The 4th Friday of each month at 7pm, the community is invited to view and discuss documentaries examining timely issues important to social justice. No admission is charged. Refreshments are served.
This month’s Friday Flicks Presentation
Friday, October 25, 2019 at 7:00PM
UUSG Common Room
Knock Down the House
Follow their paths as four women mount grassroots campaigns against powerful incumbents in Knock Down the House. The movie traces the experiences of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin. Each was motivated to run by profound personal experiences. Winner of the Festival Favorite Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Knock Down the House joins these women on the campaign trail as they mobilize their bases, engage voters, and build a movement during a time of historic volatility in American politics. Only one of the four – AOC – was successful. We will examine their stories to look for messages about how to run a winning campaign. Please join us at 7 pm Friday, October 25, at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, 110 S. Second Street, Geneva.
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Past Friday Flicks
September 2019: The Superfood Chain
Every year, the western world is introduced to a new “superfood” that boasts extraordinary nutritional features, and year after year we buy them. “The Superfood Chain” explores the facts and myths behind superfoods, and reveals the ripple effect of the superfood industry on farming and fishing families in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Philippines, and Haida Gwaii.
August 2019: Dark Money
DARK MONEY, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana—a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide—to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Through this gripping story, DARK MONEY uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold.
July 2019: Paris to Pittsburgh
From coastal cities to America’s heartland, Americans are demanding and developing real solutions in the face of climate change. And as the weather grows more deadly and destructive, they aren’t waiting on Washington to act. Learn about their incredible stories in Paris to Pittsburgh, and be inspired to create change in your own community! Watch the Trailer Here.
May 2019: Separated - Children at the Border
What’s happened to the more than 2,000 families who were separated after crossing the U.S. border unlawfully in 2018? And how did immigration policy in America reach this point? Separated examines immigration policy under both the Trump and Obama administrations, investigates the origins of “zero tolerance”, and reveals the journeys and voices of children who were separated from their parents.
April 2019: Sustainable
A vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face — soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticide use — to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations.
March 2019: Rocks In My Pockets
Latvian-born artist and filmmaker Signe Baumane tells five fantastical tales based on the courageous women in her family and their battles with madness. With boundless imagination and a twisted sense of humor, she has created daring stories of art, romance, marriage, nature, business, and Eastern European upheaval—all in the fight for her own sanity. Employing a unique, beautifully textured combination of papier-mâché stopmotion and classic hand-drawn animation (with inspiration from Jan Svankmajer and Bill Plympton)
February 2019: “13th”
The title of Ava DuVernay's extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States." The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.
January 2019: “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press”
When the online tabloid Gawker posted a surreptitiously filmed tape of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, it ignited a high stakes legal battle that pit privacy rights against the first amendment. The staggering verdict bankrupted Gawker and its founder Nick Denton, but also exposed a shadowy figure behind the scenes -- Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Nine years earlier Gawker had outed Thiel on its site and the furious billionaire had been waiting for his chance to destroy them. Are the very wealthy thwarting the First Amendment to silence critics? In an age of extreme inequality, how vulnerable is a free press that has lost most of its traditional sources of income? Perhaps most frightening, what could a billionaire with the executive branch at his command do to those who have angered him?
November 2018: “Rise of the Superstorms”
In just one devastating month, Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean were changed forever. In summer 2017, three monster hurricanes swept in from the Atlantic one after another, shattering storm records and killing hundreds of people. First, Harvey brought catastrophic rain and flooding to Houston, causing $125 billion in damage. Less than two weeks later, Irma lashed the Caribbean with 185 mile per hour winds - and left the island of Barbuda uninhabitable. Hot on Irma's heels, Maria intensified from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane in just 15 hours, then ravaged Puerto Rico and left millions of people without power. As the planet warms, are these superstorms the new normal? How well can we predict them and does the U.S. need to prepare for the reality of climate refugees? This documentary takes you inside the 2017 superstorms and the cutting-edge research that will determine how well equipped we are to deal with hurricanes in the future.
October 2018: “Almost Sunrise”
Almost Sunrise tells the inspiring story of two young men, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, who, in an attempt to put their haunting Iraq combat experiences behind them, embark on an extraordinary journey – a 2,700 mile trek on foot across America. The film also acts as an urgent call for communities to better understand these deep-seated psychic wounds caused by a condition called “moral injury”. Moral injury is a relatively new concept that involves psychological and spiritual wounds that result from experiences that conflict with one’s deeply held beliefs of right and wrong. The key precondition for moral injury is an act of transgression, which shatters moral and ethical expectations. The injury can arise in a variety of forms ranging from perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations. It is the resulting loss of the sense of personal worth from the moral injury that leads to overwhelming guilt, depression, and thoughts of self-harm. And moral injury as a diagnosis separate from PTSD better explains some of the recent spike in veteran suicides. Almost Sunrise acts as an urgent call for communities to better understand these deep-seated psychic wounds, and for the government to acknowledge and finally treat moral pain by using methods other than pills. Almost Sunrise deftly and movingly demonstrates the promise of holistic healing practices which the VA and private counselors are using to address this newly recognized condition.
September 2018: “Understanding the Opiod Epidemic”
Driven by escalating opioid addiction, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the opioid epidemic is fueled by prescription pain medications. Despite the concerns, opioids remain one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States. Experts believe that the first step to minimizing this epidemic is prevention. Prevention involves awareness and education. Understanding the Opioid Epidemic is a one-hour PBS documentary that traces the causes behind the unprecedented growth in the use of prescription opioids and the devastating impact these drugs are having in every part of America. The impact on young people, families and communities is devastating. Awareness and education can hopefully begin to slow the epidemic.
August 2018: “Night School”
August is the beginning of the new school year for children across the United States. Perhaps no other indicator of future success is as important as a degree for most in our society. And yet, the number of students who drop out before graduating high school is about 15%. This month’s Friday Flick looks at 3 students who never finished high school but are committed to improving their chances in life by going back to the classroom. Indianapolis has one the lowest high school graduation rates in the country. For adult learners Greg, Melissa and Shynika, finally earning their high school diplomas could be a life-changing achievement. Emmy award-winning director Andrew Cohn’s absorbing documentary observes their individual pursuits, fraught with the challenges of daily life and the broader systemic roadblocks by many low income Americans.
July 2018: “Lost in Detention”
Once again, immigrants and the government enforcement policies are front page news. However, immigration enforcement policies and actions have been harsh for a number of years dating back to the Obama and Bush administrations. While the widespread separation of children from their families for illegal immigrants was new, the overall system the United States has implemented has been increasingly punitive for years. This month’s film revisits the changes that were made 10 years ago and raises a troubling question. Why do we continue to believe that more draconian actions or a wall will stop people desperate to escape the violence and economic devastation in their countries?
May 2018: "Served Like a Girl"
Director Lysa Heslov's powerful documentary, SERVED LIKE A GIRL, follows several American women who were wounded in action and are now transitioning from soldier to civilian after serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Struggling with PTSD, homelessness, broken families, divorce, serious illness, and military sexual abuse, these remarkable women harness humor to adapt to the emotional, social and economic challenges they face, through the Ms. Veteran America competition. Balancing beauty and brawn, they are guided by event founder and veteran Major Jas Boothe, using the competition to regain their identities and way of life that they sacrificed in foreign wars. It is an engaging and honest look at an often-unseen veteran reality.
April 2018: "The Reluctant Radical"
If a crime is committed in order to prevent a greater crime, is it forgivable? Is it, in fact, necessary? THE RELUCTANT RADICAL follows activist Ken Ward as he confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change. The film reveals both the personal costs and also the fulfillment that comes from following one’s moral calling- even if that means breaking the law. The film follows Ken through a series of direct actions, culminating with an action that shuts down all the U.S. tar sands oil pipelines and threatens to put him behind bars for 20 years. Ken Ward has no regrets, and his certainty leaves the audience to consider if h is out of touch with reality, or if it is the rest of society that is delusional for not acting when faced with the unsettling evidence that we are collectively destroying our world.
March 2018: "A Virus Called Fear" & "A Culture of Fear"
In March we offered 2 short documentaries on fear in our society today. Whether conservative or progressive, we are inundated with stories and messages that play on our emotions.
February 2018: "Freedom to Marry"
Over the last four decades, the concept of same-sex couples marrying went from a 'preposterous notion' to the national law. The marriage equality movement is now known as one of the most successful civil rights campaigns in the modern history, but change did not arrive by happenstance. This victory was carefully planned and orchestrated over decades. The Freedom to Marry a new documentary film, offers the untold, inside story of this historic movement. This is a riveting ride alongside Evan Wolfson and Mary Bonauto, the architect and the main litigator of the movement, and their key colleagues from earliest days of their journey to their final frenetic dash to the US Supreme Court.
January 2018: "Disneyland of War"
This short documentary covers the glorification of war and violence in our culture, shedding light on the indoctrination of the public including young children at events like the Miramar military air show. This air show is one of many outlets where war and violence is given a warm, inviting, and exciting aura. The utter horror and brutality is never understood by so many. Promoting a positive image of war and violence to people, especially children, is extremely dangerous.
November 2017: "The Pilgrims"
The Pilgrims explores the riveting true story of a small group of English Separatists whose determination to worship God as they saw fit planted the seeds of the American dream.
October 2017: "Immigration Battle"
Immigration Battle, was produced in 2015 and looked at the legislative process that failed, at that time, to produce a comprehensive reform bill on immigration. Why has it been so hard for Washington to fix our country’s broken immigration system? In Immigration Battle, a 2-hour film from FRONTLINE and Independent Lens, independent filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini take viewers behind closed doors in Washington’s corridors of power to explore political realities surrounding one of the country’s most pressing and divisive issues. In Immigration Battle we follow Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) as he works behind the scenes with congressional leaders and the White House to try to create a bill that would be acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats. Interestingly, the film makers conclude that Republicans weren’t the only ones to blame for the failure to pass an immigration bill.
September 2017: "This is Crazy: Criminalizing Mental Illness"
Today, more than 2.4 million Americans are incarcerated in prisons and jails. 1.26 million of those inmates, more than half of the entire prison population in the United States, suffer from some form of mental illness. Consisting of 3 short documentaries, This Is Crazy: Criminalizing Mental Illness highlights the stories of individuals with mental illnesses who have found themselves in a dysfunctional prison system rather than getting proper care. The incarceration of those with a mental illness causes great harm to the individual and perpetuates a cycle that is damaging to the community, all while pending tax-payer money. Through personal interviews with community leaders, city officials and formerly incarcerated individuals with a mental illness, this series seeks to bring attention to the injustice of criminalizing mental health and offers alternative community solutions.
August 2017: "Now is the Time: Healthcare for everybody"
July 2017: "National Bird"
National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistle-blowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war.
May 2017: 3 short documentaries describing the history, present conditions, and efforts to serve the Oglala Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
April 2017: "Before the Flood"
March 24, 2017: "Gore Vidal United States of Amnesia"
No twentieth-century figure has had a more profound effect on the worlds of literature, film, politics, historical debate, and the culture wars than Gore Vidal. Anchored by intimate one-on-one interviews with the man himself, Nicholas Wrathall’s new documentary is a fascinating and wholly entertaining portrait of the last lion of the age of American liberalism. Commentary by those who knew him best – including filmmaker/nephew Burr Steers and the late Christopher Hitchens – blends with footage from Vidal’s legendary on-air career to remind us why he will forever stand as one of the most brilliant and fearless critics of our time. Gore Vidal’s professional life spans more than 50 years of American politics and letters. His return to America in 2005 marked the last great stage in his creative career and this film represents an extraordinary opportunity to share his view on America in the 21st century (this film was released in 2013). Featuring candid vérité footage of Vidal in his final years, the film explores his enduring global impact on art, politics, and everything in between. His overview of the current state of the Republic and the health of US democracy is unique and incisive. This is Gore Vidal’s last word and testimony.
February 24, 2017: "From This Day Forward"
From This Day Forward is a moving portrayal of an American family coping with the most intimate of transformations. When filmmaker Sharon Shattuck's artist father came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, her transition was difficult for her straight-identified, physician wife, Marcia, to accept. Having married and fallen in love with a man, Marcia found herself doubting whether she could love Trisha as a woman. And, as a heterosexual woman, she felt that the idea of walking down the street, holding hands with a woman, would paint a false picture of her own identity. At the time, with Sharon in her preteen years and focused on developing her own sense of self, her parents’ relationship seemed a mystery.
As the film evolves into a conversation about love and acceptance in a modern American family, it raises questions relevant to all of us: As individuals, how do we adapt to sustain long-term love and relationships? Where do sexuality and gender intersect? And how do families stay together, when external forces are pulling them apart?
January 27, 2017: "Defying the Nazis: The Sharp's War"
January’s film is a documentary co-directed by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky about a little-known but important mission by an American minister and his wife to rescue refugees and dissidents in Europe before and after the start of World War II.
The 90-minute film tells the story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, a Unitarian minister and his wife from Wellesley, Massachusetts, who left their children behind in the care of their parish and boldly committed to multiple life-threatening missions in Europe. Over two dangerous years they helped to save hundreds of imperiled political dissidents and Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi occupation across Europe.
“The story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp is one of the most incredible tales of compassion, sacrifice and heroism that I have ever heard, and I was completely unaware of it until five years ago when Artemis Joukowsky first shared it with me,” said Ken Burns. “Nearly three years before America as a nation became involved in the Second World War, these two unassuming, so-called ‘ordinary’ Americans gave up everything they knew and loved and risked their lives to become involved in a war 4,000 miles away because they knew there were people in grave danger who needed help.”
November 25, 2016: "Boom Bust Boom"
Join us as Terry Jones of Monty Python fame explores the instability of our economic system – and offers a solution. A timely call to action, BOOM BUST BOOM investigates the worldwide economic crash of 2008, and how we can avoid another global collapse in the future. Analyzing the direct link between the unstable financial system and our reliance on mainstream economics, the film puts a spotlight on the mistakes of the past some politicians and central bankers would like us to forget. Boom Bust Boom is a seriously comic look at why crashes happen, told by a member of Monty Python, the finest minds in economics, writers, puppets and a movie star.
August 26, 2016: "Peace Officer"
Peace Officer is a documentary about the increasingly militarized state of American police as told through the story of "Dub" Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained his rural state's first SWAT team only to see that same unit kill his son-in-law in a controversial standoff 30 years later. Driven by an obsessed sense of mission, Dub uses his own investigation skills to uncover the truth in this and other recent officer-involved shootings in his community, while tackling larger questions about the changing face of peace officers nationwide.
July 22, 2016: "Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA"
Making a Killing, is a timely look at the costs of gun ownership to our society. The NRA spent more than $27 million on congressional races in 2014, according to opensecrets.org, which monitors political lobbying. In recent years the guns and ammunition industry had estimated revenues of more than $11 billion annually. The documentary notes that one person in the U.S. is killed with a gun every 16 minutes and that 92% of Americans favor background checks on all gun buyers.
May 27, 2016: "Where to Invade Next"
Michael Moore's award-winning movie confronts the most pressing issues facing America today – the gender pay gap, obesity in young people, massive student loan debt, and others-- and finds solutions in unlikely places. Unlike anything Moore has done before, the film uses humor to examine how other countries have successfully dealt with important social problems. Sophia McLennon of Salon wrote of the film, “Instead of pointing out our flaws, he imagines our possibilities. And instead of wallowing in fear and panic, he offers practical ideas for productive change.”
April 22, 2016: "DamNation"
This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. "DamNation"’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves. Co-sponsored by the UUSG Green Sanctuary Team.
March 18,2016: "A Day's Work"
Ninety minutes before he was killed on his first day of work as a temporary employee, 21-year-old Day Davis texted a picture of himself to his girlfriend, excited for their future. Now Day’s sister, 17-year-old Antonia, searches for answers. An investigation reveals the troubling issues that led to Day’s death and how the $100 billion temporary staffing industry is putting millions of American workers at risk. This multiple award-winning film is co-sponsored by Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice. (NOTE: This is the 3rd Friday of March because of Easter celebrations on the 4th Friday.)
February 26, 2016: "Intersexion"
Join us for an LGBTQ-focused film on Friday, February 26 at 7pm. Intersex is the term for a condition whereby a person has ambiguous sexual anatomy. The film “Intersexion” sets out to de-mystify intersex, looking beyond the shame and secrecy that defines many intersex births. Interviewing intersex people around the world, the film explores how they navigate their way through childhood, adolescence, relationships, and adulthood when they don’t fit the binary model of a solely male and female world. It also sheds light on our culture and how it dictates gender roles without allowing for ambiguity. This film is sponsored by the UUSG Interweave Group.
January 22, 2016: "The Hand that Feeds"
This multiple prize-winning movie tells the story of undocumented immigrants, led by a mild-mannered sandwich-maker who organized to fight sub-legal wages, dangerous work conditions, and abusive managers. Risking deportation, they formed an independent union and embarked on a roller-coaster year. Cristobal Cavazos, of the Immigrant Solidarity Movement in DuPage will join us to share what is happening in our region.
November 20, 2015: "Citizenfour"
Join us to watch this riveting Academy-Award Winning movie about NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. This documentary was filmed, directed, and produced by Laura Poitras, the first person who listened to Snowden's concerns. Watch as history unfolds. The film will be introduced by Laura's aunt and uncle, UUSG members Gail and George Tattersfield.
October 23, 2015: "Let the Fire Burn"
In the spirit of recognizing that Black Lives Matter, this 2013 prize-winning film permits us to relive a dramatic event in African American history. "Let the Fire Burn" is found-footage film that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller. On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and an African American activist group, MOVE, quickly escalated. Learn what happened and then join us as we Skype with Ramona Africa, a survivor of the event.
September 25, 2015: "HAPPY"
Combining real-life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, the prize-winning documentary HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.
Is there a relationship between happiness and valuing of money, power, compassion, cooperation, or even social justice?
August 28, 2015: "Dream On"
"Dream On" is an insightful investigation of income inequality. Political comedian John Fugelsang traces the path of de Tocqueville, who described the American Dream – so-called, according to George Carlin, “because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Yet Fugelsang encounters Americans who “are hard-wired to work for something better.” Co-sponsored with Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice, the film is playing at film festivals and will air on PBS as an election special in 2016. Be among the first people to view and critique this powerful film.
July 24, 2015: "Shadows of Liberty"
This film, winner of multiple prizes, examines the effect of the corporate media on news reporting. Paraphrasing John Lennon, Director Tremblay decries the media’s use of control to keep us “doped with sex and scandal.” And yet, despite reporters’ first-hand accounts of censorship in the name of sponsors, corporations, and government, some socially responsible news is being conveyed to those who seek it out. Join us to explore what we can do.
June 2015: No Friday Flick due to the Swedish Days Festival
May 22, 2015: Honor Diaries
Where is the line between politically correct respect for another’s culture and human rights? Honor Diaries tells the story of 9 women living in the male-dominated culture of Saudi Arabia, where women are treated like property, forced into marriage, and subjected to female genital mutilation. Winner of the Interfaith Award for Best Documentary at the St. Louis International Film Festival, this film asks whether culture is an excuse for abuse.
April 24, 2015 Flick: Cowspiracy
The UUSG Green Sanctuary Team will sponsor the Friday Flick during “Earth Month.” This documentary takes on animal agriculture, which is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption, and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged. The Examiner raved, “A fresh take. Few films are brave enough to tackle a topic this controversial.”
March 27, 2015: Pay to Play
Using the game "monopoly" as a metaphor, the film Pay to Play looks at how corporations have taken over democracy in the US. John Nichols has called it "the best documentary about speaking truth to power since The Big Lebowski." See the difference that one person can make.
February 27, 2015 Flick: Gen Silent
This month’s Friday Flick will be the award-winning film Gen Silent. This documentary reveals the plight of LGBTQ elders in facilities where they face discrimination by staff and bullying by other seniors. While this is not happening in all care facilities, it is prevalent enough that it has been called “an epidemic.” The film is sponsored by the UUSG Interweave Group. For more information about Interweave, contact the group facilitator, Lynn Steele, at email@example.com.
January 23, 2015: Black Lives Matter
On the fourth Friday in January, the focus will be on perspectives related to the “Black Lives Matter” campaign. After watching Bill Moyers’ show “The United States of Ferguson” (which features journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates talking about the nation’s legacy of slavery and white supremacy), we will consider steps we can take to work towards creating a community that does not assume white privilege.
November 21, 2014: Wage Crisis
Note: Only for November, Friday Flicks is moving to the third Friday.
More Americans than ever are living off of government assistance even though they have jobs. The film "Wage Crisis: The USA’s New Underclass" introduces us to a former TV anchor, an ex-hedge fund trader, and others. Pulitzer Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz explains the dynamics of this crisis.
October 24, 2014: Rise Above the Mark
With elections approaching, it is important to recognize the responsibility of Illinois legislators in deeply underfunding our public schools. It would take $5 billion in Illinois to fund our schools at the point where 2/3 of students without special needs can succeed. The film features prominent spokespersons for
education, including Linda Darling Hammond, Diane Ravitch, and Finland’s Minister of Education, Pasi Sahlberg. Join us for this important discussion.
September 26, 2014: Unacceptable Levels
Unacceptable Levels is an important 2013 documentary designed to help us protect ourselves from serious diseases caused by synthetic chemicals affecting our bodies. We have approximately 200 synthetic industrial chemicals interacting with our cells every single day. To explore different facets of common chemical exposure, this documentary was made in consultation with experts in multiple fields and is guided by a father on a personal journey to bring these issues to light for everyone. The film’s primary goal? To determine whether we can prevent disease before it strikes us.
August 22, 2014: The Democratic Promise
UUSG is showing this film as part of a program describing how UUSG is connecting with other churches and nonprofits to make a difference in our community regarding mental health, work force development, and affordable housing.
July 25, 2014: United States of Secrets
How did the NSA get access to such a tremendous cache of data? Was the government the only intended user of the information? Is Edward Snowden a traitor or a hero?
June 27, 2014: Weed 2
Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s program explores the politics on medical marijuana.
May 23, 2014: A River Changes Course
This film has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Sundance Grand Jury prize. It is a powerful story of how globalization and the changing environment are ravaging Cambodia. The film demonstrates what is happening around the world in many third-world countries. Our discussion will be led by Sreinith Ten, who has met the filmmaker several times. Sreinith was employed by a non-governmental organization (NGO) that has been working to preserve the stories of survivors of the Khmer Rouge atrocities.
April 25, 2014: Chasing Ice
The film “Chasing Ice” condenses years of time-lapse photography to capture the story of rapidly disappearing Arctic ice. Its breathtaking videography presents undeniable evidence of climate change affecting glaciers. This Friday Flick is being sponsored by the UUSG Green Sanctuary Team.
March 28, 2014, 7pm: Legalize Democracy
Corporate personhood and grass roots advocacy are the topics of this Friday Flick. After we watch the film Legalize Democracy, Kaye Gamble and Jeannie Scown will provide an update from the perspectives of grass roots organizers. How did they help organize the campaign? What is coming next? What can we do?
February 28, 2014, Trans
This Friday Flick will be sponsored by Interweave, a group of LGBTQ members, friends, and allies. The film is Trans, an up-close and very personal journey into the transgender world through the memorable stories and unusual lives of some remarkable people. This documentary is an excellent composite of stories that explain gender identity and suggest healthy ways that individuals and those who love them can promote living their true identity.
January 24, 2014: Inequality for All
Winner of the 2013 Sundance Festival Special Jury Prize, the film follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who takes a non-partisan approach to explaining the wealth inequality threatening us today.
November 22, 2013: Heist: Who Stole the American Dream and How Can We Get it Back?
This prize-winning documentary traces the bipartisan and corporate roots of the current economic crisis, providing a clear and fact-based explanation of how we got into this mess and what we need to do to restore our democracy.
October 25, 2013: Friday Focus: "The Climate Reality Project"
In October, Monica Jenkins will host a Friday Focus titled “The Climate Reality Project.” The Climate
Reality Project consists of more than 5,000 dedicated volunteers around the globe who have been personally trained by former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore to educate the public about climate change. The Project’s Climate Leaders Corps is committed to preserving the climate balance. Learn about actions each of us can take.
September, 20 2013: Friday Focus: International Day of Peace
August 16, 2013: Bidder 70
Winner of more than 20 awards from film festivals, Bidder 70 focuses on economics student Tim DeChristopher, who committed an act of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice, protecting 22,000 acres of wilderness. Follow his story from college student to convicted felon. Currently, Tim is a UU divinity student at Harvard.
July 19, 2013: The War You Don't See
This film investigates the media’s role in war. As weapons and propaganda are ever more sophisticated, the very nature of war has developed into an “electronic battlefield.” Who is the real enemy?
June 28, 2013: Budrus
This film is about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. The story also describes how his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, combined efforts with him when she launched a women’s contingent that quickly moved to the front lines.
May 17, 2013: Guest Speaker Laura Leon
Rather than a film, we'll hear Laura Leon from the Campaign for Better Health Care will speak about “The Affordable Care Act and You." For over 20 years, the Campaign for Better Health Care has advocated for a system of healthcare that is inclusive, affordable, accessible, and accountable. It is a grassroots coalition of more than 300 local and statewide organizations representing consumers, healthcare workers and providers, community organizations, religious organizations, etc. Beginning in October 2013, through the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 1.6 million Illinois residents will have the opportunity to enroll in new and affordable forms of public and private health insurance coverage. Yet the overwhelming majority of the newly eligible do not know about this new opportunity or how to navigate it. Ms. Leon will provide an overview of what people can expect with the Affordable Care Act and how to navigate the system with its multiple choices. She will also describe ways in which Illinoisans can advocate for a fairly-created health exchange in the state.
April 19, 2013: Tapped
Stephanie Soechtig's debut feature is an unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water and its long-term effects economically and ecologically. The producers of "Who Killed the Electric Car" look behind the scenes into the unregulated, unseen world of industry giants that aim to privatize and sell back a resource that should not be a commodity. It examines the effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and reliance on oil.
March 15, 2013: The House I Live In
This documentary looks at the consequences of treating drug abuse as a simple concern of law enforcement rather than a matter of public health. Over 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for more than 45 million arrests, making America the world’s largest jailer and violating human rights in minority communities. Yet drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before.
February 15, 2013: For the Bible Tells Me So
This award-winning documentary examines the way a few Bible verses have been misinterpreted and misused to oppress and harm LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer) youth and adults. The film features stories of families struggling with rejection of gay members. It also includes statements by clergy and religious leaders explaining the history of religious intolerance of gays and how it can change.
November 16, 2012: United States of ALEC
Bill Moyers and Company helped produce a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force that many Americans have never heard about - ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a "nonpartisan public-private partnership", but in state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers.
October 19, 2012: The Invisible War
Join us to learn about "one of the most under-reported stories in the country over the last couple of generations." Rape in the military is a serious problem, with severe psychological and economic costs. Note: the film is not intended to be an indictment of the military. But it does examine a serious problem which has affected thousands of service personnel. As the film's director stated, "The military is a very effective fighting force when it comes to dealing with the enemy without. It's really time for them to start dealing with this enemy within."
August 17, 2012: Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman
Join us to see a film that Howard Zinn insists should be shown in schools all over America. Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman, a prizewinning documentary, recalls the terrible conditions and labor oppression that motivated Mother Jones to travel the country, mobilizing thousands of workers to fight for justice. The film was created by Rosemary Feurer and Laura Vazquez of Northern Illinois University. Rosemary will help lead the discussion. This will also be an opportunity to find out about local labor struggles, including one at the Sensata plant in Freeport.
July 20, 2012: Where Do the Children Play?
Children represent 20% of the world’s population and 100% of its future. So how is life in the suburbs across America impacting children's mental and physical health and development? This Emmy-winning film is a must-see for parents, teachers, and grandparents!
June 15, 2012: PRICELE$$
The award-winning documentary PRICELE$$ takes a balanced look at how campaign money from deep-pocket special interests can influence both our electoral process and national policies regarding food and energy. This film is a must see for people who believe that democracy is a precious resource. In fact, it’s PRICELE$$.
May 18, 2012: Uncounted
A documentary about the disenfranchisement of voters since 1999. David Earnhardt’s documentary explores a variety of problems, including insufficient numbers of voting machines, machines which did not operate, inaccurate voter registration records, machines which “flipped” votes or recorded thousands of votes in precincts with fewer than a thousand registered voters, etc.
April 20, 2012: Green Fire
The focus of this film is the life story of Aldo Leopold, the foremost naturalist of the 20th century. His life work was a stellar example of learning by experience. Leopold originally encouraged hunting wolves so that elk could thrive. Once the wolf population was significantly reduced, he realized the increased elk population was destroying the balanced ecosystem that had existed.
March 16, 2012: Family Values: An American Tragedy and Lead with Love
Family Values: An American Tragedy is a prize-winning film which tells the story of a family torn apart by political and religious extremism. The film's director, who is openly gay, examines her relationship with her father. Lead with Love follows four families as they share honest reactions to hearing that their child is gay, including the intense emotions, fears, and questions that it raised.
February 17, 2012: Patriocracy
This showing is sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Patriocracy is a non-partisan film which explores the extreme polarization in our politics. Americans are shouting at each other instead of communicating. The film features legislators, journalists, pundits and academics sharing insights As America enters the 2012 election season, more money than ever will be spent to sway voters by fear and emotion. Patriocracy shows voters how they can avoid being manipulated.
January 21, 2012: The Interrupters
NOTE: This film will be shown at the Randall 15 IMAX Theater in Geneva at 8:30 am on Saturday, January 21. Tickets must be reserved in advance through firstname.lastname@example.org. The film tells the story of individuals who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they themselves once employed. These “violence interrupters” (their job title) – who have credibility on the street because of their own personal histories – intervene in conflicts before the incidents explode into violence. Ricardo “Cobe” Williams who is featured in the film, will be present for a question and answer reception in the theater lobby immediately following the screening.
November 18, 2011: We Still Live Here: As Nutayunean
The prize-winning 2010 film We Still Live Here: As Nutayunean tells the amazing story of the return of the Wampanoag language, and with it the traditional culture. Their ancestors were the “Indians” who helped the Pilgrims survive 4 centuries ago.This is the first time a language with no Native speakers has been revived in this country
October 21, 2011: The Devil Came on Horseback
Former “Lost Boys” share Good and Bad News from Sudan. The Devil Came on Horseback traces how the Arab-run government of Sudan engaged in “ethnic cleansing” in Darfur. Malith Ariik and William Mou will join us to share their experiences and give us an update on how their region of the Sudan obtained governmental representation – at the same time as the President Al-Bashir has shifted his focus to South Kordofan.
September 16, 2011: Divided We Fall
Winner of more than a dozen international awards, this film documents stories in the Sikh, Muslim, & Arab communities in America in the years following 9/11. The film explores “who counts” as American.This Friday Flick is scheduled as part of this year’s International Day of Peace celebration in Geneva.
August 19, 2011: Fuel
The winner of the Sundance Film Festival Best Documentary Audience Award in 2008 traces oil use and abuse while examining alternative sources of energy
July 15, 2011: On the Edge
This film tells the stories of 7 women who lost their housing for a variety of reasons, These compelling and forthcoming experts on homelessness shine a bright, unmitigated light on systemic and personal causes of their struggles
June 17, 2011: Silent Screams
This film explores the social costs of America’s war in Afghanistan through the experiences and words of
American peace activist, pacifist, author, and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly and others. Particular attention is paid to the aftermath of drone attacks. Mary Dean, Kelly’s colleague who recently returned from a trip to war zones, will join us to share her experiences. Warning: This film is short, but it does show some graphic images of injuries to civilians who were hurt by drone-guided bombs.
May 20, 2011: Gasland
The film examines concerns about safety while the largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history is sweeping across the United States. When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies, and contamination.
April 15, 2011: FLOW: For the Love of Water
The title is capitalized because it is an acronym for “For the Love of Water.” The documentary addresses the world's dwindling supply of fresh water and the privatization of that water in various locations around the world. It not only speaks to “the 3 Ps” (population, pollution, and politics), but also raises the problems created by the development of a world-wide water cartel. While viewing this production, one wonders if the title should be FLOM: For the Love of Money. The film features people in both non-industrialized and highly-industrialized nations who have become victims of corporations, governments, and the World Bank. The most common question asked by the interviewees is, "Can Anyone Really Own Water?" Please join us for this provocative film.
March 18, 2011: Inside Job
"Inside Job" has been called “a crime story like no other in history.” Narrated by Matt Damon, the film has been nominated for numerous awards (Academy awards, Cannes, New York film festival, etc.) and has won recognition for its directing as well as its clear and insightful reporting of events leading up to the global economic meltdown of 2008. Come see why critics have called it a “powerhouse” and a “masterpiece.”
February 18, 2011: 9500 Liberty
“9500 Liberty” shows how anti-immigration forces frightened lawmakers in Virginia into enacting a law requiring police to interrogate anyone suspected of being undocumented and how a community fought back using YouTube videos and virtual townhalls. Are we a nation of immigrants? The immigration debates are causing us to redefine our identity.
January 21, 2011: The Big Uneasy
Harry Shearer’s acclaimed film "The Big Uneasy" is about New Orleans post Katrina. The film depicts the inside story of a disaster that could have been prevented. Shearer speaks to the investigators who poked through the muck as the water receded and a whistle–blower from the Army Corps of Engineers, revealing that some of the same flawed methods responsible for the levee failure during Katrina are being used to rebuild the system expected to protect the new New Orleans from future peril.
November 20, 2010: Mugabe and the White African
Winner of countless awards and short-listed for the 2011 Academy awards, this movie is the only documentary feature film to have come out of Zimbabwe in recent years, where a total press ban still exists. The film is an intimate view of one family's extraordinary courage in the face of a relentless campaign of state-sanctioned terror.
October 15, 2010: Made in LA
"Made in L.A." is an Emmy award-winning documentary (70 min) which takes an intimate look at workers' rights as it traces the experiences of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops to produce clothing for Forever 21.
September 17, 2010: The 800 Mile Wall
This film focuses on the construction of the border walls along the U.S.-Mexico border. The powerful DVD is an unflinching look at the US border strategy that many believe violates fundamental human rights.
August 20, 2010: Peace is Every Step - Pt. 2
“Peace is Every Step” documents the life, personality, and message of Nobel peace prize nominee, Thich Nhat Hanh. This world leader, scholar, and poet is a Buddhist monk who survived the Vietnamese War. A teacher with a powerful message, he tells deceptively simple stories to illustrate how he has lived nonviolently, finding peace within himself and sharing that peace with others. NOTE: You do NOT need to have seen Part 1 to appreciate Part 2.
July 16, 2010: A Force More Powerful - Pt. 2
Stories of nonviolent resistance in Denmark, Poland, and Chile will be chronicled in the prize-winning DVD "A Force More Powerful." Critically hailed as “passionately instructive,” the film richly documents six nonviolence resistance efforts which succeeded in the 20th century. NOTE: You do NOT need to have seen Part 1 to appreciate Part 2.
June 18, 2010: Mining Madness, Water Wars: The Great Lake in the Balance and Coal Country
On June 18th, two movies about mining will be shared. The first is "Mining Madness, Water Wars: The Great Lakes in the Balance." This prize-winning documentary describes how a company obtained permission to begin sulfide mining beneath a trout river stream which feeds into the Great Lakes. Next we will view "Coal Country," which tells the stories of activists concerned about mountain-top removal as well as the miners whose families depend on the coal companies.
May 21, 2010: A Force More Powerful
On May 21st, stories of nonviolent resistance will be chronicled in the prize-winning DVD "A Force More Powerful." Critically hailed as “passionately instructive,” the film richly documents six nonviolence resistance efforts which succeeded in the 20th century.
March 19, 2010: Capitalism: A Love Story
Michael Moore looks at the price that Americans pay for “loving” capitalism. The movie tells the stories of ordinary citizens who have lost their jobs, their homes, and their savings. Moore exposes shocking practices of corporations which benefit from the deaths and financial difficulties of individuals.
February 19, 2010: The Oath
Selected for its world premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2010, this film was directed by Laura Poitras, niece of UUSG Members Gail & George Tattersfield. Filmed in Yemen, The Oath tells the story of two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a course of events that led them to Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
January 15, 2010: Fresh
Selected for presentation at five national and international film festivals in 2009, the film takes an uplifting look at how people are making a difference in food production and choices. More inspiring than older flicks which focused on crowded feedlots and dismal slaughterhouses, Fresh challenges our eating habits while providing examples of ways in which we can make a difference.
November 20, 2009: Peace is Every Step
“Peace is Every Step” documents the life, personality, and message of Nobel peace prize nominee, Thich Nhat Hanh. This world leader, scholar, and poet is a Buddhist monk who survived the Vietnamese War. A teacher with a powerful message, he tells deceptively simple stories to illustrate how he has lived nonviolently, finding peace within himself and sharing that peace with others.
October 16, 2009: Nonviolent Communication
International peacekeepers who have helped to resolve conflicts in Sri Lanka and in Guatemala presented a film depicting their experiences. Representing the Nonviolent Peaceforce Organization, Rita Webb and Dr. Ann Frisch used techniques for nonviolent communication developed by Marshall Rosenberg. Also participating in the program will be Thom Thomas, who will show a film providing an overview of Rosenberg’s approach
September 18, 2009: Blue Gold: World Water Wars
Blue Gold: World Water Wars is a prize-winning documentary that examines our water crisis. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of the dwindling fresh water supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. The director, Sam Bozzo, wrote, “I made this film because while Global Warming is an issue of ‘how’ we live, the water crisis is an issue of ‘if’ we live.” In addition to depicting the horrors of the situation, Blue Gold also proposes ideas that will work to help the world avoid an epidemic.
August 21, 2009: Rethink Afghanistan
Recently released film by acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Iraq for Sale, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, etc.) Civilians continue to be killed by American and coalition forces as the war in Afghanistan stretches into its eighth year. The film focuses on objectives of the war, the potential for destabilizing Pakistan, and the costs in money, lives, and U.S. credibility.
July 17, 2009: Sicko
Michael Moore’s film has been hailed as a “brilliant diagnosis of the U.S. healthcare system ... dishing laughs and outrage in equal measure, this is the rare movie that could actually change our world.” The film will be followed by a discussion and action alert opportunities focusing on national healthcare reform.
June 19, 2009: Beyond Our Differences
Winner of many awards, The film has been called “a gigantic effort.” It features interviews with the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ela Gandhi, and Van Jones, as well as leaders of Judaism, Islam, and major figures in politics, culture, arts, and science. Together, this diverse set of influential individuals create a unified message of hope that extends across the world’s religions.
May 15, 2009: This Palestinian Life
This Palestinian Life is a film by Philip Rizk, an Egyptian journalist and Wheaton College graduate. Rizk has created is a documentary about nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation, and the illegal Israeli annexation of Palestinian land. While some Palestinians return Israeli violence with further violence, the vast majority do not. The Arabic word for such everyday acts of nonviolent protest is “sumoud,“ meaning steadfastness and perseverance.
March 20, 2009: Promise of America
Promise of America director, Janet Fitch, will join us to screen this film about the Million Mom March in 2000. A generationally, racially, and ethnically diverse crowd of 820,000 came together from across the United States and the world to demonstrate against gun violence. Participants’ personal motivations to attend the event are explored, along with barriers which they overcame and their responses to the experience. A range of professionals examine the ethical, medical, and international ramifications of gun violence. The film concerns the effects of demonstrations as much as it examines issues regarding gun violence.
February 20, 2009: A Jihad for Love
A Jihad for Love is the world's first feature documentary to explore the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality. The film enters the many worlds of Islam by illuminating multiple stories as diverse as Islam itself. A Jihad for Love travels a wide geographic arc presenting lives from India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and France. Always filming in secret and as a Muslim, the director made the film from within the faith, depicting Islam with the same respect that the film's characters show for it. This sensitive documentary tells the story of individuals torn between their faith and their sexuality. The title, incidentally, is not ironic, but instead embraces the true meaning of jihad, “struggle”. (http://www.firstrunfeatures.com/jihadforlove_press.html)
January 15, 2009: Afghan Stories
With fighting and casualties increasing in Afghanistan, the film gives a face to the struggle by introducing us to a member of the Afghan royal family who was tortured by the Taliban, a refugee couple, a father who is dedicated to peace and his soldier son, an aid worker, US soldiers, and Afghan warlords.
November 2008: American Harvest
Released on October 14, this award-winning film “points out the flaws and inconsistencies of the current U.S. policy on immigration”. "The documentary powerfully portrays the truth about agriculture and migrant labor in the United States at the present time. In a series of candid interviews with farmers and farmworkers from Florida to New York, the viewer learns the facts and dispels the myths connected with migrant farmworkers. The film portrays the migrant reality that can't be ignored and which is rarely seen by most people." (from the New York farm bureau website, www.nyfb.org)
October 2008: This Brave Nation
A recently-released film targeting people of all ages who want to know how they can make a difference in today’s world. “This Brave Nation” spotlights people who have impacted the world around them: Bonnie Raitt, Dolores Huerta, Tom Hayden, and Naomi Klein. What motivated them to get involved – to stop being observers and to take action against injustice? How have their voices been heard? Each of the activists has a unique story. Only one was born into a family of activists. The DVD explores how and why these individuals make decisions that changed the lives of countless people.
September 2008: 18 in ‘08
A new film targeting teens voting for the first time was shown just a few weeks before the October 7 voter registration deadline. An independent and non-partisan film, 18 in ’08 explores the national issues at stake for youth in the 2008 election, how decisions made by officials elected this term will affect their generation for years to come, the role of the news media in engaging voters, and candidates who inspire youth to participate in the political process. The film features interviews with many of the most influential politicians of today, as well as popular culture figures, political activists, media commentators, and student leaders.
May 2008: Uncounted
A documentary about the disenfranchisement of voters since 1999. David Earnhardt’s documentary explores a variety of problems, including insufficient numbers of voting machines, machines which did not operate, inaccurate voter registration records, machines which “flipped” votes or recorded thousands of votes in precincts with fewer than a thousand registered voters, etc.
April 2008: Who Killed the Electric Car?
It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions, and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV-1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert? The film chronicles the life and mysterious death of the EV-1; examining the cultural and economic ripple effects caused by its conception and how they reverberated through the halls of government and big business. (Chris Paine, on www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com/press)
March 2008: Blackwater Invades Illinois
One hundred miles west of Geneva, on 80 acres in Jo Daviess County, Blackwater USA is preparing to expand its private army training facilities. Some characterize Blackwater as a group which is hired to enforce the law while at the same time viewing itself as above the law. Come view a video which analyzes the role, funding, and accountability of this organization which is currently registering people for classes that are slated to begin in April. Information about Action Alerts regarding the outsourcing of security will be available.
February 2008: What I’ve Learned about U.S. Foreign Policy
You may have heard of Iran-Contra and wondered how that came to be. Or perhaps you’ve seen Charlie Wilson’s War, not a documentary but based on some truth about U.S. involvement in a covert war in Afganistan. Have you heard of the School of the Americas? It is discussed too and so are someformer CIA operatives, military people, Bill Moyers,and much more. You may be surprised - even amazed - at what the government has done in your name.