Experience Stories of Community Resistance at Social Justice Film Festival

by Guy Oron

The seventh annual Seattle Social Justice Film Festival begins Friday with a focus on immigrant rights, Black liberation, and indigenous futurism. The week-long festival features a number of local and global films. Showings will take place from Oct. 5 to 14 at locations throughout the city, including  the Northwest African-American Museum and Duwamish Longhouse.

Aurora Martin, managing director of the festival, said the festival “is really about wanting to provide a space for different stories that are left out of the mainstream. Stories about communities that are underrepresented, whether they are people of color, LGBTQ, and also social, political and economic issues that might be not in the mainstream.”

A documentary titled Undeterred will kick off the film Friday at University Christian Church. The documentary focuses on immigrant rights and community resistance on the Arizona-Mexico border. A discussion will follow the screening with a panel of community experts, including students, activists and people from Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and ACLU Washington.

On Saturday, the festival is hosting a Black Lives Matter-themed special screening at the Northwest African-American Museum, featuring the films My People are Rising and Sincerely, The Black Kids. The night will also feature Seattle Black Panther Party founder Aaron Dixon and Tony Benson, host of Rainier Valley Radio, as well as a number of young Black youth leaders.

Martin says she is particularly excited about the Indigenous Futures night on October 13. This is the first time the Social Justice Film Festival has partnered with the Duwamish Longhouse and Tribe, Martin said. The night will feature films made by indigenous artists, including a screening of waałšiʔaƛin (Coming Home), and a discussion with the filmmakers themselves.

“Film is something people can experience differently, and gives an opportunity to see, hear, emotionally identify and educate people,” Martin said. “It is an opportunity to bring people together to facilitate really meaningful conversation. Film can leave a lasting impression.”

To further nurture this power of film year round, Social Justice Film Festival has also founded a film institute, focusing on producing stories of social justice and empowering young people to get into film-making. The institute will also have a film clinic, giving students the opportunity to help produce films in the community.

A full list of featured events is available here. Tickets range from $7 to $15. SJFF is also looking for year-round volunteers.

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