USF Hosts 9th Annual Human Rights Film Festival

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Building Human Rights Awareness in the Bay Area

We aim to develop and strengthen bridges between individuals and groups who share concerns and want to do something to improve human rights conditions in our world today.

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The University of San Francisco (USF) is proud to host the upcoming 9th annual Human Rights Film Festival to take place March 31-April 2, 2011. The festival seeks to promote awareness and discussion of global human rights issues and to encourage citizens to take action against human rights violations. It is free and open to the public. The festival begins at 12:00 noon each day in USF’s Presentation Theatre (2350 Turk Boulevard, at Masonic), and a detailed schedule can be found at http://www.usfca.edu/artsci/hrff/.

“We aim to develop and strengthen bridges between individuals and groups who share concerns and want to do something to improve human rights conditions in our world today,” said Susana Kaiser, professor of Media Studies and Latin American Studies and co-organizer of the film festival. “It is all about increasing awareness and inciting action.”

The festival will include films focusing on Cambodia, El Salvador, Iran, Israel and Palestine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Among the many highlights of the festival include, “Monseñor, the Last Journey of Óscar Romero,” screening on Friday, April 1 at 6 p.m. This film is about Monseñor Óscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, who was killed in 1980 by a professional hit man as he stood at the altar celebrating Mass. His assassination became the catalyst for a civil war that lasted for 12 years. This film tells the story of the last three years of his life.

Question and Answer sessions discussing the topics addressed by the films will follow each screening. These panels will include either the film’s producer or director, or an expert on the subject matter. “These Q&A sessions are essential as we continue the momentum as a forum for the discussion of human rights problems and potential solutions,” said Kaiser.

For the third year in a row, the festival will also include a selection of short films produced by USF students. There will be a panel discussing media and social change and will close with a student-organized program about current events in Egypt and the Arab world. “This year in particular features a groundswell of student involvement. The energy that students bring to advocacy is contagious,” said Mary Zweifel, administrative director of the Master of Arts in International Studies Program and film festival co-organizer.

USF was the first university in the Bay Area to screen the traveling Human Rights Watch (HRW) Film Festival and is still the only educational institution in the area offering screenings free and open to the public. Selected films often include up and coming directors such as Sergio de la Torre and David Zlutnick, who will be showing his film, “Occupation Has No Future.”

For more information on USF’s 9th annual Human Rights Film Festival, please visit http://www.usfca.edu/artsci/hrff/.

About USF
Established in 1855, USF is San Francisco’s oldest university and is consistently ranked as one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the country. The University of San Francisco is committed to being a premier Jesuit Catholic, urban university with a global perspective that educates leaders who will fashion a more humane and just world. With nearly 9,600 students enrolled both on- and off-campus, the university offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as persons and professionals, and the values and sensitivity necessary to be men and women for others.

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Anne-Marie Devine
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