OH, THE HUMANITY!
If there’s an underlying takeaway to the success of a show like Making a Murderer or a podcast like Serial, it’s that audiences are interested in docudramas that deal in the subjects of human rights and justice when it’s presented in a riveting and engaging manner.
Lucky for San Diego audiences, there’ll be no shortage of this kind of content when the Human Rights Watch Film Festival opens on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Photographic Arts (1649 El Prado). Curated by international NGO Human Rights Watch, the sixth annual festival has been committed to screening films and documentaries that bring to life human rights abuses that leave viewers wanting to get out there and make a difference.
“It was started in New York in 1988 as a public education and outreach tool,” says Andrea Holley, the film fest’s strategic director. “Often times, the themes and the characters of these films could be from anywhere. Whatever your background is, there are paradigms about family and social pressures that almost any person can relate to.”
Highlights from this year’s fest include an opening night screening of I Am Sun Mu, a documentary on North Korean defector Sun Mu, who once worked as a propaganda artist in the insulated communist country. Sunday features a screening of the stop-motion animated feature The Wanted 18, which is an account of the bizarre true story of the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 Palestinian milk cows. Holley is particularly excited about A Right to the Image, an interactive presentation that attempts to examine how the victims of human rights abuses are presented in the media and in pictures.
“It deals with issues of distance and us-and-them,” says Holley, who will moderate a talk with Central Valley photographer Matt Black on a variety of issues dealing with victim depiction. “Issues of why we choose to show certain images of certain people and other images of other people.”
What’s best, ticket prices are affordable with single screenings priced between $4 and $8, and festival passes between $15 and $35. mopa.org
Anyone who doesn’t like dogs and wine should just stop reading this now. For those who do have a soul, The Wine Pub (2907 Shelter Island Drive #108) is gearing up for its first Woofer Wednesday of 2016. If diners bring their dog(s) between 6 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 10 percent of their tab will be donated to Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit that pairs service dogs with people with disabilities. The Wine Pub will continue serving this deal along with wines, cheeses and gourmet sliders every Wednesday throughout 2016. Over the past six years, Woofer Wednesday has raised more than $2,400 for organizations like The Rescued Dog and Furry Foster. No reservations or tickets are needed. thewinepubsd.com
We’ve made it no secret we love Ben Johnson. The bartender and co-owner of The Casbah—as well as the frontman for local band The Long & Short of It—manages to find time to be quite the prolific fantasy writer as well. His newest offering, Blood Silver, is the second book in his Webworld trilogy, which is set in and around Golden Hill. The first book, A Shadow Cast in Dust, mostly centered on a young boy attempting to flee from an ancient order of “web spinners” and combined elements of fantasy, sci-fi and dystopian fiction. Johnson describes the new novel as “a two-fisted magical tale of the musical underground and cops and the web that unites all things.” Readers can pick up both books at the Blood Silver release party at Station Tavern (2204 Fern St.) on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m. grandmalpress.com