The 25th United Association Film Festival can be a must-see over the next 11 days for anyone looking for new documentaries that strive to make the world a better, more informed place.
The festival features 60 documentaries and takes place October 20-30 at various locations in Appalo Alto, East Appalo Alto, San Francisco and the Stanford campus. It's an ambitious list, with 56% of the works presented by women and 60% by directors of color.
Opening night selections include the award-winning " Writing With Fire" by Maggie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin , the groundbreaking Me2/Orchestra of musicians living with mental illness, and Writing with Fire. Journalists in India. "Maldita. A Love Song for Sarajevo" is a short documentary before "Orchestration of Changes".
This year's UNAFF Visionary Award will go to director Dorothy Fadiman. Her short documentary When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories (screened at the festival in 2002) seems more relevant than ever. Fadiman will receive the award after the screening of his documentary Janes , which he did not direct and which deals with the themes of his short film. The event will take place at the Mitchell Park Community Center in Apalo Alto on closing night on October 30 at 8:30 p.m.
Here are some tips:
The housing crisis and its irreparable impact on and at risk for low-income residents continues to worsen. Directed by Sarah Terry, Decent Home gives voice to an often overlooked group in the conversation, mobile home residents, and their struggle to keep their homes due to a lack of rules and regulations. Terry reports on several mobile home communities across the country where residents have faced eviction, in some cases after wealthy speculators bought the development and sharply raised rents. The film includes a segment about the situation at a mobile home in Mountain View, near Google's headquarters. He is the talker. If you want to learn more about this endless cycle of poverty, see Matthew Desmond's excellent 2016 work, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Screening: 1:30 p.m., Oct. 23, Mitchell Park Community Center at Apollo Alto.
Tom Weidlinger, a former Berkeley documentarian and documentary filmmaker, tells a painfully personal story about the stories his famous engineer father Paul Weidlinger told him that turned out not to be as exaggerated as he thought. In Troubled Hungary, Weidlinger explores his father's past and his own and uses a variety of creative tools to do so, assembling a compelling film that uses re-enactments, photographs, letters and everything else to achieve it. "The Caring Hungarian" beautifully illustrates how a child seeks more context and understanding than a man who talks a lot but leaves out important aspects of his life. Screening : October 27, 10 a.m., Stanford University, Anderson Collection, 314 Lamita Drive, Palo Alto.
Shalini Kantai's exposé of how predominantly white high-tech innovators embed racial bias into the algorithms that drive technology and security products is an essential film not to be missed. "Coded Bias" raises the alarm about the harm done to people of color, and it's more shocking than you might suspect. The good news is that change is on the way, but according to Bias, there is still a lot of work to be done. Viewing: Oct. 22, 10:30 p.m., Mitchell Park Community Center at Apollo Alto.
Former Oakland resident Stanley Nelson's Attica is a shocking portrait of racism and how it led to the horrific consequences of America's largest prison riot. Attica is meticulously researched and tells the story of a prison uprising in upstate New York in September 1971, when mostly black and brown inmates demanded reform after guards took hostages. Nelson makes extensive use of a wide range of archival footage and video footage, as well as candid interviews with former prisoners, relatives of the guards, journalists and others, to bring us the five dangerous days in which 29 prisoners and 10 guards were killed. . It covers the subject from different angles and leaves you exhausted till the end. Screening: 1:40 p.m., Oct. 24, Mitchell Community Center at Apollo Alto.
Directors Aviva Kempner and Ben West explore an important theme in Imagining India. A concerted effort continues to break down stereotypes and rid sports teams of derogatory names and mascots by interviewing those who want to change negative and derogatory perceptions of Native Americans. Performances: October 23 at 11pm at Mitchell Park Community Center in Apollo Alto.
Created by San Francisco filmmaker Adriana Marchione, the inspirational film Creative High follows nine Bay Area artists as they overcome addiction and discover the healing and transformative power of expressing your artistic side. Marchionne's documentary shows that not all stories of sobriety are the same, drawing on the different paths taken by these creative individuals: choreographer/performer Luis Canales, expressive artist/educator Lesa Clark, hip-hop artist Brandon Michael Randle, musician Ralph Placer. , photographer/theatre producer Joan Osato, theater artist/drag performer Peter Griggs (now based in Portland), visual artist Kathy Page, guitarist and Rock to Recovery creator Wes Geer, and stone sculptor/musician Jason Bernhardt. Each describes how their new or old job helps them stay still and focused. Details: 4:40 p.m., Oct. 27, Stanford.
Tickets and a full program are available at www.unaff.org.