Human Rights Watch Film Festival highlights issues facing foster youth and Indigenous rights
Speaker 1: (00:00)
The museum of photographic arts in BBO park is hosting its 12th annual human rights watch film festival. Now through Tuesday, the event will be virtual this year, featuring five films about issues ranging from foster youth to immigration reform. Besides streaming the films festival Watchers will also get a chance for Q and a with filmmakers joining me to talk about the films playing during the week long film Fest is the deputy director of the human rights. Watch film festival, Jennifer Ned Bosky and Jennifer. Welcome.
Speaker 2: (00:31)
Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here now. The human
Speaker 1: (00:34)
Rights watch film festival typically gathers documentaries from around the world. Has that been more difficult during pandemic
Speaker 2: (00:42)
In terms of human rights? the human rights movement hasn't stopped and neither have the ability for filmmakers to go out and shoot these stories. So it hasn't quite slowed down. Thankfully,
Speaker 1: (00:51)
Is there a theme for this year's film festival selections?
Speaker 2: (00:55)
You know, this year we are thinking about certainly at the human toll of the global pandemic, and many people are feeling a little bit isolated. There's so much going on all at the same time, but this year's festival really lifts up stories of community members, ordinary people all over the world, but definitely in California, where two of our films take place that are just overcoming the odds, finding support and taking leadership to steps in action.
Speaker 1: (01:23)
Well, the film festival is streaming it's underway and the film on the divide is actually first on the list. Tell us what this film is about
Speaker 2: (01:31)
On the divide is a film that centers, the stories of the Latin X community in McAllen, Texas. This is an area where there's about a 250 mile swath of land. However, there's only only one remaining abortion clinic. And this is for many people, especially folks living in poverty and with other limited access. Um, this is where they pick up things like birth control. So when abortion clinics are closing in Texas, it really has an impact on every member of this community on whatever side of what they call the divide. They stand, let's
Speaker 1: (02:03)
Hear a clip from the trailer
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Abortion two, three years ago, Texas had 41 abortion facilities on October. The third, only seven in the state of Texas could legally perform an abortion.
Speaker 4: (02:18)
This is a clinic that has been closed down because of the new loss, implement it by the state of Texas, the illegal abortions will take place. Women can hemorrhage to death.
Speaker 1: (02:32)
Why is this your opening movie selection?
Speaker 2: (02:35)
You know, certainly women across the country and families across the country have so much stake right now while there's a huge amount of support across the country women to have the right to choose. Um, this film really shows that obviously the question is really complicated, but also there's a lot of common ground to be found the discussion on abortion. Isn't always a black and white issue. This film really shows that there's a huge, great area where people, including people of faith really understand and are empathizing with how difficult these choices are to make and how profound and important it is that women are able to decide what is best for their bodies and families. Another
Speaker 1: (03:13)
Film featured in the human rights watch film festival is possible cells. What does this movie highlight?
Speaker 2: (03:19)
So we're thrilled to be hosting the world premiere of this film possible selves, which is the first documentary of its kind to focus on the stories of foster youth, telling their own stories in the United States. It's impossible for foster youth to speak out to the press without approval from a judge. And so this film is really remarkable as it lifts up a lot of organizations and individuals in California that are supporting foster youth as they go ahead and reach their goal of graduating from college.
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Here's a clip from the film.
Speaker 5: (03:50)
It's like a foster children has like, you know, damaged goods, no one really wanted. And I don't know once I became one, it's like my whole perspective just shifted, you know, is that if that's what everyone will think of as foster child, then how can they ever see the qualities that they possess? How can they ever see that they might be a great dancer or a gifted musician?
Speaker 1: (04:13)
When we see documentaries about foster children, it usually focuses on the foster system itself. But as you say, this film concentrates on the stories of the foster kids themselves, how does that change the story that's
Speaker 2: (04:28)
Told? You know, it's so important that we're able to hear from the perspectives of foster youth, what their lives are like. And this film really it's, it's so important for the public to understand that your youth are in their communities, they're in your kids' schools. They might be your, your kid or the best friend of your child. They're important members of the community. And they're really trying hard to overcome the odds, to reach their goals, be educated in college, to be able to work and support themselves. But the films also focuses on teens that are coming of age and aging out of the foster care system. And we at human rights watch really want the people to understand that watch this film, that foster youth need more support, and that can look like becoming a foster parent or just becoming a mentor and an ally to foster youth in your community. Tell
Speaker 1: (05:19)
Us a little about some of the other fail was being streamed. There's one called fruits of labor.
Speaker 2: (05:25)
That's right. Fruits of labor tells the story of an incredible young woman who is living outside of Los Angeles. Her story is one that's not unique to many members of the California and San Diego area. As she's in high school, her mother is threatened with the deportation. And because of the fear of having her mother taken away, this young teenager ends up having to work multiple jobs to support her siblings and her mother financially. So she's working in the strawberry fields in the morning, going to high school and then working in a meat packing plant at night. And the film actually is co-written by Ashley, the film subject. And she'll be part of the Q and a. So we really hope folks get to meet her and hear her story.
Speaker 1: (06:07)
You now living in Southern California, we hear an awful lot of stories like that. It's different though, when you actually see it on the screen, isn't it?
Speaker 2: (06:14)
Absolutely. And then the film you're really brought into Ashley's life and the film really poses the question about what it's like to come of age as a young woman of color, a young working woman of color right now. And the
Speaker 1: (06:27)
Festival also presents a story about reclaimed identity in daughter of a lost bird. And let's just hear a little from that movie
Speaker 6: (06:39)
When someone says you are LUMY, it's very hard for me. I can't wrap my mind around, but I don't know what that means.
Speaker 7: (06:50)
Don't be ashamed who you are now, your ancestors are here. They led you here.
Speaker 1: (07:02)
Jennifer, tell us about this film
Speaker 2: (07:04)
Daughter of ALO bird is made by Brooke peppy and Swanee. And it tells the story of a young woman who as she's about to become a mother herself, realizes that she is actually from a native background. She was raised by a white mother and family, and never knew anything about her native heritage until she was about to become a mother herself. So the film traces back, the origins of the family separations that took place called the Indian child welfare act, which led many families to be separated. And Kendra goes ahead and learns about her identity connecting with her culture. She also meets her birth mother who herself was also separated from her family due to these, um, separations in the native American community. So
Speaker 1: (07:52)
All of these films in the human rights watch film festival are currently streaming. Where can people go to the films during the festival?
Speaker 2: (08:00)
The films are available to stream online at mopa.org/r w F F. The films will be online from February 2nd, all the way through the eighth. And tickets start at just $9 for the individual film, 35 for a whole festival pass. And I do do wanna mention that we don't want the cost of the ticket to be a barrier so people can email firstname.lastname@example.org. And we'll go ahead and send you some free codes.
Speaker 1: (08:32)
Well, I've been speaking with the deputy director of the human rights, watch film festival, Jennifer Belsky Jennifer. Thank you very much. Thank you so much.
The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park is hosting its 12th annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival through Tuesday. The event is virtual this year, featuring five films about foster youth, immigration reform, Indigenous rights, inequality, reproductive rights and poverty. Viewers can stream any of the five films each day during the weeklong festival, and can also sign up for chance to speak with the filmmakers.
Jennifer Nedbalsky, deputy director of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about some of the films.
"This year's festival really lifts up stories of community members, ordinary people all over the world, but definitely in California, where two of our films take place, that are just overcoming the odds, finding support, and taking leadership to take steps and action," Nedbalsky said.
The five films playing during the festival are:
- On the Divide (2021) by Maya Cueva and Leah Galant
- Possible Selves (2021) by Shaun Kadlec
- Fruits of Labor (2021) by Emily Cohen Ibañez
- The Stained Dawn (2021) by Anam Abbas
- Daughter of a Lost Bird (2020) by Brooke Swaney
The films are available to stream online on the MOPA site through Feb. 8. Tickets start at $9 for an individual film, or $35 for a festival pass. Nedbalsky said people who can't pay the cost of the ticket can email email@example.com to receive a free code.