Women Artists in Action for Immigrant Social Justice
120 min: Festival Opening film followed by Talk Back with artists, activists & audience
The Long Ride by Valerie Lapin Ganley (2017, USA 77 min doc) The Long Ride is a timely feature-length documentary about the historic 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride that sparked the new Civil Rights Movement for immigrant workers in the United States. Alarmed by increasing abuse of immigrants in the workplace, more than 900 immigrants and allies traveled across America to focus public attention on the plight of immigrant workers and to call for reform of the broken immigration system. They were inspired by the 1961 Civil Rights Movement Freedom Riders who risked their lives fighting to end segregation. The film chronicles their journey and the on-going fight for immigrant rights to this day. With Freedom Riders as our navigators, the film puts a human face on this controversial issue and examines the human costs as lawmakers consider overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.
About Valerie Lapin Ganley (confirmed): In 1998, with more than twenty years of political activism, union organizing and documentary filmmaking experience, Valerie founded Share Productions, a video production company that produces and distributes documentaries and educational videos about race, class, labor, and immigration issues with a focus on the challenges and benefits that ethnic and religious diversity bring to society. Share Productions strives to create entertaining and informative programs that foster greater understanding among people of different cultures, raise consciousness, stimulate dialogue and move people to action. “As I make documentaries, I am not only informed by my experiences as an activist, but I am inspired by the people I have met while fighting to improve workplace rights, end war and racism, protect the environment, and gain equal rights for members of the LGBT community,” says Lapin Ganley. Valerie won two Emmy Awards as Associate Producer for KQED’s Bay Window series for the programs Price of Prosperity: Squeezed Out, and Heart of the Game. She Associate Produced and directed publicity for Not in Our Town, the story of Billings, Montana residents who joined together to fight against anti-Semitism and white supremacist activity, which aired on PBS.
Director’s Statement: “In 2013, the Senate passed Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I thought the dream of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride would soon be fulfilled. I set out to make an historical film about social movement building and how to achieve social justice goals. But Tea Party Republicans in the House prevailed and convinced the Republican leaders to prevent the bill from coming up for a vote. Then Donald Trump ran and won the presidency… The work of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride continues, and the long ride just got longer.”
Women’s Work– Lights, Camera, ACTION!
90 minutes: 5 dramatic shorts and Filmmaker Panel
Kiko by Felix Martiz (confirmed) (2018 USA 30 min). Award winning Latinx filmmaker Felix Martiz premieres his new short film “Kiko” about family separation, deportation and identity. “Following Maria and her experience as a working-class undocumented Latina and single-mother, we confront a multitude of barriers and injustices faced by even the most deserving and driven undocumented people in the U.S.”
Single, undocumented, and stuck in a dead-end job after high school, Maria tries to make ends meet for her young daughter. Kiko, her supervisor and former schoolmate, and Maria’s friendship is tested when ICE raids the factory.
Five O’ Clock Shadow by and with Sangeeta Agrawal (confirmed) (2017 USA 7 min). Award winning stage and screen actor Sangeeta Agrawal’s first film, Five O’ Clock Shadow, “comes from a very personal place as an Indian-American mother. The story came to me the morning after the Kansas shooting of two South Asian men. It shocked the community and made headlines all over the world.”
The story of an Indian-American mother who is the victim of racial abuse as her worst fear rises to the surface and for the first time ever, she asks the question: Do we really belong here?
Infill & Full Set by Hai Dao (pending) (2018 UK 15 min). An American premiere of Hai Dao’s new short film previewed at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival – Short Film Corner, explores “the unexpected challenges and complications that continuously occur to severely try the resilience of …illegal migrants.”
Undocumented, Huong is heavily pregnant and being hunted by the UK immigration authorities. Ceaselessly searching for employment as a nail technician in Vietnamese owned nail salons to support herself, she faces ethical trials.
They Call us Maids – The Domestic Workers’ Story by Leeds Animation Cooperative. (2015 UK 7 min). Set up in the late 1970s to produce and distribute animated films on social issues, the Leeds Animation Workshop remains an independent, not-for-profit co-operative run by women.
The true story of today’s migrant domestic workers, women from the Philippines, Indonesia, North Africa and South-East Asia, who go abroad to support their families. Told in vivid, hand-painted animation by the Maids in this women’s creative workshop.
Horizon by Lee Cipolla with Belen Oyola-Rebaza (2017 USA 20 min). Festival award-winner, Horizon is Lee’s most recent short. His directorial features include “Harder They Fall” and “Know Thy Enemy” distributed by Lionsgate.
When a young Native American man collides with a migrant woman on the outskirts of an isolated reservation, all hope seems lost when he assumes she’s dead, but upon awakening, a story of compassion and heartbreak unfolds.
New Voices of Immigration: Student/Youth Shorts Program
90 minutes: all film forms, film school student projects with Filmmaker Panel
Identidad by Ava Ross, Peter Sullivan, & Teal Chilcote, (confirmed) (USA 3 min) student film makers and winner of Best Picture at the “65 hr. Guerilla Film Project”, Bellingham WA.
A young undocumented immigrant encounters racial discrimination in the U.S. for the first time.
Step by Step by Thi Doan, (pending) (Vietnam/USA 10 min), 2017 graduate of San Francisco Film School. “As a female independent filmmaker and recent Asian immigrant to the U.S., I hope “Step by Step” inspires people in similar situations to persevere and achieve their goals.”
Van, a young Vietnamese immigrant and aspiring dancer, overcomes poverty, a language barrier and other adversities to gain acceptance in a ballroom dance studio.
Broken English by Oscar Alvarez, (confirmed) (USA 10 min) Colorado student film maker.
Los Angeles student Jose Lopez is placed in a generic science course and not Advanced Placement Biology, the course he requested. He asks his mother Maria to try everything to get his classes changed. Will everything be enough?
Scars of our Mothers Dreams by Meschida Philip, (confirmed) (USA 11 min) A Grenadian/American student filmmaker, Meschida is an activist primarily interested in social issues affecting Caribbean families and communities.
“Scars” is a unique and intimate glimpse into the complexities of parental migration through the lens of children left behind.
We are Human by Louise Kanza, (confirmed) (South Africa 2 min) 24 year- old DR Congo “changemaker” & co-founder of the Sophie A. Kanza Foundation, a youth-led organization that aims to spread active volunteerism through Pan Africanism.
The film stars a diverse group of African immigrant youth that share the daily plight they face being “foreigners” in South Africa.
Mi Migración by Aileen Candelario, (USA 5 min) a Mexican-American visual artist, filmmaker, and journalist completing her Bachelor of Arts at UC Berkeley.
Mi Migración acts as a visual metaphor for human migration and attempts to further explore the workings of this universal movement. Narrative Animation.
Refugee Wave by Jane Chow, (USA/Germany 15 min) raised in Hong Kong, and currently a Junior at Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) pursuing a degree in Film & TV Production and Women’s & Gender Studies.
Meet Gulghutai. She is many things — an Afghan, a Muslim, a mother, an activist, a refugee — and she refuses to be contained.
120 minutes (follows 6:30 Reception); Films & Filmmaker Discussion Panel
American Deportation by Jen Lyon (confirmed), (2017 USA 4.5 min satire) An American unhappy with the post-election results decides on a brilliant new plan! From Ms Lyon: “Thank you for taking the time to watch my opus. It is my response to a poorly spoken political statement by a reality star about not allowing certain immigrants to come into America. I do not feel the same way and since I do not recall a sign on Lady Liberty saying ‘America is Closed,’ I felt the best way for me to respond was to make this little short film featuring immigrant co-star, Anna Frankl-Duval.”
My Immigrant Story by Yuriko Gamo Romer (confirmed), (2018 USA 2.5 min doc) from Ms Romer: “With immigration in flux and this time of global uncertainty, I was reminded of my own story. Inspired by a treasure trove of my father’s 8mm home movies and a little-known story, I edited together this short film. Just thirteen years after Japan’s surrender of WWII, my family moved to the U.S. Only a year old and not old enough to understand, my father was recruited as a research scientist and set my life path to become an American citizen.”
The Immigrant by Sanja Zdjelar (confirmed), (2017 USA 65 min narrative feature) from Ms Zdjelar: “My film chronicles the life of a recent Bosnian Muslim immigrant to Boston, as she attempts to navigate confusing social, economic and cultural differences in the new capitalist environment. It’s a story of a young immigrant girl’s struggle and new beginnings in the wake of the destruction left by the tragic war that still plagues her native Bosnia Herzegovina. The film spans issues such as social inequality, displacement, women’s issues, sexual harassment, poverty, education, relationships, capitalism, social justice & protests, work, religion, and more.
Immigrant experience is something that interests me tremendously as a director/writer. As an immigrant myself I became aware of the fascinating space that exists in the intersection of two different cultures that cannot be found or duplicated anywhere else – a space rich with possibilities, poignant stories, raw humanity ready to be observed.
In addition, as a woman filmmaker it was extremely important to center the film around a strong female character as it is in general to tell stories about women, by women and for women. One of the goals and inspirations for all my films is to move the dial in favor of women filmmakers and bring women’s stories to audiences everywhere.”
October 28, 2018
Women’s Stories: In Our Own Voice! Personal Stories of Women Immigrants & Refugees
73 min of film currently; or 62 min film + 30 min Interfaith speakers
Season of Hope: Stories of Refugee Women (13 min doc interview) by Deniz Altan. Three women who found refuge in the capital of Turkey tell their stories of escape from the war and share their culture and life experiences.
On the Bright Side (11 min doc interview) by Thi Doan. As Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese 1975, Cau Hong was separated from her family while trying to flee the city. Hong never lost hope and would eventually reunite with her family in the United States. Now 83, Hong’s life is a story of enduring faith, optimism and a determination against all odds.;
Irish Picture in UK Frame* (13 min doc interview) by Raluca Maria Polodeanu. Kay Forrest, an Irish lady who emigrated in 1960, talks about the racism, loneliness, and desperation she felt arriving in the UK. Today she is the chair of the local Irish Society. This poetic documentary is a mirror of the facts happened 60 years ago that are still happening today.
Rohingya Testimony: No Reason to Hide our Faces (10 min doc interview) by Shafiur Rahman. Young Rohingya women refugees fleeing rape and murder in Rakhine state, Myanmar, give their harrowing testimony in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Seven Days in America (26 min- narrative doc) by Nick Geidner. 7 Days in America follows a case worker from Bridge Refugee Services as she helps a family of Burundian refugees as they resettle in Knoxville, Tennessee.