An Oscar-nominated film about the life of an undocumented worker in the United States is making its debut in Tacoma this weekend as part of the Tacoma Community College Diversity Film Festival, now in its second year.
On Sunday, "A Better Life" with Oscar-nominated actor Demian Bichir kicks off the series, a partnership with the Grand Cinema that will offer six films from Sunday through April 26. The mix of dramatic features and documentaries explores individual and cultural diversity through film.
Each screening will be followed by a discussion of the film, except for the 6:30 p.m. screening of "A Better Life." That movie is the first big Hollywood studio treatment of undocumented workers. Decades ago, Bichir himself came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico to pursue an acting career.
Reduced-rate TCC student tickets are available at the door with a TCC ID card, but are not available from the website. No student pricing is available for the evening screening of "A Better Life" on Sunday.
Here's a rundown of the films in the series:
"A BETTER LIFE": 2 AND 6:30 P.M. SUNDAY; PG-13; 1:50
Hardworking single father Carlos Galindo (Demian Bichir) lives life in southern California for a single purpose: to provide his teenage son with the opportunity for a better life. This movie from director Chris Weitz ("About a Boy") weaves an emotional and ultimately uplifting look at the struggle of immigrants in their quest for the American dream.
"GUN HILL ROAD": 2 AND 6:30 P.M. TUESDAY; R; 1:28
Writer-director Rashaad Ernesto Green came to Tacoma in 2010 for the "25 New Faces" film festival while he was in production on "Gun Hill Road." The film opens with Enrique (Esai Morales) returning home to the Bronx after three years in prison. His wife (Judy Reyes) is hiding an emotional affair, and his teenage son (Harmony Santana) is exploring a gender transformation beyond Enrique's understanding. Under his parole officer's eye, Enrique must reconcile his macho ideals with his new reality or risk losing his family and freedom.
"INUIT KNOWLEDGE AND CLIMATE CHANGE": 2 AND 6:30 P.M. THURSDAY; NOT RATED; 54 MINUTES
Nunavut-based director Zacharias Kunuk and researcher/filmmaker Ian Mauro teamed up with Inuit communities to document their knowledge and experiences with climate change. This 2010 documentary takes the viewer "on the land" with elders and hunters to explore the social and ecological impacts of a warming Arctic. In Inuktitut with English subtitles.
"MEN WITH GUNS": 2 P.M. APRIL 22; R; 2:08
Written and directed by John Sayles, this 1998 film follows Dr. Fuentes, a man in search of his legacy: seven medical students that he trained to work in impoverished native villages. But early in his odyssey he begins to suspect that "men with guns" got there first. With every step he is confronted by bloody realities he had long ignored. Contains some Spanish and Italian with English subtitles.
"SCHEHERAZADE, TELL ME A STORY": 2 AND 6:30 P.M. APRIL 24; NOT RATED; 2:14
Hebba is the Cairo-based host of a political television talk show in this 2009 film. Karim, her husband, is deputy editor-in-chief of a government-owned newspaper. He fears that his wife's constant meddling with opposition politics could put his promotion in danger. He convinces her to devote her program to social issues for which the government cannot be held responsible. In Arabic with English subtitles.
"THE INTERRUPTERS": 2 AND 6:30 P.M. APRIL 26; NOT RATED; 2:05
This 2011 documentary tells the stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once used. The film captures a period in Chicago when the city became a national symbol for urban violence. The film's main subjects work for CeaseFire, an organization that believes the spread of violence mimics the spread of infectious diseases. The cure: Go after the most infected and stop the infection at its source.
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