Building Change Film Festival Film List

Point Park Screenings

Out in the Silence, Joe Wilson & Dean Harmer
 This documentary follows the story of a high school jock in a small town of Southwestern Pennsylvania who was brutally attacked after coming out. After the attack his mother contacted filmmaker Joe Wilson who was also scorned for his same-sex marriage in the local newspaper.Joe Wilson returned to document contentions between the 16-year old and his mother and the school board, along with the efforts of a residential lesbian couple made towards restoring a historical theater, despite the anti-gay opposition they met.
The film aims to create a better understanding of the attitudes surrounding the discrimination, bullying, and harassment, which have recently led many young gays to take suicidal action. Out in the Silence intends to generate a proactive response from its viewers to focus on attaining more pronounced equality within communities, especially small and rural ones.   (SW PA 2009; 65 min.)

5 PM Friday 10/14


Gerrymandering, Jeff Reichert
This documentary exposes the carefully hidden election manipulation tactic politicians are currently using to gain control. To gerrymander is to make geographic divisions to districts, which give an advantage to a political party. Democrats and Republicans have been working to keep this tactic hidden from voters, which allows them to directly determine the outcome of elections. (77 min.)

7:30 PM Wednesday 10/12


Green Wave, Ali Samadi Ahadi

Green is the color of hope. Green is the color of Islam. And green was the symbol of recognition among the supporters of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who became the symbolic figure of the Green Revolution in Iran last year. The presidential elections on June 12th, 2009 were supposed to bring about a change, but contrary to all expectations the ultra-conservative populist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was confirmed in office. As clear as was the result, as loud and justified were the accusations of vote-rigging.

A touching documentary-collage illustrating the dramatic events and telling about the feelings of the people behind this revolution.Facebook reports, Twitter messages and videos posted in the internet were included in the film composition, and hundreds of real blog entries served as reference for the experiences and thoughts of two young students, whose story is running through the film as the main thread. (2010, 80 min.)

7:00 PM Thursday 10/13

Immigrant Nation!, Esau Melendez
Follows the story of a single mother who fought her deportation and illustrates the need for immigration reform with stories from individuals and organizations. The film takes interviews from individuals, organizations and activists who have united to bring justice to the immigration rights movement. The House of Representatives passed the HR4437, the Sensenbrenner Bill, in 2005 which would criminalize undocumented immigrants and anyone who helps them, and this film uses the controversy of this bill as the fuel for discussion. (2010)

4:30 PM Saturday 10/15

In the Land of the Free, Vadim Jean
Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, examines the story of the Angola 3,  Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King, who combined have spent a century in solitary confinement, two of which are still serving their time. These men were wrongfully convicted of a crime of a murder based on suspect evidence, and seem to have been targeted by police authorities because of their ties to the Black Panther party. (2010; 84 min.)

7 PM Saturday 10/15

The People Speak, Chris Moore
Inspired by the books of influential historian Howard Zinn. The People Speak adapts “A People’s History of the United States” and “Voices of a People’s History in the United States” with the words of everyday citizens through dramatic performances to present the urgency of social change throughout history. The film, produced by Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn, gives a voice to those people throughout history who have fought for social justice. (2009; 110 min.)

2PM Sunday 10/16

Knuckle Sandwich
, Bailey Donovon
Directed by a student of Point Park University, this short comedically portrays women’s rights and abusive relationships. (Pittsburgh 2011; 3 min.)

5 PM Sunday 10/16

The Heretics, Joan Braderman
This first hand account of the Second Wave of Women’s Movements follows director Joan Braderman’s story of becoming a filmmaker in New York City in 1971. Her dream comes true when she joins a feminist art collective in lower Manhattan.
The Heretics follows the Heresies Collective, which is one group of the thousands, which together formed the International Women’s Movement. (2009; 95 min.)

5 PM Sunday 10/16

Intersection, Nelson Chipman
The Cinema and Digital Arts Department Chair at Point Park University directed this short which deals with both women’s rights and human rights.(Pittsburgh 2011; 2 min.)

7:30 PM Sunday 10/16

The Strangest Dream, Eric Bednarski
Joseph Rotblat, a nuclear physicist assigned to help construct the first atomic bomb, won the Nobel Peace Prize through his efforts to thwart the nuclear proliferation with Bertrand Russel in the Pugwash peace movement they began. The Strangest Dream leads viewers to the first sites of nuclear tests, in New Mexico, Cairo and Hiroshima, where the survivors of the first attacks are shown. Interviews with members of the Pugwash movement, public figures and contemporaries of Rotblat present the continued threat of nuclear weapons and provide scope for optimism with the moral of conscious scientists and citizens. (2009; 89 min.)

7:30 PM Sunday 10/16

CAPA Screenings

Pittsburgh Welcomes, John Detwiler
This documentary takes a candid look at police brutality with the events that unfolded during the G-20 Summit of 2009, including the preparations made leading up to the event. The documentary examines the obstacles protesters overcame in order to assemble, providing detail to the permits which were rejected, footage of the harassment peaceful protesters met from the police, and the brutality which peaceful civilians encountered while attempting to go about their daily lives. The film includes interviews with students who were cornered by riot police and arrested on campus for innocently trying to get into their dorms. Detwiler combines footage of student arrests with interviews of outraged citizens after the G-20, who demanded an investigation of the police brutality to offer an interesting look into the event which was intended to benefit the city, but has left people questioning whether it did. (Pittsburgh 2010; 30 min.)

7:30 Wednesday 10/12

The Inconvenient Truth About Superman, Grassroots Education Movement and Real Reform Studios Production
This documentary which examines the nuanced issues of the failing school systems by taking interviews from parents, teachers and students, is a critical response to the blockbuster film Waiting for Superman, which provided undeveloped answers to the problems surrounding the system. The film is emotionally charged with interviews from parents who are enraged and fed up with the current approach to education, the disciplinary systems, the lack of resources for special needs children. The film discusses why the current approach supports low performance schools instead of defining the most accurate solutions, while offering a list of reforms they feel would isolate a myriad of problems within education. (2011; 83 min.)

 7:30 PM Wednesday 10/12

Your Environmental Road Trip (YERT), Mark Dixon
Three friends began their year long nation-wide road trip in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to document environmental sustainability. They hoped to find sustainable regenerative solutions to further the current environmental movement beyond finding less harmful methods to solving ecological threats.
They traveled across the states to discover what Americans already do to benefit the environment, and learned what they should do differently to prevent a crisis.
Along the way they placed restrictions on their waste, energy, and resource usage. They avoided using incandescent light bulbs, limited their daily water usage per person, and stored all of their trash inside a shoebox at the end of each month.This documentary ambitiously combats the present challenges that face the world by creating a unique set of restrictions on daily life in order to adopt a new, optimistic approach to maintaining the health of our environment. (Pittsburgh 2010; 102 min.)

5 PM  Friday 10/14

Writing on the Berlin Wall: Remembering the Berlin Wall, John Michalczyk
This documentary commemorates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall which represents the end of the communist nation. The Berlin wall had signified a division between East and West Berlin, but the remains of the wall are now representative of freedom and citizen rights, which were previously restricted. Interviews with political figures and citizens who experienced the great divide offers perspective for understanding a divided nation. (2009; 54 min.)

 5 PM Saturday 10/15

9500 Liberty, Annabel Park & Eric Byler
9500 Liberty documents the anti-immigration battleground of Prince William County, Virginia where elected officials adopted a law which required officers to question anyone they thought was “probably” undocumented. The film features Corey A. Stewart, a republican Chairman of Prince William Board of County Supervisors in 2006 who began the “crackdown” on illegal immigration in 2007 after using “Fighting Illegal Immigration” as his campaign slogan. (2009; 81 min.)

8 PM Saturday 10/15

We Shall Not Be Moved, Kelly Creedon
This documentary features stories from the grassroots struggle against foreclosure, and profiles a series of individuals fighting to stay in their homes in the Boston area.

 2 PM Sunday 10/16


The New Metropolis, Andrea Torrice
This documentary brings light to the current trend of mass migration from urban to suburban communities, which is leaving cities and areas of business abandoned without fuel for regeneration. This trend has caused communities to use this film a tool to encourage people to reinvest in and revitalize their communities. (2009; 53 min.)

2 PM Sunday 10/16

Pricele$$, Steve Cowan
Current electoral campaigns have grown so expensive that politicians are forced to rely on support from the wealth of companies that they are intended to regulate once they hold office. The special interests of oil & gas companies, Wall Street and health insurers are now directly tied to the candidates they fund.
This documentary searches the U.S. for a solution to the conflicted interests within our electoral system and proposes an alternative system which has been tested in Arizona and Maine. (2010; 60 min.)

5 PM Sunday 10/16

Hampton Inn Screenings

Crooked Beauty, Ken Paul Rosenthal
This short film documents the inspiring life of Jacks McNamara, who went from experiencing child abuse, to living in a psych ward, to becoming an activist for mental health. The film offers a sharp critique of the psychiatric health standards with testimonials which help to reverse mental health stigmas by presenting madness as source of creativity and inspiration. (30 min.)

5 PM Friday 10/14

Only God Could Hear Me, Colin Sander
This documentary creates a portrait of adults who live with cerebral palsy and are unable to speak. Until Bruce Baker and Semantic Compaction Systems introduced the “Minspeak,” a computerized keyboard which speaks words on command, these adults were full of thoughts, but unable to communicate them, because their bodies were unable to. (Pittsburgh 2011, 63 min.)

5 PM Friday 10/14

Andy Warhol Screenings

Deccani Souls, Kaz Rahman
‘Deccani Souls’ is a mystical journey that begins with Hamza wandering through a strange landscape of assorted debris in the winter snowscape.  He ‘dreams’ of another place and time- Hyderabad.

In Hyderabad, Babu works for the government as a ‘census’ collector.  Babu acts as a kind of door-to-door salesman and initiates elaborate conversations in order to get people to sign away the forgotten yet painful history of 1948 and ‘Operation Polo’.  Meanwhile the Urdu poet Siddiq struggles with writer’s block as he navigates the history and pulse of the Deccan looking for a lost essay his grandfather wrote decades earler.  They each weave through the portentous streets, cafes and chaos of Hyderabad trying to make sense of this magically tragic city. (2011; 105 min.)

8:30 PM Thursday 10/13

Kelly-Strayhorn Screenings

Challenging Power, Johan Genberg
This short documents the decision and significance behind the Olympia Food Co-op boycott of Israeli products. The film reflects the decision, which was made by consensus from the board of directors with support from their members, and examines the role of social change that the boycott plays. (2011; 18 min.)

 2 PM Sunday 10/16


New Muslim Cool, Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
Follows the cultural fusion between Islam and hip hop, which challenges stereotypes of Muslims and urban youth of America, and examines the clash of cultures between Islam and the West. The film shows the life of a family man who dealt drugs, but gave up his street life when he converted to Islam and formed a rap group to bring together his community with Islam’s religious message. Their lyrics openly criticize society and the government, taking influence from groups such as Public Enemy and the Lost Poets. The music is an expression of this man’s struggle to rebuild his life and create a community in the face of possible imprisonment or death due to his lifestyle. (Pittsburgh 2009; 83 min.)

 2 PM Sunday 10/16

Hip Hop Rev, Jon-Barrie Waddell
This documentary follows the life of Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. for one year as he leads urban communities into economic and environmental activism as the president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, a civil and human rights organization.
Over the course of the year the civil rights activist feels personally motivated to campaign towards youth for solutions to climate change, pollution and poverty in the streets rather than inside of a church. (45 min.)

5 PM Sunday 10/16

Why us? Left Behind and Dying, Claudia Pryor Malis
Made from the point of view of inner-city African American students, this documentary investigates the reasons why HIV/AIDS is disproportionately higher in black communities with interviews from a small group of students in Pittsburgh, PA. These students act as researchers by asking probing questions of community members with HIV and AIDS, and scientists to try to figure out why the trend continues to target African Americans. (Pittsburgh 2009; 86 min.)

 5 PM Sunday 10/16


We Always Resist: Trust Black Women, LaTasha D. Mayes
This film documents the activist response of an anti-abortion billboard campaign which targets black women, which aims to make sure black women keep the human right to make decisions about their reproductive lives, and that black women are trusted to make these decisions about themselves and their families. (2011; 24 min.)

 7 PM Sunday 10/16


East of Liberty, Chris Ivey
East Liberty was once filled with boutiques and considered a thriving shopping district in the 1960’s, but the combination of city plans to create Penn Circle which rerouted traffic away from the neighborhood, the development of mass housing and an outdoor shopping mall which cause the destruction of most of the neighborhoods shops caused the neighborhood’s prosperity to decline and eventually become an urban ghetto. During the 1990’s and 2000’s city planners attracted Whole Foods and Home Depot to the neighborhood, and with their success the mass housing complexes were destroyed and the neighborhood began to attract shoppers again. Gentrification has pushed residents of East Liberty to other parts of the city and this film gives voice those residents. (Pittsburgh 2009)

7 PM Sunday 10/16

Grassroots Education Movement and Real Reform Studios Production