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5th Annual Human Rights Film Series Examines ‘Dignity & Disgrace’ Theme

Series Will Include World Premiere of ‘Memory: A Holocaust Survivor's Story'

The theme of Duquesne University's fifth annual Human Rights Film Series intends to inspire everyone-from students to citizens-to continue the dialogues initiated by movements for freedom and equality, and to consider those less well-off-not only in financial terms, but in basic, fundamental human rights.

Dignity & Disgrace will feature six award-winning documentaries and feature films that address some the most critical abuses of human rights in our world today-from the oppression of women in patriarchal societies, to the attempt of multi-national corporations to privatize the world's fresh water reserves, to the impact of plastic bags on the environment and public health, and the abuse and neglect of the homeless in our own country.

Presented by Duquesne's Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Dignity & Disgrace is free and open to the public.

The series kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 19, with a screening of Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home at 7 p.m. in Room 105 of College Hall on Duquesne's campus. Directed by Thomas Q. Napper, this documentary introduces viewers to residents of Los Angeles' downtown skid row, painting a vivid portrait of life on the streets. A discussion will immediately follow the film, led by Dr. Jim Withers of Pittsburgh's Operation Safety Net, an outreach program that provides health care and social services to the unsheltered homeless population in Allegheny County.

The five films that follow in the series include:

  • Bag It, Monday, Jan. 23: Directed by Suzan Beraza, this award-winning documentary about plastic bags investigates plastics and their effect on the environment and on human health. Post-screening speaker: Dr. Stanley Kabala, associate director of Duquesne's Center for Environmental Research and Education.
  • Inside Job, Wednesday, Feb. 1: Winner of the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary, the film is directed by Charles Ferguson exposes an in-depth look behind the economic crisis of 2008. Post-screening speaker: Dr. Matt Ryan, assistant professor of economics at Duquesne, and Dr. Jackie Smith, professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Blue Gold: World Water Wars, Thursday, Feb. 9: Directed by Sam Bozzo, this film follows numerous worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water, from court cases to violent revolutions to U.N. conventions to revised constitutions to local protests at grade schools. Post-screening speaker: To be announced.
  • When We Leave (Die Fremde), Thursday, Feb. 16: This film, directed by Feo Aladag, follows German-born Umay, who flees her oppressive marriage in Istanbul and, with her young son, hopes to find a better life with her family in Berlin. Post-screening speaker: Dr. Aimee Light, assistant professor of theology and member of Duquesne's Women and Gender Studies program, and Imam AbduSemih Tadese, director and outreach principal at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.
  • Memory: A Holocaust Survivor's Story, Wednesday, Feb. 22: This marks the world premiere of this documentary, directed and produced by Dr. Dennis Woytek, assistant professor of journalism and multimedia arts at Duquesne University. Woytek, with the assistance of Jessica Blank, a Jewish student and senior digital media arts major, shares the story of Howard Chandler, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor who returns to his home village in Poland and visits the concentration camps where he was imprisoned during World War II at age 14. Post-screening speaker: Woytek and Dr. Alan Rosen, author of The Wonder of Their Voices: The 1946 Holocaust Interviews of David Boder and lecturer at Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research.

All screenings will be held at 7 p.m. in Room 105 of College Hall at Duquesne's campus. For more information, call 412.396.6415.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.