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For the Media

American University Hosts 2008 Human Rights Film Series

WHAT: Ninth Annual Human Rights Film Series

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 15–Thursday, Nov. 13, 2007


Oct. 15, 22, 29, and Nov. 12 film screenings: Washington College of Law, American University, 4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016

Oct. 16, 23, 30, and Nov. 13 film screenings: Wechsler Theater, Mary Graydon Center, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016

DETAILS: Free and open to the public

MEDIA:    Maggie Barrett, AU Media Relations, 202-885-5951

American University will host its Ninth Annual Human Rights Film Series from Wednesday, Oct. 15 through Thursday, Nov. 13. All films except Cut Off and When the Levees Broke will be screened twice: first on Wednesdays at the Washington College of Law (WCL) and again on Thursdays at Wechsler Theater, located on the third floor of AU’s Mary Graydon Center. 

The series is free and open to the public and will explore ways in which film and media are used to promote human rights. Each film will be followed by a discussion with a guest speaker.

The schedule is as follows:
6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15 at WCL; 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 at AU’s Wechsler Theater
Speaker: Marco Williams, director (Oct. 16)
At the turn of the 20th century, three towns in the United States forced their African-American populations to leave. The film documents this chapter in American history and explores the questions of reconciliation that arise from it.

Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez 
6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22 at WCL; 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 at AU’s Wechsler Theater
Speaker: Brenden Fitzgerald, producer (Oct.23)
The film follows the story of Esequiel Hernandez, an 18 year-old American citizen living along the Mexican border in Redford, Texas. While Hernandez was tending the family goats one evening, a hidden group of U.S. Marines mistakenly identified him as a Mexican drug smuggler and shot him. The film uses the story to springboard into a discussion about the militarizing the border between the United States and Mexico. Screening cosponsored by PBS’s P.O.V.

At the Death House Door 
6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 at WCL; 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30 at AU’s Wechsler Theater
Speaker: Peter Gilbert, director (Oct. 30).
The film follows the 15 years Pastor Carroll Pickett served as death house chaplain at the Huntsville, Texas, prison. It is based on audiotapes that Pickett recorded after every execution he presided over, 95 in all. The documentary focuses on the execution that bothered Pickett the most: the death of Carlos de Luna. Pickett believed de Luna was innocent. The film features the team of Chicago Tribune reporters who turned up evidence which strongly points to de Luna’s innocence.

Cut Off   
6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 at WCL 
Speaker: Broderick Webb, director
Public hospitals, schools, and housing in New Orleans are radically redefined. The film examines how this could affect the “New City” and its residents. Speaker: filmmaker Broderick Webb.

When the Levees Broke  
5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13 at AU’s Wechsler Theater
Speaker: Sam Pollard, Oscar-nominated producer
An examination of the U.S. government's role in the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the series of events that devastated New Orleans and its people.

The film series is sponsored by AU’s Office of the University Chaplain; the School of Communication’s Center for Social Media; the Washington College of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; and the School of International Service’s Center for Global Peace, and International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.