2019 Films

Presenting the 2019 ACT Human Rights Film Festival Program.

  • Films are listed in alphabetical order. Click through for screening details, or consult our Schedule.
  • All Festival and Opening and Closing Weekend passes are available for purchase through Tickets & Passes.
  • Please visit How to Fest for important details and FAQs.
Scenes from a Dry City Capetown

2019 ACT Selected Short Films

New in 2019, ACT Human Rights Film Festival is screening exemplary short films that explore human rights and social justice topics. Joins us for this film block for five short films and have a chance to meet local nonprofits who are working on important issues right here in Northern Colorado. Learn More

Accountant of Auschwitz Matthew Shoychet

Accountant of Auschwitz

Ostensibly focusing on Oskar Gröning, a 94-year-old former member of Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) who was finally brought to trial in 2015, Matthew Shoychet’s The Accountant of Auschwitz mounts an incisive critique of the German justice system’s many failings. Through a skillful blending of archival documents, footage from past and present court proceedings, and contemporary interviews with constitutional scholars, this briskly paced yet deeply ruminative documentary reveals how the titular defendant lacks remorse. Ultimately, though, this moving testament to the perseverance needed to pursue justice at all costs is mainly concerned with the survivors, rather than the perpetrators, of genocidal acts. Learn More

Angels are Made of Light poster

Angels Are Made of Light

Following up his Oscar-nominated masterpiece Iraq in Fragments (2006), James Longley turns his camera toward another country in the Middle East and chronicles the day-to-day lives of those who have grown accustomed to the cruel circumstances that have put them in the cross hairs of both American soldiers and members of a resurgent Taliban. Beautifully lensed by the director himself, Angels Are Made of Light is nevertheless grounded in the gloomy realities of contemporary Afghanistan, whose citizens were once blessed with relative peace and prosperity but are now scraping by under the ever-watchful eye of an ominous surveillance balloon. Despite the looming threat of war and the daily reminders of recent traumatic events, people go about their business and pursue hard-won educational opportunities in hopes of restoring their beleaguered nation. Learn More

Edgecombe still


Divided neatly into three sections (“House,” “Homestead,” and “Community”), Crystal Kayiza’s poetic group portrait of the titular North Carolina county goes deeper that a standard journalistic account of racialized poverty to show, with the patience and sensitivity of a seasoned auteur, an African American population thriving — emotionally if not economically — in their rural surroundings and mutual support for one another.Learn More

Eldorado Markus Imhoof


Taking its title from the mythical place where untold riches are thought to await the bravest of explorers, Markus Imhoof’s Eldorado reveals the sad truth behind superficially uplifting stories of benevolent protection on the part of various EU nations. Even after escaping their home countries and temporarily settling down in transit camps, asylum seekers are often subjected to inhumane treatment and forced to kowtow to criminal organizations that exploit them for their labor. The Swiss director, a pioneering figure in the history of nonfiction cinema, distinguishes his work from other refugee films by incorporating his own childhood reminiscences. As a young boy during the Second World War, Imhoof witnessed his family take in an eight-year-old girl from Italy, transported to Zurich by the Red Cross. Named Giovanna, she become a touchstone in the filmmaker’s haunted memory of war and familial separation, sparking his present-day efforts to extend the same generosity of spirit to current political refugees and economic migrants whose inalienable right to protection is being ignored by many of the world’s governments.Learn More

Gaza film poster


This elegantly shot and masterfully crafted portrait of Palestinian life offers a rare chance to be immersed in the heart of Gaza, as we glimpse behind the walls of this misunderstood land to get to know real people who inhabit it.Learn More

Ian by Abel Goldfarb


Ian was born with cerebral palsy. All he wants is to make friends, although it seems impossible to achieve when discrimination and bullying keep him away from his beloved playground. However, this young boy is determined and won’t give up easily.Learn More

Las Sandinistas

Las Sandinistas

¡LAS SANDINISTAS! uncovers a watershed moment in history when a group of Nicaraguan women shattered barriers to lead rebel troops in battle and reshape their country with landmark social reforms during 1979's Sandinista Revolution and the ensuing US-backed Contra War - only to face renewed marginalization by their male peers once the wars ended. Learn More

Letter from Masanjia

Letter From Masanjia

When an American mom discovers an SOS note stashed in a package from Kmart, she never imagines it will lead to the closure of Masanjia, China's most notorious labor camp. When news of the note goes viral, the writer, a Chinese engineer who had been jailed for his spiritual beliefs, fears for his life and his family's safety. Realizing the spotlight is a chance to further expose the brutality of the Chinese regime, he decides to make a film about the harsh reality of being a human rights defender in China, risking his life in the process.

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Los Comandos poster

Los Comandos

Violence has overrun El Salvador. The emergency medical unit Los Comandos de Salvamento is standing up to the gangs’ reign of terror. Sixteen-year-old Mimi is a dedicated Comando caught in the cross hairs. When her fellow Comando, 14-year-old Erick, is gunned down while serving, she faces pressure to flee El Salvador and head north.Learn More

Midnight Family screened at ACT Human Rights Film Festival 2019

Midnight Family

In Mexico City, the Ochoa family runs a for-profit ambulance, competing with other unlicensed EMTs for patients in need of urgent care. In this cutthroat industry, they struggle to keep their financial needs from compromising the people in their care.Learn More

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements

Irene Taylor Brodsky builds on her powerful first feature, Hear and Now (Audience Award winner at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival), by delving into an intergenerational exploration of living with deafness. Brodsky’s son Jonas began losing his hearing as a baby and underwent cochlear-implant surgery as a toddler. Now 11 years old, Jonas has adjusted to a world with sound and is learning to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.Learn More

New Homeland by Barbara Kopple

New Homeland

New Homeland by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA) chronicles the experiences of five refugee children from war-torn Syria and Iraq whose families have resettled in Canada. In this sweetly observed film, Kopple follows the boys for two weeks at a summer camp in the Canadian wilderness. We watch as some boys thrive while others struggle and the best intentions of the camp counselors are put to the test.Learn More

Our Song to War Juanita Organza

Our Song to War

In the Colombian village of Bojayá, in 2002, FARC guerrillas committed a massacre. In this poetic, visually stunning film, the town emerges as a mysterious place where people sing as they guide the spirits across a mystic river. This death ritual, Novenario, is to ensure that the angry spirits of the dead don’t return—a reconciliation between the world of the living and the lost souls that roamed the Colombian landscape during 50 years of war.Learn More

Private Lives, Public Spaces: Intimacy and Community at Human Rights Film Festivals

Join us for a compelling conversation about important topics in human rights filmmaking with visiting filmmakers attending ACT's opening weekend. We welcome Irene Brodsky Taylor, director, and Tahria Sheather, producer, of Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements; Matthew Shoychet, director of The Accountant of Auschwitz, and other filmmakers.Get TicketsLearn More

Scenes from a Dry City Capetown

Scenes from a Dry City

In 12 minutes, Scenes from a Dry City looks at the water crisis from different perspectives: illegal car washers, demonstrators against water privatization, Christians in a mass service praying for rain, or golfers on a lush green course. Presented without commentary, the film gives an impression not only of the water crisis, but also of the racial inequality and income disparity in South African society.Learn More

Three Boys Manzanar

Three Boys Manzanar

This film is the story of the 70-year old reunion of three men interned at the camp Manzanar as children, incarcerated by circumstance and bound by history.Learn More

Trapped in the City of A Thousand Mountains

Trapped in the City of a Thousand Mountains

A new phenomenon of authentic Chinese rap has taken the internet by storm. But behind the unprecedented gains in popularity, there is a struggle for freedom of speech. Rappers are trying to figure out what they still can and cannot do after new censorship is announced.Learn More

Waldheim Waltz by Ruth Beckermann

Waldheim Waltz

A film about truth and lies or “alternative facts”. About individual and collective consciousness.  “Waldheim no, Waldheim no” shouts a crowd in the center of Vienna in 1986. Ruth Beckermann was one of the activists trying to prevent the election of Kurt Waldheim and documented the political events with her camera. More than 30 years later she goes back into her own archive and additionally uses international TV-material to analyse this turning point in Austrian political culture.Learn More

Western Collections by Aaron Burns

Western Collections

An intimate conversation with retired geologist Jude Gassaway, whose collection of objects representing the American West is just one facet of her endlessly fascinating, unexpectedly revealing story.Learn More

A Woman Captured poster

Woman Captured

A WOMAN CAPTURED is about Marish, a 52-year-old Hungarian woman who has been serving a family for a decade, working 20 hours a day - without getting paid. Her ID was taken from her by her oppressors and she's not allowed to leave the house without permission. Treated like an animal, she only gets leftovers to eat and no bed to sleep in. Marish spends the days with fear in her heart, but dreaming of getting her life back.
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N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear

Words from a Bear

Words from a Bear examines the enigmatic life and mind of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Navarro Scott Momaday, one of Native America’s most celebrated authors of poetry and prose. Cinematically this story takes audiences on a spiritual journey through the expansive landscapes of the West, when Momaday’s Kiowa ancestors roamed the Great Plains with herds of buffalo, to the sand-painted valleys of Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico where his imagination ripened and he showed superior writing skills as a young mission student. Learn More