Human Rights Watch Film Festival continues in Tucson


Don’t despair is you missed the first 3 films from this provocative film series on Feb. 8, 18, 24. See listings below for the remaining 6 films through April 7. The first one was a documentary about the work being done in the “Deep South”(Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana) for those diagnosed positive with HIV, with limited resources, which my husband and I viewed at Casa Libre en la Solana.

From Loft Cinema website (note that only the last film is at the Loft, be sure to note the locales around town):

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival bears witness to human rights violations and creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. The film festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people.
Each year’s traveling festival showcases films from the London and New York Human Rights Watch Film Festivals. The Loft is proud to present 9 of these films to audiences in Southern Arizona.

Additional funding provided by Ventana Charitable Foundation, The Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, University of Arizona School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and The Aurora Foundation of Southern Arizona.


Tall as a Baobab Tree
• One showing only! Monday, Mar 3rd 2014 at Boys & Girls Club, Holmes Tuttle Club house, Pueblo Gardens Park, 2585 E. 36th St.
Tall as the Baobab Tree poignantly depicts a family struggling to find its footing on the edge of the modern world fraught with tensions between tradition and modernity.


My Afghanistan: Life In The Forbidden Zone
• One showing only! Wednesday, Mar 12th 2014 at Joel D. Valdez Main library, 101 N. Stone Ave.
• Nagieb Khaja, a Danish journalist of Afghan origin,travels to Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province in Afghanistan and gives people living in outlying communities mobile phones equipped with cameras and asks them to film their daily lives, providing a rare glimpse into the war-torn existence of ordinary Afghans.

• Camp 14: Total Control Zone
One showing only! Tuesday, Mar 18th 2014 at Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Rd.
Camp 14 – Total Control Zone is a fascinating portrait of a young man who grew up imprisoned by dehumanizing violence yet still found the will to escape.

• The New Black
One showing only! Saturday, Mar 22nd 2014 at Grace St. Paul’s Church, 2331 E. Adams St.
The New Black tells the story of how the African American community is grappling with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in light of the marriage equality movement and the fight over civil rights.


Born This Way
• One showing only! Monday, Mar 31st 2014 at Fluxx Studio & Gallery, 401 E. 9th St.
There are more arrests for homosexuality in Cameroon than in any other country in the world. With intimate access to the lives of four young gay Cameroonians, Born This Way steps outside the genre of activist filmmaking and offers a vivid and poetic portrait of day-to-day life in modern Africa.


An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story
• One showing only! Monday, Apr 7th 2014 at Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway
Michael Morton’s wife was brutally murdered in front of their only child, and Michael was convicted of the crime. A team of dedicated attorneys spent years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene and their discoveries ultimately reveal that the price of a wrongful conviction goes well beyond one man’s loss of freedom.

Previous articleWhat’s it going to be Guv, yes or no?
Next articleCartoon of The Week
Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


  1. Very powerful, heartfelt movie “Born this Way” about gays/lesbians in Cameroun who face daily discrimination & persecution just being themselves, where homosexuality is a crime with 5 years of imprisonment. The lives of several gays are shown in the film, including a young man threatened with death, a lesbian couple who had to flee their rural village due to the persecution & trial for homosexuality (found guilty, then appealed), and a young woman having to come out to her Mother Superior/surrogate mother. This nation is far behind America in tolerance, acceptance and won’t be considering gay marriage for decades.

  2. The battle for marriage equality/same sex marriage in the state of Maryland is documented in this powerful film, shown tonight at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal church before about 60 people. Religious leaders in Md. opposed the ballot measure, which passed in Nov. 2012, with the support of President Obama. After the film LD 9 State Senator Steve Farley spoke of his fight against SB 1062 recently, about “radical inclusion” and his goal to make LGBT a protected class in AZ. Community organizer Karess Taylor-Hughes, featured in the film was present and spoke of her work against homophobia in sports, and her recent work for gay rights in Utah. In AZ stay in touch with Why Marriage Matters and Equality AZ & work toward a ballot measure for gay marriage in 2016.

  3. War-torn Afghanistan is indeed the subject of the 5 glimpses we see taken by regular civilians in their home villages, farming, eating, driving (if they own any vehicles and many don’t). Particularly troubling in these documentaries is the ever present police and/or Taliban fighting. Many of the scenes are terrifying with actual gun battles just outside the homes, with children huddling inside, and footage of wounded/bleeding civilians in the streets. Women are almost non-existent outside the homes or not allowed to be filmed. “My Afghanistan” is a very vivid film of life in that country, still occupied by foreign troops.

Comments are closed.