Cinematters

The third annual Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival will take place virtually January 13-17, 2022.

The Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival presents impactful films that engage the community toward a more democratic, inclusive, and just society. The festival explores themes of inequality, injustice, and social responsibility. Through films, special events, and conversations, we aim to inspire participants to reflect and take action in order to create a community of civic-minded individuals eager to make a collective change. In the spirit of Dr. King's legacy, our goal is to promote social action that leads to positive change in our society and beyond.

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2022 Films

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Opening Night

Dir. Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler
US | 2021 | 118 min | Doc
Interweaving personal anecdotes, interviews, and shocking revelations, criminal defense and civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a postracial America.

Streaming virtually: Jan 12, 8:15 pm - Jan 13, 8:15 pm
Geo-restricted to the Tri-state area.
Live zoom Q+A: Thu, Jan 13, 7 pm
Special guests include: directors Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, Jeffery Robinson.

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks
Closing Night

Dir. John Maggio
US | 2021 | 89 min | Doc
Exploring the power of images in advancing racial, economic, and social equality as seen through the lens of Gordon Parks, one of America's most trailblazing artists, and the generation of young photographers, filmmakers, and activists he inspired.

Streaming virtually: Jan 13-17
Live zoom Q+A: Mon, Jan 17, 5 pm
Special guests include: director John Maggio, Jamel Shabazz. Moderated by Jo Livingstone.

Americanish
Spotlight Film

Dir. Iman Zawahry
US | 2021 | 90 min | Narrative
Welcome to America: Where dreams come true...ish. A twist on the traditional romantic comedy, Americanish highlights layers of womanhood as it intersects with cultural and societal expectations. In Jackson Heights, Queens, career-driven sisters Maryam and Sam and their newly-immigrated cousin Ameera must navigate the consistent and sometimes conflicting demands of romance, culture, work, and family. 

Streaming virtually: Jan 13-17
Live zoom Q+A: Sat, Jan 15, 6 pm
Special guests include: director Iman Zawahry, producer Roy Wol, Aizzah Fatima, Dalia Fahmy.

YOUTH v GOV
Dir. Christi Cooper
US | 2020 | 110 min | Doc
A story of global importance that has already inspired numerous legal actions around the world, YOUTH v GOV is the story of America’s youngest citizens taking on the world’s most powerful government. Twenty-one courageous youth lead a groundbreaking lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting it has willfully acted over six decades to create our climate crisis, thus endangering their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. If these young people are successful, they’ll not only make history, they’ll change the future.

Streaming virtually: Jan 13-17
Live zoom Q+A: Sun, Jan 16, 2 pm
Special guests include: director Christi Cooper, Vic Barrett. Moderated by Charlie Manzano.

Ricochet
Dir. Jeff Adachi and Chihiro Wimbush
US | 2021 | 76 min | Doc
When a young woman is shot by an undocumented immigrant, the incident ignites a political and media furor that culminates in Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States. In the eye of this storm, two public defenders fight to reveal the truth.

Streaming virtually: Jan 13-17
Live zoom Q+A: Sun, Jan 16, 4:30 pm
Special guests include: director Chihiro Wimbush, Matt Gonzalez, Francisco Ugarte.


SHORTS

All short films available as part of the festival’s Shorts Block.

Streaming virtually: January 13 - January 17
Live zoom Q+A: Mon, Jan 17, 2 pm
Special guests include: director Patrice D. Bowman, director Emily Harrold. Moderated by Jo Livingstone.

Under the Sun After the Wind
Dir: Patrice D. Bowman
US | 2021 | 5 min | Narrative
An isolated Black woman struggles with the violence she sees online. An experimental adaptation of the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Meltdown in Dixie
Dir. Emily Harrold
US | 2021 | 40 min | Doc
In the wake of the 2015 Charleston Massacre, a battle erupts in Orangeburg, South Carolina between the Sons of Confederate Veterans and an ice cream shop owner forced to fly the Confederate flag in his parking lot. The film explores the broader role of Confederate symbolism in the 21st century and the lingering racial oppression which symbols such as this help maintain.

Heal Thy Neighbor: Denver
Dir. Mark Decena
US | 2021 | 8 min | Doc
Low-income communities, communities of color and other historically oppressed communities have been excluded from decision-making on the policies and practices that impact them. The film shows how community-led strategies in Denver affect the place-based conditions and that the people most directly affected by systemic barriers and inequities are the best positioned to drive change in their communities. Therefore, now more than ever, building community power is critical to creating lasting change.

They Won’t Call It Murder
Dir. Melissa Gira Grant & Ingrid Raphaël
US | 2021 | 20 min | Doc
A group of women, bound by grief at losing their sons, brothers, and sisters, demand recognition for their losses at the hands of police in Columbus, Ohio. These women offer searing indictments of a criminal justice system that has failed them.

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2022 Special Programs

MLK WEEKEND OF SERVICE
Join Repair the World Harlem to package art supply kits to be donated to East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP), which aims to serve as an agent of change and thoughtfully contribute to the national fight for racial equity and education justice. Volunteers will also engage in service learning and reflection, exploring Jewish values and the words of Dr. King to honor MLK Weekend of Service.

Sun, Jan 16:
11:15 am - 12:45 pm (families, kids, adults - all are welcome!)
1:45 - 3:15 pm (adults only)
3:30 - 5 pm (families, kids, adults - all are welcome!)

Mon, Jan 17:
3:30 - 5 pm (families, kids, adults - all are welcome!)

For at-home packaging projects: click here.

ALLYSHIP WORKSHOP WITH AVODAH
There is a lot of talk about becoming an ally for racial justice work, but what does that look like in practice? In this session we’ll discuss some of the pain points associated with striving to be an ally, in addition to discussing the concept of saviorism and how to avoid its pitfalls. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of how to be a stronger racial justice ally.

Mon, Jan 17, 3:30 - 5 pm

YOUTH PROGRAM: HOW TO MAKE AN IMPACT WITH YOUR FILM
To kick off our youth fellowship program presented by Dolby, we learn how to create campaigns for your film that can help you change the world. Join us for a zoom discussion with Asif Khan, Director of Strategy & Impact at Picture Motion.
 
Sun, Jan 16, 12pm

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Virtual Festival FAQ

When can I watch the films and Q+As?
Films will be available for streaming online between Jan 13 at 10 am EST to Jan 17 at 11:45 pm EST through Eventive. The opening night film will only be available from Jan 12, 8:15 pm - Jan 13, 8:15 pm. Films will only be available in the US. 

Live zoom Q+As will take place for each film. Check each film page for individual Q+A times and links.

Please double check the streaming details for each film on its Eventive page.
There are a limited number of tickets available for each event.

How will I receive access to the film after purchasing a ticket?
Films will automatically become available on the Eventive platform on the date they are available (for most films this will be Jan 13, 10 am EST). You will receive an email reminder.

To start watching a film, go to that film page on Eventive and click the “Watch now” button. Once you begin watching a film, you will have a limited amount of hours to complete your viewing. This viewing window cannot be extended. Please check individual film pages and confirmation emails for exact viewing window restrictions.

You can see all of the films you have ordered in your content library here.

How can I watch a film on my TV?
Please check the Eventive FAQ for specific details.

If you have an Apple TV, Chromecast (3rd gen or later), or a smart TV enabled with AirPlay or Chromecast, set your computer, mobile device or browser to “AirPlay” or “cast” to the TV device. Unlock the program on Eventive Virtual, then set your player window to full-screen using the icon at the lower right.

Chromecast will work on select Android devices, see instructions above. Chromecast on iOS devices are not compatible with the Eventive platform.

Important note: Due to content protection restrictions, the Screen Mirroring feature on Smart TVs and other devices cannot be used. Many browsers built into Smart TVs and other devices will NOT allow protected content to play.

You can also directly connect a laptop or computer using an HDMI cable.

Will there be a Q+A with filmmakers?
Each film will have a live, moderated Q+A with the filmmakers on zoom. Zoom links are sent once the virtual ticket is purchased. Check each film page for individual Q+A times. A recording of the Q+A will be available on the Cinematters YouTube channel after the festival concludes.

Are the virtual screenings available to users located outside the US?
Unless otherwise stated, streamed films and conversations will only be accessible to people located within the US territories due to screening rights restrictions. Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America is only available in the Tri-state area.

I won’t be able to watch the film or join live Q+As during the festival dates. Is there a way for me to still watch the film?
No, the films will be available only Jan 13-17. Q+As, however, will be recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Can I share the screening link with others?
No. Links to films are only for the personal viewing of the individual who purchased a ticket. You may not forward or share the link with others.

Will tickets be available for purchase throughout the week of the festival?
Yes. For most events, tickets will be available between Jan 13-17. There are a limited number of tickets available for each event.

I ordered a virtual festival pass. Now what?
You can now order film/event tickets with your pass in our Virtual Cinema. You must register for each event individually. Tickets can sell out so please order tickets as soon as possible.

How to use a virtual festival pass:

After you have successfully ordered a virtual Full Festival Pass, you can now order film/event tickets with your pass in our Virtual Cinema. You must register for each film/event individually still. Your pass does not grant access to programs, you must use it to order individual tickets. Tickets can sell out so please order tickets as soon as possible.

After purchasing a pass, your pass will be connected to your Eventive account. You can now go to our virtual cinema and order films (be sure to be logged in to your Eventive account). To use your pass, select “Unlock film” and then choose your payment method. To use your pass, use the payment method “Pre-order with “PASS NAME” ($0)”.

Our box office team can also assist you, they can be reached at filmboxoffice@mmjccm.org.

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Tickets

The Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival will take place virtually Jan 13-17, 2022.

Click here to buy virtual tickets, and passes.

Use earlybird22 discount code for 10% off tickets until Jan 1.

Ticket prices are as follows:

General Admission prices
Single Film Ticket - $15
Shorts Block - $5
Full Virtual Festival Pass (good for all programs) - $40

Ticket prices above do not include processing fees.

Films will be available for streaming Jan 13-17. Please double check individual film availability on each film’s page or your confirmation email from Eventive. For more information, check our Virtual Festival FAQ.

How to use a festival pass:
After purchasing a pass, your pass will be connected to your Eventive account.
You can now go to our virtual cinema here and order films (be sure to be logged in to your Eventive account).
To use your pass, select "Pre-order now" and then choose your payment method.
To use your pass, use the payment method "Pre-order with "PASS NAME" ($0)".

Our box office team can also assist you, they can be reached at filmboxoffice@mmjccm.org.

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2022 Guests
Alhassen

Maytha Alhassen
Moderator, Americanish
Dr. Maytha Alhassen primarily sees her labor as that of a freedom doula and an engaged wit/h/ness reviving the traditions of the feral femme. In 2017 she received her Ph.D. in American studies and Ethnicity from USC. Alhassen has co-founded multiple social justice organizations including Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, the Social Justice Institute at Occidental College, Believers Bail Out (a Muslim abolition group), and in the wake of George Floyd's brutal murder, the Arabs for Black Lives collective. Currently, Alhassen writes for Hulu series Ramy, is an Associate Professor in Social Justice and Community Organizing at Prescott college, advises on social impact campaigns and does educational consulting.
 

Barrett

Vic Barrett
Subject, YOUTH v GOV
Vic Barrett is fighting hard for a future for all of us. Barrett witnessed the reality of climate change firsthand, as he was among the many impacted by the climate change fueled superstorm Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which left his family and school without power. Barrett became a Fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education and spoke at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris in 2015, at the age of 15. Barrett was among 400,000 participants in the People’s Climate March in NYC and delivered a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in support of sustainable development goals. Most recently Vic spoke at the NYC Climate Strike and told a crowd of at least 100,000 why climate justice needs to be highlighted, centering black, brown, and indigenous voices. 
 

Bowman

Patrice D. Bowman
Director, Under the Sun After the Wind
Patrice D. Bowman is an award-winning filmmaker, editor, and colorist with over six years of experience. She is the owner of the production and post-production company Bowman Pictures. 
 

Cooper

Christi Cooper
Director/Producer, YOUTH v GOV
Christi Cooper is a PhD scientist, documentary filmmaker, and Emmy award-winning cinematographer. Christi focuses her storytelling and visual narratives on issues of justice and impact by creating human connections to the most pressing issues of our time. In 2011, Christi co-created Stories of TRUST: Calling for Climate Recovery, a 10-part documentary series featuring youth plaintiffs suing their state governments over climate change, with WITNESS, a social justice/human rights organization focused on using film for social change. 
 

Decena

Mark Decena 
Director, Heal Thy Neighbor: Denver
Mark Decena is a writer, director and producer of award-winning feature films, television programming, web films, and commercials. A three time Sundance alumni, Mark's first feature, Dopamine, won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize. Decena’s work criss-crosses various themes from the nature of love to sustainable design, environmental justice to professional stare down.
 

Del Castillo

Commissioner Anne Del Castillo
Guest Speaker, Opening Night
Anne del Castillo is the commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). She joined the agency in 2014 as director of legal affairs and was appointed to chief operating officer and general counsel in 2015. A series of workforce initiatives provides New York City residents with free mentorship and training opportunities in order to increase diverse representation in writers' rooms, post production, and stagecraft. Anne has over 25 years of experience in film production, public media, and arts and nonprofit administration. 
 

Fahmy

Dalia Fahmy
Guest Speaker, Americanish
Dr. Dalia Fahmy is from the Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF), a non profit organization that's mission is to amplify the voice of American Muslim to inform public policy and public opinion. She is also a founder of the first American Muslim Film Grant. Dr. Fahmy is a professor at Long Island University, where she teaches courses on US Foreign Policy, World Politics, International Relations, Military and Defense Policy, Causes of War, and Politics of the Middle East. 
 

Fatima

Aizzah Fatima
Writer, Actor, Americanish
Aizzah is an actress and writer from New York City by way of Mississippi. Aizzah is a graduate of the conservatory at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and studied acting with the acclaimed Wynn Handman. Aizzah has appeared on High Maintenance (HBO), The Good Wife (CBS), Patrice O’Neal’s Guide to White People (Comedy Central), opposite Annette O’Toole in the short film Stuff, and is currently filming the lead role in the feature film My Cousin Sister's Wedding for which she wrote the screenplay with Emmy award winning director Iman Zawahry.
 

George

Nelson George
Subject, A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks
Nelson George is an established author and filmmaker with a passion for telling stories of the black experience in America. George is the author of several ground breaking histories of African American music, including Where Did Our Love Go: the Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound, The Death of Rhythm & Blues and Hip Hop America. He has directed a number of documentaries including Finding the Funk, The Announcement (ESPN), and Brooklyn Boheme (Showtime). 
 

Gira

Melissa Gira Grant
Co-Director, They Won’t Call It Murder
Melissa Gira Grant is is a staff writer at The New Republic; the author of Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work; and the co-director of They Won't Call It Murder. She has reported on violence against massage workers in Flushing; attacks on trans rights across Texas; resistance to police killings in Columbus, and the global movement for sex workers' rights. Her forthcoming book, A Woman Is Against the Law: Sex, Race, and the Limits of Justice of America, uses narrative journalism and original archival research to offer a feminist indictment of the criminal legal system, drawing on 150 years of women’s attempts to appeal to the law in search of safety, accountability, power, and freedom.
 

Godfrey

Godfrey
Actor, Americanish
Godfrey is an American comedian and actor who has appeared on BET, VH1, Comedy Central, and feature films, such as Soul Plane, Original Gangstas, Zoolander, and Johnson Family Vacation. Currently, he is a regular performer at the comedy club Comedy Cellar in New York City. He is also known for doing the voices of Mr. Stubborn and Mr. Tall (Season 2) in The Mr. Men Show and hosting the FOX game show Bullseye. He now owns and hosts a podcast called ‘In Godfrey We Trust’ on the Gas Digital Network. 
 

Gonzalez

Matt Gonzalez
Subject, Ricochet
Matt Gonzalez is Chief Attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, a position he has held for more than a decade. He represented José Ines Garcia Zaraté as co-counsel in state court.

Gurule

Sophia Gurulé
Guest Speaker, Ricochet
Sophia Elena Gurulé (she/her) is a public defense attorney representing incarcerated immigrants facing deportation at The Bronx Defenders in the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project. She is also immigration policy counsel at The Bronx Defenders and focuses on ending ICE detention, ICE's collaboration with local law enforcement, and the exclusion of people with criminal arrest histories from legislative efforts to broaden pathways to U.S. citizenship. She is a graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Telford Taylor Award for outstanding achievement in the fields of Constitutional Law and Human Rights, and graduated cum laude from Fordham University with a B.A. in Latin American Studies/Latino Studies as well as International Studies. Sophia is an abolitionist, feminist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and proud union member of ALAA UAW Local 2325.
 

Harrold

Emily Harrold
Director, Meltdown in Dixie
Emily Harrold is a documentary filmmaker from Orangeburg, South Carolina. Her films have screened at festivals including the Tribeca Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, DOC NYC and the Telluride Film Festival. She is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Khan

Asif Khan
Youth Program: How to Make an Impact with Your Film
Asif is the Director of Strategy & Impact at PicMo. He has spent his career focused on the intersection of media, technology, and social impact, with a special focus on education, LGBTQ+ rights, & gender equality. He has worked for several top nonprofits and tech-focused organizations and also served as an adjunct professor at the St. Johns University Graduate School of Communication. Asif started his career in social impact at the United Nations Foundation managing global programs and creating long-term partnerships. In addition, he has held high-level positions managing programs and guiding strategy at DoSomething.org, Games for Change, Room to Read, & Action Against Hunger. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Asif worked in corporate finance and investment management at The Jordan Company and AllianceBernstein in New York. 

Kiser

Glenn Kiser
Guest Speaker, Opening Night
Glenn Kiser is the Director of the Dolby Institute, Dolby’s initiative to bring education and inspiration to filmmakers and content creators about the creative use of sound and picture in storytelling. Previously, Kiser was the VP & General Manager of Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound, where he oversaw sound work on film projects such as Avatar, The Incredibles, the Star Wars prequels, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter films. 
 

Kunstler_E
Kunstler_S

Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler
Co-Directors, Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler are the founders of Off Center Media, a documentary production company dedicated to racial justice and social change. Their film, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (Sundance '09, POV/PBS), was shortlisted for the Best Documentary Academy Award. Other Off Center Media films have contributed to campaigns to stay executions, convince decisionmakers to reopen cases, and exonerate the wrongfully convicted.
 

Livingstone

Jo Livingstone
Moderator, Shorts Block
Jo Livingstone is the culture staff writer for the New Republic and the most recent recipient of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics’ Circle. They have written for the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, and other publications. They have a PhD in medieval literature from NYU.
 

Luse

Brittany Luse
Moderator, A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks
Brittany Luse is an award-winning journalist, on-air host, writer, and producer. She currently co-hosts For Colored Nerds, a weekly Black culture podcast founded in 2014. Previously Brittany co-hosted and executive produced The Nod with Brittany and Eric, a daily streaming show. Her culture writing has appeared at Vulture, Refinery29, and Harper's Bazaar. Brittany and her work have been profiled by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vulture, The Guardian, NPR, Essence Magazine, and Teen Vogue, among others.
 

Maggio

John Maggio
Director, A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks
John Maggio is a principal producer, director and writer with Ark Media. His most recent film, "Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis" - co-produced by Ark Media and Vice for HBO - won a 2019 Emmy for "Outstanding Business & Economic Documentary." Maggio’s films have been honored with the National Emmy Award and Writers Guild Award, multiple nominations for News and Documentary Emmy Awards, and have premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
 

Mazano

Charlie Manzano
Moderator, YOUTH v GOV
Charlie Manzano is a junior at The Masters School. He is passionate about both social justice and science. He also loves to act. Charlie participated in the Vision 2020 program, a civic education and engagement program for high school students. He has done volunteer work for the Reelabilities, Cinematters, and Other Israel Film festivals.
 

Matheson

Kelly Matheson
Guest Speaker, YOUTH v GOV
Kelly Matheson is a human rights attorney and award-winning filmmaker who leads WITNESS’ Video as Evidence program. She has worked with grassroots organizations around the world on a myriad of human rights issues ranging from Ebola prevention to climate change to the trafficking of children and war crimes. Currently, she supports lawyers and human rights activists to ensure the video that activists risk their personal safety to collect can be used to secure justice. She received her JD for the University of Oregon School of Law and her MFA in Filmmaking from Montana State University.
 

Raphael

Ingrid Raphaël
Co-Director, They Won’t Call It Murder
Ingrid Raphaël (they/she) is a filmmaker, educator, and multi-disciplinary artist. Born from Cameroonian, Togolese-German and Morrocan-French parents, their understanding of art-making is heavily influenced by the ways they relate to migration and colonialism. She co-created NO EVIL EYE, a nomadic radical microcinema that curates an eclectic mix of films and programs political workshops around cinema. Through a non-hierarchical framework, Ingrid has (co)taught youth & adult art programs at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Black Quantum Futurism’s Black Women Time Camp, Powrplnt, Eyebeam’s Digital Day Camp, Mono No Aware, Education Video Center, Harlem School of the Arts, and more. They currently co-teach at The Young Artist Program in Philadelphia, PA and virtually co-facilitate the Teen Council cohort at Bronx Museum of the Arts. 
 

Robinson

Jeffery Robinson
Producer/Writer, Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Jeffery Robinson is a deputy legal director and the director of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality, which houses the ACLU's work on criminal justice, racial justice, and reform issues. Since graduating from Harvard Law School in 1981, Jeff has four decades of experience working on these issues and has tried over 200 criminal cases to verdict. As a public defender in Seattle, he represented indigent clients in state and federal court and has represented a broad range of clients in private practice. In recent years, he has traveled the country speaking hard truths in a groundbreaking talk on racism in America. 
 

Seetachitt

Paul Seetachitt
Producer, Americanish
Paul V. Seetachitt is a director and writer, known for Americanish (2021), Rock Jocks (2012) and Precious Cargo (2016).
 

Shabazz

Jamel Shabazz
Subject, A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks
Jamel Shabazz is best known for his iconic photographs of New York City during the 1980’s. His photographs have been exhibited worldwide and his work is housed within the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Fashion Institute of Technology, The Gordon Parks Foundation and the Getty Museum. 
 

Solis

Harold Solis
Moderator, Ricochet
Harold A. Solis is a Deputy Legal Director at Make the Road New York and helps lead its legal department. He works closely with MRNY’s organizers and legal staff to develop policies that center the organization’s members and are responsive to the needs of the broader immigrant community. Prior to joining MRNY, he was a Supervising Attorney at Immigrant Justice Corps, where he led its in-house removal defense practice and created IJC’s Long Island Project, a joint initiative between IJC and CARECEN to increase access to representation for Long Island families in removal proceedings. 

Ugarte

Francisco Ugarte
Subject, Ricochet
Francisco Ugarte manages the Immigration Defense Unit at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, which formed in 2017 and is now California’s largest detained deportation defense provider. He represented José Ines Garcia Zaraté in state court as co-counsel.
 

Wimbush

Chihiro Wimbush
Director, Ricochet
Chihiro Wimbush is an Emmy-nominated, documentary filmmaker. Wimbush was co-director and cinematographer on the documentary feature, Dogtown Redemption, about homeless shopping cart recyclers in West Oakland, California.
 

Wol

Roy Wol
Producer, Americanish
Roy Wol was born in Israel. Raised in Turkey and Canada, Wol is the son of an Argentine mother and a Turkish father. He moved to the US in 2009 and has been working on film since then. Roy is the founder of Studio Autonomous, and has produced several films including Art Machine, Tom in America and Bikini Moon directed by Academy Award nominee Milcho Manchevski.
 

Zawahry

Iman Zawahry
Director, Americanish
Iman Zawahry is one of the first hijabi American-Muslim filmmakers in the nation. She is the recipient of the coveted Princess Grace Award and Lincoln Center New York Film Festival Artist Academy Fellow. Iman also collaborated with the non-profit Islamic Scholarship Fund to create the first ever American Muslim film grant where she currently serves as director. She wrote and directed her debut feature film Americanish with a majority female crew which has won 12 awards including best film and best director. She currently is a professor of film production at the University of Florida.

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About Us

Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival presents impactful films to engage the community toward a more democratic, inclusive, and just society. The festival explores various themes of social inequality, injustice, and responsibility. Through films, special events, and conversations, we aim to inspire participants to reflect and take action and to create a community of civic-minded individuals eager to make a collective change. In the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy, our ultimate goal is to promote social action that leads to positive change in our society and beyond.

Want to volunteer? Email cinematters@mmjcm.org

2022 Advisory Committee

Vicki Abrams
Jeff Bauml
Marjory Bauml
Kym Blanchard
Siobhan Cavanagh
Wendy Cohen
Barbara Dobkin
Kenneth Ebie
Mary Emmerich
Tamara Fish
Michael "Hoagy" Hoagland
Carol Joseph
Jo Livingstone
Tiana Koppel
Alexis Offen
Heidi Rieger
Richard Rieger
Sharon Weinberg

 

2022 Youth Advisory Committee

Joselly Juarez Subasic (Film Department Intern)
Jhanaya Belle
Charlie Manzano
Elijah Minter

Festival staff

Isaac Zablocki, Senior Director, Film Programs
Sheryl Parker, Director, The Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility
Kareema B. Partin, Associate Director, Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival
Bari Lovi, Development Officer, Leadership Giving
Juliette Klitz, Program Manager, Film Programs
Austin Rieders, Program Manager, The Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility & Director, Out at the J
Jessica Epstein, Director of Marketing Operations

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Past Festivals

2021 FILMS


MLK/FBI
Opening Night

Dir. Sam Pollard
US | 2020 | 104 min | Doc
This rich archival tapestry follows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he is investigated and harassed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. MLK/FBI performs the vital task of examining J. Edgar Hoover’s relentless campaign of surveillance and harassment against Dr. King. Today, when Dr. King is celebrated across political spectrums as a moral hero, it’s jolting to confront the years when US agents targeted him as a villain. Inspired by the work of historian David Garrow, the film uses recently declassified files to study the FBI’s motives and methods.


John Lewis: Good Trouble
Closing Night + MLK Day Event

Dir. Dawn Porter
US | 2020 | 96 min | Doc
John Lewis: Good Trouble chronicles the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Representative from Georgia. The film explores Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration.


One Night in Miami
Dir. Regina King
US | 2020 | 110 min | Narrative
A fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered to discuss their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the '60s.

Film available on Amazon Prime Video starting Jan 15 here.


Breaking Fast
Dir. Mike Mosallam
US | 2020 | 92 min | Narrative
Set against the twinkling lights of West Hollywood, Breaking Fast is a romantic comedy that follows Mo, a practicing Muslim still reeling from heartbreak. When the all-American Kal offers to join Mo in his nightly Iftars (the traditional meal eaten by Muslims during Ramadan), the two start to discover that they have more in common than meets the eye.


The Condor & the Eagle
Dir Sophie Guerra + Clément Guerra
US | 2019 | 82 min | Doc
An epic journey for climate justice from the Canadian Boreal forest to the Amazon Rainforest. Never-before-seen images expose the global rise of land and water protectors and document the ongoing collective climate awakening and the imperative of urgent change. This film features Indigenous leaders deploying unparalleled global response and takes us on an adventure to unite the peoples of the Americas and deepen the meaning of “justice” while learning from each other’s long legacy of resistance to colonialism and its extractive economy.


Missing in Brooks County
Dir. Lisa Molomot + Jeff Berniss
US | 2020 | 80 min | Doc
The epicenter for migrant deaths in the United States isn't on the border—it’s in Brooks County, Texas, 70 miles north of the Rio Grande. Two families arrive here to search for their missing loved ones and find a haunted land and very few answers.


Nevertheless
Dir Sarah Moshman
US | 2020 | 80 min | Doc
Taking a look behind the headlines of #MeToo and Time's Up, Nevertheless follows the intimate stories of seven individuals who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or in a school context. Co-presented by Film Fatales.


Los Hermanos/The Brothers
Dir. Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider
US | 2020 | 84 min | Doc
Virtuoso Afro-Cuban-born brothers—violinist Ilmar and pianist Aldo—live on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm a half-century wide. A thaw in the US-Cuba relations offers the first opportunity for the brothers to tour the US together. But at the tour’s end, politics shift again, threatening the brothers’ dreams. Tracking their parallel lives in New York and Havana, their poignant reunion, and their momentous first performances together, Los Hermanos (The Brothers) offers a nuanced, often startling view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family.


Hungry to Learn
Dir. Greta Gandhir
US | 2020 | 84 min | Doc
The story of three American college students and a professor facing up to the painful reality that college tuition has gotten so high that some students can’t afford to pay it and also eat. This film explains how we got here and the high price paid on campuses around the country.


Shared Legacies
MLK Day Event
Dir. Shari Rogers
US | 2020 | 95 min | Doc
The crucial historical lessons of Black-Jewish cooperation are revisited and revived in this utterly fascinating and urgent call to action. Common cause was found in the turbulent ‘60s Civil Rights era, as Jewish leaders backed Dr. King’s efforts at racial equality and harmony. Yet, the relationship has frayed in recent years, as a once mighty bond of support and respect has seemingly faded, been forgotten or ignored.

Shared Legacies is presented collaboratively by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, the Jewish Museum, and Film at Lincoln Center. The JCC's Cinematters: NY Social Justice FIlm Festival takes place January 14–18, 2021. The Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center's annual New York Jewish Film Festival takes place January 13–26, 2021.


Black Boys
MLK Day Screening
Dir. Sonia Lowman
US | 2020 | 90 min | Doc
A film for this historic moment, Black Boys exposes the dehumanization of Black males in America at the intersection of sports, education, and criminal justice in a nation still struggling to rectify its past.


SHORTS

All short films available as part of the festival’s Shorts Program.
Tickets available here.

High Score
Dir. Serena Ryen + Ethan Itzkow
US | 2020 | 16 min | Narrative
After a young man is fired from his job as a result of his casually offensive behavior, he finds the perfect people to blame: minorities. Newly inspired by the white supremacist ideology of the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, we watch as he sinks into the darkest pits of the internet and takes the ideas he finds there as his own.


The Sacrifice Zone
Dir Julie Winokur
US | 2020 | 32 min | Doc
The Ironbound district of Newark, New Jersey, is one of the most toxic neighborhoods in the country. Maria Lopez-Nuñez, a Honduran-American resident there, is waging a war for environmental justice. She is part of the Ironbound Community Corporation, one of the most effective environmental justice organizations in the country. The Sacrifice Zone follows Maria as she leads a group of environmental justice fighters determined to break the cycle of poor communities of color serving as dumping grounds for our consumer society.


Imagining the Indian
Dir. Aviva Kempner + Ben West
US | 2020 | 22 min | Doc
A comprehensive examination of the movement to eliminate the words, images, and gestures that many Native Americans and their allies find demeaning and offensive, giving voice to both supporters and detractors of the cause. The film takes a deep dive into the issues through archival footage and interviews with those involved in the fight.


SPECIAL PROGRAMS

Opening Night Remarks + MLK/FBI Q+A
Opening Night remarks from actress and ambassador for Cinematters, Mayim Bialik and more. Film Q+A with director Sam Pollard (Eyes on the Prize, Slavery by Another Name, Two Trains Runnin’, Mr. Soul! and Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me).
Moderated by Kyle Bowser, Senior Vice President of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau.


Missing in Brooks County Q+A
Q+A featuring director/producer Lisa Molomot, Eduardo Canales, Executive Director, South Texas Human Rights Center, and Dr. Kate Spradley, Biological Anthropologist at Texas State University. Moderated by Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, Parks Borough Commissioner, NYC Parks


Virtual Networking for Filmmakers, co-hosted by The Gotham (previously IFP)
Part of Cinematters After Dark
Join Cinematters and The Gotham (previously IFP) for an evening of virtual networking. During this networking session, attendees will be expected to discuss their experience and/or interest in capturing social justice issues on screen. Filmmakers and industry professionals only. The Gotham supports independent creators from around the world, develops new projects, connects within the industry and champions collaborative and impactful storytelling at all stages. The Gotham also provides various levels of membership to creators in the film and media industry (filmmakers, screenwriters, podcasters, etc) with the goal of providing tangible connections, learnings, and skills to apply to their projects and careers. Some of the membership programming The Gotham offers include monthly screenings/Q&As, panels, mentorship, classes, and networking events.


Short Films Q+A
High Score Q+A with directors Serena Ryen and Ethan Itzkow and Marilyn Mayo, Senior Research Fellow at the ADL's Center on Extremism. Moderated by Alex Shephard (The New Republic).

Sat, Jan. 16, 2 pm

Imagining the Indian
Q+A with directors Aviva Kempner, Ben West, and producer/sports journalist Kevin Blackistone. Moderated by Crystal Echo Hawk, Founder and Executive Director of IllumiNative.

Sat, Jan. 16, 2:30 pm

The Sacrifice Zone
The Sacrifice Zone Q+A with director Julie Winokur and Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy, Ironbound Community Corporation. Moderated by Xaver Kandler, Lead Coalition Organizer at NY Renews

Sat, Jan. 16, 3:15 pm


Nevertheless Q+A
This conversation will explore intersectionality in the women's movement and issues affecting women in the workplace with director Sarah Moshman, April Reign, creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, Melissa Goodman, Director of Advocacy/legal Director at the ACLU of Southern California, and Paola Mendoza, Filmmaker and co-founder of the Women's March. Moderated by Melissa Gira Grant, Staff Writer at The New Republic. Co-presented by Film Fatales.


Breaking Fast Q+A
Join director/writer Mike Mosallam, producer Seth Hauer, and Sue Obeidi (Muslim Public Affairs Council, Director of the Hollywood Bureau) in a conversation discussing themes and topics presented in the film. Moderated by Jo Livingstone, writer for The New Republic.


Cocktails with Spice+Spirit
Come join Spice + Spirit for an interactive discussion on identity and self care as they demonstrate how to make your own speciality cocktails!


The Condor & The Eagle Q+A
Join director Clement Guerra, Bill McKibben, Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, 350.org, Casey Camp Horinek, Councilwoman, and Hereditary Drumkeeper of the Womens' Scalp Dance Society of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma, and Yudith Nieto, Queer Mexican-American artist, interpreter, and organizer from the community of Manchester, East-Houston. Moderated by Nick Martin, Staff Writer, The New Republic.


Los Hermanos/The Brothers Q+A
A conversation exploring themes presented in the film with producers/directors Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, and subjects Ilmar Gavilan and Aldo Lopez-Gavilan. Moderated by Lauren McNeary, The Sphinx Organization.


Hungry to Learn Q+A
Join director Geeta Gandbhir, Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (Professor of Sociology & Medicine, Temple University) and Rachel Sumekh (Founder, Swipes for Hunger) in conversation to address themes and topics addressed in this film. This will be moderated by Treasure Brooks, The Meteor.


Pursuing Justice: Strategies for Families Committed to Racial Justice
In this interactive workshop, we will support and empower families to engage young people in meaningful anti-racist conversations (and action!) that is grounded both in universal values and Jewish traditions. Together, we will enhance our parenting for racial justice "toolkit" through reflection, relationship-building and practice.
Co-presented by the Bert and Sandra Wasserman Center for Family Life and Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School


Shared Legacies Q+A
Join director Shari Rogers and Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College in conversation to discuss themes and topics presented in this film. Moderated by Yolanda Savage-Narva, Director, Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Union for Reform Judaism.
Introduction by Michael S. Miller, Executive Vice President & CEO JCRC

Mon, Jan 18, 2 pm
Tickets for film + Q+A


Black Boys Q+A
Join director Sonia Lowman, producer Jon-Thomas Royston, and motivational speaker and member of the Exonerated 5, Dr. Yusef Salaam in conversation to discuss themes and topics addressed in this filln. Moderated by Michelle Miller, co-host of CBS This Morning: Saturday.


Closing Night: John Lewis: Good Trouble Q+A
Join Wanda Mosley, Senior State Coordinator, Black Voters Matter and Myrna Perez, Director Voting Rights and Elections, the Brennan Center for Justice for a conversation about the film. The conversation will be moderated by Brittany Luse, co-host of The Nod podcast.


MLK Day Open Mic, co-hosted by Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Part of Cinematters After Dark
Join Nuyorican Poets Cafe for a poetry-specific open mic hosted by Advocate of Wordz.


2021 LIVE EVENTS

To buy tickets for films and Q+As, click here. Tickets will grant access to both film and live Q+A.

To register only for the live Zoom events, click a film title below.
Zoom-only registration does not include the ability to watch a film. If an event has already passed, the link below will switch to a recording on YouTube.


Thu, Jan, 14
7:30 pm - MLK/FBI Q+A + Opening Night Remarks
Film tickets


Fri, Jan 15
2 pm - Missing in Brooks County Q+A
Film tickets

5 pm - Virtual Networking for Filmmakers, co-hosted by The Gotham (previously IFP)
Tickets


Sat, Jan 16
2 pm- High Score Q+A
Film tickets

2:30 pm - Imagining the Indian Q+A
Film tickets

3:15 pm - The Sacrifice Zone Q+A
Film tickets

6 pm - Nevertheless Q+A
Film tickets

8 pm - Breaking Fast Q+A
Film tickets

9 pm - Cocktails with Spice+Spirit

Tickets
 


Sun, Jan 17
2 pm - The Condor & the Eagle Q+A
Film tickets

4 pm - Los Hermanos/The Brothers Q+A
Film tickets

6 pm - Hungry to Learn Q+A
Film tickets


Mon, Jan 18
11 am - Pursuing Justice: Strategies for Families Committed to Racial Justice
Registration

2 pm- Shared Legacies Q+A
Film tickets

4 pm - Black Boys Q+A
Film tickets

6 pm - John Lewis: Good Trouble Q+A + Closing Night Remarks
Film tickets

MLK Day Open Mic, co-hosted by Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Mon, Jan 18, 8 pm
Tickets

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