ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University and the DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival announced that groups of films in this year’s festival are ripped directly from the headlines. Many of the films provide unique and personal perspectives on world events in faraway places, which viewers have heard about but do not truly understand.
Films in this group cover the revolutions in Syria and Egypt, the aftermath of the long wars in Afghanistan as told through the eyes of those brave enough to speak truth to power or risk their lives to reveal that truth, Islamic men trying to change cultural attitudes towards women or the refugee crises caused by wars and terrorism.
“We hear so much these days about the Middle East, about terrorism and barbarous acts of inhumanity, about war and, of course, Islam, which is often painted with a broad brush,” said artistic director for DOCUTAH, associate professor at DSU and director of DSU Films, Phil Tuckett. “Although there are many films in DOCUTAH this year which are inspiring as they reveal the strength of the human spirit and the ability of people to overcome incredible odds, these films may give attendees an entirely new perspective on events they hear about in newscasts.
“We feel privileged to have been trusted with including these films in DOCUTAH and know that our audiences, who come from diverse countries and backgrounds, will derive great benefit from seeing them and perhaps a deeper understanding of the issues.”
“These films provide a stark look into the realities faced by many people in the world and are excellent food for thought regarding how and why we got here,” said Shadman Bashir, visiting professor of law and international relations at Dixie State University. “The more we learn about each other, the more chance the people of the world have to avoid conflicts.”
Bashir developed and started teaching “War and Terrorism” and “Global Law” within the History and Political Science Department and will moderate the Q&A after the film Manislam.
#Chicagogirl chronicles how, from her bedroom in Chicago, an American teenage girl uses social media to coordinate the revolution in Syria. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and camera phones, she helps her social network “on the ground” in Syria brave snipers and shelling in the streets to show the world the human rights atrocities of a dictator. But just because the world can see the violence doesn’t mean the world can help. As the revolution rages on, everyone in the network must decide what the most effective way is to fight a dictator: social media or AK-47s.
In Frame by Frame, we see how after decades of war and an oppressive Taliban regime, four Afghan photojournalists face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own — reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves. The film follows the four as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape. Through cinema vérité, intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism and never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime, the film connects audiences with four humans in the pursuit of the truth.
ManIslam reveals men pushing for a more progressive faith. In the fascinating film, filmmaker Nefise Özkal Lorentzen travels to Bangladesh, Turkey, Kuwait and Indonesia and interviews men who are pushing a more progressive version of Islam, one that questions ideas about patriarchal roles in society. This film examines the burdens of manhood within Islamic cultures. The main characters, bravely and frankly, share deeply personal memories and experiences in their effort to highlight and question the role of men in contemporary Islam.
Nefertiti’s Daughters “is the story of women, art and revolution. Told by prominent Egyptian artists, this documentary witnesses the critical role revolutionary street art played in the struggle for social and political change during the Egyptian uprisings and how those same artists are now being repressed once again.
Nefertiti’s Daughters is a story of women, art and revolution. Told by prominent Egyptian artists, this documentary witnesses the critical role revolutionary street art played during the Egyptian uprisings. Focused on the role of women artists in the struggle for social and political change,” said the film’s director, Mark Nickolas.
Europe Endless is a documentary about the everyday tragedy of refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea to get to mainland Europe. As more and more refugees desperately try to reach the shores of Europe, Europe Endless reveals the desperate situation on Malta, the tiny island nation situated right in the path between Africa and Europe.
DOCUTAH’s mission is to inspire a global connection through independent documentary films and intellectual discussions. DOCUTAH strives to enhance the education of independent filmmakers, aspiring film students, citizens of the world and the community.
- What: DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival
- Where: Various locations, see full schedule
- When: Sept. 8-12, all day
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