• Devlyn Brooks

North Human Rights Film Festival opens Friday in Bismarck

Films and discussions about discrimination and racism to take place at third annual festival



BISMARCK – The 2019 North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival opens Friday, Nov. 1, at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum, and concludes Saturday, Nov. 2.


The Bismarck event features four screenings with unique content showing or discussed at each session. Ten films from six countries will be shown. Question-and-answer sessions with visiting filmmakers and discussions about discrimination and racism in North Dakota will take place during each evening session.

Following the two-day screening in Bismarck, the festival will move to Grand Forks, Fargo, and conclude in Minot. This is the first year the festival will take place in four major cities in North Dakota.

"We're extremely excited by the festival," said Sean Coffman, executive director of the Human Family and co-dhair of the 2018 North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival. "The films screening this year speak profoundly to important issues currently being discussed in our communities."

In the winter and spring of 2019, Coffman held community conversations held in Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks to listen to concerns about human rights and social justice. While many concerns were shared, the one universal theme identified throughout the state is concern about racism and the idea of the "Deep North." As a result, the festival has invited films and created a discussion opportunity to reflect the concerns of North Dakotan communities.


"This year's content brings the discussion around the concerns of our neighbors, brothers, and sisters," Coffman said. "By bringing light and discussion to these concerns, we hope to use understanding and empathy to create community change."



The festival's two-day kickoff in Bismarck at the Heritage Center includes:

Friday, November 1 - Afternoon Session - 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

"Color Me Free" - An animated short about the plight of civilians in war"My Name is Mohammed and Raghad, we don't exist here anymore" - A narrative short about a Syrian family separated by war and growing up without their mother"Inviolable: The Fight for Human Rights" - A feature documentary looking at the movements and people fighting for human rights around the world


Friday, November 1 - Evening Session - 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m."The Eagle and the Condor" - A feature documentary about the prophecy of the north and south uniting. The film is told through the lens of the peaceful resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline installation. Filmmakers Paulette Moore and Rebecca Kemble will participate in a question and answer service after the film."Red Dress Day: A Prayer Walk for MMIW" - A documentary short about an MMIW Rally that took place during the peaceful resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline installation. The event led to the arrest of 26 water protectors.A Discussion with the Water Protector Legal Collective. The WPLC will provide updates about the water protectors the organization is providing legal support for and will include a conversation about the discriminatory practices being leveled at the water protectors by the justice system.


Saturday, November 2 - Afternoon Session - 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m."Wantoks: Dance of Resilience in Melanesia" - A documentary short about the impacts of a warming world on island-based culture"Jack and Anna" - A narrative short about the trial of Helen Hilsher, tried for cross-dressing and same-sex marriage in 1900 Colorado."Rustic Oracle" - A narrative feature film about a missing young woman from a Mohawk community. Her mother and her sister embrace on a journey to find her, a journey that eventually brings the pair closer together despite challenging circumstances.


Saturday, November 2 - Evening Session - 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m."Balkowistch" - Premiere of the feature documentary about Bismarck-base wet plate artist Shane Balkowitsch. Filmmakers Gregory DeSaye and Chelsy Ciavarella will be on hand for a question and answer session after the screening of their film."The Clean-Up Story that Didn't Make the News" - The Bismarck premiere of a documentary short that contrasts the media narrative that trash and supplies were left at Oceti Sakowin camp. This is the cleanup story that did not make the news.Discriminatory Practices in Housing. Kelly Gortz of the High Plains Fair Housing Center will be on hand to talk about housing discrimination in North Dakota as a whole, and in Bismarck-Mandan specifically.


Tickets for the festival are on sale now. An All-Access pass that provides access to all films in all cities in North Dakota is available for $35. A Bismarck All-Access pass will provide access to all four sessions of films in Bismarck is available for $25. Individual session General Admission is $10 and $3 for students and seniors 55+. Tickets are available online via Eventbrite and will be available at the door.


The mission of the North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival is to educate, engage, and facilitate discussion around local and worldwide human-rights topics through the work of filmmakers and artists. The festival is a non-partisan event, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. 2019 is the third year for the festival.


In 2019, the North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival will take place in four major cities in North Dakota. The official dates of the festival are: afternoon and evening sessions on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 in Bismarck at the Heritage Center and State Museum; afternoon and evening sessions on Tuesday, November 5 at the historic Empire Theater; afternoon and evening sessions on Thursday, November 7 and Friday, November 8 at the historic Fargo Theatre; and closing on Tuesday, November 12 in Minot for an evening screening at the historic Oak Park Theater.


The 2019 North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival is made possible through the generosity of Final Draft. Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company, has published Final Draft® software – the number-one selling screenwriting application in the world – for 28 years. Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to industry standards, allowing writers to focus on what they do best – writing scripts. Used by such industry giants as J.J. Abrams, James Cameron and Aaron Sorkin, Final Draft software is the professional’s choice and the entertainment industry standard. In addition to its flagship software product, Final Draft offers the annual Big Break Contest – a screenwriting competition that launches careers, and awards over $100,000 in cash and prizes. Final Draft also offers the Final Draft Mobile™ app for iPhone and iPad, making creativity truly portable. To learn more about Final Draft and its products and services, visit: www.finaldraft.com


The Festival is also supported by iPitch.tv, and through partnerships with Chamber Six Media, J&S Productions, and the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition.

For more information about the 2019 North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival or to arrange interviews with visiting filmmakers, contact Sean Coffman at (701) 205-0248, extension 101.

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