VILAS — High Country United Church of Christ is hosting a film series to examine communities of hope. All films, followed by discussion, begin at 7 p.m. at HCUCC, at 8233 Hwy 421 N in Vilas. Refreshments will be served at each showing, which are all free and open to the public.


Tuesday, Sept. 24

Although the U.S. has only 5 percent of the world’s population, 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated people are in the U.S. In 1970, there were approximately 200,000 prisoners; today, the prison population is approximately 2.3 million. “13th” is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the country. “13th” explores the history of racial inequality in the U.S., focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African Americans and also examines the prison-industrial complex.

Ava DuVernay is an award-winning writer, director, producer and distributor of independent film. She was the first black filmmaker to win Best Director for Narrative Film at the Sundance Film Festival with her 2012 drama “Middle of Nowhere,” which went onto earn the 2013 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. DuVernay currently sits on the Board of Directors for Sundance Institute and Film Independent. Some other films include “Selma,” “Black Girls Rock” and “The Door.”

Tres Maison Dasan

Tuesday, Oct. 1

“Tres Maison Dasan” is an intimate view of childhood through the eyes of three boys growing up, each with a parent in prison, and follows their interweaving trajectories through boyhood.

Denali Tiller is an award-winning filmmaker, best known for her work directing and producing Tre Maison Dasan. She has produced short commercial content for nonprofits and start-ups, associate-produced short content in Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and developed and taught a cinema production class and an Art+Activism summer course at the Rhode Island School of Design.

They Call Us Monsters

Tuesday, Oct. 8

Directly told through the child’s perspective, the film is an exploration of relationships and separation, masculinity, and coming of age in America when a parent is behind bars.

“When children commit the most heinous of crimes, it challenges our sense of justice and probes the limits of our worldview. Ben Lear’s bold documentary, ‘They Call Us Monsters,’ suggests that how we respond to young offenders may be the ultimate test of our humanity — and a proving ground for the power of grace” (Christian Science Monitor).

The documentary follows three young juvenile offenders who signed up for a screenwriting class with producer Gabe Cowan as they await their respective trials in the Compound, a high-security facility in L.A. that houses violent juvenile offenders. As the boys work with Gabe, their complicated stories emerge.

Producer and Director Benjamin Lear graduated from N.Y.U. in 2010. Lear partnered with Plastic Pollution Coalition and 5Gyres to raise awareness for plastic pollution. As a result of “They Call Us Monsters,” Ben sits on the advisory board of InsideOUT Writers, is an ally-member within the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, teaching a weekly writing class within the Compound and mentoring juvenile offenders upon reentry.

For more information about the series, call HCUCC at (828) 297-1092.

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