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Media Contact: Seema Arora
Ingrained Violence in the Prison System, the Death Penalty, Children’s Mental Health Services, Victims of Genocide, Humanitarian Cowboys, Anti-Immigration Policies and the Refugee Musicians are some topics Closing the Festival 9th Annual United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) Stanford University (Cubberley Auditorium/School of Education)
With a weekend of penetrating films coming to a close, the UNAFF continues on Sunday,
October 29 with films looking at security practices that have seriously weakened civil
liberties. The Festival wraps with the screening of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, the
remarkable story of a group of musicians who bring hope and happiness to their fellow
refugees, followed by a Closing Night Party.
America’s Brutal Prisons uncovers the penal systems at correctional institutions in
Brazoria/Texas, Phoenix/Arizona and Sacramento/California. The American public was
shocked by the recent Abu Ghraib prison torture, even more stunning is the violence that
occurs inside prisons throughout the US. America’s Brutal Prisons, directed by Nick
London and reported by Deborah Davies, includes videos from the prison surveillance
cameras along with interviews with former prisoners, a warden, a prison doctor, inmates’
relatives, attorneys, and footage from a California Senate inquiry and a murder trial of
four guards. Although many prisons denied permission to film inside their facilities, a
rare glimpse behind the walls of the prisons is offered by interviews with former
correctional officers who have broken the "green wall" code of silence and become
whistleblowers. (Screening at 1:00 pm)
In Interview With an Executioner, directed by Ken Russell and Bay Area filmmaker
Nancy Brown, Mississippi Penitentiary Superintendent Don Cabana gives Amnesty
International's Terry McCaffrey his surprising take on the Death Penalty. Cabana
recounts the chilling experience of the execution of Edward Earl Johnson, who
maintained his innocence until the end. This documentary gives a behind the scenes look
at the Mississippi Penitentiary in the fourteen days leading up to the execution of Edward
Earl Johnson. (Screening at 2:05 pm)
In Are the Kids Alright?, the filmmakers follow several families to document the results
of a decline in the availability of appropriate mental health services for young people.
Cesar is severely depressed and has threatened to kill himself, Antonia tried to cut her
wrist and has attempted to overdose on Zoloft, and Jeremy has threatened his stepmother
and injured his younger brother. The video documents not only the families who have a
loved one suffering from mental illness, but also the daily struggles of mental health
advocates, service providers, and policymakers in trying to help these youths get
appropriate treatment. Filmmakers Karen Bernstein and Ellen Spiro (Troop 1500: Girl
Scouts Beyond Bars
), formed Mobilus Media in 1999 to initiate groundbreaking
documentary projects. (Screening at 2:30 pm)
In the Tall Grass tells the story of Rwanda's search for redemption as the country sits
down to reckon with the genocide using a network of traditional community courts called
gacaca. The films follows a genocide survivor named Joanita Mukarusanga through this
historic process as she confronts the neighbor she says killed her family, and the
community that sanctioned their murders. The neighbor, Anastase Butera, admits to
witnessing the murders, but denies any further participation. In the Tall Grass, by
documentary filmmaker John Coll Metcalfe, explores universal themes of justice in post-
conflict societies and the challenges countries like Rwanda face in attempting the
transition from violence to peace. Through the experiences of Joanita and Anastase, the
film illustrates how the genocide and the ideology it propelled continue to play a
dangerous and destabilizing role in Rwanda. (Screening at 3:40 pm)
Bay Area filmmaker Adrian Belic (Genghis Blues) began making films in elementary
school. In Beyond the Call, he follows three middle-aged men who are former soldiers,
traveling the world delivering life saving humanitarian aid directly into the hands of
civilians and doctors in some of the most dangerous places on Earth. Ed Artis, Jim Laws
and Walt Ratterman are self-styled Knights of Malta who in 1995 formed Knightsbridge
International, a unique humanitarian aid organization whose motto is "High Adventure
and Service to Humanity." Their specialty is going where death from landmines, bullets
or bombs is as frequent as death from hunger, disease or the elements. Their personal
convictions and courage drive them to places such as Afghanistan, Albania, Chechnya,
Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Rwanda and the southern Philippines, often when few other
humanitarian aid organizations are around. (Screening at 4:40 pm)
Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border exposes the ugly anti-immigrant politics
that lurk behind the Minuteman Project and shows the continuum between official border
militarization and vigilante action. This video was shot by human rights activists and
residents of border communities. It tells the story of border tensions from the point of
view of those affected and reveals the underlying motivations of the vigilantes through
interviews and disturbing footage of their nighttime patrols. (Screening at 6:10 pm)
In Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, documentary filmmakers Zach Niles and Banker
White show how musicians from Sierra Leone keep culture alive and in the process begin
to heal their own wounds as bring joy to their fellow refugees. Thousands of refugees
from war torn Sierra Leone fled to Guinea in the nineties as a result of the brutal civil
war. Many of their family and friends were murdered leaving them with physical and
emotional scars. We meet six diverse musicians during the course of the film, who decide
to form a band and sing songs of their plight. They range in age and style, from young
Black Nature, an orphan with a talent for rapping in different languages, Franco, the
oldest member who plays a guitar, to Reuben, the band leader and Grace, the spiritual
mother of the band. Their music is a blend of the traditional, mixed with reggae and
R&B, with lyrics that speak out against injustice. They return home to the Sierra Leone to
perform with the help of United Nations High Commission for Refugees and return to
their camp rejuvenated. (Screening at 6:40 pm)
The United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) was conceived in 1998, the fiftieth anniversary of
the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at Stanford University by film critic and
educator Jasmina Bojic. UNAFF screens documentaries by international filmmakers dealing with topics
such as human rights, environmental survival, women’s issues, children, refugee protection, homelessness,
racism, disease control, universal education, war and peace.
Information about the festival is available on our website at or by phone at 650-724-5544.
For press materials, interviews with filmmakers or festival Founder and Director Jasmina Bojic, please
contact Seema Arora by e-mail at or by phone at 510-482-4350
. The main
sponsors of the 9th annual UNAFF are the Stanford Film Society and the UNA Midpeninsula Chapter.


Contents of Supplement 6.5 A vertical line in the margin indicates where part of a text has been revised or corrected. A horizontal line in the margin indicates where part of a text has been deleted. It is to be emphasised that these indications, which are not necessarily exhaustive, are given for information and do not form an official part of the texts. Editorial changes are not indicate


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