“We, the People” Documentary Film Festival Begins Thursday

homeWe.pngBeginning this Thursday and running through Saturday, Trade&Row is presenting “We, the People,” a documentary film festival showcasing portraits of American culture, from Thursday, October 16, 2008 to Saturday, October 18, 2008:

In the year of a presidential election, it is important to think about the magnitude of what Americans are asking one person to represent to the world. Who are we? How do we come together? What do we, the people, stand for?

Over the course of three evenings, We, the People will showcase films that go beyond generalities to inform Americans about the economic and social issues that may uplift or immobilize certain areas, and show how they can extrapolate to other parts of the country.

Three distinct venues have been selected in hopes of bringing people together to promote multiple perspectives: Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, Echo Park Film Center and Self Help Graphics. In addition, Trade&Row will facilitate dialogue and ask audience members to comment on the film or films of each evening that had the most impact.

This event looks well worth a visit as there is a ton of really intriguing stuff being shown. I’m particularly interested in night number one’s Lost Colony, described as “A short documentary following a few days in the lives of residents of Crusoe Island, North Carolina, who are known for suspicion of outsiders and subsistence living along the Waccamaw River.”

Full schedule and film synopses after the jump.

Thursday, Oct 16
Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock
2225 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90041 / (323) 226-1617

The first evening will showcase a series of documentaries offering intimate snapshots of social outcasts and misfits that include residents of a secluded North Carolina island community, illegal alien college students living in Los Angeles, truckers’ realities on the road, and a politically progressive publisher in the middle of conservative Mormon Utah.

Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock will host our first evening. The Center presents innovative and multicultural arts programming to the communities of Northeast Los Angeles, targeting nontraditional and underserved audiences, and providing access to excellent arts education for local youth and contemporary art experiences to all in the community.

Lost Colony – directed by Lisa Bertini (2007, 11 min) A short documentary following a few days in the lives of residents of Crusoe Island, North Carolina, who are known for suspicion of outsiders and subsistence living along the Waccamaw River. Because of the centuries-old isolation, residents have a unique lifestyle and (nearly intelligible) dialect, similar to what you would find in the ‘hollers’ of mountains.

Without Papers – directed by Florencia Krochik and Gabriel Sanchez (2008, 15 min) This documentary chronicles the lives of two illegal aliens attending college in Los Angeles as they struggle to overcome their undocumented status.

Little America – directed by Jessie Kahnweiler/Brittany Johnston (2008, 18 min) A glimpse into the world of truck drivers, Little America offers a look at what it’s like to live your life behind the wheel.

Brave New West – directed by Doug Hawes-Davis (2008, 86 min) The American West has a new, albeit unlikely hero. “Old West” meets “New West” in the work of independent writer, publisher, artist, and activist Jim Stiles, whose independent paper boasts, “Hopelessly clinging to the past”.

Friday, Oct 17
Echo Park Film Center
1200 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles, CA 90026 / (213) 484-8846

The three documentary shorts and two one-hour features for the second evening of the festival collectively look at broader issues of family dysfunction, economic struggles in small-town America, emerging activism concerning HIV/AIDS education and the left wing of the Christian movement.

This evening’s screening will take place at Echo Park Film Center (EPFC), a volunteer-run, non-profit media arts organization located in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. EPFC provides equal and affordable access to film/video education and resources.

Ubergangszeit – directed by Renee Patt (2008, 10 min) This documentary is a portrait of a man and his work, and how it has become his identity.

Misunderstood Child – directed by Delceta Barnfield (2007, 11 min) A teenage girl, Delceta, documents her dysfunctional family and crowded house with lots of responsibilities. She’s misunderstood.

Seen, But Not Heard – directed by Cyrille Phipps (2007, 10 min) Seen, But Not Heard is a short documentary that will explore the historical antecedents, current trends, and emerging activism concerning HIV/AIDS and women of African decent. Through raw and revealing personal accounts and comprehensive investigative journalism, Seen, But Not Heard seeks to challenge, inform, and inspire viewers to look past the daunting HIV/AIDS statistics – to see and hear the real stories of women of color whose lives are affected by HIV/AIDS.

Left Ahead – directed by Brooke Barnett (2008, 54 min) This documentary film tells the stories of three different Southern churches and the common faith that leads them in daring directions.

This American Gothic – directed by Sasha Waters Freyer (2008, 63 min) This American Gothic weaves together a cultural history of one of the most famous paintings in the world with a quirky portrait of Eldon, Iowa, population 998, site of the house that inspired it. The film follows local boosters over two years as they work towards their dream of a Gothic House Visitor Center to attract tourists and save their dying small town.

Saturday, Oct 18
Self Help Graphics
3802 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90063 / (323) 881-6444

The final evening of films will showcase different levels of community activism – from an individual, a community and a corporate perspective. Whether picketing, petitioning or lobbying to Congress, the rallying effort within these films will be used as a springboard for discussion related to enabling Self Help Graphics’ sustainability in the community.

Self Help Graphics (SHG) is a nationally recognized center for Latino arts that develops and nurtures artists in printmaking. SHG seeks to advance Latino art broadly through programming, exhibitions and outreach to diverse audiences in East Los Angeles and beyond. SHG seeks to identify and engage young and emerging artists from the community in all aspects of its activities.

In addition, Trade&Row, in collaboration with The East LA Society of Film and Arts, will feature film shorts on the theme What My Community Means to Me produced by filmmakers between the ages of 13-19 years old who will be recognized for their contributions to the Annual Youth Film Festival Competition. The youth festival was produced in collaboration with Cinema Pobre, Spanish American Institute (SAI), Bienvenidos and International Humanities Center.

Wolf at the Door – directed by Robert Emmons (2008, 11 min) Artist Jeff Filbert fights to save his Benson St. studio in Camden, NJ from being demolished by eminent domain laws.

In Bed with a Mosquito – directed by Sarah Frank (2008, 18 min) In Bed With a Mosquito is an intimate portrait of activism and aging in New York City.

Free the River Park – directed by Tara Nurin (2008, 15 min) The People Will Prevail. This is a story of a community’s determination to rebuke belligerent big business, which proves to be no match against the power of the people.

Rising Tide – directed by George Valencia (2008, 39 min) Despite his promise of “No new taxes,” in 1990 President George HW Bush signed a budget package which included a new Luxury Tax. Among those impacted by the new tax were the employees of Viking Yachts in New Jersey. After the suicide of one of their employees, Viking’s owners, Bill and Bob Healey, mounted an aggressive campaign to repeal the Luxury Tax.