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SU Human Rights Film Festival


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Thursday, September 26 @ 7 pm, Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements
(Irene Taylor Brodsky, USA, 2019, 90 min. Captioned in English)
Irene Taylor Brodsky builds on her powerful first feature, Hear and Now, by delving into an intergenerational exploration of living with deafness. Brodsky’s son Jonas began losing his hearing as a baby and underwent cochlear-implant surgery as a toddler. Now 11 years old, Jonas has adjusted to a world with sound and is learning to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Brodsky’s parents also have cochlear implants, but unlike Jonas, the majority of their lives were shaped by silence. While Jonas explores what silence means to him, his grandfather grapples with a new transition of his own. Buoyed by a perceptive soundscape and luminous animation, Brodsky astutely captures the complexity of silence and hearing. Rich archival footage portrays Brodsky’s parents’ reflections on the evolution of deafness while intimate home videos reveal Jonas’s hearing transformation. In this deeply personal and moving film, Brodsky explores the meaning of deafness, loss, and the power of silence as her son discovers his unique voice and her parents confront a new chapter of their lives. 

Friday, September 27 @ 7 pm, Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3

Words from a Bear
(Jeffrey Palmer, USA, 2019, 85 min. Captioned in English)
When N. Scott Momaday won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize, it marked one of the first major acknowledgments of Native American literature and the vibrant contemporary culture it described. Now, Momaday’s transportive words come to life in this cinematic biography of one of the most celebrated Native American storytellers. In Jeffrey Palmer’s directorial debut, distinctly expressive animations intersect with stunning footage of the Great Plains as Momaday draws from his Kiowa ancestry and identity to pose universal questions about how we connect to our origins, each other, and the earth. In a series of intimate interviews, Momaday expounds on his life and its many challenges, while insights from the likes of Joy Harjo, Robert Redford, and Jeff and Beau Bridges reveal the impact of his literary contributions. Words from a Bear reveals the inspiring beauty of Momaday’s work while also guiding audiences through the grave historical struggles that Native American communities have faced. The result is a profound celebration of not only Momaday’s writing and history but also the art of storytelling itself.
Filmmaker will be present to introduce and discuss the film.

Saturday, September 28 @ 1 pm, Shemin Auditorium, Shaffer Art Building

Everything Must Fall
(Rehad Desai, South Africa, 2018, 85 min. Captioned in English)
In this galvanizing examination of the fight for free higher education, acclaimed documentarian Rehad Desai takes his own alma mater as a case study in a growing intersectional global movement. At South Africa’s elite, ivy-covered Wits University, students chanting “Fees Must Fall” held a rally against steep tuition hikes. The cry became a viral social media hashtag. One protest fueled another. The administration called in more than a thousand armed police. Soon, a leading institution of nearly 40,000 students was shut down. Neighboring university students struggling with their own mounting debt joined the cause, which become a national movement marked by escalating conflict and violence. Even after their fight has led to three deaths, 800 arrests and counting, the students are determined to achieve transformational, intergenerational justice and “decolonized,” free higher education, a message increasingly popular around the world.

Saturday, September 28 @ 4 pm, Shemin Auditorium, Shaffer Art Building

The Silence of Others
(Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, Spain, 2018, 96 min., Spanish with English subtitles)
The Silence of Others captures the first attempt in 77 years to prosecute crimes of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship under General Franco (1939-1975). In a groundbreaking international court case, victims of re-education camps, child abduction, torture, and extra-judicial killings have come together to break their silence and confront perpetrators who, unbeknownst to much of the world, have enjoyed impunity for decades. Through the compelling contemporary story of the case and the personal journeys of several of its plaintiffs, The Silence of Others explores the shadows the past still casts upon the present in Spain. What happens when a country is forced to reckon with its history after many years of silence? What happens to those who have endured – and then dare to break – such silence? Can justice really be done after so long?


Saturday, September 28 @ 7 pm, Shemin Auditorium, Shaffer Art Building
The Sweet Requiem
(Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, India/USA, 2018, 91 min., Tibetan with English subtitles)
This bold new work from the directors of the award-winning Dreaming Lhasa (2005) is a tale of tragedy, retribution, and courage. At age eight, Dolkar and her father fled their home in Tibet, escaping Chinese armed forces in an arduous journey across the Himalayas. Now 26, she lives in a Tibetan refugee colony in Delhi, India, where an unexpected encounter with a man from her past reveals long-suppressed memories, propelling Dolkar on an obsessive search for the truth and a reckoning with complex and shifting challenges of exile. With stunning cinematography and skillfully subdued tension, The Sweet Requiem is an unforgettable reflection on an ongoing but too often forgotten refugee crisis.

For more information, please contact Tula Goenka,


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Exterior of Maxwell in black and white when there was no Eggers building

We’re Turning 100!

To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.