez. In a life that encompassed the picket lines in California fields with Cesar Chavez, to social justice campaigns of our day, he and his music were beloved favorites at rallies and demonstrations for over four decades. Co-presented with: WPJC, Kulshan Chorus, Jobs for Justice. Facilitator: Paul Espinoza, film director.


For more information, go to https://bhrff.webs.com/.


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Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 1:04pm