Human Rights Spotlight

Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for International and Area Studies 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. 4-6 and Nov. 11-13 at Washington U.

For additional films related to human rights, see Films by Subject.

Agents of Change

As the civil-rights, Black Power, and anti-Vietnam War movements made national headlines in the late 1960s, another, less-known struggle for inclusion was taking place on college campuses. Exemplified by protests at San Francisco State and Cornell University (with... Read more

Among Wolves

Twenty years after the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to struggle with little help from those in power. In one small mountain town, however, an unorthodox leader has emerged, determined to help those around him finally escape from the shadow of war. A born... Read more

Bob's Tour: Understanding What We See

Washington University graduate Jun Bae profiles Bob Hansman, a beloved architecture professor at the school. In its portrait of a white man with a black son, the film provides an intimate look at Hansman and his insights into segregated St. Louis. The film follows... Read more

Bogdan's Journey

“Bogdan’s Journey” is a story about conflict and reconciliation, about contemporary Poland and its Jewish past. Kielce, Poland, was the site of Europe’s last Jewish pogrom. In 1946, townspeople killed 40 Holocaust survivors seeking shelter in a downtown building,... Read more

Camden: Love/Hate

“Camden: Love/Hate” follows six teenagers from Camden, N.J., as they document the story of their city, from the glory days of the postwar boom to today’s violent and fraught reality. After learning filmmaking skills at a last-chance high school, the Camden Center... Read more

Doc Shorts: Kartemquin Films’ Gordon Quinn

SLIFF honors Gordon Quinn with the Maysles Brothers Lifetime Achievement Award in Documentary. Quinn is co-founder of the Chicago documentary collective Kartemquin Films, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Consistently focused on issues of racial and social justice, Kartemquin is responsible for such films as “Hoop Dreams” and “The Interrupters.” This year's fest features two additional Kartemquin films, "No Crossover" and "Raising Bertie."

Men in the Arena

A touching story of friendship, struggle, and triumph, “Men in the Arena” follows the journey of two friends on the Somali national soccer team who face impossible odds to fulfill their dreams. After surviving two decades of war, Saadiq, 17, and Sa’ad, 20, the... Read more

Night School

“Night School” examines adult education and the dropout epidemic plaguing inner-city America. The film provides an inside look at a cutting-edge high school located in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in America and the brave students who attend it.... Read more

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson

On Valentine's Day 1993, 17-year-old Bethel High School basketball star Allen Iverson was bowling in Hampton, Va., with five high-school friends. It was supposed to be an ordinary evening, but it became a night that defined Iverson's young life. A quarrel soon... Read more

The Peacemaker

This inspiring documentary profiles international peacemaker Padraig O'Malley, who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. The film captures Padraig's isolated life in Cambridge, Mass., and follows him over five years to some of the most... Read more

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

It began as a housing marvel. Two decades later, it ended in rubble. But what happened to those caught in between? “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous... Read more

Raising Bertie

“Raising Bertie” is an intimate portrait of three African-American boys coming of age in rural North Carolina. Set in Bertie County, a rural African-American-led community in Eastern North Carolina, the documentary takes audiences deep into the emotional lives of... Read more