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Fort Macleod Justice Film Festival will tackle critical current issues

TMG - Human Harvest

The struggle of family farms in Canada, human organs being taken from prisoners in China and sold to the rich and the effect of climate change are some of topics that will be addressed this month in a Fort Macleod film festival.
The fourth annual Fort Macleod Film Festival will screen seven documentaries followed by discussions led by local experts on March 18-19 at the Empress Theatre.
“We wanted to choose a really interesting variety of films this year,” festival chair Denise Calderwood said. “Some that will knock your socks off with the human rights violations, some that will bring you to tears with the story that opens up the human mind that seems to have closed down.”
The festival starts at 5 p.m. Friday, March 18 with Alive Inside, a film directed by Michaela Rossato Bennett on the use of music to bring back to life the minds of people with Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the brain.
“This social worker would put very good headsets on people and play music, often out of their own youth, and these people would start to speak who have not spoken for a very long time,” Calderwood said. “It’s a delightful film.”
At 7 p.m. March 18 the festival explores a much darker subject with the screening of Human Harvest.
The documentary explores how 65,000 people in China, most of them political dissidents, were scooped off the street, held in detention centres where their organs were “harvested” and sold to rich foreigners.
“These people are killed and their organs are harvested,” Calderwood said. “Their bodies are incinerated to leave no trace. The film is very graphic. You will come out of it with your stomach churning.”
The Family Farm, which documents the farm to table process in Canada, will be screened at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 19.
“I think it would speak to a lot of people here,” Calderwood said. “It’s about the struggles of small farmers to make a go of it in the face of many political and economic issues.”
“Everybody knows making a living on a small farm in Canada is getting tougher and tougher to do.”
At 1 p.m. March 19, the film Antartic Edge explores how the western edge of the Antarctic is warming six times faster than the global average.
“This subject always raises some controversy because many folks are not yet persuaded there is any such thing as climate change,” Calderwood.
Racing To Zero, a film about San Francisco’s effort to completely recycle all its garbage, will be screened at 3 p.m. March 19.
“What it is doing is spawning new businesses,” Calderwood said. “It’s really exciting.”
The impact of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent war on terror on civil liberties in the United States is the subject of Imminent Threat, which will be screened at 5 p.m. March 19.
The festival wraps up at 7 p.m. March 19 with Most Likely To Succeed, which explores modern education.
“This is about encouraging creativity and innovation in education,” Calderwood said. “This is about a school in California that has turned the whole idea of education on its head.”
The committee has arranged for local junior high students to see Antartic Edge.
Committee members include Rose Matlock, Heidi Genesis and Linda Ripley.
“Documentary films bring to our lives some of the most pressing issues of our times,” Calderwood said. “Carefully crafted films can improve the lives of those affected by these issues as seen by the recent academy award for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.”

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