Theatrical Experience

Experience selected animated and experimental films from the exhibition in a theatrical environment.

Theatrical Screenings

Tuesday, January 11 | Fargo, ND | Fargo Theatre

As part of the North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival, a special theatrical screening of experimental and animated films will take place in Minot and Fargo. The films highlight the talents of avant-garde artists using innovative techniques in storytelling to highlight important human rights issues. 13 short films will be screened.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Films begin at 7. The events are free and open to the public. Goodwill donations accepted. Seating reservations encouraged.

The North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Fargo screening is supported in part by The Arts Partnership, with support from the cities of Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo. 

Additional screenings in Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Minot will be scheduled. The Minot screening is supported in part by J&S Productions.

Tuesday, January 11 | Fargo Theatre

The Films

A New Normal

 

Year: 2020 | 2 min
Genre: Augmented Reality
Language(s): English
Directed by: Asavari Kumar
Country of Origin: India

A New Normal is a short film created using Augmented Reality, that subverts the limitations of digital intimacy, to create a story about warmth, hope and family.

Director's Statement

As we learn to keep social and familial connections alive amidst the pandemic and rely heavily on digital media, I realize this has been my own ‘normal’ for most of the past decade. After immigrating to the US from India, my ability to travel home and be physically present with my family became limited, particularly after the 2016 elections.

Thinking about home and belonging today, my thoughts go to my sister in Copenhagen and my parents in New Delhi. Using Augmented Reality as a storytelling tool for this film, allowed me to see the evolving definition of ‘home’ through the eyes of my family.

Shot entirely in my apartment while sheltering in place, this film is a product of remote collaboration between artists based in Copenhagen, Madrid, New Delhi, Mumbai and Los Angeles. In A New Normal my everyday digital conversations with my family are overlaid with AR versions of my parents and sister in my environment, to co-create a mixed reality experience that for the time being, is the closest thing I have to the feeling of home.

Adrian Sutherland – Politician Man

 

Year: 2019 | 3 min
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Justin Stephenson
Country of Origin: Canada

“Politician Man”, the debut single from Adrian Sutherland, is a protest song for Canada. The seeds were planted in July 2019 when his Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over contaminated water. At the same moment, insensitive comments from a politician in Ottawa sparked massive public outcry, a spontaneous response from Sutherland himself, and national media coverage.

Jump ahead to August, when co-writing sessions with musical brothers sparked a song that was important, timely, and totally kickass. One day in September, that song came to life in a recording studio. By the first week of October, a filmmaker was adding his keen artistic eye to the message behind the music.

“Politician Man” was released October 17, 2019, with accompanying video by Justin Stephenson (director of animation and editor, The Secret Path). It speaks to Canada’s troubled relationship with First Nations. Growing up in an isolated place like Attawapiskat has given Sutherland a unique perspective, while his growing profile as an artist is now giving him a voice. This is his way of taking action, doing something, about the ongoing struggle that Indigenous people face in Canada, while the country takes growing steps toward reconciliation.

“Sometimes reconciliation sounds like an empty word, and it’s frustrating. You keep trying to get ahead, but there are ongoing challenges, one obstacle after another. I have to wonder what I’m doing still living in Attawapiskat, and if anything is ever going to make a difference,” says Sutherland.

Director's Statement

“I love the song and believe in the message. Adrian is a real talent and powerful storyteller, and is the kind of person that makes you want to do something about this difficult history. In this song, I feel he speaks to non-Indigenous people in a way that makes you want to step up. He makes me, personally, want to be a better ally,” says Justin.

“We had footage of Adrian in the studio to use as the video’s starting point, and combined his performance with images from Canadian Geographic’s Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. It’s a beautiful and important map that shows Indigenous territories and communities without provincial boundaries.”

“I added song lyrics using a treatment reminiscent of the rich visual language of old Nashville music posters, with design embellishments that draw inspiration from Cree floral patterns like those found on the beading on moccasins and mitts.”

Adrian’s family did a translation of the title into Cree syllabics, explains Stephenson: “I was struck by Adrian’s description of the Cree term for ‘Politician Man’ – which he said translates into ‘okimaw-khan’ or ‘voted big boss’. I found this interesting as it takes into account the system of governance imposed by the Indian Act.”

“Politician Man is an important and special project, and I’m very happy to have been part of it.”

Dancing in My Sadness

 

Year: 2020 | 4 min
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Casual Affairs
Country of Origin: France

A dark hip-hop song and its animated music video that tells the common story of a traffic stop going downhill, involving a young Black man and a White police officer.

Director's Statement

Opening on a Rodney King trial’s news report from 1991, the short film mixes first-person narration and conversation sequences. It describes how being pulled over as a Black person in America can escalate senselessly, interspersed with internal monologues of a man plunging into madness and about to run riot, wore down by injustice.

During the early stages of the collaboration, the three of us shared the same feeling of dolefulness regarding the situation in our respective countries on racism, police brutality and a failing democracy where citizens aren’t all treated the same way. This led us to the idea of making a song and a short around these topics that would resonate not only in the US & France, but sadly all around the world. As we’ve recently seen, a promising movement of solidarity and demand for change has been expanding worldwide.

The whole story is packaged in a cold and animated imagery that aims to convey the harsh, violent and unjust reality of this infamous situation.

Footsteps on the Wind

 

 

Year: 2020 | 7 min
Genre: Animated
Language(s): English
Directed by: Gustavo Leal, Faga Melo, Maya Sanbar
Country of Origin: United Kingdom

 

“Footsteps in the Wind” is an animated short film to Sting’s song “Inshallah”.

Based on the harsh and intense reality of refugees around the world, this film broaches a narrative told through the eyes of children that never give up on their dreams.

Little Noor and her brother Josef see their lives torn apart when an unexpected event hits home, pushing them into a journey over the seas and mysterious lands.

Director's Statement

Artists from the film industry are always looking for opportunities that have a positive impact on the world.

Films are known as a tool that spread messages, change opinions, arouses emotions and why not change lives?

Change Lives. This is what we believed since we started this project.
Footsteps On The Wind is a film made for refugees. For kids. Not just to represent them and show their hard journey.

“Footsteps On the Wind” is a tool to shows that they are not alone, and yes, they can have a better life.

From Nirvana to Silvana

 

Year: 2021 | 28 min
Genre: Performance
Language(s): Serbian
Directed by: Katarina Krstic
Country of Origin: Serbia

When father comes back from Germany, Ivana and Marko find out that he is Gypsy. The two of them encounter provocations in highschool and fall into trouble trying to prove their value even if they are Gypsy.

They are trying to change their nature and be what society whants them to be.

Ivana becomes “cool girl” and Marko commits serious crimes to prove himself to football fan-gang leader. Their mother Suzana is hiding her true colors, being “it girl” on social media.

One evening the turn of events will make them get down to earth.

George Floyd: Say Their Names

 

 

Year: 2020 | 7 min
Genre: Performance
Language(s): English
Directed by: Christopher R. Owens and Alyssa Dann
Country of Origin: United States

When will the “last” time be the LAST time? Chris Oledude’s single “George Floyd” has now been re-presented in the powerful video, “George Floyd: Say Their Names.”

America’s struggle for equality and fairness throughout law enforcement parallels those struggles faced by minority groups in every society where the majority feels empowered to disregard civil and human rights. The powerful protests that erupted worldwide after George Floyd’s murder in May, 2020, are celebrated here. The enduring power of Black women as determined healers of a torn community is celebrated here. The victims had names. We honor their lives by saying their names. The pressure for change must continue. No justice? No peace!

Director's Statement

CHRIS OLEDUDE:

The murder of George Floyd focused attention on police brutality against people of color, and racism in general, in a way that few moments have in American history. As an artist, I had to speak out in my way, right away, because I was just as angry as everyone else.

We need stability and a focus on “people first” in order to rejuvenate our nation! If you know economic justice, you will know peace. If you know health care justice, you will know peace. If you know education justice, you will know peace. If you know fair and equal justice under the law, you will know peace. If you know human and civil rights, you will know peace. And, as one of humankind’s most powerful communication tools, music brings us closer to feeling these issues in our bones and saving our collective soul.

I was also blessed and honored by the strong interest of the talented Alyssa Dann in making the video. GEORGE FLOYD: SAY THEIR NAMES is a unique statement in large part because Ms. Dann brought the energy and perspectives of younger people to the project — as well as her excellent aesthetic sense.

It is a tribute to her commitment and fortitude that Alyssa was able to complete her good work on her first ‘professional’ video while simultaneously starting her freshman year at Sarah Lawrence College during the COVID pandemic here in New York State. I don’t know if I could have done that.

ALYSSA DANN:

When I was a background vocalist for the Chris Oledude song, “George Floyd,” I was caught up in the passionate frustration and determination embedded in the music. In the aftermath of the recording session, I kept visualizing aspects of the song. I knew I wanted to create this video. When I asked Chris for the opportunity to do this, he gave me a strange look, but he agreed right away and we embarked on a wild journey into unknown territory. After all, we are both strong-willed songwriters. What could be more perfect, right?

As we completed “George Floyd: Say Their Names,” however, it became so clear that we had created something special — more of a short film than a simple music video — more of an “experience” than a “moment.” When someone whispered the phrase “film festivals,” we paused and agreed to explore some more. Wow! Neither Chris nor I had any idea that there was a world of music video and short film festivals where GEORGE FLOYD: SAY THEIR NAMES could be shared. Now, we are truly grateful for the opportunity to be part of these events.

Lumen

 

Year: 2021 | 5 min
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Gauthier Humbert
Country of Origin: France

 

At the end of the tunnel or beyond the corridor, the promise of light project our shadows and rekindles our hopes. This is what this man tells us: stuck in a black page of his life that brings him to nothing, he desperately seeks the ray of light that will rekindle his flame.

​Post #MeToo

 

 Year: 2021 | 10 min
 Genre: Animated/Experimental
 Language(s): Chinese, English, Yue Chinese (Cantonese)
 Directed by: Phoebe Man
 Country of Origin: Hong Kong

 

This film animated coloring pages of the audience. Around 230 people joined Phoebe Man’s socially-engaged art “Free Coloring If I Were” in workshops and exhibitions responding to the #MeToo Movement. Imagine with empathy if they were a victim, a perpetrator and a bystander.

Sanctuary

 

Year: 2021 | 9 min
Genre: Experimental
Language(s): English
Directed by: Nate Dorr
Country of Origin: United States

Despite New York’s status as a sanctuary city, ICE facilities ring and infiltrate the boroughs while its agents continue to make hundreds of arrests every month. We know this, especially when high-profile abuses are reported, but ICE presence here typically goes unseen and unremarked on.

“Sanctuary” highlights this troubling disjunction, and the millions of people threatened by it, through a pointed act of looking at the architectural apparatuses of detention and deportation. As long as ICE persists, there is no true sanctuary.

Sex Education

 

 

Year: 2021 | 6 min
Genre: Performance
Language(s): English
Directed by: Amanda Frost
Country of Origin: United States

 

Directed and edited by Amanda Frost, “Sex Education” is a performance piece captured on film. Each object that an individual interacts with is representative of metaphors that are being used to teach youth abstinence in educational and community settings. Religious leaders and educators use these objects as metaphors of the body and that lustful thoughts and actions damage the quality of one’s body and character.

Thorough sexual education needs to be readily available to youth instead of relying only on shame and fear driven metaphors. These messages allow for harmful stereotypes and shame about human sexuality. Abstinence-only lessons withhold valuable information about sexual education that needs to be readily available to youth for their health and safety.

Slime Man Gets Arrested

 

 

Year: 2021 | :30 Seconds
Genre: Animation
Language(s): English
Directed by: Oliver Egersdorf-Boyum
Country of Origin: United States

 

My name is Oliver Egersdorf-Boyum and I’m in 6th grade. I directed and wrote this film and two of my peers helped me with the animation. The story takes place in a reality where the Refined Play-Doh™ People (RPP) have colonized Slime World.

The RPP PD have begun to arrest and sometimes murder Slime people who are refusing to assimilate into the new way of life. Slime Man is imprisoned when a RP Policeman finds the the family doing a Slime Ceremony during a home raid. His family then risks their lives to free the family patriarch and defeat their oppressor once and for all.

The impossible room II

 

 

Year: 2020 | 10 min
Genre: Performance
Language(s): English
Directed by: Parisa Ghaderi
Country of Origin: United States

 

“The Impossible Room” is a performance project inspired by a photo of my friend, showing him and his wife on one side and his parents on the other side of a worn black line. The location is Haskell Free Library and Opera House, in Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vermont. The Haskell family purposefully built the building along the border in 1904 to promote cross-border interaction and friendship. The thick black line runs beneath the opera house seats and diagonally across the center of the library’s reading room to mark the Canada–US border. This venue has become a meeting point for people who can’t cross borders due to multiple reasons.

Borders are not static places. They change with the mood on one or both sides of the line. It has been more challenging for Iranian families to get a US visa because of Iran-US political relationships over the past 40 years, which the travel ban has worsened. This has affected the visa regulation for students and their parents who wish to visit their children while studying in the US. The Iranian students are often granted a single entry visa, meaning every time they leave the US, they have to re-apply for a return visa which may or may not be granted. Therefore, they seek other ways to see each other, even if it is only for a short period and under surveillance. The Haskell Library may be the only place where the family members get to see each other in person if neither is permitted entry into Canada and the US, respectively.

“The Impossible Room” explores how contemporary dance might embody ideas of separation, border-crossing, intersection, and enforcement, and how bodies “mark” their space as citizens or non-citizens. In this age of geopolitical tension and talk of walls, this performance reminds us that borders are fictions created by humans as real and menacing as we choose to make them.

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