2019 Human Rights Film Festival: States of Violence and Turf

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2: 6 PM and 8 PM (Doors 5:30 pm)


The 2019 EPFC Human Rights Film Festival continues with a screening of States of Violence and Turf, two of the six thematic programs of We Tell: Fifty Years of Participatory Community Media programmed by Louis Massiah (filmmaker and Executive Director of Scribe Video Center) and Patricia R. Zimmermann (Professor of Screen Studies at Ithaca College).

States of Violence – 6 PM

The political environment of the American criminal justice system is complex, involving concerns about evidence, interpretation, laws, and policies that may center around a single case. States of Violence  approaches this urgent topic from the perspective of those affected by domestic violence, incarceration, and policing—and by the international issues of war.


Ain’t Nobody’s Business (Lenora Champagne, Karen Kern, Karl Spicer, Adam Steg, Marianne Wafer, YWCA Battered Women’s Program, New Orleans Video Access Center, 1978, 22 minutes)

Inside Women Inside (Christine Choy, Cynthia Maurizio, Third World Newsreel, 1978, 21 minutes)

Just Say No: The Gulf Crisis TV Project #55 (Simone Farkhondeh, DeeDee Halleck, Martin Lucas, Cathy Scott, Deep Dish TV, Paper Tiger Television, 1990, 28 minutes)

Books Through Bars (Books Through Bars, Scribe Video Center [Cheryl Hess, Anula Shetty, facilitators],1997, 15 minutes)

Military Option (Al Santana, Alonzo Speight, Third World Newsreel, 2005, 11 minutes)

M4BL: Ceremony (Movement for Black Lives, 2016, 5 minutes)

A Cop Watcher’s Story: El Grito de Sunset Park Attempts to Deter Police Brutality (Steve de Sève, Brooklyn Information and Culture TV [BRIC TV], Copwatch Brooklyn, 2017, 6 minutes)


Turf – 8 PM

The works in Turf explore the politics of housing, displacement, gentrification, homelessness, and the significance of urban spaces for democratic participation. The projects span cities such as Braddock, Pennsylvania; Detroit; Houston; New Orleans; New York City; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Seattle. The videos in Turf reveal that cities have transformed into battlegrounds between communities and those in power who would take land and space to expand their economic and political authority.


Survival Information Television (SIT): Must You Pay the Rent? (Jeanne Keller, New Orleans Video Access, 1975, 12 minutes)

The Taking of One Liberty Place (Carlton Jones, Louis Massiah, Scribe Video Center, 1987, 8 minutes)

Showdown in Seattle: What Democracy Looks Like (Part 5) (Big Noise Films, Changing America, Deep Dish TV, Free Speech TV, Headwaters Action Video, the Independent Media Center, Paper Tiger Television, VideoActive, Whispered Media, 1999, 28 minutes)

Freedom on the Block (Vinh Duong, Dennis Hwang, Pearl Quach, Sammy Soeum, Seyha Tap, James Varian, Vietnamese Youth Development Center [Spencer Nakasako, facilitator], 2004, 6 minutes)

Occupy Portland Eviction Defense (Tim, Rio, B Media Collective, 2011, 6 minutes)

Why Archive? (Activist Archivists, 2012, 2 minutes)

Take Me Home (Orlando Ford, Detroit Narrative Agency, 2018, 13 minutes)

In attendance: Programmers Louis Massiah and Patricia R. Zimmermann, and Spencer Nakasako who directed the Vietnamese Youth Development Center which produced Freedom on the Block.

Louis Massiah (coprogrammer/project lead) is a documentary filmmaker and the founder/director of Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia. His innovative approach to documentary filmmaking and community media have earned him numerous honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship (1996-2001), two Rockefeller/Tribeca fellowships and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. His award-winning documentaries, The Bombing of Osage Avenue (1986), W.E.B. Du Bois – A Biography in in Four Voices (1996), two films for the Eyes on the Prize II series (1987), and A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown (2002), have been broadcast on PBS and screened at festivals and museums throughout the US, Europe, and Africa. In 2011, he was commissioned to create a five-channel permanent video installation for the National Park Service’s President’s House historic site. Massiah has served as guest artist and visiting faculty member at Swarthmore College, Temple University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Patricia R. Zimmermann (coprogrammer, researcher, writer) is Professor of Screen Studies at Ithaca College and codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. She is author of Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film; States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies; Thinking Through Digital Media: Transnational Environments and Locative Places (with Dale Hudson); Open Spaces: Openings, Closings, and Thresholds of International Public Media;  The Flaherty: Decades in the Cause of Independent Cinema (with Scott MacDonald); Open Space New Media Documentary: A Toolkit for Theory and Practice (with Helen De Michiel), and Documentary Across Platforms: Reverse Engineering Media, Place, and Politics. She is co-editor (with Karen Ishizuka) of Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories. A media historian and theorist, she specializes in documentary, new media, film/media/new media history, amateur film and emerging amateur technologies, and histories of the international public media arts.

Spencer Nakasako has worked in the Southeast Asian communities of San Francisco and Oakland, training at-risk refugee youths to make films about their own lives. He is best known for his National Emmy Award-winning documentary a.k.a. Don Bonus and his film Refugee won the Inspirational Film Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Nakasako’s Kelly Loves Tony was nominated for Best Feature by the International Documentary Association. In addition to teaching film in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California at Berkeley, he has also had artist-in-residencies at the Walker Art Center, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the University of Toronto, and Stanford University.

We Tell: Fifty Years of Participatory Community Media is a national traveling exhibition featuring 41 separate media projects; 36 different production entities, including nonprofit community organizations and cultural centers; and works from 19 states and Puerto Rico. We Tell is a thematic collection of short documentaries produced by community media entities. Not only does the exhibition celebrate the important 50-year history of participatory community media in the United States, but also restores these legacies as a vital, vibrant sector of the ecologies of documentary. The exhibition was programmed collaboratively for over five years by Louis Massiah (filmmaker and Executive Director of Scribe Video Center) and Patricia R. Zimmermann (Professor of Screen Studies at Ithaca College). Archival research for the exhibition was contributed by The XFR Collective, an organization of media archivists that partners with artists, activists, individuals, and groups to lower the barriers to preserving at-risk audiovisual media.

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