Since the American Revolution, American Indians have served in the United States military at a greater proportion than any other ethnic population. The Navajo Hopi Honor Riders are an organization dedicated to honoring the sacrifice, supporting the legacy, and serving the needs of those military families who have served the United States.
In 2018, the Social Justice Film Institute completed a new cut of Ralphina Sorrel’s prize-winning documentary Honor Riders, its first Incubator project.
Today, we are proud to share the completed film in honor of Memorial Day, and to show our gratitude to veterans everywhere who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Now through Wednesday, May 27th, visit our Vimeo page and use the password “memorialday” to watch ‘Honor Riders’ and an accompanying interview with documentarian Ralphina Sorrel on what motivated her to make this compelling film.
We are excited to announce our newest project, the Justice in Motion Podcast!
Click PLAY below to listen to our trailer episode, hosted by Daniel Swan.
In this episode: what you can expect from our podcast, a primer on social justice film, and a teaser of what’s to come in our first episode on Tuesday, May 5th. (Hint: this trailer is being released on National Superhero Day 2020…)
The inspiring story of how a major energy utility in Washington State worked at a grassroots level with a small, economically distressed county to create one of the largest wind producing facilities in the west.
Inspired by Incident at Restigouche (Alanis Obomsawin, 1984), Mi’gwidelmag Gnitjgamitj is a short essay film that captures the beautiful landscapes of Listuguj, but also a dark side of Canada. The film focuses on the experiences of director Nation Isaac’s grandfather in the 1981 Quebec Provincial Police raid of Listuguj, and on Isaac’s own relationship to her grandfather’s life and legacy.
Shadow Life: Shining Through Colorism and Depression
(Miranda Kahn, 6 min, USA)
Shadow Life: Shining Through Colorism and Depression is a short documentary that cuts between interview footage of Shaina Simmons, a young woman who has struggled with mental illness, and stop motion animated shadow puppets which tell her story. Shaina is a young performing artist who grew up in New Orleans and suffered from colorism and racism which led to anxiety and depression. With extraordinary strength and clarity, Shaina explains her degrading youthful experiences and through Miranda Kahn’s lyrical puppetry, we come to understand how deeply our perceptions of someone can change how they perceive themselves.
(Hannah Dweck, Yael Luttwak, 75 min, USA)
Guest House is a documentary feature that captures a six-month period of life of three women previously incarcerated for non-violent crimes and now living together, taking the viewer through the realities of reintegration from the prison system and dissolving some of the ’otherness‘ that makes us feel more comfortable with our system of justice.
Patrinell: The Total Experience
(Tia Young, Andrew Elizaga, 94 min, USA)
Seattle was a rude awakening for singer Patrinell Wright when she moved here from East Texas in 1964 ‐ far from the bastion of racial tolerance she’d expected. But she did have musical talent, deep faith, and unstoppable drive, which she channeled into founding the Total Experience Gospel Choir, building it into an internationally recognized pillar of Seattle’s black community.
She was not without opposition. Church leaders gave her flak for singing in nightclubs, and then years later for her ordination.
By 1977, the Choir was touring the country and ‐ eventually ‐ the globe. Generous home-movie footage shows the choir’s shrinking, aging, and whitening over its 45 years, a transformation that played out against the Central District’s similar gentrification. Although Wright finally retired the choir in 2018, Patrinell remains as a loving testament to her extraordinary career and the joy and spiritual solace her music brought to thousands.
Harvesting the Wind
(Ann Hedreen, Rustin Thompson, 27 min, USA)
Harvesting the Wind is the inspiring story of how a major energy utility in Washington State worked at a grassroots level with a small, economically distressed county to create one of the largest wind producing facilities in the west.
(Sally Fenaux Barleycorn, 6 min, Spain)
The Central Mediterranean is considered to be the deadliest migration route in the world; since 2014 more than 14,500 people have died trying to reach a safe port. Hundreds continue to die monthly. Spanish and Italian governments have started prosecuting and forbidding navigation to any organizations that try to save lives. Our brothers and sisters keep dying. The seas of the world are filled with black bodies.
Festival Panel — April 22
On Tuesday, April 22nd, you can join us on Facebook for a live-streamed panel and interactive Q&A with some of our featured filmmakers, hosted by the Social Justice Film Festival and Institute, directed by Jody Cole, and moderated by Aurora Martin
Wherever you are on Earth, come celebrate with us.
Mark your calendar for a virtual, ready-when-you-are mini festival featuring some of our favorite films from 2019, and some of the best environmental justice films we have ever screened.
Beginning on Tuesday, April 21st, we will host a selection of films to watch for free online through Thursday, April 23rd, as well as an online panel with some of our featured filmmakers on Wednesday, April 22nd.
We hope that, wherever you are on Earth… Day, you’ll be able to join us online to celebrate the goal of environmental justice and equity around the world!
Information about how to access our Mini Festival remotely will be updated regularly on our website and Facebook page.
In light of the pandemic, we are extending our earlybird entry fee pricing through the regular deadline, April 30. We are already in the midst of viewing this year’s earlybird entries and we are so grateful to everyone who sent us their film in this time of increased uncertainty.
We hope you and yours stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you in the fall.
April 30, 2020: Regular Deadline May 31, 2020: Late Deadline September 1, 2020: Notification Date October 1 – 10, 2020: The Social Justice Film Festival
We may be social distancing, but we are still hard at work.
We have an exciting new project that we cannot wait to share with you.
COVID-19 magnifies the injustices and inequities of our age, and we are committed to standing by the social justice film makers who challenge these systems.
We currently plan to move forward with the Social Justice Film Festival in Seattle, Washington, from October 1-10, 2020, in the hope that gatherings will be safe by then. We are tracking developments, have back-up plans, and will adjust as the situation continues to unfold.
If you are a filmmaker in the United States whose livelihood has been impacted by the pandemic, there is assistance and relief available from the US Government. Please visit the Filmmakers Guide to Applying for US Coronavirus Federal Relief, released by the International Documentary Association, for more information.
Thank you to everyone who is working to protect health, rights, and justice around the world, now and always.
Congratulations to our award winning films for 2019.
This year brought us an abundance of captivating films that pushed the boundaries of creative filmmaking and shone an important light on the issues, struggles, and lives that exemplify this year’s theme, #StoriesOfCourage. Some straddled the boundaries of narrative and documentary, entering the realm of lyrical poetry. We even were honored to host a 3D virtual reality experience through #oculusvrforgood.
We are incredibly proud of all the films we shared with audiences this year, and the talented filmmakers behind each of them. It was difficult to make a choice among them, but here are our jury prizes for #sjff2019.
Gold Jury Prize – Feature Hurdle
Silver Jury Prize – Feature Condor and the Eagle
Bronze Jury Prize – Feature Primas
Directors’ Choice Patrinell: The Total Experience
Gold Jury Prize – Documentary Short Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Mark your calendars and join us for films, food, and conversation at COURAGE: the 8th Social Justice Film Festival, screening at venues around Seattle this October 3-12. This year’s films will showcase fresh voices and brave storytelling that demonstrate courage in action.
Screenings will take place at the Duwamish Longhouse and the Northwest African American Museum, as well as several (possibly new!) locations in the University District and Capitol Hill.
Stay tuned for more details and the full program, coming this summer!