Green Reel Film Festival

Green Reel Film Festival

There were some amazing movies shown at the Second Annual Green Reel Film Festival, held this weekend in L.A.

Some of the highlights.

Testimony: The Maria Guardado Story. She was an activist in El Salvador who was kidnapped, viciously tortured, raped, then left for dead by the police.  She survived, and became a major activist working tirelessly for Latino justice in Los Angeles.  Doctors who treat the tortured say the El Salvador tortures were among the most horrific ever, and that the tortures were all similar.  In other words, someone trained them to torture in specific ways.

Maria still does not speak English, because, she says, every time she tries to learn it, she hears the voice of the “Anglo-Saxon” who directed her torture.  But they didn’t kill her spirit. And she never gave them the names and addresses they wanted.

She was at the screening, and spends her life organizing and fighting for justice.

Whuzzup.  Dutch video collective gives cameras to the South Bronx hip hop and graffiiti art kids to let them chronicle their lives. Passionate, alive, and real.
Boom: The Sound of Eviction. When the dot com boom hit San Francisco, rents in some areas tripled.  The Mission District was especially hard hit, and dot coms moved in, bid up prices, and landlords evicted thousands of people so they could sell or get higher rents. Little old ladies were literally tossed into the street.  Some people became homeless.

People in the Mission, primarily low-income people of color, organized, fought back, stopped some evictions, and after huge battles, ended up electing Board of Supervisors sympathetic to tenant’s rights.  An inspirational story, well documented here.

Lumumba. Not a pretty tale, but true. In 1961 Patrice Lumumba took power in the new Congo nation after being democratically elected.  He wasn’t sufficiently subservient to Washington.  Two months later he was tortured then murdered at the behest of the CIA by those they had bought, primarly his former friend Mbutu, who took power and then, in an act of stunning hypocrisy and treachery, made Lumumba a national hero. Powerful acting.

Hollywood in Uniform.  How the Pentagon routinely “approves” Hollywood scripts.  If they don’t like the script, you don’t get their help.  Some might be so tacky as to call this censorship.

Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia.  Y’know all those computers we toss out or take to recycling centers when they’re old or obsolete?  Well, hundreds of tons of them end up in China, where peasants disssemble them – work that exposes them to humungous health hazards (computers have highly toxic components).  Excess parts are burned openly or dumped in rivers.  Our toxic junk goes there because it’s too dangerous or illegal to deal with here.  Yuck.

And you thought Greens were just tree-huggers…