When a group of Mayan Indians decides to organize a labor union to improve conditions in their village, their community is violently destroyed by the Guatemalan army. Teenage siblings, Rosa (Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez) and Enrique (David Villalpando) manage to escape the massacre and decide to start a new life in El Norte — the USA. The two trek through Mexico, meeting a variety of characters and facing trials and tribulations on their journey toward lives as illegal immigrants in Los Angeles. April 27, 2018
The true story of Selena Quintanilla-Perez, a Texas-born Tejano singer who rose from cult status to performing at the Astrodome, as well as having chart topping albums on the Latin music charts. March 23, 2018. Featured speaker: Rev. Deborah Owen
Ethan Hawke stars in this “riveting tale of mystery” (FOX-TV) based on the award-winning best-selling novel. A murder trial has upset the quiet community of San Piedro, and now this tranquil village has become the center of controversy. For Ishamael Chambers (Hawke), a local reporter, the trial strikes a deep emotional chord when he finds his ex-lover is linked to the case. As he investigates the killing, he uncovers some startling clues that lead him to a shocking discovery. Co-starring James Cromwell, Sam Shepard and Max Von Sydow, Snow Falling on Cedars is “hypnotic, mesmerizing and inspiring” (ABC-TV). March 9, 2018. Featured speaker: Rev. David Oliver-Holder
Some people build fences to keep people out — and other people build fences to keep people in. Academy Award® winners Denzel Washington and Viola Davis deliver the “performance-driven masterpiece” of the year in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, the film takes a passionate look at former Negro-league baseball player Troy Maxson (Washington) as he fights to provide for those he loves in a world that threatens to push him down. Washington’s directorial triumph “connects with people on a deep, emotional level” and pulses with the universal truths of love and forgiveness, despite what lies beyond your own fence. February 23, 2018. Featured speakers: Naomi and Eric Jakobsson.
Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky – even as they battle discrimination on the ground. It’s a tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history. February 16, 2018. Featured speaker: Jessica Ballard, granddaughter of Colonel A.J. Ballard.
The Visitor (2008): When professor Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins) travels to New York for a lecture, he’s stunned to find illegal immigrants Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and Zainab (Danai Gurira) living in his apartment. It comes out that it was rented to them by a swindler, and Vale feels sufficiently sorry for them that he invites them to stay. They get on well until Tarek is accused of jumping a subway turnstile and lands in a detention center. He risks being deported, and Vale does everything he can to prevent it. November 17, 2017. Featured speaker: Imam Ousmane Sawadogo, CIMIC-Central Illinois Mosque And Islamic Center
Gentleman’s Agreement (1948): When journalist Phil Green (Gregory Peck) moves to New York City, he takes on a high-profile magazine assignment about anti-Semitism. In order to truly view things from an empathetic perspective, he pretends to be a Jew and begins to experience many forms of bigotry, both firsthand and through a Jewish friend, Dave Goldman (John Garfield). Phil soon falls in love with beautiful Kathy Lacy (Dorothy McGuire), but their relationship is complicated by his unusual endeavor. November 10, 2017.
Get Out (2017): Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.
Featured speakers: Dr. Ghassan Moussawi, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Univ of IL; Ms. Coltrane Zerai-Che, undergraduate student, Media and Cinema Studies, Univ of IL. November 5, 2017. Goodwill donations were made to Black Lives Matter: Champaign-Urbana.
Rosenwald is the incredible story of Julius Rosenwald, who never finished high school, but rose to become the President of Sears. Influenced by the writings of the educator Booker T. Washington, this Jewish philanthropist joined forces with African American communities during the Jim Crow South to build over 5,300 schools during the early part of the 20th century. Inspired by the Jewish ideals of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world), and a deep concern over racial inequality in America, Julius Rosenwald used his wealth to become one of America’s most effective philanthropists. Because of his modesty, Rosenwald’s philanthropy and social activism are not well known today. He gave away $62 million in his lifetime.
Featured speakers: Rabbi Ariel Naveh, Senior Jewish Educator, Illini Hillel; Rebbetzin Ahava Zarembski-Schachter, OU-JLIC Jewish Educator, Illini Hillel. October 8 & 17, 2017
Pride (2014) is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all.
September 15, 2017. As party of C-U Pridefest, goodwill donations were donated to the UP Center of Champaign County.
Racial Taboo is a one-hour, documentary-style film designed to bring together people of diverse backgrounds for constructive and healing conversations on race. McKinley Pastor Keith Harris is one of a small group who will facilitate discussion after the screening.
Featured speaker: Brian Grimm, Director, The Racial Taboo Initiative. March 12, 2017