College of Liberal Arts elevates ACT Human Rights Film Festival

Basic ACT promot

Now in its third year of production by the Department of Communication Studies, the ACT Human Rights Film Festival is partnering with the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office and three academic programs, and engaging more than 50 CLA faculty and students in festival film curation, programming, and publicity.

photo of three men with skates boards from documentary Minding the Gap
Scene from Minding the Gap with director Bing Liu, center.

The Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Program presented the free opening day Student Film Competition Selections event on April 5 and is presenting Minding the Gap, a 2018 Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary by 24-year-old Bing Liu, on Saturday, April 7.

Liu moved from China to Alabama to California to Rockford, Illinois with his mother all before he was eight years old. Minding the Gap spans more than five years to chronicle the lives and relationships of three young men – brought together by skateboarding and volatile family lives – growing up in America’s Rust Belt.

The film screens at The Lyric on April 7 at 8 p.m. Producer Diane Quon and Keire Jackson, one of the men featured in the film, will be in attendance for a Q&A session following the screening.

‘Powerful medium’

“Film has an amazing ability to engage our intelligence, our understanding, and our emotions in profound ways that expand universal citizenship and human empathy, while at the very same time delighting us with unique experiences,” says Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Program Director Kevin Foskin. “ACT celebrates film as a powerful medium for human understanding so it enhances our students’ experience, especially within the interdisciplinary liberal arts, in immeasurable ways.”

On Sunday, April 8, the Department of Philosophy will present Anote’s Ark at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre starting at 4 p.m. Scott Diffrient, festival founder and professor of film and media studies in the Department of Communication Studies, calls Anote’s Ark “a thought-provoking documentary about the plight of the roughly 100,000 people living on — and now regretfully leaving — Kiribati, a remote Pacific Island nation that is on the front line of a global environmental crisis.”

Kevin Henry of the Fort Collins Sustainability Group Steering Committee will lead a post-screening Q&A session with Scott Denning of CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Jacqueline Kozak Thiel, chief sustainability officer for the City of Fort Collins.

Photo of musician Link Wrap 50s era
Link Wray, legendary rock performer and inspiration of the documentary RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World.

Closing night

The festival runs through April 14 when it concludes with RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, presented by the College of Liberal Arts. RUMBLE unearths the little-known history of the Native American influence on rock ‘n roll, blues, folk and more. Diffrient writes in his synopsis of the film that the documentary “is like a soul-shattering power-chord blast, sure to floor audiences and send them on a hunt for the legendary recordings of musicians like Delta blues great Charley Patton and electric guitarist Jimi Hendrix.”

Producers Stevie Salas and Christina Fon will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A moderated by Tyrone Smith, director of CSU’s Native American Cultural Center. Pura Fé and Cary Morin, musicians who appear in the film, will play at the festival’s closing night reception.

Student involvement

From bringing films to the screen and promoting the festival to managing volunteers and capturing festival footage, College of Liberal Arts students will have spent hundreds of collective hours producing, marketing, and organizing ACT.

“ACT is a gigantic learning laboratory,” says Carol Busch, ACT marketing director. “On the promotion side alone there is no shortage of opportunity for learning how to market an event, build grassroots support, and develop university and community partnerships. How cool would it be for this festival to one day be organized and run almost primarily by students? We’ve only scratched the surface in terms of student involvement.”

Tickets to the ACT Human Rights Festival films cost $5 for students and $10 for all other audiences and are available for purchase online and at the door. For schedule, trailers, and tickets visit