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Spring 2014

Interact with ENGL-121 students  and learn about the crucial global issues presented in the documentary films from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  HCC Staff and Faculty can receive Diversity Credit for attending this event!

The following films will be presented - click on a title to watch the film's trailer!

Cesar's Last Fast- "In 1988, Cesar Chavez embarked on what would be his last act of protest in his remarkable life. Driven in part to pay penance for feeling he had not done enough, Chavez began his “Fast for Life,” a 36-day water-only hunger strike, to draw attention to the horrific effects of unfettered pesticide use on farm workers, their families, and their communities." (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13899/cesars_last_fast)

E-TEAM- "When atrocities are committed in countries held hostage by ruthless dictators, Human Rights Watch sends in the E-Team (Emergencies Team), a collection of fiercely intelligent individuals hired to document war crimes and report them to the rest of the world. Within this volatile climate, filmmakers Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels) and Katy Chevigny(Election Day, Deadline) take us to the frontline in Syria and Libya, where shrapnel, bullet holes, and unmarked graves provide mounting evidence of coordinated attacks conducted by Bashar al-Assad and the now-deceased Muammar Gaddafi. The crimes are rampant, random, and often undocumented, making E-Team’s effort to get information out of the country and into the hands of media outlets and criminal courts all the more necessary." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13925/e-team)

Finding Fela - "No individual better embodies African music of the 1970s and ’80s—and its pivotal role in postcolonial political activism—than Fela Kuti. After quickly taking his native Nigeria by storm, the pioneering musician’s confrontational Afrobeat sound soon spread throughout the continent and beyond, even as it made determined enemies of the repressive Nigerian military regime. As a result of continued persecution, increasingly unorthodox behavior, and, eventually, complications due to HIV, Kuti’s final years saw his musical output and influence wane." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13945/finding_fela)

The Green Prince - "The Green Prince is such an extraordinary story that one is tempted to think it is fiction, if only somebody had the audacity to invent it. 
A Palestinian in Ramallah, Mosab Hassan Yousef grows up angry and ready to fight Israel. Arrested for smuggling guns at the age of 17, he’s interrogated by the Shin Bet, Israel’s security service, and sent to prison. But shocked by Hamas’s ruthless tactics in the prison and the organization’s escalating campaign of suicide bombings outside, Mosab agrees to spy for Israel. For him, there is no greater shame. For his Shin Bet handler, Gonen, there is no greater prize: “operating” the oldest son of a founding member of Hamas.
Based on Yousef’s memoir, Son of Hamas, The Green Prince is a story of two men, spy and handler, whom history insists must be adversaries. That they could reach a point of trust or friendship seems absurd. Embroidering a tangled web of intrigue, terror, and betrayal, Nadav Schirman builds superb tension throughout a surprisingly emotional journey. Ultimately,The Green Prince is less about political struggle than personal coming-to-terms with responsibility and moral duty.
" -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13927/the_green_prince)

Happiness - "In 1999, King Jigme Wangchuck approved the use of television and Internet throughout the largely undeveloped nation of Bhutan, assuring the masses that rapid development was synonymous with the “gross national happiness” of his country, a term he himself coined. Director Thomas Balmès’s film Happiness begins at the end of this process as Laya, the last remaining village tucked away within the Himalayan kingdom, becomes enmeshed in roads, electricity, and cable television. Through the eyes of an eight-year-old monk impatient with prayer and eager to acquire a TV set, we witness the seeds of this seismic shift sprouting during a three-day journey from the outskirts of Laya to the thriving capital of Thimphu. It is here the young boy discovers cars, toilets, colorful club lights, and countless other elements of modern life for the first time." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13928/happiness)

Last Days in Vietnam - "During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. With the specter of a Communist victory looming and only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country, the United States prepares to withdraw. As they begin to realize the reality of certain imprisonment and possible death of their South Vietnamese allies, American diplomats and soldiers confront a moral quandary: obey White House orders to evacuate only U.S. citizens, or risk being charged with treason and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, heroes emerge as a small handful of Americans take matters into their own hands." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13967/last_days_in_vietnam)

Love Child - "In 2010, a South Korean baby named Sarang died of malnutrition. The death of a child is always horrific, but the circumstances leading up to this one were even more shocking: Sarang died because her parents were playing games online. Ordinarily, this would be a clear case of negligence, but Love Child takes a different approach by looking at what led to the parents’ gaming addiction and how their child became a secondary concern. The film then expands from this tragedy to examine the way that South Korea’s place as the world leader of Internet infrastructure has adversely affected its communal society." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13972/love_child), www.lovechildmovie.com

Marmato - "Every day in Marmato, a shimmering Colombian mountain town, families pray for safety as their men walk out their doors and down into the mines, scratching out a living with little more than shovels and outdated sulphur lamps. Beneath their village lies one of the largest gold reserves on the planet. In 2006, the Colombian government invited foreign investment to the region to stimulate economic growth, unleashing a corporate gold rush. As plans progress to destroy residents’ homes and level the beautiful mountaintop for an open-pit mine, Marmato charts the mounting crisis as the local community struggles to protect its way of life and economic sovereignty. " -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13934/marmato)

My Prairie Home - "With only an acoustic guitar and a laptop, transgender singer/songwriter Rae Spoon, who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they,” embarks on a modest tour across the vast and blue-skied plains of Canada, facilitated by Greyhound buses and generic motel rooms. Delicately observed through Spoon’s contemplative moments, My Prairie Home takes an impressionistic approach to its subject, thwarting the expectations of a traditional music documentary. The film poetically weaves together Spoon’s personal history of an evangelical household back in Alberta, a troubled family life, and a forbidden first love—all of which left indelible marks on their lyrics and are brought to life through playful, music-video–like visual sequences." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13886/my_prairie_home)

The Notorious Mr. Bout - "When he was arrested in 2008 in Thailand as a result of a U.S. government sting operation, the career of internationally known arms smuggler Viktor Bout came to a decisive end. Veiled by the obscurity of post-Soviet Russia, Bout had built an empire of aerial delivery so vast he was called “the merchant of death” and was even the subject of a Hollywood film. In sharp contrast to the widely known, supervillain persona, however, was another Bout: a philosophical businessman who simply enjoyed travel, his work, his family, and filming it all with his video camera." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13904/the_notorious_mr_bout)

Overnighters - "When hydraulic fracturing unlocks an vast oil field in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, tens of thousands of unemployed men descend on the state with dreams of six-figure salaries. In the tiny town of Williston, busloads of newcomers step into the sad reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep. Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is hell-bent on delivering the migrants some dignity. Night after night he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13888/the_overnighters)

Return to Homs - "From 2011 to 2013, filmmaker Talal Derki followed the journey of two close friends whose lives had been upended by the battle raging in Syria. Nineteen-year-old Basset is a local soccer star—the goalkeeper for the Syrian national team. He has also become an iconic singer in the revolution. His songs reflect his dreams of a peaceful liberation from Assad’s brutal regime. Ossama is a 24-year-old media activist and pacifist who wields his camera to capture the revolution. When the army cracks down and their beloved city of Homs becomes a bombed-out ghost town, these two peaceful protesters finally take up arms and transform into rebel insurgents." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13931/return_to_homs)

To Be Takei - "George Takei doesn’t shy away from digging into his remarkable career and personal life in Jennifer Kroot’s delightful and incisive film To Be Takei. As a child forced into Japanese-American internment camps, the actor-turned-activist reveals the ways that racism affected him well into his early acting career, where he played stereotypical Asian stock characters in film and television shows. Even after landing the iconic role of Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek,Takei’s sharp eye, coupled with his wicked sense of humor, continued to challenge the status quo well into the twenty-first century." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13968/to_be_takei)

We are the Giant - "Since late 2010, more than a dozen nations have experienced popular uprisings that have collectively been called the Arab Spring. Protests, buoyed by predominantly young participants and social-media organizing, have exposed repression and led to regime changes. What does it mean to take part in a collective action that has the potential to unseat dictators and bring previously undreamt-of freedoms to a people?" -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/14064/we_are_the_giant)

Web Junkie - "China is one of the first countries in the world to label overuse of the Internet a clinical condition. To combat what authorities deem the greatest social crisis for youth today, the Chinese government has created treatment facilities to detox and cure teenagers of their addictions to online life." -Film Guide, 2014 Sundance Film Festival (http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13877/web_junkie)