'Dangerous Docs 3' festival set to open Friday
CHAMPAIGN — The Art Theater Co-op will host its third documentary film festival, connecting new movies to local community groups.
The "Dangerous Docs 3" series begins Friday. Tickets are priced the same as regular shows ($9 after 6 p.m.), although $30 festival passes are available at the theater, 126 W. Church St., C.
Six films will be shown in a week, each featuring a post-show panel led by local scholars, activists and artists.
The films cover issues ranging from wealth inequality to meditation, abortion and exotic fruit cultivation. They include:
— Friday: "Fire in the Blood," presented by the Champaign County Health Care Consumers (panel led by CCHCC executive director Claudia Lenhoff and staff).
According to a news release: "An intricate tale of 'medicine, monopoly and malice,' 'Fire in the Blood' tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for the countries of the global south in the years after 1996 — causing 10 million or more unnecessary deaths — and the improbable group of people who decided to fight back."
— Saturday: "Inequality For All" (panel featuring two labor organizers, an economist and more).
"'Inequality For All' examines the crisis of widening income inequality in the U.S. through the eyes and the influential work of Robert Reich. Winner of the Documentary Special Jury Prize at Sundance, where that jury said 'With clarity, humor and heart, this timely film reveals the underpinnings of an urgent threat to American democracy.' At the heart of the film is a simple proposition: what is a good society, and what role does the widening income gap play in the deterioration of our nation's economic health?"
— Oct. 27: "After Tiller," sponsored by the Women's Resources Center, NARAL Pro-Choice Action Committee (panel features a former clinic worker, a reproductive rights historian, an artist/activist and more).
"In 2009, Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kan. — one of the only doctors in the U.S. who performed third-trimester abortions — was gunned down in his church. He was the eighth abortion clinic worker to be assassinated since the Supreme Court passed the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, in 1973.There are now only four doctors in the country — all former colleagues of Dr. Tiller— who openly provide late abortions, a procedure considered highly controversial even among those who consider themselves pro-choice. 'After Tiller' weaves together revealing interviews with the doctors with intimate scenes from their private lives and inside their clinics, where they counsel and care for their vulnerable patients. The personal and moral struggles of several of these women are revealed, forcing us to step into the shoes of both patient and practitioner as they confront the full complexity of each decision."
— Oct. 28: "Free The Mind" (panel features a mindfulness educator a Tibetan Buddhist nun a neuroscientist and more).
"In 1992, Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world's leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice. The results of Davidson's studies at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, are portrayed in 'Free the Mind' as they are applied to treating post-traumatic stress disorder in returning Iraqi vets and children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder."
— Oct. 29: "Call Me Kuchu," presented by the Uniting Pride Center (panelists include historians of global sexuality and more).
"In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato — Uganda's first openly gay man — and his fellow activists work against the clock to defeat the legislation while combating vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one, not even the filmmakers, is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes the movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world."
— Oct. 30: "The Fruit Hunters," presented by the Common Ground Food Co-op (panelists include a fruit scientist, a fruit farmer and a representative of a local guerilla gardening group).
"'The Fruit Hunters' travels across culture, history and geography to show how intertwined we are with the fruits we eat. Our guides are devoted fruit fanatics. Movie star Bill Pullman's obsession leads him on a crusade to create a community orchard in the Hollywood Hills. Adventurers Noris Ledesma and Richard Campbell scour the jungle for rare mangos, hoping to intervene before the plants are steamrolled by industrialization. Pioneering scientist Juan Aguilar races to breed bananas resistant to a deadly fungus that threatens the worldwide crop. And fruit detectives including Isabella Dalla Ragione investigate Renaissance-era paintings for clues, hoping to rediscover lost fruits."
Said Art Theater Co-op general manager Austin McCann: "Films were selected based on two criteria: positive critical response and diversity of form and content. While many documentaries rely on a talking heads format — experts talking at the camera — these documentaries are all entertaining as well as challenging in various ways."
More about the festival is at http://www.arttheater.coop/dangerous-docs-3/.