United Nations Association Film Festival will go on as planned in streaming platform

The 23rd annual United Nations Association Film Festival will begin Oct. 15 to Oct. 25, 2020. Photo/logo courtesy of UNAFF 2020

United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) is poised to celebrate its 23rd year with “The Power of Empathy” as its theme from Oct. 15 to Oct 25.

Over the course of 11 days, the UNAFF will present documentaries spotlighting current events from across the globe, including Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greenland, Guatemala, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela, UK, and the US.

Originally conceived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over 70 years ago in Paris, the UNAFF continues as a platform to allow voices/perspectives to be heard and viewed from around the world.

Over the past two decades the UNAFF has screened some of the most awarded documentaries in the documentary film making industry. During that time, 30 were nominated and eight that made a debut at UNAFF went on to win Academy Awards.

Founded by Stanford University educator and film critic Jasmina Bojic, the annual film festival is esteemed in coordinating and maintaining a community forum of discovery about different cultures. It is the oldest of its kind among film festivals and Bojic has worked continuously to foster a sense of connection to the international community with many programs and outreach.

UNAFF Executive Director and founder Jasmina Bojic has been a journalist covering many political and cultural events for three decades; including the Academy Awards, Cannes, Sundance, Venice, & Tribeca film festivals. In addition to her teaching at Stanford at University, she has served on juries at many international film festivals, having extensive connections with filmmakers and the film industry worldwide. Photo courtesy of UNAFF 2020 via Zoom.

In addition to her work at Stanford as teacher-educator and coordinator she is also the director of the Camera As Witness Program bringing to Stanford her extensive experience in film and broadcasting. While promoting dialogue as well as analysis regarding social issues and solutions the UNAFF is a presence on the world stage for the call to unity in a troubled world.

At press conference this past Sept. 21 via Zoom, Bojic mentioned that 2020 has been “a very difficult year – especially in presenting films (due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic). We decided the best way is to present the films this year is online via streaming platform.”

“This is an adventure (in a new technology) and we have established a secure platform to screen the films for all 11 days of the festival,” she said.

Bojic considers the UNAFF’s connection to the San Francisco Bay Area significant because the United Nations was established in San Francisco initially upon its inception in the spring of 1945. This year marks the 75th anniversary of that historic gathering of 50 nations.

The documentary film ‘The Last Mombo’ will be among this year’s submissions to the UNAFF from the SF Bay Area. Directors/producers Rita Hargrove, Reginald D. Brown and fellow producer Paul Kealoha Blake provide a look at one of the Bay Area’s most prolific and diverse spots in the Latin/Salsa music scene. The film spotlights its history and significance in San Francisco when live music was an exciting part of the City and the Bay Area’s cultural life. Photo courtesy of UNAFF and Hargrove, Brown and Blake.

A number of local San Francisco Bay Area documentary filmmakers will be featured in this year’s festival among them are Rita Hargrave and Reginald D. Brown’s ‘The Last Mombo.’

Film sessions will have two to three films each day and will reflect a theme in connection to the main them of “Power of Empathy.” Each film in the festival will be screened only once she said. “They will not be repeated.”

Discussions will follow each of the films. “We want to provide a common experience for viewers but also an opportunity for filmmakers to network.”

Zoom sessions will only be open to ticket holders. There are no daily film passes this year, the film pass is for the entire 11 days of the festival.

The opening night of the film festival is Oct. 15. The festival continues until Oct. 25, 2020. For more information about the 23rd annual United Nations Association Film Festival visit the UNAFF web site.