City of Surprise Youth Council

ASU Human Rights Film Festival stimulates conversations on social justice


Jason McClellan

Arizona State University's Human Rights Film Festival provided an opportunity for students to engage in conversations on a variety of topics related to human rights and social justice.

Hundreds of students, ASU community members and others from the general public attended the free film festival held April 6–8 at the College Avenue Commons Auditorium on ASU’s Tempe campus. The 2018 festival marked the event’s eighth year, and saw an increase in attendance from 2017.

The three-day festival was structured into topical sessions, which explored water pollution, colonialism and indigenous resilience, the global refugee crisis, immigration, and incarceration. Films exploring these topics were supplemented with expert panelists who led interactive discussions with the audience. Other highlights included the city of Surprise youth council speaking on immigration, and an hour-long Skype conversation with Ciara Lacy, director of “Out of State,” a film that explores formerly incarcerated men reentering society.

ASU students also played a key role in the event’s planning and production.

“I am always very pleased to see how excited the students get when organizing and prepare materials for the festival,” said LaDawn Haglund, festival founder and co-organizer, human rights scholar, and professor of justice and social inquiry in ASU's School of Social Transformation. “They usually come in knowing very little about human rights, but leave with a lot of motivation to get involved in protecting rights and fighting for justice in the world.”

Learn more about the films shown during the festival.