9th Annual United Nations Association Film Festival

31 Documentaries from Around the World

October 25-29, 2006 at Stanford University

Cubberley Auditorium | School of Education and Annnenberg Auditorium | Cummings Art Building

Ted Turner, Alec Baldwin, Danny Glover, Peter Coyote, and Susan Sarandon are all members of the UNAFF Honorary Committee. Why? Because they recognize that documentaries shown at this year's Festival provide a unique insight into compelling issues from Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, China, the Congo, Ethiopia, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, the Sierra Leone, Spain, the UK and the US.

You will find stories about refugees in the Sierra Leone and humanitarian aid in the Congo to the war in the Middle East and Iraq, from the status of women in Rwanda, Nicaragua and India to the fight against AIDS in Africa and China, from stories about environmental devastation on Native American reservations to the Tsunami tragedy in Indonesia, UNAFF presents compelling images.

The Festival opens on October 25 with heart wrenching films from around the world. In They Chose China, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Shuibo Wang tells the controversial story of a group of American soldiers held in POW camps, who refused repatriation to the US after the end of the Korean War. Ben Lewis's film Blowing Up Paradise traces 30 years of French atomic tests in Tahiti. Marcelo Bukin's short film Lima's Streets focuses on homeless children in Peru. Between Two Stones: Nepal's Decade of Conflict deals with the toll on the civilian population caught in the conflict between Maoist rebels and monarchy security forces in the Himalayas. And Paul Cowan's film The Peacekeepers is a behind the scenes depiction of United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Congo.

Not surprisingly, the focus of a number of filmmakers work this year has been the crisis in the Middle East.

Baghdad ER by Emmy award winners Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill chronicles two months at the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq. Tom Eldridge's eight-minute documentary Beyond Iraq focuses on the soldiers with severe injuries and the activities that have helped them deal with their new lives. Independent Intervention shows how a Norwegian filmmaker in the United States questions the US media coverage of the war in Iraq.

There are also a number of films that analyze the human price of conflict, violence and natural disasters.

Scott Dalton and Margarita Martinez film La Sierra is an intimate look at the violent barrios of Medellin, the neighborhood "in the hands of kids with guns" in Colombia. Does the solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians rest in the classroom rather than in the angry, fearful streets of the region? James Cullingham's film Lessons In Fear attempts to find an answer to the Middle East crisis by struggling to make education a positive force in the Israeli and Palestinian Territories. In Epitaph filmmaker Mikael Lubtchansky uses 71 "digitally painted" press photos and 1 short video to create a poetic visual memorial to 9/11. The Tsunami Generation is the story of the Aceh province where in the wake of the Tsunami disaster the Indonesian government, militant Muslims, the GAM guerilla and NGOs are all aspiring to gain from the rebuilding of Aceh.

Women, lesbian/gay and health issues are also represented. Busting Out by Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Smith explores the history and politics of breast obsession in America. Lauren Greenfield makes her directorial debut with Thin, a cinema verite documentary exploring eating disorders. Malcolm Ingram's Small Town Gay Bar takes us to spaces where small-town gays and lesbians find each other, and where their lives are celebrated rather than hidden. Rosita, a documentary by filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater, traces a young Nicaraguan girl's journey from innocent victim to unwitting victor. The Shape of Water directed by Kum-Kum Bhavnani and narrated by Susan Sarandon, documents a slice of the lives and work of six women in Brazil, India, Senegal, and the Middle East.

Information about the festival is available at www.unaff.org or 650-724-5544.

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Blowing Up Paradise

In The Tall Grass

Lessons In Fear


The Shape Of Water

They Chose China