Colorado State University will be home to a weeklong human rights film festival starting next week.
The second annual ACT Human Rights Film Festival will take place at the university’s Lory Student Center Theatre, with a few additional screenings being held at Fort Collins, Colorado’s Lincoln Center, from April 14 to April 21.
This is a curated film festival, meaning the organizers don’t craft the event around submissions. Instead, they scour various national and international festivals to find the best works that would fit in with the overall theme.
The films being screened this year include the Oscar-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” which is about the history of racism in the United States, “Jackson,” a documentary about the last abortion clinic in Mississippi and “The Queen of Ireland,” a movie about Rory O’Neill, an Irish drag queen who became the symbol of Ireland’s work towards marriage equality. In all, there are 16 films being featured at the festival.
“These are all current topics affecting people all over the world,” festival spokeswoman Tammy Brislin said. “Some of the movies deal with using art as a form of resistance, LGBTQ issues or racism. We want to spark conversations about these injustices. It’s great we’re offering such acclaimed films for the second year.”
There will generally be two movie screenings per day, with the exception of opening night. That Friday, “The Queen of Ireland” will be shown at the university and director Conor Horgan and film subject O’Neill will be in attendance.
On April 21, the final day of the festival, there will be an evening screening of “I Am Not Your Negro.” Singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte, a friend of film subject James Baldwin, will attend and participate in a question and answer session following it.
Besides those two events, there will be at least seven more guests speakers during the week.
“To me, getting to hear the guests speak is the whole point of going to a film festival,” Brislin said. “That’s the greatest engagement, to hear these filmmakers and subjects talk after you’ve just watched their work on the big screen. We’re especially excited to bring in Harry Belafonte, since he’s 90-years-old and still working. We can’t wait to hear what he has to say.”
To help celebrate the second year of the festival, Odell Brewing Co. has crafted a special beer, Screening Session IPA, that will be for sale during the weeklong event.
While the most of the screenings will take place at the university, this shouldn’t dissuade members of the public from attending, Brislin said.
“We had a really overwhelming response for the inaugural year,” she said. “We sold out over half the screenings and we’re hoping to do that again on a larger scale this year. This is great for both students and the public, because it helps open up a dialogue.”