The WFI-sponsored “7th Annual Hearts and Minds Film Festival”

April 13-14, 2012, Villanova University

The WFI is pleased to be collaborating with Serviam Media, and their Hearts and Minds Film Initiative, and to be sponsoring their 7th Annual Hearts and Minds Film Festival. This event is an international, juried social justice documentary festival. It features the work of filmmakers, both professional and aspiring, and demonstrates concretely the importance of communication as a form of advocacy.

Thanks to the support of the WFI, the Hearts and Minds Film Festival has found a stable home at Villanova University. We have been working closely with the Serviam Media staff, and especially Sharon Baker and Elizabeth Lockman, to create a powerful and invigorating two-day event to celebrate these films, work for social justice, and our new partnership. To learn more about Serviam Media/Hearts and Minds Film, click on the “Our Friends and Allies” link to the left.

The specific schedule for the 7th Annual Hearts and Minds Film Festival will soon be announced, but here’s a sneak peek:

Friday, April 12, 2012

  • To start the festivities, we will host a late afternoon welcome reception.
  • Following this reception we will have a ceremony recognizing the 2011/12 CMM/WFI/ISI Fellows, including the formal presentation of the Fellow awards and a brief discussion of each of the five selected projects.
  • Finally, we are excited to host the East Coast Premiere of the powerful documentary, Erasing Hate, followed by a Q&A/discussion with the director, Bill Brummel, and our five CMM/WFI/ISI Fellows. For more on this award-winning film, click here!

Saturday, April 13, 2012

These 13 films, selected for presentation by the “Hearts and Minds” jury, will be shown Saturday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.:

  • Starring Academy Award nominee James Cromwell, “Admissions” is a short film about what it takes to find lasting peace, even in war-torn places like the Middle East. Featuring an Israeli couple and a Palestinian man, this modern parable is set in the Admissions Room for the afterlife. Its purpose is to start a conversation that heals.
  • “From the Ground Up” depicts the story of five New York firefighters’ widows 10 years after 9/11. It’s their journey to triumph despite tragedy, taking two steps forward then one step back, through tears, depression and laughter. The film captures the women’s resilience, courage and spirit after surviving extraordinary loss.
  • “Afghanistan: Between Light and Darkness” portrays two young Afghan leaders working to heal their country, transcending the televised images of their nation’s never-ending wars. It is a story of light and hope amid a world still in darkness.
  • In “Encounter,” a young white woman on a search for inner peace gets stuck in an elevator with an older African man. Though the residue of apartheid still remains, does he hold the key to her finding inner peace? A story about loss, compassion and how connected we are, “Encounter” features unexpected twists and turns designed to surprise and inspire.
  • What does it take to make it “out there” once released from prison? “In Your Hands” showcases the personal journey of Kim, a 25-year-old white woman, and Xavier, a 29-year-old black man, as they struggle with their newfound freedom. As Kim and Xavier fight the system and their own inner demons, viewers are challenged to examine their lives.
  • Inspired by “Los Inocentes,” the award-winning short story by Pedro Juan Soto, “Innocent” features a man living in an inner city with his mother and sister. Due to a mental condition, he spends his days gazing out the apartment window and feeding the pigeons that occasionally land nearby. His winged friends remind him of happier days. When his condition proves to be too much, the family faces a difficult decision.
  • In “L Train,” Sunny is a self-absorbed teenager fighting her way through an inner city blizzard until she encounters someone who forces her to consider an altruistic, if not absurd, action.
  • The film “Mato Oput” chronicles the efforts of the people of northern Uganda to foster justice, peace and reconciliation following a 20-year civil war known for its extreme brutality. Many of the combatants were abducted children, often forced to commit atrocities against their own families as a way to ensure loyalty. Now that peace has been restored, these children are young adults who face the challenge of reintegrating with their communities, which are trying to heal as well.
  • The message of “No Greater Pain,” a film produced by a Villanova student, is simple: No mother should have to bury her child.
  • Shot on location in Tibet and northern India, “Nomad to Nobody” is the director’s personal take on the plight of Tibetan nomads, who are being forcibly relocated by Chinese officials—shifted off their traditional grazing lands into concrete ghettos, where they are marginalized. The nomads have gone from living in a self-sufficient, entirely sustainable way to being unemployed and dependent on the Chinese government for handouts, including food.
  • In “Orchids,” documentary filmmaker Phoebe Hart showcases her journey of self-discovery to embrace her future and reconcile the past shame and family secrecy surrounding her intersex identity. Despite her mother’s outright refusal to be in the film, Phoebe receives help from her sister, Bonnie, and support from husband, James. She reflects on her youth and connects with other intersex people on camera.
  • “Read on Inside Books” is a short film about Inside Books Project, a nonprofit organization in Austin, Texas, that provides free books to people in Texas prisons. The film features the organization’s volunteers, who explain how the Project works and why it’s important. It also raises the question of who benefits if inmates are denied the opportunity to improve their educations.
  • “The Road to Rehabilitation and Reform: A Short Film about DC and Its Most Disconnected Youth” examines the recent successes and challenges within Washington, D.C.’s juvenile justice agency. For years, youth were committed to the Oak Hill Youth Detention Center, a dingy, often-overcrowded facility. In May 2009, the Oak Hill facility was closed, and a new, smaller, rehabilitative-focused facility, New Beginnings Youth Development Center, was opened in its place.
* HMFF 2012 Proposed Program.pdf
All events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. They will all be held in the Connelly Center Cinema. For the complete schedule of events, download our Program brochure.

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