Human Rights Film and Digital Media Initiative

Human Rights Film+ Series

2020-2021 – UConn Digital Media and Design Faculty Spotlight

The Human Rights Film+ Series presents new and classic works of documentary, feature, and journalistic film, as well as video games and other digital media, that address key human rights issues and themes. This season, the Human Rights Film+ Series highlights faculty in our Department Digital Media and Design, Oscar Guerra, Heejoo Kim, Heather Cassano, Tanju Özdemir, and James Coltrain.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 7PM EST
Tanju Özdemir, Assistant Professor Digital Film/Video Production, University of Connecticut

  • Film Synopsis: Intentions is a narrative short film about a gathering of three Turkish couples (one settled in the U.S.) at a dinner table discussing the notion of hospitality and racism within the framework of the current Syrian refugee crisis and Afro-Turks in Turkey.
  • Event Registration: Click HERE to register for the Film Screening & Panel Discussion

Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 7PM EST
Heejoo Kim, Assistant Professor Motion Design and Animation, University of Connecticut

  • Film Synopsis: Hidden is an experimental animated documentary film intended to reveal the hidden physical and emotional crisis of elder abuse by presenting a personal experience of impairment and exploitation, based on real stories of people with dementia. While physical abuse is the most talked-about type of abuse in elder abuse, this film demonstrates more subtle forms of caregiver neglect and self-abuse due to fear or loss of confidence. Click HERE for more information about the film.
  • Event Registration: Click HERE to register for a Presentation by the Artist & Panel Discussion
Past Events

Tuesday, April 6,2021, 7PM EST
James Coltrain, Assistant Professor Game Design, University of Connecticut

  • About the Game: Blackhaven is a first-person narrative game where players take the role of Kendra Turner,­ a summer intern at the Blackhaven Hall Historical Society, the museum commemorating a sprawling 18th colonial estate burned by the British during the American revolution. As Kendra follows her curiosity through the museum’s exhibits and archives, she finds cracks in Blackhaven’s official story and uncovers a trail of secrets and misdeeds that spans centuries and may determine her future. Click HERE For more information about the game.
  • Event Registration: Click HERE to register for the Game Presentation & Panel Discussion.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021
The Limits of  My World
Heather Cassano, Assistant Professor Digital Film/Video Production, University of Connecticut

  • Film Synopsis: The Limits of My World is a feature-length documentary following 21-year-old Brian Cassano as he ages out of the school system and transitions into adulthood. Brian has severe autism and faces the daily challenges of adjusting to his new life. Filmed from the intimate perspective of his older sister Heather, this documentary seeks to understand Brian’s personality beneath his disability. The Limits of My World is an autistic coming of age story, exploring what it means to be a nonverbal disabled person in today’s society. Click HERE to learn more about the film.
  • Film Screening and Panel Discussion: Link Forthcoming

Thursday, February 11, 2021
A Thousand Cuts
Ramona Diaz, Independent Filmmaker

  • Film Synopsis: With press freedom under threat in the Philippines, A Thousand Cuts goes inside the escalating war between the government and the press. The documentary follows Maria Ressa, a renowned journalist who has become a top target of President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on the news media. Click HERE to watch the film.
  • Panel Discussion:  Journalist and human rights activist Maria Ressa joined the UConn Human Rights Film+ Series to discuss the role of press freedom in the struggle for truth and democracy. Ressa was joined by documentary filmmaker Ramona Diaz and UConn legal and human rights scholar Richard Ashby Wilson to discuss the film and how online propaganda campaigns threaten and denigrate human rights defenders through new forms of digital authoritarianism. Click HERE to watch the panel discussion.

Thursday, December 3, 2020
Love, Life, and the Virus
Oscar Guerra, Assistant Professor Digital Film/Video Production, University of Connecticut

  • Film Synopsis: A mother’s fight to survive COVID and see her newborn baby. How the coronavirus hit one immigrant family, their struggle to be reunited, and the community that rallied around them. Click HERE to watch the film.
  • Panel Discussion:Dr. Oscar Guerra presented his PBS Frontline film, “Love, Life, and the Virus,” followed by a panel with the filmmaker, Luciana Lira, who is featured in the film, and community partners, Vania Galicia from The Neighbor Fund and attorney, Erin O’Neil-Baker who focuses her practice on immigration law. Click HERE to watch the panel discussion.
History of the Human Rights Film+ Series

The UConn Human Rights Film Series was initiated in 2005 and has foregrounded critical human rights issues spanning local to global levels through the medium of film. The Series has featured experienced and emerging filmmakers in conversations about their films, engaging students, faculty, staff and community members through post-show discussions. The Series organizers have partnered with varied units on campus to address themes such as civil rights as human rights, economic and social rights, and art and activism. In 2020 we expanded the Series to “Film+” to include other forms of digital media, including games and animation.