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Jasmina Bojic, founder and director, United Nations Association Film Festival: (650) 725-0012,

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United Nations Film Festival kicks off Oct. 22 at Stanford

Thought-provoking films by three Stanford graduates are among 30 international human rights documentaries to be screened on campus Oct. 22-26 as part of the sixth annual United Nations Association Film Festival.

"Promotion of Universal Respect" is the theme of the five-day festival, which will showcase award-winning films that address subjects as diverse as war and peace, child labor, homelessness, racism, and environmental survival. The works were chosen from more than 250 submissions last spring by a jury of local filmmakers and critics.

"We really were looking for interesting, unusual topics -- things you don't see in the mainstream or commercial media," explained festival founder and director Jasmina Bojic, a film critic and lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities program. "We feel it's extremely important for Stanford students to face these global issues, because a lot of them are going to be in leadership positions someday. They'll be in a situation where they have to make tough decisions, and if they don't know about other cultures, there are going to be misunderstandings."

This year's festival will kick off with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, in Cubberley Auditorium, followed by a screening of Robert Capa: In Love and War. The documentary, part of the PBS series "American Masters," shows Capa as a lifelong pacifist who jumped out of planes and dodged bullets to create some of the most powerful war documentaries of the 20th century. Its director, Anne Makepeace, holds three Stanford degrees a 1969 bachelor's in economics, a 1971 master's in education, and a 1982 master's from Stanford's documentary film program in the Department of Communication.

Those Who Trespass, a short by 2002 documentary film graduate Renee Fischer, will be shown at 4:40 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, in Annenberg Auditorium. It tells the story of four elderly nuns who protest at a Latin American military base and wind up spending six months in federal prison. The film recently won a 2003 Student Academy Award in the documentary category.

A third film with Stanford ties, Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, is scheduled to show at 5:20 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, in Cubberley Auditorium. In this work, director/producer Nancy Kates, a 1995 graduate of the university's documentary film program, shows how Rustin was a crusader for racial justice and nonviolence long before Martin Luther King Jr. appeared on the scene. Rustin also happened to be openly gay. As a result, he was shunned by the very civil rights movement he helped create.

Other notable films in this year's festival include The Tree That Remembers, about Iranians who rose up against the shah's despotic rule only to be persecuted by an equally murderous new regime (Oct. 24); Stolen Childhoods, a documentary on child labor in Brazil, Kenya, Indonesia, Nepal and Mexico (Oct. 25); and Brothers and Others, a troubling look at the experiences of Muslims in America after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (Oct. 26).

Documentaries at the festival will be shown in sessions of four or five, grouped by theme. There also will be a special screening of selected films in San Francisco on Oct. 15. For a complete schedule, visit the web at Tickets will be available at the door for $8 ($5 for students); an all-day pass is $15, and a festival pass is $50. Tickets also may be purchased at Kepler's Bookstore, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, and at the United Nations Association Store, 552 Emerson St., Palo Alto.

The festival is co-sponsored by the Stanford Film Society and the United Nations Association of the Mid-Peninsula, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports the work of the United Nations and encourages active participation in international social and economic causes. Additional support comes from numerous Stanford organizations and academic departments, including the Bechtel International Center and the Alumni Association.


By Theresa Johnston

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