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Micro Strategies to Change the World

Micro Strategies to Change the World

28 April – 30 May 2012

This program of documentaries features extraordinary stories of individuals acting within their local communities to change oppressive or violent situations for the better. The films celebrate small acts originating at a grass roots level of intervention, drawing on compassionate and courageous motivations that ripple out to wider positive consequences.

The Interrupters 2011 M

The Interrupters 2011 M

Sat 28 Apr 2.30pm and Wed 9 May 6.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 127 MINUTES, USA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: STEVE JAMES / CINEMATOGRAPHER: STEVE JAMES / EDITORS: STEVE JAMES, AARON WICKENDEN / PRODUCTION CO: KARTEMQUIN FILMS, RISE FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: KARTEMQUIN FILMS

The Interrupters tells the story of a group of former gang leaders who now work for an organisation called CeaseFire that tries to interrupt the tide of violence on Chicago’s streets. The Interrupters, whose reputations command respect in their neighbourhoods, intervene in disputes before they turn violent. The film follows their attempts to deal with potentially explosive situations — everything from a stolen watch that threatens to become a shooting, to a funeral where young men in bulletproof vests prepare for retaliation. The Interrupters negotiate through these perilous situations with a combination of bravado, humility and humour. Their work is fraught with moral quandaries, as they walk a precipitous line: stepping between adversaries (often people they know) to make peace while keeping the police at arm’s length.’ Adelaide Film Festival

A Small Act 2010 Ages 18+

A Small Act 2010 Ages 18+

Wed 2 May 6.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 88 MINUTES, USA, ENGLISH/KIKUYU/SWAHILI/SWEDISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: JENNIFER ARNOLD / CINEMATOGRAPHER: PATRICIA LEE / EDITORS: TYLER HUBBY, CARL PFIRMAN / PRODUCTION CO: CONSIDERED ENTERTAINMENT, CHERRY SKY FILMS, HARAMBEE MEDIA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: HARAMBEE MEDIA 

‘Decades ago, Hilde Back, a grey-haired Holocaust survivor, began sending $15 a month from Sweden to Kenya to fund a child's primary school education. To her, that amount felt inconsequential but for Chris Mburu, it changed his life. When no other Kenyan family could afford to send their children to high school, Mburu went, and that was enough to springboard him to Harvard. Now a UN human rights lawyer, he's founded a new scholarship fund for the next generation of smart kids with few options. Jennifer Arnold's colourful and moving documentary weaves Back and Mburu’s intertwined stories with the current plight of three Kenyan eighth graders desperate to be their village’s next success story.’ Los Angeles Film Festival

The English Surgeon 2007 M

The English Surgeon 2007 M

Sat 5 May 3.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 93 MINUTES, UK, ENGLISH/UKRAINIAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: GEOFFREY SMITH / CINEMATOGRAPHER: GRAHAM DAY / EDITOR: KATHY O’SHEA / PRODUCTION CO: BUNGALOW TOWN PRODUCTIONS, EYELINE PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT / SCREENING FORMAT: DIGITAL BETACAM

‘When British brain surgeon Henry Marsh first visited the KGB Hospital in Kiev in the early 1990s, he was appalled by the conditions. Patients were dying from simple tumours left untreated. Since then, Marsh has been on a mission to create a viable brain surgery clinic, salvaging discarded equipment from British hospitals, second-hand drills from flea markets and any other tools that may be fashioned to do the job. Geoffrey Smith's exceptional documentary follows the maverick neurosurgeon on his latest trip to the Ukraine, as he once again encounters patients for whom he is their last chance. Marian is among them. Stricken by an enormous, life-threatening brain tumour, we follow Marian through his harrowing brain surgery. As Marsh tackles increasingly risky cases, he is haunted by the memory of a young Ukrainian girl whose operation went fatally wrong. Tense, heartbreaking and at times humorous, this is an extraordinary documentary. Musical score composed and performed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.’ Hot Docs Film Festival 

Cultures of Resistance 2010 Ages 18+

Cultures of Resistance 2010 Ages 18+

Sat 12 May 3.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 73 MINUTES, IRAN/BURMA/CONGO/ISRAEL/PALESTINE/BRAZIL/NIGERIA, ENGLISH/ARABIC/BURMESE/XHOSA/FARSI/FRENCH/HEBREW/PORTUGUESE/SPANISH/VIETNAMESE (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: IARA LEE / CINEMATOGRAPHER: DAVID ROTH SMITH / EDITOR: JEFF MARCELLO / PRODUCTION: CAIPIRINHA PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: CAIPIRINHA PRODUCTIONS

‘Does each gesture really make a difference? Can music and dance be weapons of peace? In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, director Iara Lee embarked on a journey to better understand a world increasingly embroiled in conflict. After several years, travelling over five continents, Iara encountered growing numbers of people who committed their lives to promoting change. From Burma, where non-violent monks take on a dictatorship, to Brazil, where musicians transform guns into guitars, and ending in a Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where photography, music, and film have given a voice to those rarely heard, Cultures of Resistance celebrates the people standing up to exploitation and violence with artistic expression and creative activism.’  Caipirinha Productions 

Favela Rising 2005 M

Favela Rising 2005 M

Wed 16 May 6.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 80 MINUTES, BRAZIL, ENGLISH/PORTUGUESE (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTORS: JEFF ZIMBALIST, MATT MOCHARY / CINEMATOGRAPHER/EDITOR: JEFF ZIMBALIST PRODUCTION CO: ALL RISE LLC / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT / SCREENING FORMAT: DIGITAL BETACAM

Favela Rising documents a true story of a man and a movement, a city divided and a favela (Brazilian squatter settlement) united. Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends is Anderson Sá, a former drug-trafficker who turns social revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro’s most feared slum. Through hip-hop music, the rhythms of the street, and Afro-Brazilian dance he rallies his community to counteract the violent oppression enforced by teenage drug armies and sustained by corrupt police. At the dawn of liberation, just as collective mobility is overcoming all odds and Anderson’s grassroots Afro Reggae movement is at the height of its success, a tragic accident threatens to silence the movement forever.’ Dissent Industries Inc

Revolutionary Daughters 2011 Ages 18+

Revolutionary Daughters 2011 Ages 18+

Sat 19 May 3.00pm (with The Team) / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 25 MINUTES, INDIA, ENGLISH/HINDI (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: KATE TAUNTON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: DAN FREENE / EDITORS: TAIMUR KHAN, JOHN MCMULLIN / PRODUCTION CO: MANDRAKE FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: KATE TAUNTON, AL JAZEERA / SCREENING FORMAT: DIGITAL VIDEO

Moved by the bleak future faced by many of the girl children of India's prostitutes, two young activists ― Robin Chaurasiya and Trina Talukdar ― were motivated to form the support group Kranti to aid them. Aiming to go beyond the reach of traditional NGOs, Kranti seeks to train these young girls to become the leaders of tomorrow's India. Revolutionary Daughters explores the daily realities of trying to make a difference and the bigger complications that unfold despite the best of intentions. 

The Team 2011 Ages 18+

The Team 2011 Ages 18+

Sat 19 May 3.00pm (with Revolutionary Daughters) / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 56 MINUTES, CANADA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: PATRICK REED / CINEMATOGRAPHER: CHRIS ROMEIKE / EDITOR: MICHÈLE HOZER / PRODUCTION CO: WHITE PINE PICTURES / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: FILMS TRANSIT 

‘In the wake of Kenya’s 2007 election violence, a group of Kenyans produced a dramatic TV soap opera series about a fictional soccer team, with the hope that previously taboo story lines would bridge deep ethnic divisions. The Team explores whether one of the lowliest of art forms can achieve the loftiest of ideals: transformative social change, and reveals a side of Africa Western media rarely depicts.’ Telegraph 21

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai 2008 Ages 18+

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai 2008 Ages 18+

Wed 23 May 6.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, 81 MINUTES, COLOUR, STEREO, 81 MINUTES, USA/KENYA, ENGLISH / DIRECTORS: ALAN DATER, LISA MERTON / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ALAN DATER / EDITORS: ALAN DATER, THOMAS HANEKE, JIM KLEIN, MARY LAMPSON / PRODUCTION CO: MARLBORO PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: TAKING ROOT FILMS 

‘The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the grassroots Green Belt Movement of Kenya, Wangari Maathai discovered her life’s work by reconnecting with the rural women with whom she had grown up. They told her their lives had become intolerable: they were walking longer distances for firewood, clean water was scarce, the soil was disappearing and their children were suffering from malnutrition. Maathai thought to herself, “Well, why not plant trees?” She soon discovered tree planting had a ripple effect of empowering change. It served to mitigate deforestation, poverty, ignorance, embedded political interests and political oppression. Ultimately the movement helped bring down Kenya’s dictatorship. Maathai’s visionary understanding of the vital link between the health of the land, its people and its government stands as an example for Africa and the world.’ DC Environmental Film Festival

Angels in the Dust 2007 Ages 18+

Angels in the Dust 2007 Ages 18+

Sat 26 May 3.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 95 MINUTES, SOUTH AFRICA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: LOUISE HOGARTH / CINEMATOGRAPHER: MAY RIGLER / EDITOR: MELINDA BRIANA EPLER / PRODUCTION CO: PARTICIPANT PRODUCTIONS, DREAM OUT LOUD PRODUCTIONS, WILD AT HEART FILMS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: DREAM OUT LOUD PRODUCTIONS

‘By the year 2010, it is estimated that there will be 40 million AIDS orphans. The reality of these mind-boggling statistics is brought brutally home in director Louise Hogarth’s documentary Angels in the Dust. Hogarth spent three years capturing daily life at Boikarabelo, a 99-acre farm run by long-time activist Marion Cloete and her ever-supportive husband and two daughters. Boikarabelo is home to more than 550 children, many of whom have lost their entire families to AIDS and who are themselves HIV positive… Angels in the Dust does not hide the blunt facts of death, but ultimately, it is the extraordinary courage of young children that is nothing short of revelatory. Whether they are confronting the parents who sold their small bodies to men for sex or staging a dance competition, the resiliency of these tiny souls is literally stunning.’ DOXA Documentary Film Festival 

Pray the Devil Back to Hell 2008 M

Pray the Devil Back to Hell 2008 M

Wed 30 May 6.00pm / Cinema A

HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 72 MINUTES, USA, ENGLISH SUBTITLES / DIRECTOR: GINI RETICKER / CINEMATOGRAPHER: KRISTEN JOHNSON / EDITORS: KATE TAVERNA, MEG RETICKER / PRODUCTION COMPANY: ABIGAIL DISNEY / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ROCO FILMS

Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country.  In 2003 thousands of women — ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim — came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Liberian Presidential Palace. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about an agreement during the stalled peace talks.’ Fork Films