Artivist Spirit Feature Award Winner – Love Hate Love – Don Hardy, Dana Nachman, directors

The 2011 Artivist Film Festival announced its 2011 film awards in five categories: Human Rights, Children’s Advocacy, Environmental Preservation, Animal Advocacy and Artivist Spirit. The awards will be presented to the filmmakers at the Closing Night Awards Program of the 2011 Artivist Film Festival in Los Angeles, August 18-20.

In a first-of-its-kind program for film festivals, all ten films will be showcased in a series of preview screenings in six U.S. cities, July 8-10: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, Sedona (AZ.) and Washington D.C. The screenings will precede the films debut at the festival in Los Angeles, to be held at the historic Egyptian Theater in the heart of Hollywood.

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Artivist Film Festival 2011 Films Awards

Human Rights

Feature: “Because They Were Beautiful” (Indonesia, Netherlands) – Frank van Osch, director

Short:  “Umoja: No Men Allowed” (Kenya, Australia) – Elizabeth Tadic, director

Children’s Advocacy

Feature: “Surfing Soweto” (South Africa) – Sara Blecher, director

Short:  “Grace” (Philippines, Switzerland) – Meagan Kelly, director

Environmental Preservation

Feature: “Spoil” (Canada, U.S.) – Trip Jennings, director

Short:  “The Leaves Keep Falling” (Vietnam, USA) – Julie Winokur, director

Animal Advocacy

Feature: “Green” (Indonesia, France) – Patrick Rouxel, director

Short:“Saving Pelican 895” (USA) – Irene Taylor Brodsky, director

Artivist Spirit

Feature: “Love Hate Love” (USA) – Don Hardy, Dana Nachman, directors

Short:  “Crooked Beauty” (USA) – Ken Paul Rosenthal, director

2011 Award-Winning Film Synopses:

Because They Were Beautiful – Filmmaker Frank van Osch, photographer Jan Banning (World Press Photo Award 2004) and journalist Hilde Janssen, traveled throughout Indonesia to search for former “comfort women”: young women who were abducted and forced to serve as sex slaves to the Japanese Armed Forces during World War II. Many comfort women had already passed away, and the ones still alive are now all in their 80s. Still considered a taboo subject in many parts of Asia, the comfort women in “Because They Were Beautiful” depict for us a little-known but important page of history, bravely describing the systematic

Crooked Beauty – This poetic yet powerful film chronicles artist-activist Jacks McNamara’s transformative journey from childhood abuse to psych-ward patient to pioneering mental-health advocate. It is an intimate portrait, interwoven with poignant testimonials, of McNamara’s intense personal quest to live with courage and dignity, as well as a powerful critique of standard psychiatric treatments.

Grace – The lives of scavengers in the Philippines are revealed through the story of a courageous young girl. Thirteen-year-old Mary-Grace Rapatan has lived on top of a notorious garbage dump in the Philippines her entire life, picking through mountains of trash to feed her family while persevering to get an education. The film shows the determination and potential of this young teenager despite the challenges she faces.

Green: Her name is Green, and she is alone in a world that now doesn’t belong to her. Green is a female orangutan, a victim of deforestation and resource exploitation. The recipient of over 20 international film festival awards, including the United Nations’ International Forest Film Festival “Best of the Festival” award, “Green” is an emotional, heart-wrenching journey of Green’s final days in her beloved Indonesian rainforest. The film is a visual ride, presenting the treasures of rainforest biodiversity and the devastating impacts of logging and land clearing for palm oil plantations.

Love Hate Love – Executive Producer Sean Penn presents this story of the victims of terrorism and how they must rebuild their lives. It’s been eight years since Liz Alderman’s son Peter was murdered by terrorists. Every day since then, Liz is faced with the same two options–succumbing to the depths of despair or finding a way to survive. Esther Hyman knows about this choice as well: Her sister was killed when the bus she was riding to work was blown up. And Ben Tullipan now lives minus his two legs and his hearing because of the one-ton bomb that went off just a few yards away. Their lives, shattered by terrorists, are now on a new path, and they’re taking thousands of people along for the ride. “Love Hate Love” follows these survivors as they search for honor, meaning and a new future.

Saving Pelican 895 – Nearly 9,000 birds were found in the oily waters of the Gulf Coast in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill. One of them was a young pelican coated by oil near his nest in Louisiana. This is the story of the 895th bird to be rescued and rehabilitated by a dedicated team of wildlife experts and every day people, many of whom travel the world responding to oil disaster.

Spoil – Three world-renowned photographers build relationships with indigenous Gitga’at guides throughout a ten-day photo expedition in their search for the rare, elusive spirit bear. Their mission is to create images of this rare bear and the ecosystem that it relies on, before a proposed oil pipeline from the Alberta tar sands threatens to spoil it. The spirit bear, globally rarer than the panda, lives only on the north coast of British Columbia, and the film gives a visually stunning and inspiring display of the interconnectedness of this coastal ecosystem, which has existed in symbiosis with the indigenous communities there for thousands of years.

Surfing Soweto – “Dogtown And the Z Boys” meets “Rebel Without A Cause” on the streets of Soweto, South Africa. Over the course of the last three years, Cinga Productions followed and documented the lives of three of the most notorious train surfers in Soweto: Bitch Nigga, Lefa and Mzembe. We see them on the top of trains hurtling through Soweto, venture into the heroin dens of Hilbrow, and go into jails with names like Sun City – all in the hope of understanding their frustrations and documenting the lives of the new generation of youth in Soweto. This is the story of a forgotten generation, born after the demise of apartheid but too early to reap the benefits of freedom.

The Leaves Keep Falling – During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed some 12 million gallons of Agent Orange herbicide on Vietnam. This defoliant was used to immediately destroy crops, clear vegetation, and remove the dense forest that provided food and cover for Viet Cong forces. Forty years later, the dioxin from Agent Orange is still wreaking havoc on three generations of Vietnamese civilians. The film is an intimate portrait of two Vietnamese families whose children, among the millions, must live with the devastating consequences of the pesticide.

Umoja: No Men Allowed – Set in Kenya, an unlikely battle of the sexes erupts in tribal Samburu land. This is the amusing and life-changing story of a group of tribal Samburu women in Northern Kenya who reclaim their lives, turning age-old patriarchy on its head, when they set up a women’s only community. Cast out by their husbands after being raped by British soldiers, the women have bonded together to establish the village of Umoja, but their prosperity incurs the wrath of men, including their tribal leaders, leading to a gender war.

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