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Film festival presents international viewpoints

Megan Hemler | Monday, November 16, 2009

Six international films, each an Academy Award winner or nominee, were shown this past weekend as part of the “One World: The International Development Film Festival” and offered students a chance to see the world from radically different viewpoints.

“It’s really important for people to understand other people’s perceptions of the same thing … instead of staying under their own rock,” law student Yara Sallam said.

The festival was hosted by the International Development Research Council (IDRC), and dealt with issues of poverty, governance, justice and development.

“When I read the description [of the film] I thought it would be a good thing to take advantage of,” junior Laura Beverly said. “The first step is raising awareness. If that awareness turns into action, even better.”

Paul Jindra, president of the IDRC, said the festival came together “by word of mouth.”
“We talked to students, professors, watched trailers and read film synopsis,” she said.

The six films were chosen not only for their individual awards, but also because they focus on countries that coincide with the regional working groups of the IDRC.

“We’re hoping they see there’s real issues where anyone can apply their own talents,” Jindra said. “There’s a place for everyone in the challenge of poverty.”

The IDRC helps students find grants and funding for service, internship and research opportunities, as well as increasing cross-departmental collaboration on development issues.

“We’re really educating students to become leaders,” Jindra said.

The film festival was free and open to the public, with informal discussions after each screening.

“It’s really important for scientists, engineers, people from all backgrounds to be involved,” Andrew Hebert, working group chair for the Middle Eastern and Central and South Asia groups, said. “Our meetings are a way for students to come together once a week and share their knowledge. It’s also a way for students who have studied abroad to share their first-hand experiences.”