Justice Film Festival 2023

The Justice Film Festival showcases films that emphasize social justice and affirm the dignity of all people. Since 2012, JFF has been committed to creating a platform for redemptive stories of marginalized people and ecosystems bravely overcoming challenges and bringing optimism, empathy, and light to a world in need of inspiration.

The Social Justice Center is proud to partner with JFF for the festival taking place at 365asia on March 3 and 4, 2023, at the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre.

All events during the festival are free to all 365asia students, faculty, and alumni. 

Friday, March 3

A collection of short films from around the world on various topics related to social justice.

“Elevated”—Palmer Morse / Rachel Weinberg

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“Elevated” is a non-verbal film sharing Sonya’s experience as a Deaf woman and outdoor advocate working to bridge the gap between the Deaf community and the outdoor industry, one crag at a time.

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“#ThroughOurLens”—Shiko Njoroge / Timothy RichardsonA short documentary about the importance of photography for the black liberation and how images have brought truth to power by capturing the black experience.

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“SEEN”—Jed Thunell / Adam Thomason

""“SEEN” is a short film highlighting the rescue of two-year-old Aaron that contrasts the horrifying reality of OSEC (online sexual exploitation of children) with the uncompromising hope that together, we can end it for good.


“We Are Here”—Dominca Castro / Costanza Castro

""“We Are Here” is an audio-visual portrait of what it's like to walk this land in the shoes of an immigrant under 30. It's a moment of reflection that reminds us of the people that immigrated to this country when they were children. Accompanied by animation and music, the fragments in their stories will paint a portrait of what it’s like to walk this land in their shoes and serve as


“Cancer Alley”—Brian Ivie

"Cancer Alley" movie poster


“Miles To Go”—James Saunders / Matt Mikkelson

"" In 2022 alone there have been over 300 anti LGBTQ+ bills proposed in various states across the country. Refusing to sit idly by, trans trail runner Perry Cohen (he/him) formed a team of fellow runners who identify as trans men with an aim to compete in races in states proposing and passing hateful legislation. Miles to Go follows their journey into the world of trail running and the freedom to be themselves on the trail.

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“Together”—Marco Espirito Santo, Del Reginato

""Together” is a creative short film challenging us all to be better and to fight for a world of greater equality and respect. Shot in 16mm, the film utilises handwritten typography and a simple score of jazz drums to focus the viewer's attention on musician Carla Prata's spoken-word performance.

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“Over”—Aria Swarr

Justpeace Film Lab

JUSTPEACE FILM LAB HOSTED BY UNRIVAL NETWORK

Justice Film Festival and unRival Network are excited to announce the launch of the Justpeace Film Lab for presenting filmmakers and 365asia students.

Story is at the core of who we are and how we understand ourselves. The people who raised us, the places we’ve been, our suffering, our success, our chosen communities—those people and experiences exist in an unfolding narrative for each of us. This lab gives us a chance to meet, to share our stories, and to move forward together on our journeys as storytellers who long to create a better world for all.

Session I featuring Suzanne Hillinger and Matt Waldeck.

We’ll have a panel conversation about growing your audience after a film festival and building your own story as a filmmaker to find success and sustainability in your career and mission. 

Suzanne Hillinger is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured on FX, Hulu, Discovery Channel, PBS, Viceland, CNN, and MSNBC. She is also the producer of Stranger at the Gate, screening Friday evening at JFF.

Matt Waldeck heads Zodiac Features, a world-class media entertainment company specializing in film/television/audio finance, development, and production. He is the director of Lovely Jackson, screening Saturday afternoon at JFF.

unRival exists to nurture hope, inspire collaboration, and overcome destructive rivalries in a nonviolent struggle for justpeace. We gather artists, activists, and academics from diverse contexts and experiences in spaces of creativity and healing where everyone belongs equally. The Justpeace Film Lab is a design of unRival’s Artisans of Peace program, a research-backed initiative supporting leaders in conflict transformation and justice work. 

Billy Price will be facilitating. Billy is unRival’s Chief Creative Officer and a JFF alum with 19 years of experience in filmmaking, the arts, and Justpeace work.


""Thirty years ago Tskaltubo was the most sought after spa town in USSR. After it's collapse, followed by a war with Abkhazia and Georgia, the spas had become the largest refugee camp in the country. Around 6,000 refugees found a home in the sanatoriums. Whole Abkhasian families were uprooted from their prosperous lives in seaside towns and tea and citrus plantations and crammed into one hotel room. One hotel - one village. The idyllic views of the sea and citrus trees in sunny Abkhasia were exchanged for the view of the window on the 6th floor. The places build for relaxation and leisure became involuntary permanent homes.

Following this special ‘Work In Progress’ screening of Patience” there will be a q&a with filmmakers Gio Kvelidze and Charlotte Savage hosted by JT Royston of Never Whisper Justice.

This event is FREE to all 365asia students, faculty, and alumni. Use promo code on Eventbrite: 365asiaJUSTICE2023

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“Stranger at the Gate” tells the remarkable true story of U.S. Marine Richard McKinney who plotted to blow up the Islamic Center in his hometown of Muncie, Indiana. Upon entering the mosque, he came face to face with people he intended to kill, and was transformed by their kindness and acceptance. And, in a true, nearly unbelievable twist, Richard converts to Islam and becomes president of the mosque! (30 minutes)

"Stranger at the Gate" movie imageFollowing this screening there will be a q&a with producer Suzanne Hillinger and film subject Zaki Bahrami hosted by Simran Jeet Singh, Executive Director for the Aspen Institute’s Religion & Society Program and author of The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life.

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“Street Reporter” follows an aspiring photojournalist who discovers the power of her own voice while struggling to survive homelessness. (30 minutes)

still shot from the movie "Street Reporter"Following this screening there will be a q&a with film subject Shiela White (via Zoom)


"Outta the Muck" movieFamily, football and history come to life in an intimate portrait of the Dean family, longtime residents of the historic town of Pahokee, Florida. We take a journey back home, with filmmaker Ira McKinley, to the land of sugarcane, as he reconnects with his niece Bridget and nephew Alvin and explores their shared family history that spans seven generations. Told through stories that transcend space and time, “Outta the Muck” presents a community, and a family, that resists despair with love, remaining fiercely self-determined, while forging its own unique narrative of Black achievement.

Following this screening there will be a q&a with filmmaker Ira Mckinley with a special guest host to be announced.

Saturday, March 4

A collection of short films from around the world on various topics related to social justice.

“Ibach”—Rachel Weinberg / Palmer Morse

""Ibach follows the escape of a Jewish family and their piano from Nazi Germany in the 1930’s to the piano's restoration in Philadelphia four generations later. Weaving an in-depth look at the restoration process alongside perspectives from the surviving family members, Ibach is a visual love letter that shares the heart-rending story of generational trauma and reconciliation.

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“Light”—Karla Santa Anna

""In a world where a huge garbage island floats across our seas, fruit has very suspicious ancestry, and immigrant children are literally abandoned in the middle of nowhere, if one day the ocean rains upward…we would totally believe it. That’s how the world feels: very upside down. The line between fiction and reality has become very thin and we all have started to normalize it.


“Waiting, Hoping”—Tim Kressin

""For many migrant families stuck along the US/Mexico border, staying in their home country was never an option. After traveling heroic distances to escape threats of violence, Claudia and her family have been waiting at a shelter in Juarez for nine months. Battling episodes of depression, Claudia wonders if she can continue to care for her son and remain a beacon of hope. As they await the phone call to have their asylum case heard, English classes and cooking with friends become bright spots in her life. This short film echoes the thousands of migrant families who are stuck along the border, waiting for a phone call from immigration that could change everything.


“Infinite Blue”—Christian Schultz

""Infinite Blue is a brief, reverent look at the lives of three unhoused people living in Austin, Texas. Lyrical in tone, this short film bridges the distance between those with housing and those without as Scott, Amber, and Montrell share their stories.


“Overtown's Living Legacy”—Gina Margillo

""When developers and city planners say they are "revitalizing" the historic black neighborhood of Overtown, in Miami Florida , they ignore its rich history and the community that has been living there for decades.


“Breathe”—Joana vieira da costa, Ana Fernandes

""In his last moments, a young man looks back on his life defining moments and voices a love letter to his mother.

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“Inseperable: Myia”—Andrew Harrison Brown / Brooke Jackson

""As one of only 30 fluent Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) language speakers left in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), Myia Antone teaches as a way to preserve her language for generations to come. Seeking to learn more about her culture and language, Myia uses her mountain bike as a needle weaving through her ancestral lands and language. While biking with other Indigenous women, Myia utilizes the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language to point out geographical features and native plants on rides. Weaving complex conversations through nuanced layers of generational trauma, Inseparable ultimately paints Indigenous joy and community as vital elements for a path forward.

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Justpeace Film Lab

JUSTPEACE FILM LAB HOSTED BY UNRIVAL NETWORK

Justice Film Festival and unRival Network are excited to announce the launch of the Justpeace Film Lab for presenting filmmakers and 365asia students.

Story is at the core of who we are and how we understand ourselves. The people who raised us, the places we’ve been, our suffering, our success, our chosen communities—those people and experiences exist in an unfolding narrative for each of us. This lab gives us a chance to meet, to share our stories, and to move forward together on our journeys as storytellers who long to create a better world for all.

Session II featuring Tyler Huckabee. 

The Lab digs in with the co-creation of an art installation. We’ll explore complexity and contradiction in a safe space while collaborating and improvising to create an art piece representing the stories, values, and hopes which live inside each of us as humans and artists. 

Tyler Huckabee is a news and pop culture writer who specializes in film, TV, music, comic books, and religion. Tyler has profiled people like Lupita Nyong'o, Ryan Reynolds, and Aubrey Plaza, among many others, for publications such as the Washington Post, RELEVANT, Fathom Magazine, Bright Wall Dark Room, and IGN. You can keep up with his writing on Twitter @TylerHuckabee. 

unRival exists to nurture hope, inspire collaboration, and overcome destructive rivalries in a nonviolent struggle for justpeace. We gather artists, activists, and academics from diverse contexts and experiences in spaces of creativity and healing where everyone belongs equally. The Justpeace Film Lab is a design of unRival’s Artisans of Peace program, a research-backed initiative supporting leaders in conflict transformation and justice work. 

Billy Price will be facilitating. Billy is unRival’s Chief Creative Officer and a JFF alum with 19 years of experience in filmmaking, the arts, and Justpeace work.


“The smell of money” — that’s what Big Pork calls the stench of pig waste in the air in eastern North Carolina, where much of the world’s bacon and barbecue is made. But to Elsie Herring and others who live near the state’s giant pig factories, the revolting odor is a call to battle against generations of injustice.

When a corporate hog farm moves in—uninvited—on land her grandfather had purchased after claiming his freedom from slavery, Elsie Herring decides to fight back. But as her rural community becomes the epicenter of the pork industry’s explosion in America, Elsie’s struggle to save her family’s home and heritage turns into a battle against one of the world’s most powerful companies and its deadly pollution.

This screening will be followed by a live podcast recording with filmmakers Shawn Bannon, Michelle Cho and Kate Mara hosted by Nick Laparra from Let’s Give A Damn.

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"The Flagmakers" movie

From National Geographic Documentary Films, Academy Award-winning director Cynthia Wade, award-winning director Sharon Liese and executive producer Giannis Antetokounmpo, “The Flagmakers”, a meditation on the American dream, follows workers at the country’s largest maker of American flags and flagpoles, including the refugees and immigrants who have risked everything to come to the USA. (30 minutes)

Following the screening there will be a q&a with the filmmakers (via ZOOM).

MTV Documentary Films Presents “Angola Do You Hear Us?: Voices From a Plantation Prison”, which tells the story of playwright Liza Jessie Peterson, whose acclaimed play "The Peculiar Patriot" was shut down mid-performance at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola Prison.

"Angola Do You Hear Us?"

Directed and edited by Cinque Northern, the film examines how one woman's play challenged the country's largest plantation prison and impacted the incarcerated men long after the record of her visit was erased by the institution's administration. (30 minutes)

Following the screening there will be a q&a with producer Catherine Gund.


Lovely JacksonAmerica’s longest, wrongfully-held exonerated person, Rickey Jackson, returns to the prison where his 39-year journey of survival began and guides his younger self from death row to freedom. A true story about the triumph of hope, forgiveness, and perseverance through the darkest and most dire of circumstances that begins in violence and ends with love.

Following the screening there will be a q&a with filmmaker Matt Waldeck and film subject Rickey Jackson.

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