Tuesday, February 18, 2020
For those planning a human rights film festival, take note of the University of California -Merced recently completed film series.
The series opened with Ai Weiwei's The Human Flow. As reported in the Merced CountyTimes: "The film centers on the current refugee crisis around the world. In the film, millions of men, women, and children are seen fleeing their homelands in search of a better life. The current refugee crisis Weiwei highlights is the biggest displacement the world has seen since World War II. War, famine, persecution, and violence are some of the main influences of migration. The film follows migrant caravans throughout France, Germany, Greece, Afghanistan, Iraq and other neighboring countries. The audience is given insight into the severity of the refugee crisis as most refugees are turned away at the border or left to remain in limbo as governments decide what to do with them. "
The second film of the festival was 500 Years, a documentary focused on the history and resistance of the people of Guatemala. The film is told from the perspective of the indigenous Mayans and details the genocide of the Mayan population that happened at the hands of Guatemalan dictator, Efraín Ríos Montt.
The final film was Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno. The film is a powerful story of a mother of 12 who was forced to speak out because of her children's hunger. Maria Moreno was the first US woman to be hired as a union organizer. Her work predated that of Chavez and Huerta. Newly discovered photographs of Ms. Moreno inspired the film.
These are all worthy films to be included in any human rights film festival. We look forward to reporting on other festivals as they occur.