Children--Hope for Tomorrow? | Festival | Chicago Reader

Children--Hope for Tomorrow? 

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This daylong program of documentaries about the rights of children, selected from the United Nations Association's annual touring film festival, takes place Saturday, November 19, from 9 AM to 5 PM at Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 1104 S. Wabash. Suggested donation is $10 per half-day session; admission is free for Columbia College students. For more information call 312-344-6732.

Andrea Gronvall has called Len Morris and Robin Romano's Stolen Childhoods (2004, 85 min.) "a painstaking investigation into modern child labor" that "packs a wallop through its sheer volume of facts. It's nearly inconceivable that 246 million children worldwide toil long days under hazardous conditions, but a small army of experts and activists--including U.S. senator Tom Harkin and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai--deliver harrowing eyewitness accounts of such enslavement. Positive solutions are illustrated in case studies of partnerships between governments, foundations, and communities to keep children in school, but hope also lies in the fair trade movement that monitors who's picking our coffee beans and weaving our Oriental carpets" (11:45 AM).

Reviewing Leslie Neale's Juvies (2004, 66 min.), Gronvall wrote that it "began as a project for a film-production class at a youth correctional facility in Los Angeles and evolved into an eye-opening documentary on the growing number of kids being tried and sentenced as adults. Their lengthy prison terms are often disproportionate to their crimes; equally alarming is a trend in state legislatures to extend jail time for potential repeat offenders." Former juvenile delinquent Mark Wahlberg served as narrator and executive producer (2:45 PM).

Among the other features: Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton, directed by Deborah Dickson, Susan Fromke, and Albert Maysles, investigates child poverty in the Misissippi Delta (9 AM); Jack Silberman's Bombies revisits the U.S. government's secret bombing of Laos during the Vietnam war, focusing on child casualties (10:45 AM); Kim Shelton's A Great Wonder: Lost Children of Sudan is a portrait of Sudanese refugees trying to make sense of middle America (1:45 PM); and Ingeborg Beugel and Cees Overgaauw's Dear Europe tells the story of two Guinean refugees who froze to death in the wheel well of a plane flying to Brussels, leaving behind a note for the leaders of Europe (4 PM).

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