1ST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH
Location: Cesar E. Chavez Building, Room 111 (1110 James E. Rogers Way, Tucson, AZ 85719)
Free and open to the public
All films have subtitled or spoken English
Haunted (Maskoun) (9/6)
Frontline: Exodus (10/4)
Sound of Torture and short film "Transparent Black" (11/1)
After Spring (12/6)
From the The Torch Films Synopsis-
As the Syrian Civil War began to slowly bear down on Damascus, its residents were forced to decide whether to stay and protect their homes or to flee and leave everything behind.
Some residents appear perpetually ready to leave, but seem to be staying nevertheless. They ask themselves how many artillery shellings are too many. The simple act of deciding which family heirlooms to pack carries a sense of loss. Some who had hoped to have finally found home, recognize fleeing as part of a pattern they've experienced throughout their lives in the Middle East. They are unsure if they will have the energy to rebuild from nothing again.
Some make their way to Beirut, and others to various camps in the desert. One plans for exile in the Golan Heights. As they reflect on their experiences, they know the loss of what they are leaving behind, but not where they are going. Some feel they have become vacant like their spaces, or haunted by what they've already forgotten.
Haunted is the first feature film by Liwaa Yazji. She is also an accomplished poet and playwright.
Country of Origin
Arabic (English Subtitles)
2014/ 117 min
From PBS Frontline-
Since 2011, millions of people have fled their homes in Syria and other countries besieged by violence, helping to fuel Europe’s largest migration crisis since the end of World War II.
This two-hour special draws on camera and smartphone footage filmed by refugees and migrants themselves – from inside a sinking dinghy on a route across the Mediterranean Sea where thousands have died, to the tents and fires inside Calais’s notorious “Jungle” camp.
Through its harrowing access and intimacy, Exodus vividly exposes a shadow-world of human traffickers exploiting the crisis for profit, how countries are handling the influx of people, and the challenges and choices these refugees and migrants face every day.
“Anyone can become a refugee,” says Hassan, a former English teacher who fled his home in Damascus, after he says he was beaten by government forces. “It’s not something which you choose, it’s something that happens to you.”
Hassan’s journey is one of several at the heart of Exodus. We also meet:
- Isra’a, a young Syrian girl who fled Aleppo with her family, including her disabled sister, after a missile destroyed their home.
- Ahmad, who fled Syria when his village was invaded by Islamist extremists, and who is trying to reunite with his wife and young daughter.
- Alaigie, a young Gambian man whose father recently died, and who dreams of reaching Italy and lifting his brothers and sisters out of poverty.
- Sadiq, who fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban, and now wants to start a new life in Finland.
Together, their stories paint an indelible portrait of this global crisis, and what it means to be a refugee.
“I am a refugee, I am just like you, I have a family, I have dreams, I’ve got hopes…” says Ahmad. “I just want a peaceful life away from violence.”
Country of Origin
2016/ 113 min
Sound of Torture & short film "Transparent Black"
From the Women Make Movies Review-
Since 2006 when Europe closed its borders, human trafficking has burgeoned in Egypt’s Sinai Desert, where Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees heading north to Israel are kidnapped, held hostage, and tortured by Bedouin smugglers demanding exorbitant ransoms for their freedom. Fleeing an oppressive military dictatorship at home, with a “shoot-to-kill” policy at the border and where only pregnant women are exempted from service, over 300,000 Eritreans have fled their homeland in North Africa. Many of these men, women and children die in Sinai’s torture camps.
This powerful documentary intimately follows Swedish-Eritrean journalist Meron Estefanos and her efforts to aid the hostages and their families. From Stockholm she runs a popular online radio show, fielding calls for help from Eritrean victims and their relatives. Her activism takes her to Israel and Egypt’s Sinai Desert to seek the release of a badly abused young woman held captive with her baby and to search for another who disappeared along the Egyptian-Israeli border after her ransom had been paid. Both eloquent and harrowing, SOUND OF TORTURE spotlights one of today’s most underreported human rights violations and the one woman who is making it her mission to create change.
Country of Origin
Arabic/Tigrigna/Hebrew/English (English Subtitles)
2014/ 58 min
Short Film: Transparent Black
From DVD Talks Review-
This short documentary focuses on African refugees receiving classes in a Hebrew school. The teacher discusses the country's need for fewer citizens and that the intent of helping refugees is only temporary and isn't intended as something permanent. The students in class discuss their hopeful futures, goals, and dreams. This documentary covers some interesting discussion points and moments and surprises with powerful introspection.
Country of Origin
Hebrew/ English (English Subtitles)
2010/ 21 min
From the Hollywood Reporter-
The statistics concerning Zaatari, the Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, are startling. Built in 2012, a year after Syria broke out in violent revolution, it is now the largest camp in the world for the country's refugees. It has some 80,000 residents, more than half of whom are children. Five thousand babies have been born there since it opened. It even has its own Twitter feed.
But those are just facts. Ellen Martinez and Steph Ching's documentary After Spring — executive produced by Jon Stewart and receiving its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival — puts a very human face on the refugee crisis … or, to be more accurate, many human faces.
Snippets from home movies provide an illustration of Syria before the war, with scenes of people shopping, dancing, sunning themselves on the beach and visiting the "Happy Land" amusement park. The images represent a stark contract to the current lives of Zaatari's residents, with several of them nostalgically recalling happier times for the camera.
But life goes on, as it always does. The camp is in effect a functioning city — indeed, by population it would rank as the fourth largest city in Jordan—and it bustles with activity, including restaurants and retail shops.
The film focuses on several of the camp's residents, including Abu Ibrahim, a former construction worker, and his two teenage children, Raghad, age 13, and Ibahim, age 14, who must somehow find a way to live normal teenage lives in their artificial environment. Then there's Mohammed, who deeply misses his native country; he and his wife Amani have five young children, two of them born in the camp, with a sixth on the way.
With no end in sight to the violence in the region, the residents of Zaatari are forced to contemplate an indefinite future living in tents and struggling to achieve a semblance of normalcy. After Spring shines a vital spotlight on their travails.
Steph Ching, Ellen Martinez
Country of Origin
2016/ 101 min
Map of parking options near the Cesar E. Chavez Building