2016 Show Me Justice Film Festival

April 7-8, 2016

Univ. of Central Missouri

Thank you all for attending the 2016 Show Me Justice Film Festival! Please join us for next year's festival, April 6-7, 2017.

Independent Social Justice Film Festivals are not all about awards, they are about making art and making a difference. But awards are convenient for filmmakers to garner more support to make more films, so our audience and our jury has awarded the following films:

Thursday Shorts Program Audience award goes to..."Tea Consent" by Rachel Brian and Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess.

Friday Shorts Program Audience Award goes to..."The Letter" by Stephane Gays. These awards are made possible by George and Leah Wilson.

The Jury Awards for Excellence are made possible by the Dept. of Art & Design at the University of Central Missouri. Honorable mentions go to "Once Upon a Time there was a Man" by Siavash Jamali and Ata Mehrad, "Crying Earth Rise Up!" by Suree Towfighnia, and "Juvenile Justice: The Road to Reform" by the Gandhi Brigade Youth Media. And the 2016 Jury Awards of Excellence go to...

"Fashion to Die For" by Lynn Estomin
"Dissonance" by Anna Ngo.

Congratulations to everyone! We were honored to feature the 34 films in this year's 6th Annual Show Me Justice Film Festival. Submissions will open again in early September for next year's festival – I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Thanks to all!
Mark von Schlemmer
Festival Director

About the Festival

The Show Me Justice Film Festival is an international film festival that brings films from around the world to the Midwest to showcase the theme of social justice. The festival is coordinated by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Central Missouri in cooperation with the Department of Communication. The films selected for the festival compete for prizes based on their artistic competence, creativity, and exploration of the festival theme.

The Show Me Justice Film Festival strives to raise awareness about social justice. Through the powerful medium of film, our goal is to inspire individuals and communities toward collective action against social injustices such as racism, sexism, poverty, substance abuse and other ills that infiltrate society and suppress democratic movements throughout the world. Filmmakers from around the globe are encouraged to submit short feature films (30 to 60 minute), and short narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary films that put a face on the many shades of social injustice and offer a variety of real experiences by sharing their stories.

Email the Show Me Justice Film Festival at filmfest@ucmo.edu.

Film Screenings

Thursday Afternoon Shorts (12:30pm—Hendricks Hall)

Two men stand proudly in shirts that read JUST and MARRIED

Image from Equal Justice Under Law, playing during Thursday's Shorts Program

Thursday's Shorts Program starts at 12:30pm in Hendricks Hall.

Balloon Ride

Australia, Animation, 5 minutes
Directed by Evan Hughes

A boy and his mother suffer at the hands of his alcoholic father. In his dreams, the boy escapes with his mother, but sometimes dreams do not become reality.

The Boy

USA, Narrative, 9 minutes
Directed by Cayman Grant

When two immigrants begin to notice their only son acting in unexpected ways, they call on a local tribal healer to “heal” him—of a suspected evil demon.

Fashion to Die For

USA, Experimental, 6 minutes
Directed by Lynn Estomin

Through spinning colors, threads, and fabrics and the movement of sewers and searchers, this film creates a unique picture of the human rights violations perpetrated by the global textile industry.

A Place Like This

Switzerland, Documentary, 7 minutes
Directed by Philip Meyer

Through the words of a former prisoner and images from today, this film looks at the life of a now closed prison in Lucerne, Switzerland, while probing issues of prisoner’s rights.

The Girl Bunnies. Rocketship.

Canada, Animation, 8 minutes
Directed by Françoise Doherty

Bunnies, separated by outer space, accidentally meet, become smitten, and find a way to cross the galaxy and be together.

Make Music, Not War

Ukraine, Documentary, 1 minute
Directed by Denys Kushnarov

This film juxtaposes the power of music with war.


USA, Narrative, 5 minutes
Directed by Noah Canavan

A man, once the victim of a school shooting, has a hard time freeing himself from the trauma he experienced. The media’s extensive coverage does not help the situation.

We Got Your Back

Sweden, Narrative/Satire, 3 minutes
Directed by Viktor Hertz

There are so many social issues to be concerned about; don’t you wish you could take a break sometimes? What if there were a simple service to cover those moments, for only a small monthly fee?

In Silence

UK, Experimental, 3 minutes
Directed by Rob Harvis & Hettie Griffiths

Few women talk openly about their experiences with abortion. This film provides a space for one woman's unspoken emotions with the hope of lessening women’s burdens and breaking taboos.


Canada, Narrative, 3 minutes
Directed by Maxime Gilbert

When her mother-in-law unexpectedly arrives during breakfast, a woman reveals her feelings about not being accepted for who she is and the effects that disapproval has on herself, her partner, and her adopted daughter

More Alike than Different

USA, Documentary, 6 minutes
Directed by Haley Labian

Through her daily life, Danielle continually confounds others’ preconceived ideas of who someone with Downs Syndrome is and what they can do.

I am Fundi

USA, Documentary, 9 minutes
Directed by Riede Dervay

Through the organization Fundibots teachers are attempting to instill an interest in learning and an excitement for science in Uganda’s youth.

Equal Justice Under Law

USA, Documentary, 3 minutes
Directed by Dan Goldes

In 2015 the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. This film mixes celebrations in San Francisco with the President’s speech in response to the ruling, helping illustrate the happy outcome of years of activism.

Thursday Night Features (6:30pm—Hendricks Hall)

A young girl sits up in a hospital bed

Image from Crying Earth Rise Up, playing during Thursday's Shorts Program

Thursday's Early Film Program starts at 6:30pm in Hendricks Hall.

Sound of Tears

Canada, Narrative, 15 minutes
Directed by Dorothy A. Atabong

Disapproving of her boyfriend Josh, Amina’s family moves from Vancouver to Toronto to separate the pair. But Josh tracks them down and begs Amina to let him be a father to their unborn child. What the young couple does not know, is that Amina’s family has decided to take matters into their own hands.

The Wish Horse

USA, Narrative, 19 minutes
Directed by Lisa Ford

Russell is not a typical teenager. He must care for his mentally ill mother and imaginative six-year-old sister who believes a new foal on a neighboring farm can grant the small family’s wishes.

Once Upon a Time, There Was a Man

Iran, Documentary, 26 minutes
Directed by Slavash Jamali

A disabled entrepreneur owns a factory in Iran; the majority of his employees are also disabled. Through his rights activism, he has provided support and hope for many Iranians with a variety of disabilities.

Social Justice & The Environment Film Program starts at 8 pm in Hendricks Hall.

Honorio Two Minutes of Sun

Spain, Animation, 5 minutes
Directed by Paco Gisbert & Paqui Ramirez

An elderly man living in a big city wants to feel the sun, but the tall buildings and pollution do not make it easy.

Evangelicals for Climate Action

USA, Documentary, 21 minutes
Directed by Sam Kauffman

This film introduces a group actively working for environmental change, framing their work through their passion for the environment, fears for our planet, love for creation, and Christian evangelical beliefs.

Crying Earth Rise Up

USA, Documentary, 57 minutes
Directed by Suree Towfighnia

This film tells the story of the impact of uranium mining on the water, land, and people of the Great Plains. When Debra White Plume’s drinking water shows high levels of radiation, she sets out to determine the cause and what can be done about it.

Friday Afternoon Shorts (Noon—Hendricks Hall)

Two men stare at each other against the background of a worn Cuban building

Image from Four Doors, playing during Thursday's Shorts Program

Friday's Shorts Program starts at noon in Hendricks Hall.

Ad REM – Girl & Ad REM – Boy

Poland, Documentary (PSAs), 2 minutes
Directed by Bartosz Kruhlik

These shorts visually illustrate the impact of our assumptions and perceptions; they are public service announcements for AD REM, a Polish association that works with high-risk youth.

The Boy Who Dodged the Rain

USA, Narrative, 14 minutes
Directed by Marla A. Schulz

Jackson has his own style and acts unconventionally. This film asks whether it is better to fit in or stay true to yourself.

Four Doors

USA, Narrative, 14 minutes
Directed by Juan Pablo Daranas Molina

In Cuba, internet access is not easy and generally only available to a privileged minority; however, it is hard to join that minority. Ernesto sets out to become one himself.

Juvenile Justice: The Road to Reform

USA, Documentary, 8 minutes
Directed by Gandhi Brigade Youth Media

Fifty miles from Baltimore a group of high schoolers observed the spring 2015 protests and riots over police brutality. In this film they ask what led to the turmoil and, more importantly, what can be done to make youth safer in their own communities?

I You We

Iran, Narrative, 1:13 minutes
Directed by Ali Erfan Farhadi

A group of children pretends they will travel by foot, bus, subway, or car. The last boy makes driving your own car sound so good that the others soon change their minds, with no thought of the environmental consequences.

The Letter

France, Narrative, 8 minutes
Directed by Stéphane Gays

While waiting on a train, Sarah writes a final letter to a love left behind. This film portrays the cost at times of being ourselves.

Meet the Real Me

Poland, Documentary (PSA), 1 minute
Directed by Bartosz Kruhlik

A man attempts to reconnect with the world following time in prison. This short is a PSA for the Slawek Foundation, a Polish group that helps former prisoners successfully reenter society.


Canada, Animation, 4 minutes
Directed by Anna Ngo

Having discovered their true identity, a transgender youth is ostracized by their traditional community.

One, If by Land

USA, Experimental Documentary, 14 minutes
Directed by Nandini Sikand (filmmaker will attend the festival)

Inspired by three stories of real voyages made from Mexico, China, and Mozambique, "One, If By Land" explores the politics of undocumented immigration to the global North. Why should survival and arrival be an impossibility?

Friday Night Features (7pm—Hendricks Hall)

The back of a police officer walking through a townhome complex

Image from I Dream of an Omaha Where..., playing during Thursday's Shorts Program

Social Justice & Race – Film Program A starts at 7pm in Hendricks Hall.

Hymns of Three Cities

USA, Documentary, 23 minutes
Directed by Lisa Mills

Three Central Florida cities are united by their histories: each has either acknowledged, forgotten, or displaced knowledge of racial violence and injustice. "Hymns of Three Cities" attempts to shed light on, and come to terms with the collective’s memory.

Ketchup and Blood

USA, Narrative, 7 minutes
Directed by Ryan Nanni

A group of college students stage a sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter, to peacefully protest segregation. While they are prepared for reactions from the white community, they are still surprised by the brutality they encounter.

Juvenile Justice: The Road to Reform

USA, Documentary, 8 minutes
Directed by Gandhi Brigade Youth Media

Fifty miles from Baltimore a group of high schoolers observed the spring 2015 protests and riots over police brutality. In this film they ask what led to the turmoil and, more importantly, what can be done to make youth safer in their own communities?

Social Justice & Race – Film Program B starts at 8pm in Hendricks Hall.

Then Then Then

Canada, Documentary, 30 minutes
Directed by Daniel Schioler

Blending found footage and music, "Then Then Then" looks at the moral struggles of a generation coming to terms with its attempts to affect social change through both pacifism and direct action.

I Dream of an Omaha Where...

USA, Documentary, 53 minutes
Directed by Mele Mason

Omaha is a dangerous city for African American youths, largely because of widespread gang violence. "I Dream of an Omaha Where..." shares the stories of those who participated in gang violence and those whom gang violence has tragically affected.


Thursday—Community Filmmaking Workshops

9:30-11:00am, Elliott Student Union
Open to the public!

Friday—Filmmakers Roundtable

3-4:30pm, Elliott Student Union 237 B

Friday—Festival Reception

6-7pm, Student Recreation & Wellness Center Atrium


Festival Planning Committee

Mark von Schlemmer (Festival Director), Shannon Johnson, (Associate Director/Technical Director), Julie Lewis (Media Student Coordinator) Michael Graves (Social Media Director), Eric Newsom (Web designer), Paula Beck, Marcela Gonzalez, Bailey Dyer, Hannah Bray, Julie Stephens, Kristy Boney, Robynn Kuhlmann, Michael Sawyer, Mike Greife, Carol Benton, Joyce Jablonski, Mick Luehrman, Mary Beth Woodson, and Gersham Nelson.

Marketing & Design Team

Shawna Newman, Olivia Shelton, Sarah Chamberlin and Allie Lance

Screening Judges

Shannon Johnson, Mark von Schlemmer, Mary Beth Woodson, Chris Blunk, Julie Stephens, Marcela Rodriguez-Gonzalez, Alison Ingram, Kim Taylor, Andy Weber, Hannah Bray, Mary Kelly, Brock Masters, Jordan George, Karen Hicklin, Stephen Jackson, Carol Atkinson, Katherine Urquijo, Mason Potter, Tyler Moody, Malinda McBride

Additional Thanks

Keiko Ishido, Phil Hoffman, Chris Stewart, Daniel Ayers, Sarah Craig, Sodexo, Beth Rutt, UCM Bookstore, Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and the many volunteers who have stepped in to help in the past few weeks.

Award trophies were designed by a UCM Student. Music for the video open and PSAs was composed and produced by UCM student Kristen Hirlinger.


Financial assistance for this project has been provided in part by the Missouri Arts Council.