The scene: a U.S. immigration office in New York City. The action: a man finds himself under rigorous interrogation. What are you afraid of? How were you persecuted in your home country? You want asylum? Make your case.
The anxiety-breeding Well-Founded Fear is one of 26 films from 20 countries that will be on view in October at the third annual United Nations Association Film Festival. Organized by Jasmine Bojic, a film critic and screenwriter who teaches Serbo-Croatian in the Slavic languages department, the campus festival is a big draw locally. "The Bay Area is one of the best places in the United States to produce documentaries," Bojic says. "In Los Angeles, the emphasis is all Hollywood, but here films are made by people who really help each other out."
More than 2,000 people have attended the film festivals over the past two years, and the co-sponsoring United Nations Association and Stanford Film Society expect as many this fall. The documentaries on view were chosen from 104 submissions that address such issues as human rights, environmental degradation and protection for women and refugees.
Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda, for example, looks at the exposure-related illnesses of children who live in a village next to India's only productive uranium mine. Chief examines the patriarchal family structure that underlies many of Africa's authoritarian regimes. "We're trying to bring an awareness of these kinds of worldwide issues to U.S. audiences," Bojic says.
They won't get it from Hollywood.