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Social Justice Film Festival: ‘Courage’ is key

Dan Webster

Above: A scene from Michael Rowley's documentary feature "Hurdle."

Courage is a term we all understand, even if we'd have trouble coming up with a simple definition.

So let's be thankful that an upcoming film festival, the Social Justice Film Festival 2020, will screen a number of films that attempt to do just that: define courage by exploring examples of it.

And the best part? Admission is free.

The festival schedule, which will take place both at the Magic Lantern Theater (Saturday and Sunday) and the Gonzaga University School of Law's Barbieri Courtroom (Tuesday Feb. 18), is as follows:

Magic Lantern: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

An old salt miner lives in a remote village, barely scraping by from his sales of salt. His children have gone to the city to find work. The old generation working in the village is disappearing; the village is empty. (Dir. Kiumars Sarshar, 15 min, Iran)

"Mi'Gwidelmag Gnitjgamitj" (Remembering Our Grandpa)
Inspired by the 1984 documentary film "Incident at Restigouche," "Mi'gwidelmag Gnitjgamitj" is a short essay film that captures the beautiful landscapes of Listuguj, and a dark side of Canada. (Dir. Nation Isaac, 7 min, Canada)

"The Condor and the Eagle"
Four Indigenous environmental leaders embark on an extraordinary trans-continental adventure from the Canadian plains to deep into the heart of the Amazonian jungle. (Dir. Sophie Guerra, Clement Guerra, 82 min, Germany/France/U.S.)

Magic Lantern: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

"Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if You’re a Girl)"
This film tells the story of young Afghan girls learning to read, write—and skateboard—in Kabul, Afghanistan. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Live Action Documentary Short. (dir. Carol Dysinger, 40 min, U.S.)

In the shadow of a wall stands a new generation of Palestinians. With defiant creativity they prove that no matter the height of the obstacle, one can always climb. (dir. Michael Rowley, 87 min, U.S.)

Magic Lantern: Sunday, 2:30 p.m.

"Lights Camera Representation"
This documentary asks students and professors to think about the issue of gender inequality in their profession and in their film school experiences. (dir. Nikole Chumley, 8 min, U.S.)

"Elegy Ending with a Cell Door Closing"
This animated poem by Dwayne Betts tells the story of a 15-year-old child named Fats (#RojaiFentress), currently sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit. (dir. Louisa Bertman, Reginald Dwayne Betts, 2 min, U.S.)

"Guest House"
Feature documentary "Guest House" follows the stories of three women in a re-entry house as they battle addiction and attempt to acclimate to life after being released from incarceration. (dir. Hannah Dweck, Yael Luttwak, 75 min, U.S.)

A poignant account of the heart-wrenching effects that hostile migration policies can have on real people. (dir. Sally Fenaux Barleycorn, 6 min, Spain)

"Shadow Life: Shining Through Colorism & Depression"
Told through stop motion animated shadow puppetry and an intimate interview, this film explores a young woman's experiences working through colorism, racism and mental illness. (dir. Miranda Kahn, 6 min, U.S.)

"Patrinell: The Total Experience"
The story of Patrinell Wright and her Total Experience Choir, an internationally recognized Seattle institution, is told against the backdrop of the city’s gentrification and racial history. (dir. Tia Young, Andrew Elizaga, 94 min, U.S.)

Gonzaga University School of Law: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m.

"True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight for Equality" is a feature documentary that examines the personal journey of civil-rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, a public defender in Alabama and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, who is working to bring justice to the incarcerated, wrongfully convicted and disadvantaged. (dir. George Kinhardt, Peter W. Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt, 102 minutes, U.S.)

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