By Beatrice Williams-Rude
Socially Relevant Film Festival New York announced its preliminary lineup Feb. 2, at Bocca restaurant on the Upper East Side.
Founder of the three-year-old festival, Nora Armani, disclosed the dates—March 14-20—and venue: Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea, at 23rd Street near 8th Ave.
Creation of the event was sparked by the murders of her cousin, Vanya Exerjian, and uncle, Jack Exerjian, in Cairo, in what was a religious hate crime. The festival is dedicated to their memory.
Criteria for inclusion in the festival were detailed. Underpinning the program is abhorrence of the gratuitous violence in so prevalent in entertainment.
The festival has four competition categories: feature length narratives, documentaries, short films and screenplays.
Nora Armani hopes to use the powerful medium of cinema to promote social change. She insists, for example, that even in a personal odyssey the effects on the wider community must be included, nothing totally self-involved.
Among the offerings: Caged No More, about human trafficking, from Greece;
I Am Not From Barcelona, about youth activism, immigration and love, a joint Belgian-Spanish work;
Before the Spring, a young blogger who lost both his eyes during the Egyptian Revolution recounts his story including the Revolution, Arab Spring, Social media and activists/bloggers, from Egypt;
Escapes, about self discovery, social pressures, adventure, from Spain;
Dance Iranian Style, about a refugee whose claim is denied in Holland who takes to living on the street in Amsterdam, from Netherlands and Iran:
All Meshed Up, about faulty medical devices, consumer advocacy, from the Netherlands. Erin Brockovich is involved in this.
Beneath the Olive Tree, about the secret journals of women political exiles during the Greek civil war in the late forties, a joint UK-Greek offering;
The Cursed Ones, about a young woman accused of witchcraft and of a village pastor’s ability to incite fear, a joint UK Ghana production.
This is just a sampling. There will be some 40 films in the festival.
Web site: http://www.ratedsrfilms.org/