La Mission Opens the 6th Artivist Film Festival Dec. 1, Festival Dates and Program Announced

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The Artivist Film Festival, highlighting films by advocate artists or artivists, announces its 2009 dates, December 1-5 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and its slate of evening programs including opening night film La Mission staring Benjamin Bratt and Erika Alexander. The 6th Artivist Film Festival will screen over 40 independent, narratives, documentaries, shorts, and experimental films from around the globe. The festival concludes with The 2009 Artivist Awards on Saturday, December 5.

The Artivist Collective is pleased to announce the slate for the 6th Annual Artivist Film Festival including the festival's opening film La Mission starring Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander and Talisa Soto Bratt. This year's festival will take place December 1-5 at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, home of the American Cinematheque, screening over 40 independent, narratives, documentaries, shorts, and experimental films from around the globe. The festival concludes with The 2009 Artivist Awards on Saturday, December 5.

The festival's mission is to strengthen the voice of advocate artists - "Artivists" - while raising public awareness for global causes.

Artivist is the first film festival dedicated to addressing International Human Rights, Children's Advocacy, Environmental Preservation, and Animal Advocacy. At the conclusion of the Film Festival, Artivist awards a feature and short in each of these four categories.

The Artivist Awards also honor those artists whose exemplary work in their community stands out as a shining example of one person's ability to change the world for the better. Past Artivist Award recipients include: Ted Danson, Alyssa Milano, Joaquin Phoenix, Matthew McConaughey, Mira Sorvino, James Cromwell, Ed Begley Jr, Tippi Hedren, and Mike Farrell.

The Artivist Awards have also paid tribute to such highly regarded international organizations as Amnesty International, the Humane Society of the United States, Global Green, Greenpeace, Prevent Child Abuse America, and the Child Welfare League of America.

Since its inception in 2004, the Artivist Film Festival has showcased over 400 films representing more than 45 countries around the world. Artivist has reached millions of people with its film festivals in Hollywood, London, Tokyo, Mexico City, and Lisbon, and through its website at Additionally, in recognition of the socially conscious platform it provides, Artivist has been endorsed by Claes Nobel of the Nobel Prize family, Amnesty International, and the United Nations Department of Public Information.

Many films that have premiered at Artivist have gone on to great acclaim including Academy Award winner Born Into Brothels, Academy Award Nominees Super-Size Me and God Sleeps in Rwanda, and the Los Angeles Premieres of Fast Food Nation, Emmanuelle's Gift, Stolen Childhoods, Zeitgeist, Zeitgest Addendum and Trudell.

This year Artivist is proud to provide the community its "Artivist Stimulus Package" of free tickets for all festival film screenings. In order to attend the films, festival goers can order two tickets for each screening at or at the Egyptian Theater box office during the festival.

The slate of evening films in the 600 seat Lloyd Rigler Theater of the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater for the 2009 Artivist Film Festival include:

Tuesday December 1, 8:00pm La Mission - Artivist Opening Night Event Screening

Set in the colorful, seedy streets of the San Francisco district that bears its name, "La Mission" is a story of redemption imbued with the curative power of Aztec tradition. Respected -- and feared -- as the baddest Latino on the block, Che (Benjamin Bratt), a former criminal and recovering alcoholic, resorts to violence and intimidation to get what he wants. A bus driver by day, Che lives for his beloved son, Jesse (Jeremy Ray Valdez), his lifelong friends and his passion for lowrider cars. But Che's macho world is crushed when he discovers that Jesse is gay. Che then reacts in the only way he knows, violence. Enter Lena, Che's attractive neighbor and a force to be reckoned with. As a mutual attraction develops, Lena challenges Che to reconcile with his son. From acclaimed director Peter Bratt, "La Mission" is a haunting story of one man's struggle to overcome homophobia and break the cycle of violence that has haunted his life -- and to heal and transform himself and his family in the process.

Wednesday December 2, 7:30 pm, Ice Bears of Beaufort - Los Angeles Premiere

Stunning, unrushed cinematography and editing, natural sound without narration and a sparse music score by Patrick O'Hearn transform Arthur C. Smith's documentary into a meditative plea to save one of the earth's most powerful -- and comically playful -- animals. This documentary is witness to Alaska's Beaufort Sea coast as a critical polar bear habitat, endangered by efforts to drill for oil. Five years in the making by a single resident of an Inupiat Eskimo village, the film is a color-intense, cinematic portrait of Alaskan polar bears never before captured. The body of the documentary chronicles polar bear activity and year-round use of the coastal and offshore areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the adjacent Beaufort Sea.

Wednesday December 2, 9:00 pm, Children of War - Los Angeles Premiere

Set in the east African country of Uganda, Children of War, directed by Bryan Single, is a film that chronicles the daily struggle towards rehabilitation and reconciliation by a group of recently escaped child soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army, one of the world's longest running and most brutal militias. To add perspective to the stories of these children, the film also follows the chief priest of the Lord's Resistance Army, as well as recipients of the Army's professed miracles and victims of its atrocities. Together these individuals will illuminate the pitfalls, challenges and triumphs of a war-sick society desperately attempting to transition from violence to peace.

Thursday December 3, 7:15 pm, An Omar Broadway Film - Los Angeles Premiere

An inmate in Newark, New Jersey's notorious Northern State Prison allows viewers to experience the tension of living in the prison's maximum security gang unit in this collaborative documentary from filmmaker Douglas Tirola and inmate Omar Broadway. Distinguished by its status as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, Newark is a haven for violent crime. Back when he was a free man, Broadway spend the majority of his time hanging out on the corner of 15th and William, a part of the city that most residents would drive out of their way to avoid. In 1999 Broadway was incarcerated in the maximum-security gang unit of Northern State Prison. Here, inmates are only let out of their cells for an hour a week, as well as for the occasional shower. After secretly obtaining a video camera in 2004, Broadway and his bunkmate Buddy Randolph began documenting life on the inside. The result is a discomforting look into a deeply claustrophobic world, a place where even the most insignificant objects seems to take on the utmost importance. Somehow, despite filming from such a limited vantage point, Broadway is able to offer a detailed expose of the corruption that goes on behind these reinforced steel doors. Meanwhile, as Broadway's expose sets off an unanticipated chain of events, his collaborator Tirola offers a look at the prisoner's old neighborhood while discussing the recent developments concerning the camera to his loving and opinionated mother.

Thursday December 3, 9:30 pm, Intelligent Life - American Premiere

The time has come for us to take responsibility for the choices that we make in our everyday lives and the effect those choices have on us and on the planet. But how? Intelligent Life is a stark and unfiltered examination of the unintended consequences of modern American lives. Behind the scenes, our own convenience and comfort are often the greatest causes of suffering and destruction. Shot in high-definition and in a photo-essay style, Intelligent Life is a visually stunning portrait of modern American life. The glorious soundtrack that accompanies the film features a number of Grammy Award-nominated recording artists. Directed by Brian Malone, the film is a winner of the Green Seal from the Environmental Media Association.

Friday December 4, 7:30pm, Belonging - Los Angeles Premiere

Directed by Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy and narrated by Dustin Hoffman, the Inuit-inflected Belonging leavens its informational load and scarifying message with dazzling shots of the Canadian Arctic and, ultimately, a very hopeful message. It serves as a primer on both how we got into this mess and what we can do about getting out of it. Not just science, but religion too, can be brought to bear to open our eyes and strengthen our resolve. The more natural resources are consumed, the more the human population explodes, increasing the need for more resources. This Catch-22 has resulted in massive numbers of species extinctions, dead zones in the ocean that are increasing in size and number every year, and more horrors than most people can even bear to contemplate.

Friday December 6, 9:00pm - Dia De Luz (Day of Light) - Los Angeles Premiere

On March 6, 2008 a flood of people, music, and kites invaded the city landfill in Managua, Nicaragua, where nearly 1,500 people live, work, and make their homes. The trash dump is called La Chureca, which means the Scavenging Place and can be described as a post-apocalyptic war zone, as people search through the piles of burning trash, looking for things to eat, fix, and recycle. Director Matt Katsolis walks alongside musician Braddigan from sunrise to sunset as he is joined by hundreds of students, artists, athletes, and musicians as they break down emotional, physical, and cultural barriers, while reawakening the dreams, imagination, and hope of the people who live there. Along the way they learn that the most powerful weapon for change can be the most surprising as they seek to bring love into a place filled with hate, light into a place filled with darkness, and replace the silence with melody using music and the arts to rebuild, restore, and bring healing to communities ravaged by extreme poverty. It is their hope to identify and meet the immediate physical needs, raise awareness about trash dump communities, and fight social injustice.

Saturday December 5, 1:00pm, VICKtory to the Underdog - Los Angeles Premiere

VICKtory To The Underdog takes an in depth look at world renowned tattoo artist "Brandon Bond" and his dog rescue efforts - particularly rescuing the infamous Michael Vick fighting dogs. Rather than focusing on the dog fighting problem, the movie sheds light on solutions leading to "Vicktory" for all the underdogs in the movie - tattooed people, pitbulls, parolees and all the others in this world that society has turned their back on through ignorance and racism. The movie also examines the life of Brandon Bond and his struggle with balancing fame, fortune and the Rock-N-Roll tattoo lifestyle with a more fulfilling life that focuses on the betterment of both animals and society as a whole. Featuring celebrities like Debbie and Danny Trejo, Michael Berryman, Pixie Acia and Donal Logue, the movie takes you on an incredible journey you will never forget!

Artivist Founder-President, Diaky Diaz, states: "Raising awareness for the interdependence between Humanity, Animals, and the Environment is the true mission of Artivist. Filmmakers and NGOs from around the world gather at the Artivist Film Festival to support films that not only inform but inspire positive actions in our global community." She adds, "We are excited about the upcoming festival and we're pleased to be back at our 'home', the beautiful and historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, with a new and exciting program of socially conscious films."

This year, Artivist proudly welcomes back PETROBRAS as its Official Community Partner. For the past three years Petrobras has supported the efforts and expansion of the Artivist Film Festival. Understanding the interdependence between humanity, animals, and the environment is crucial in our global community. By working with individuals and groups, organizations and companies, we can create long-term solutions to our global problems.

ARTIVIST is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. All proceeds benefit the Annual Artivist Film Festival, creating a platform for socially conscious "Artivists" to share their inspirational and informative films with the world.


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Susan von Seggern
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