Human Rights Spotlight

Sponsored by Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for International and Area Studies at Washington University and Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University

A selection of documentaries focused on human-rights issues in the U.S. and the world. The programs, which feature accompanying directors and/or subjects and post-film discussions, are free and screen Nov. 2-4 and Nov. 9-11 at Washington U.

See “Films by Subject” for additional works addressing human-rights issues.

An American Tragedy

Sunday, November 11 at 4:00pm

In 1989, 17-year-old Kelli Hall was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in St. Charles by Jeffrey Ferguson and an accomplice. Ferguson was eventually caught and convicted, receiving a death sentence; he was executed nearly 25 years after the crime, in 2014. During the... Read more

Capturing the Flag

Saturday, November 10 at 7:30pm

“Capturing the Flag” chronicles the efforts of three old friends — Laverne Berry, Steven Miller, and Claire Wright — who in the fall of 2016 travel from New York to North Carolina to do voter-protection work at the polls. Laverne and Steve have been volunteering... Read more

The Color of Medicine: The Story of Homer G. Phillips Hospital

Saturday, November 3 at 7:30pm

“The Color of Medicine” traces the rise and fall of St. Louis’ premier black hospital, Homer G. Phillips, which at one point in time trained the largest number of black doctors and nurses in the world. The film chronicles the unique history of the medical training... Read more

Crime + Punishment

Friday, November 2 at 7:30pm

Amid a landmark class-action lawsuit over illegal policing quotas, “Crime + Punishment” chronicles the real lives and struggles of a group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and the young minorities they are pressured to arrest in New York City. With... Read more

The Jazz Ambassadors

Saturday, November 3 at 4:00pm

In 1956, America announced a new Cold War weapon to combat the U.S.S.R.: Jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Dave Brubeck, along with their racially integrated bands, would cross the globe to counter negative Soviet... Read more

Letter from Masanjia

Sunday, November 4 at 1:00pm

When a woman from Oregon finds an SOS note written by a Chinese prisoner stashed in a box of Halloween decorations from Kmart, she never imagined it would eventually lead to the closure of all of China’s labor camps. When her story went viral around the world, the... Read more

Minding the Gap

Sunday, November 4 at 7:30pm

“Minding the Gap” offers a multifaceted group portrait of filmmaker Bing Liu and two friends, Keire Johnson and Zack Mulligan, from his youth in Rockford, Ill. Although the documentary initially appears to focus on their shared passion for skateboarding — Bing’s... Read more

Mr. Soul!

Friday, November 9 at 7:30pm

On the heels of the civil-rights movement, one fearless black pioneer — Ellis Haizlip — reconceived a Harlem Renaissance for a new era, ushering giants and rising stars of black American culture onto the national television stage. Haizlip contained Whitman-esque... Read more

Naila and the Uprising

Saturday, November 10 at 4:00pm

Using evocative animation, intimate interviews, and exclusive archival footage, “Naila and the Uprising” brings out of anonymity the courageous women who shook the Israeli occupation and put Palestinians on the map for the first time. “Naila and the Uprising”... Read more

On Her Shoulders

Saturday, November 10 at 1:00pm

At only 23 years old, Nadia Murad’s life is a dizzying array of important undertakings — from giving testimony before the U.N. Security Council to visiting refugee camps to soul-bearing media interviews, emotionally draining speeches, and an endless succession of... Read more

Owned: A Tale of Two Americas

Saturday, November 3 at 1:00pm

“Owned” is a fever-dream vision into the dark history behind the U.S. housing economy. Tracking its overtly racist beginnings to its unbridled commoditization, the documentary exposes a foundational story few Americans understand as their own. In 2008, the U.S.... Read more

The Providers

Sunday, November 11 at 6:30pm

Set against the backdrop of the physician shortage and opioid epidemic in rural America, "The Providers" follows three healthcare providers in northern New Mexico. They work at El Centro, a group of safety-net clinics that offer care to all who walk through the... Read more

Time for Ilhan

Sunday, November 4 at 4:00pm

On Nov. 8, 2016, a young, hijab-wearing mother of three named Ilhan Omar made history, becoming the first Somali Muslim woman to be elected to state office in America. She was hailed by the New York Times as “one of the bright lights in the post-election darkness... Read more

The Unafraid

Sunday, November 11 at 1:00pm

“The Unafraid” follows three Dreamers — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients — in Georgia, a state that has banned them from attending their top state universities and disqualified them from receiving in-state tuition at any other public college... Read more