UNAFF 2012: Human Dignity

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 12:00am - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 12:00am
Bay Area, CA

The 15th UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival) will be held from October 18-28, 2012 in Palo Alto, Stanford University, East Palo Alto and San Francisco. The theme for this year is HUMAN DIGNITY. UNAFF was originally conceived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was founded by Stanford educator and film critic Jasmina Bojic with the participation of the Stanford Film Society and the UNA Midpeninsula Chapter, a community-based nonprofit organization.

UNAFF celebrates the power of films dealing with human rights, environmental themes, population, migration, women’s issues, refugees, homelessness, racism, health, universal education, war and peace. UNAFF has screened some of the most awarded and talked about documentaries in the industry including five that went on to win Academy Awards (The Panama Deception, Thoth, The Blood of Yingzhou District, Freeheld and Taxi to the Dark Side) and twenty-one that were nominated (Regret to Inform, Genghis Blues, Long Night's Journey Into Day, LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton, Promises, Daughter from Danang, When Abortion Was Illegal, Twist of Faith, God Sleeps in Rwanda, War/Dance, Salim Baba, Trouble the Water, The Garden, Burma VJ, China's Unnatural Disaster - The Tears of Sichuan Province, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Rabbit a la Berlin, Which Way Home, Gasland, Killing In the Name and Waste Land).

In 2011 UNAFF jurors reviewed over 600 submissions. Their final program consisted of seventy films with themes that related to seventy countries. To complement the screenings UNAFF also produced seven panels on topics such climate change and its effect on migration patterns, the pros and cons of deregulation and global health issues in the twenty-first century, all of which featured experts in the field. In addition, for the second year in a row UNAFF established an event headquarters located in downtown Palo Alto where audience members could converse with filmmakers about the process of filmmaking, as well as the themes of the films themselves.

UNAFF gives five awards - UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Short Documentary, UNAFF Youth Vision Award, UNAFF/Stanford Video Award for Cinematography and UNAFF/Stanford Video Award for Editing.

Encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response from their audience and the media, they continue UNAFF year round with screenings through their Traveling Film Festival, which has taken place in San Francisco, Berkeley, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Davis, Saratoga, Sonoma, Sebastopol, San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, Burlington, New Hampshire, Bellevue, La Crosse, Houston, Durham at Duke University, New Haven at Yale University, Waukesha at University of Wisconsin, Boston and Cambridge at Harvard University and internationally in Paris, Venice, Belgrade, Phnom Penh and Abu Dhabi.

UNAFF has twice won the WAVE Awards for best promotional trailer and was nominated for a CreaTVe Award. In 2010 MovieMaker Magazine also listed UNAFF as one of the “Top 25 Festivals worth the Entry Fee.” Furthermore, UNAFF won the prestigious Earl W. Eames Award for innovatively combining new technologies with traditional media. As an acknowledgment of the 10th anniversary, UNAFF received the “Community Treasure Award” from Stanford University President John Hennessy for its contribution in promoting dialogue and education about different cultures and issues. For the last eight years the Mayor of Palo Alto has proclaimed the festival days as UNAFF Week, consistently recognizing the significance that UNAFF has for the community. Most recently, UNAFF received the prestigious Academy Foundation Grant for the “UNAFF and Kids” program, which will have its fourth presentation this year.