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Friday, September 29, 2023


Festival portrays dark truths

The United Nations Association Film Festival is making its first appearance in Houston Nov. 6-8 at the Rice University Media Center.

Under the theme ‘One World, Many Stories,’ the traveling exhibition will showcase a series of provocative and award-winning documentaries on significant social, political, economic and humanitarian issues the world is facing, while allowing reflection on Houston’s role in the world.

‘These are things you’d never get from a typical three minute TV news report,’ Jimit Patel, a United Nations Association-Houston member and hotel and restaurant management sophomore, said. ‘Through the documentaries we are bringing to Houston, people can experience and gain a deeper appreciation for issues such as women’s empowerment in Africa, the urgency to record and preserve dying languages in Asia, the prospects of reunifying the Koreas, the genocide in Darfur, or even see how a physician who works for Doctors Without Borders makes sense of all the tragedy and suffering he has seen around the world.’

Along with the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the festival was conceived in 1998 at Stanford University by Jasmina Bojic, a film critic and educator.

UNAFF screens documentaries by international filmmakers dealing with topics such as human rights, environmental survival, women’s issues and universal education.

The festival’s selections will include feature-length and short films. Documentaries this year include the Oscar-nominated Salim Baba from India.

The festival will close Sunday with a new locally produced film about the global energy challenge, Houston We Have a Problem: Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Cheap Energy. The film, made by the president of New Angle Media, Nicole Torre, was filmed on location in Houston.

Torre’s film looks in-depth at America’s overreliance on oil and its increasing dependency on foreign sources.

Torre’s documentary examines the energy capital of the world, and it delves into the hard truth of the current state of America’s energy crisis through exclusive interviews with famous Texas oilmen John Hoffmeister, Bobby Parker, John Schiller and Greg David.

The film also deals with the need for alternative energy, and features interviews with Houston green advocates such as Mayor Bill White, Van Jones of Green for All and Carl Pope of the Sierra Club.

As part of an exclusive screening for oil executives and Houston media, a panel of experts will convene afterward to speak further about the themes explored in the documentary.

Middle East adviser Joanne King Herring will head the panel with other Houstonians. Herring was the basis for Julia Roberts’ role in the film Charlie Wilson’s War.

Tickets and passes for the festival can be bought through the organization’s Web site at www.unahouston.org.

The proceeds benefit UNA-Houston’s many educational and outreach programs.

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