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Meaningful Movies - 2015 Archive

Come Hell or High Water follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston school teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make for the sprawling city of Gulfport.  Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.


Watch trailer here


Friday, October 16, Come Hell or High Water

Defending home, defending history

Friday, November 20 Return of the River

Dam removal on the Elwha River

watch trailer here

“Return of the River” offers a story of hope and possibility amid grim environmental news. It’s a film for our time: an invitation to consider crazy ideas that could transform the world for the better. It features an unlikely success story for environmental and cultural restoration. Come see the story of the return of the Elwha River.

Fundamentally, the Elwha River in Washington State is a story about people and the land they inhabit. The film captures the tenacity of individuals who would not give up on a river, mirroring the tenacity of salmon headed upstream to spawn. It is a narrative with global ramifications, exploring the complex relationship between communities and the environment that sustains them.

The camera soars over mountain headwaters, dives into schools of salmon, and captures turbines grinding to a halt; as the largest dam removal project in history begins. The film features people and perspectives on all sides of the Elwha debate, reflecting the many voices of the Elwha valley.

Friday, September 18, Watershed,

Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West

Changing physical conditions upstream are affecting the source of our watersheds at the same time land use and management decisions affect watershed conditions downstream.  What does the future hold?


The film Watershed asks these questions-- Can we meet the needs of a growing population? Can we find harmony amongst the competing interests of cities, agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife and indigenous communities with rights to the water?  The current uses of Colorado River water (serving 30 million people) prevent it from reaching its outlet at the Gulf of California.  Encroaching salt water into groundwater supplies endanger agriculture and wildlife habitat.  Watershed highlights personal stories of water users along the river and presents a solution that may serve the needs of all.

Produced and narrated by Robert Redford.


Our special guest will be Mike Brent from the Cascade Water Alliance who will join us for a discussion of our regional water supplies, current water supply conditions and plans for the future.  This has been a tough season for those who depend on local rivers.

Watch trailer here

Raise the River

The Redford Center

Cascade Water Alliance

Cedar River Watershed

Saving Water Partnership


Friday, August 21, On Paper Wings

WW2 Balloon Bombs from Japan and the effects of war on all sides

During World War II, the Japanese military developed a new weapon intended to strike directly at the American continent—the balloon bomb.  Thousands of hydrogen-filled balloons were attached to bombs and then launched into the jet stream to drift toward North America.


When six civilians found a balloon bomb in southern Oregon (near Bly), the device exploded.  They became the only people killed on the continental US as the result of enemy action during World War II.


“On Paper Wings” is the story of four Japanese women who worked on the balloon bombs, the families of those killed in Oregon, and the man whose actions brought them all together forty years after World War II and the balloon bomb project.


Tonight only: togarashi and dried seaweed for the popcorn!


Watch trailer

American internment camps


Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington

Japanese American Citizens League

Nisei Veterans Committee Foundation

Panama Hotel

Wing Luke Museum

Children of the Camps (movie)

Friday, July 17  E Team

Investigating human rights abuses worldwide


This film follows four members of the Emergencies Team (E Team) of the respected, international human rights group, Human Rights Watch.  Trained to deal with unfolding crises, the team flies to hotspots all over the world as soon as allegations of human rights abuse surface.  They gather crucial evidence to determine if further investigation is warranted and if so, to interview, document and capture the world’s attention.  Human rights abuses thrive on secrecy and silence and the work of the E Team, backed by HRW has shone light in dark places and given voice to thousands who stories would never otherwise have been told.


The camera follows the E-Team investigators into the field as they smuggle themselves across the Syrian border to conduct undercover investigations as the civil war rages around them.


Each team member is visited at home away from conflict zones showing how they try to balance family and personal relationships with the challenges of their E Team work around the world.  Though they are very different people, they share a fearless spirit and a deep commitment to exposing and halting human rights abuses everywhere.


We will be joined by the local Human Rights Society, organizers of the local Human Rights Film Festival, who will update us on their program and festival offerings this fall.


 Friday, June 19  Sweet Dreams

 Come celebrate our first anniversary!

In 1994 Rwanda suffered a devastating genocide. Close to a million were killed by neighbors, friends, even family.

The country has made great strides in economic recovery, but "people are not like roads and buildings" says Kiki Katese, Rwandan theater director. "How do we rebuild a human being?"
Kiki decided to start Ingoma Nshya, Rwanda's first women's drumming troupe, open to women from both sides of the conflict. There was only one requirement: to leave the categories of the past at the gate.
For the women—orphans, widows, wives and children of perpetrators—the group has been a place to begin to live again, to build new relationships, to heal the wounds of the past. Yet the struggle to survive and provide for their families still persists.
So when Kiki came up with the idea to open Rwanda's first and only ice cream shop, the women were intrigued … What was ice cream exactly and how would they do it? Kiki invited Brooklyn's Blue Marble Ice Cream to come to Rwanda to help the drummers open their shop.


Sweet Dreams follows this remarkable group of Rwandan women as they create a new future for themselves.


Enjoy our usual free popcorn and some special ice cream treats.


Stay for the film discussion and share your experiences with with our steering committee.  How can we improve?  What sorts of films shall we hunt for?  How can we sustain the program? 


Blue Marble Ice Cream

Watch trailer

Friday, May 15 Bringing It Home

A great movie about Industrial Hemp

A father’s search to find the healthiest building materials leads him to the completion of the nation’s first hemp house. Hemp with lime is a non-toxic, energy efficient, mildew, fire and pest resistant building material. The drawback — although research is legal in some states, hemp remains off-limits to almost all U.S. farmers.  Industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive plant, grown in 31 other countries that makes 1,000′s of sustainable products and offers solutions for global warming, nutrition, poverty and deforestation.  Here in the U.S., hemp could be a money-making crop for farmers and create jobs. But why can’t we grow it here? BRINGING IT HOME tells the story of hemp: past, present and future and a global industry that includes textiles, building materials, food products, bio-plastics, auto parts and more.

News about hemp

Watch trailer

Hemp History Week 2015 (June 1-7)


Even more hemp info!

Friday, April 17-The House We Live In

Genetic research tells us that race doesn't "live" in our bodies.  If not, where does it live?  And why should it still matter?  This film, part of a trio of films contained in the 2003 collection Race: The Power of an Illusion reveals how our institutions give race its meaning and power by advantaging the "unmarked" race-white people..


Who is white?  In the early 20th century, the answer wasn't always clear. After WW2, European ethnics once considered not quite white, blended together and reaped the advantages of whiteness in new suburbs (made possible by government money and policies while Aftrican American and other nonwhites were locked out.


Fifty years after the Civil Rights Movement, the playing field is still not level and "colorblind" policies only perpeturate these inequalities. 


Racial restrictions in Seattle



Megan Wilbert a local educator and organizer will join us for the discussion.  Megan is a long time mentor with Youth Undoing Institutional Racism and the Tyree Scott Freedom School.  She is co-founder of European Dissent Seattle, an organization of white communities against racism

What can a person do when faced with injustice? The John T. Williams Totem Pole Project rose from the August 2010 fatal police shooting of Williams, a First Nations woodcarver. The shooting, which was found to be unjustified by the Seattle Police Department, sparked an outcry that extended beyond the city of Seattle and the native community. The slain man`s older brother Rick Williams chose a peaceful response through an ambitious endeavor to carve a 34-foot totem pole in honor of the Williams family`s artistic legacy and the memory of one of its most talented carvers. A poignant examination of how a community leans on the power of tradition, art and culture after one horrific event, Honor Totem tells the story of a brother's love and determination to "take something ugly and give something beautiful back."

Special guests for the evening are film maker Ian Devier,

carver Rick Williams (brother of John T. Williams) and Jay Hollingsworth, community activist and member of Seattle's Community Police Commission.


Watch Trailer


United Indians of All Tribes

Chief Seattle Club

Seattle Indian Health Board

Real Change newspaper

Duwamish Tribe

Seattle Community Police Commission

Seattle Art Museum, Indigenous Beauty Exhibit

Burke Museum, Here&Now Exhibit

Friday, March 20 - Honor Totem

A local reviewer says it best:


"We Are Not Ghosts comes not to bury Detroit, but to praise the resilient people who are giving the city new life through creative, empathetic community involvement. More than fresh vegetables are available in the community garden and public farmers' market; hopes for the future grow here too. Part of this engaging film's power comes from its depiction of cross-generational community action; we see youth, families, and neighbors working together. Elders such as Grace Lee Boggs and younger community activists and artists such as Myrtle Thompson Curtis and Jessica Care Moore share wisdom and a kind of tenacious optimism that viewers will find inspiring."

Zola Mumford, Curator, Langston Hughes African American Film Festival

Film makers Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young will attend the screening.  We met them last year when we showed Shift Change.


Also joining us is UW Professor Scott Kurashige, author of The Shifting Grounds of Race and co-author with Grace Lee Boggs of The Next American Revolution


Doors open at 6:15 and the Motown will be playing!  Come early and dance!


Moving Images

Watch Trailer

Friday, February 20. 7:00 pm - We Are Not Ghosts

Finland's education system has consistently ranked among the best in the world.  The puzzle is--what are they doing in Finland?  The result of research into this question is captured in this film.  In Finland there are no standardized tests.  Finnish teachers are not monitored or rated based on test scores and teachers (as well as students) have a great deal of autonomy.  It is a system based on trust.


What can we do in Seattle schools to affect positive change for our students and their teachers?


Discussion follows with local school administrators and teachers.

More Than a Score

Seattle Education

January 16 - The Finland Phenomenon

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