Note: This is a message from one of our screening committee members, Robin. We thought it would provide some insight as to how the films are chosen, rather than just what films we will show. We hope to be announcing more films later this week. Enjoy!
My name is Robin McGuire and I’m a documentary enthusiast. Actually if I could do anything in the world (and not worry about money) I would be a documentary film maker. That is why I was so honored when Lisa Unangst, Program and Film Festival Director for the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB) tapped me to work with her and 12 other selection committee members for UNAGB’s 2009 Film Festival in October.
Working with the UNAGB staff and other committee members is and has been so far, a wonderful experience. The selection committee is quite diverse with a healthy mix of men and women, film makers, board members, students and educators from the Boston area. Many on the committee have worked with the UNAGB film festival in the past and some are newcomers like me, but all have a love and respect for film making and the topics we are covering at this year’s festival.
I have the great opportunity to work with a past associate, Tara Kuglen on the Human Rights and Culture category. This year the committee chose two dynamic films to present; the first Tea with the Axis of Evil (Syria) provides a window into the political climate in the daily lives of the Syrian people. It highlights how Islamic extremists undermine a more moderate voice and its effect on the majority of Syrians. Most importantly, Tea with the Axis of Evil shows the Syrian people are really just trying to understand and get through a difficult time in their country and culture just like we are.
Immokalee (USA) recounts the struggles of immigrants working to eek out a “living” in the small Florida farm town of Immokalee. The film does an excellent job of providing both the view point of the farmer and of the immigrant while showing how the two are co-existing. The immigrants need the farmer and the farmer needs the immigrants. Immokalee represents the view of both sides of this hot topic.
What I found most appealing about both of these films is that I walked away with information I didn’t know before and felt more connected to these enormously weighty issues. Each film touches on the human rights and culture of their nation’s people and situations in a moving and thoughtful way. Tara and I are currently developing a speaker’s forum to coincide with the film presentations.