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Artivist Film Festival opens tomorrow in LA / Activist Documentary Films

by ziggy Thursday, Apr. 22, 2004 at 11:50 AM

Attached is an mp3 featuring an interview with, Bernadette Armstrong, programmer for the festival. Sheila Laffey, one of the directors of "The Last Stand - Heroes at Ballona Wetlands" and Morgan Spurlock, director of "Supersize Me" and "Blue Vinyl" co-director Judith Helfand. Schedule and info in article below

AUDIO (first 30 seconds lost - my apology)

  • Click here to download
  • Click here for facilitated streaming mp3

These interviews were conducted on KPFK's Aware Show at 1pm today. This is billed as the first annual film festival focused on "activist" oriented documentary films screening in Los Angeles. The festival starts tomorrow, running at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. You can see the main festival information page and links to tickets and theater information here 

The film schedule is listed here: 

and here’s a listing of the films:



4 Days  

Documentary * USA * 2003 * 25 min

Director: Richard Hauck 

Screened: Fri. 4/23 – 2:00 PM

A stirring documentary that follows the lives of two  dogs and one cat. Turned in, abandoned and stray, the harsh realities of our country’s overburdened Animal Shelters are realized as these animals are followed through a process that holds uncertainty.


A Life of Death

Documentary * USA * 2004 * 8 min

Director: Dawn Westlake

Screened: Mon. 4/26 - 7:30 PM

Throughout the 20th Century, and now into the 21st, wars have waged all over the globe under the banner proclamation that conflict ultimately leads to world peace.  A Life of Death presents the cost of this irony by poetically answering the question: What is the price of lasting peace?


A Seat at the Table:

Struggling For American Religious Freedom

Documentary * USA * 2003 * 91 min

Director: Gary Rhine

Screened: Sat. 4/24 – 11AM

Legendary Religious Studies Professor Huston Smith, at the 3rd Parliament of the Worlds Religions in Capetown, South Africa,

examines problems that contemporary American

Indian people face in practicing religious ceremonies.


Animals of the Pink City

Documentary * USA * 2003 * 60 min

Director: Shaun Monson

Screened: Fri. 4/23 – 1:30 PM

“Help in Suffering” is the name of an animal shelter in Jaipur, India that deals with accidents and injuries involving animals used for transportation.  This documentary takes a deep look into a cruel world where animals are denied rights.


Anjawa is Me, I am Anjawa

Documentary * India * 2003 * 71 min

Director: Gautam Sonti

Screened: Sat. 4/24 – 5:30 PM

This documentary revolves around the experiences of elected female officials within a caste in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, India.  Through ethnography of four villages, we look at how power is controlled and misused in private homes, communities and the outside world.



The Art of Leaving

Documentary * USA * 2003 * 57 min

Director: Brian Kamerzel

Screened: Mon. 4/26 –11:00AM

The Art of Leaving is a documentary about the life and

art of Romanian born artist Florin Ion Firimita.  Based on

his private journal entries over the past twenty years, this

portrait explores the internal and external journeys that have influenced his life and art.


Baked Alaska

Documentary * USA * 2003 * 26 min

Director: Franny Armstrong

Screened: Thurs. 4/22 – 2:00 PM

Temperatures in Alaska are rising ten times faster than the rest of the world.  At the same time, the Arctic National Wildlife refuge finds itself at the center of a heated debate: should the oil and natural gas deposits along the refuge’s coast be opened to development?


Baseball Kids


Director: Masaharu Takizawa

Screened: Sun. 4/25 – 1:00 PM

Following in the footsteps of a friend, Tsubasa Machida joins the Ichihara Giants baseball team, but his constant errors result in him being ostracized by his teammates. Machida makes an appeal to a statue of Lord Jizo, requesting that he no longer be bullied.  One day, the naturally gifted pitcher Kenichi Kaneda joins the team, and Machida at once begins to have new confidence.


Before Night Falls

Narrative * USA * 2000

Director: Julian Schnabel

Screened: Sat. 4/24 – 11:00 PM

Episodic look at the life of Cuban poet and novelist Reynaldo Arenas, portrayed by Javier Bardem in an Oscar nominated performance.


Behind the Labels: Garment Workers on U.S. Saipan

2001 * updated 2003 * 45 min

Director: Tia Lessin

Screened: Sat. 4/24 – 6:00 PM

Winner Sydney Hillman Prize for Best Television/Radio 2001. A glimpse into indentured labor and the workings of the global sweatshop. Lured by false promises, thousands of women pay high fees to work in garment factories in the only U.S. territory exempt from federal minimum wage and immigration laws. Producer and director: two-time Emmy Award nominated producer Tia Lessin. Co-Producer: Oxygen. Narration: Susan Sarandon. Available in English and Chinese. Video and accompanying screening manual available


Bid ‘Em In

Animated * USA * 2003 * 2 min

Director: Neal Sopata

Screened: Sat. 4/24 – 8:30 PM

A young woman’s humanity is cruelly rejected as she is placed on the auction block of a small southern town in pre-civil war America.


Blood Country

Documentary. * USA * 2003 * 8 min

Director: Tiff Bartlett

Screened: Fri. 4/23 11:30 AM

In this film, angry Texas citizens have bonded together to fight the passage of a bill in the state capital that would allow horse slaughter for human consumption to continue, even after the Texas Attorney General declared it illegal in 2002.


Bloodhag: Seattle’s Edu Core Kings

Rockumentary * USA * 2000 * 8 min

Director: Edu Core Kings

Screened: Sun. 4/25 – 1:30 PM, 5:30 PM

Watch as the heavy metal band Bloodhag brings their message of literacy  back to its roots: the silent hall of the venerable Public Library.  “The faster you go deaf, the more time you have to read!”


Blue Vinyl

Documentary * USA * 2002 * 90 min

Directors: Judith Helfand & Daniel B. Gold

Screened: Thurs. 4/22—4:30pm

With humor, chutzpah, and a piece of vinyl siding firmly in hand, Peabody Award winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director Daniel B. Gold travel to America's vinyl manufacturing capital and beyond in search of the truth about vinyl, the world's second largest selling plastic.


Born Into Brothels

Documentary. * USA * 2003 * 80 min

Directors: Zana Briski & Ross Kauffman

Screened: Sun. 4/25 - 6:30 PM, Mon. 4/26 – 7:30 PM

In Calcutta’s red light district appear a group of unforgettable children. Feisty, courageous and wickedly funny, these children of prostitutes embark on a transformational journey with photographer Zana Briski, who teaches them to photograph their own lives.


Born With HIV: Little Warriors

Narrative * USA * 2003 * 15 min

Director: Ash

Screened: Sun. 4/25 – 11:30 AM

James Woods narrates a hopeful look at brave foster children living with HIV and AIDS, and the people who care for them.


Breakfast at Al Safeer

Documentary * USA * 2003

Director: Guerilla News Network

Screened: Sat. 4/24 – 11:30 AM


Broken Blossoms

Narrative * USA * 1919 

Director: D. W. Griffith

Screened: Thurs. 4/22 – 11:00 PM

A Chinese Buddhist missionary in London

falls in love with the daughter of a brutal prizefighter. D. W. Griffith’s response to critics’ charges of racism in his classic Birth of a Nation.

Pianist: Michael Mortilla


Buffalo Common

Documentary * USA * 2001 * 20 min.

Director: Bill Brown

Screened: Thurs. 4/22 – 2:00 PM

As the Air Force blows up its Cold War-era arsenal of nuclear missile silos, the people of North Dakota consider the future of a state that some would like to see converted into a wildlife preserve.


The Buffalo War

Documentary * USA * 2001 * 60 min

Director: Matthew Testa

Screened: Fri. 4/23 – 3:30 PM

The moving story of the Native Americans, ranchers, government officials and environmental activists currently battling over the yearly slaughter of America's last wild bison.  This film explores the controversial killing by joining a 500-mile spiritual march across Montana by Lakota Sioux Indians who object to the slaughter.



Narrative * France * 2003 * 14 min

Director: Arnault Labaronne

Screened: Mon. 4/26 – 11:00 AM

Addressing the issue of AIDS, this satiric film shows Sleeping Beauty as a prostitute guided by three magical fairies who are now Drag-Queens.  Metamorphosed into a top model, she is determined to escape from the dreadful virus that hangs over her.


Bunch of Fives


Director: Nick Hilligoss

Screened: Thurs. 4/22 – 7:00 PM, Fri. 4/23–11:30 AM

Five animated films about life, the universe, and what that fly is doing in the soup.  “Turtle World” examines the exploitation of natural resources and the effects on the universe; “Cell Animation” demonstrates the power of art and the active mind; “Lower Orders” is a humorous look at the similarities between the lower stations in life and the human stations; “Banjo Frogs” provides a different point of view on the art of change; “Possum’s Rest” provides a look from the other side of the issue of human encroachment.



Documentary * France * 2003 * 7 min

Director: Sarah Guerevick

Screened: Thurs. 4/22 - 11:30 AM, 7:00 PM

This is a documentary about the mysterious voyage of cotton, from the fields of Burkina Faso to its ultimate destination.



Documentary * USA * 2003 * 50 min

Director: Rebecca Harrell

Screened: Fri. 4/23 11:30 AM, 7 PM

Animal research is a subject that is often ignored by the

mainstream media because of its unpleasant nature.  This

animal rights film includes the story of Matt Rossell’s two year undercover investigation at the Oregon Regional Primate Center, and a student group working to stop primate experiments held at UCLA.


Chavez Ravine

Documentary * USA * 2003 * 30 min

Director: Jordon Mecliner

Screened: Thurs. 4/22 – 2:00 PM

Narrated by Cheech Marin, this documentary tells the bittersweet story of how an American community was betrayed by greed, political hypocrisy, and good intentions gone astray.


Close to Home

Documentary * USA

Director: Alexandra Dickson and Vanessa Roth

Screened: Sun. 4/25 – 3:00 PM

A harrowing look at families experiencing child sexual abuse, their interaction with the criminal courts and the profound effects experienced by victims later in life.


Contaminated: The New Science of Food


Director: Stephen Marshall

Screened: Thurs. 4/22 - 11:30 AM

The genetic engineering of food crops is the latest target of San Francisco’s Guerilla News Network.  A global perspective on the myths and realities connecting hunger, agro-business and science.



Documentary * 8 min

Directors: Guerrilla News Network

Screened:  4/24 – 11:30 AM

Fed up with police brutality, the organization “Copwatch” decided to keep an eye on big brother.  The film shows how peaceful observation of police behavior can change the way a neighborhood and a police force deal with one another.


The Corporation

Documentary * Canada * 2003 * 165 min

Director: Mark Achbar

Screened: Wed. 4/28 – 7:00 PM

This film offers a well-reasoned and powerful critique of the corporation as a structure itself, rather than a criticism of any one particular organization.


Cost of Freedom

Narrative * USA * 2003 * 36 min

Director: Vanessa Schulz

Screened: Fri. 4/23 – 11:30 AM

This narrative film examines both sides of the wolf “reintroduction” program in North America.  Director Vanessa Schulz provides an even-handed look at the problem the program has created for both the wolves struggling to survive and the ranchers who don’t want them back.


Crucible of War

Documentary * USA * 2003 * 44 min

Director: Leon Gerskovic


Sat. 4/24 – 11:30 AM

Sun, 4/25 – 6:00 PM

Director Leon Gerskovic returns home to Yugoslavia to show us the physical and psychological displacement of the natives’ years after the war and fighting is over.  His journey takes him and his team through Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia to speak to the refugees of a forgotten war.


Destry Rides Again

Narrative * USA * 1939

Director: George Marshall

Screened: Sun. 4/25 – 11:00 PM

Tom Destry Jr (James Stewart), the son of a legendary lawman, uses his wits, not the guns he despises, to clean up a corrupt town populated by, among others, scheming saloon girl Frenchy (Marlene Dietriech)..


Disenchanted Forest

Documentary * 50 min

Director: Sarita Siegel

Screened: Fri. 4/23 – 5:00 PM

Orangutans are among our closest relations in the animal kingdom.  Every year, hundreds of babies are captured by poachers looking to supply unscrupulous zoos and animal acts.  But a few brave activists are working to rehabilitate these orphans and return them to their natural home in the forests of Sumatra.


Drug War/ Reality Tour


Director: Stephen Marshal

Screened: Thurs. 4/22 – 7:00 PM

The Guerilla News Network takes us on a bus tour of inner city Philadelphia to witness first hand the effects of society’s punitive approach toward drug addiction among the underprivileged.



Documentary * USA *

2003 * 120 min

Director: Shaun Monson

Screened: Fri. 4/23 – 5:00 PM

An honest study of mankind’s complete commercial dependence and disrespect for animals.  The film examines five principal areas of human interface, including daily life at home, nutrition, clothing, entertainment and biomedical research.


El Caballo

Documentary * 50 min

Director: Drury Carr

Screened: Fri. 4/23 – 3:30 PM

Where wild horses roam free, a debate rages over whether they can really be considered an indigenous species, and whether they are entitled to the protection of the endangered

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