We all know the Syracuse International Film Festival (SYRFILM) launches in just another couple weeks, moving from its spring time slot to mid-October and coinciding with the University's Homecoming Week. But first, "Illuminating Oppression," which has occupied its October anchor slot for eight years now. Consistently a stand-out event, this three-day festival is even more accessible to the public this year.
Tula Goenka, who teaches in the Television Radio Film program at the Newhouse School, launched this annual human rights film festival on the SU campus with the partnership of the international human rights organization, Breakthrough, of which she is a long-time board member. In the early years it was a continuation of the South Asian Women Directors Film Festival, which Goenka had been instrumental in launching in New York City, but it's branched out considerably in the intervening years. This year's fest offers recent docs, animation, and features -- along with discussions and guests -- from the US, Sweden, Brazil, Kenya, Canada, and New Zealand, ending with legendary Indian director Shyam Benegal's new feature, the political satire "Well Done, Abba!" Also new this year: the Digital Witness Symposium on Friday morning, examining the rising use of new media by human rights activists.
"Illuminating Oppression" runs for three days -- starting at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, September 30th and offering its final screening Saturday evening, October 2nd -- with all programs free and open to the public, in the easily accessible Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse III. "The Herg" is right on Waverly Avenue at the corner of South Crouse Avenue, just a step from Marshall St. Thursday and Friday parking for this event is $4 in SU's University Ave. parking garage (corner of East Adams) and Saturday parking is free in any open lot.
This year, HRFF is also part of the year-long multi-event program, Syracuse Symposium. Goenka says, "It's ironic, but this is the first year that I haven't co-sponsored this festival with Breakthrough -- and it's also the first year that Mallika Dutt of Breakthrough has been able to get here for the festival!" Mallika Dutt, a founder and CEO of Breakthrough, may ring a bell: she recently opened this year's Clinton Global Initiative conference with Bill Clinton and used that forum to announce a major project that ties the rise of HIV among women to domestic violence.