After two years of fully virtual festivals, the ACT Human Rights Film Festival returns to the Lory Student Center and The Lyric for four full days of film, music, meditation and conversations. The 7th ACT Human Rights Film Festival takes place March 31 – April 3, 2022 in Fort Collins and concludes with a virtual encore online April 4 – 10.
“We cannot wait to gather audiences for conversation and community once again,” said ACT Managing Director Beth Seymour. “We’re excited that this year’s festival will expand access and flexibility to meet multiple schedules and audience needs.”
The festival features 19 films on human rights topics from 16 different countries. In addition to films, ACT has programmed several self-care events into the ambitious lineup to allow audience members time for reflection and conversation. This year’s festival features three live music performances, two receptions and two guided meditation sessions.
“The past two years have had unique challenges for everyone,” Seymour said. “As our programming committee watched films this year, several expressed the need for integrating self-care into watching to avoid burnout. We realized that it is important to create space for that time during the festival as well.”
On March 31, the festival opens with a reception in the Lory Student Center (LSC) Theatre lobby followed by the film The Caviar Connection: How to Buy Democracy and conversation on post-Soviet autocracy, corruption and western complicity. After the film, a panel of experts will speak on regionally related topics, including the conflict in Ukraine.
Through the weekend
The festival continues all day Friday through Sunday. One not-to-be-missed event takes place on April 1, when two-time Academy Award-nominated film director Skye Fitzgerald will discuss his career, filmmaking, and travels with the co-host of KUNC’s Colorado Edition Erin O’Toole (free with reservation). Later that afternoon, Fitzgerald’s latest film Hunger Ward will screen at The Lyric followed by an in-person Q&A.
Friday night’s film block will begin with a short film written and created by CSU employee Kris Barz Mendonça. From Shame to Pride explores queer identity in a deeply meditative reflection on Mendonça’s childhood in Brazil in the 1990s. Mendonça will be in person for a Q&A. From Shame to Pride + Q&A will be followed by feature-length film Sirens, about the only all-women heavy metal band in the Middle East.
On Saturday, Young Plato kicks off the day with a film on how an elementary school in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Belfast, Northern Ireland invokes the wisdom of philosophers to fight poverty, drug dealers and the IRA—restoring hope in a post-conflict community. The film will be screened at 10 a.m.
“We scheduled Young Plato to play at a time that teachers and other educators could attend,” Seymour said. “While there are some tense archival scenes from Belfast in the film, it is filmed entirely in an elementary school and we expect families to attend and use the film to gently talk with children about recovery, conflict and peace.”
ACT’s closing night will take place at The Lyric this year on April 3. At 7 p.m., the film Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra concludes the in-person portion of the festival. Featuring breathtaking dance sequences, Firestarter follows three charismatic Aboriginal brothers who lead a nascent dance group into a First Nations artistic powerhouse, while carrying the mental and emotional toll that comes with being culture bearers. A panel on social justice movements, dance and mental health will follow the film screening. The festival wraps up with a post-film dessert reception, with admittance included in the price of a Firestarter ticket.
Virtual encore: “Best of Fest”
Seventeen films from the festival lineup will screen during the virtual encore, from April 4 – 10. Some films are only accessible in Colorado.
Only screening in-person are two films that premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2022, Sirens (April 1 at 7 p.m. and presented by KCSU FM) and Free Chol Soo Lee (April 3 at 4 p.m.), which highlights a benchmark movement by Asian Americans to lobby for the release of an unjustly incarcerated Korean immigrant.
Thanks to Commitment to Campus, this year all CSU employees can receive 20% off two tickets or two passes to the festival. Employees can log into the C2C website to access the discount codes.
To be accessible for students, ACT offers 50% off all tickets and passes to current CSU students. Students can email firstname.lastname@example.org for the discount code. Additionally, this year’s virtual festival offers a “pay what you can” option for individual tickets ($3 minimum to offset fees).
The complete festival schedule is posted on the ACT festival hub, as are full film descriptions and trailers. Purchase tickets or festival passes in advance through the online box office, https://act2022.eventive.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, pending availability. For the latest information, please subscribe to ACT’s email newsletter at https://actfilmfest.colostate.edu/newsletter/ or follow ACT on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @actfilmfest.
ACT is produced by the Department of Communication Studies at Colorado State University with generous support from CSU partners, including the College of Liberal Arts, Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts, Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Endowment, Women & Philanthropy, and the Office of Inclusive Excellence; the Departments of Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, English, and History; the School of Music, Theatre and Dance; the Honors Program; Libraries; and CSU’s Alumni Association. Media sponsors include KCSU FM and The Collegian.
Off-campus partners include the City of Fort Collins – Fort Fund; Colorado Creative Industries; Eye Center of Northern Colorado; The Lyric; Bohemian Foundation; Colorado Office of TV, Media, and Film; Odell Brewing; KUNC 91.5 and The Colorado Sound; The Armstrong Hotel; Natural Grocers; and dozens of individual supporters.