campus events

Colby-Sawyer's Human Rights Film Series Features America's War Machine, the Wrongly Imprisoned and 'Ground Zeros' of the World

NEW LONDON, N.H. – Colby- Sawyer College will continue its Human Rights and Social Justice Film Series this spring with three hard-hitting documentaries. This semester's films include “Why We Fight,” (Tuesday, Feb. 6); “After Innocence” (Wednesday, March 7); and “Scared Sacred” (Tuesday, April 3).

The documentaries highlight America's 'war machine,' the exoneration through DNA evidence of innocent men who had been wrongly imprisoned, and a filmmaker's pilgrimage to find hope amid some of the darkest places in human history.

The films will be shown at 7 p.m. in Clements Hall at the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center. These events are free and open to the public. The series is sponsored by the Colby-Sawyer College Cultural Events Committee.

"Why We Fight," the new film by Eugene Jarecki that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine. The film weaves unforgettable personal stories, with commentary by military and beltway insiders, including John McCain, William Kristol, Chalmers Johnson, Gore Vidal and Richard Perle.

“Why We Fight” launches a bipartisan inquiry into the workings of the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire. Inspired by Dwight Eisenhower's legendary farewell speech (in which he coined the phrase “military industrial complex”), Jarecki (“The Trials of Henry Kissinger”) surveys the scorched landscape of a half-century's military adventures.

The film moves beyond the headlines of various American military operations to explore why America fights and what political, economic and ideological forces drive the country to combat ever-changing enemies.

“After Innocence” tells the dramatic and compelling story of exonerated men who were wrongfully imprisoned for decades and then released after DNA evidence proved their innocence. The film focuses on the gripping story of seven men and their emotional journey back into society and efforts to rebuild their lives. Included are a police officer, an army sergeant and a young father sent to prison and even death row for decades for a variety of serious crimes.

The men are thrust back into society with little or no support from the system that put them behind bars. While the public views exonerations as success stories, “After Innocence” shows the human toll of wrongful imprisonment can last far longer than the sentences served. The film raises basic questions about human rights and society's moral obligation to the innocent and places a spotlight on the flaws in our criminal justice system that lead to wrongful conviction of the innocent.

"After Innocence" is directed by Jessica Sanders, an Academy-Award nominated filmmaker (“Sing!”), and produced and written by Jessica Sanders and Marc Simon in association with The American Film Foundation.

In “Scared Sacred,” award-winning filmmaker Velcrow Ripper sets out on a unique pilgrimage to visit the 'Ground Zeros' of the planet to discover whether it's possible to find hope in the darkest moments of human history. Ripper travels to the minefields of Cambodia; war-torn Afghanistan; the toxic wasteland of Bhopal; post-9/11 New York; Bosnia; Hiroshima; Israel and Palestine. This powerful documentary captures his five-year odyssey to discover if humanity can transform the 'scared' into the 'sacred.'

In each Ground Zero, Ripper unearths unforgettable stories of survival, ritual, resilience and recovery. “Scared Sacred” deftly weaves together stunning footage with haunting memories, inspirational stories, and an evocative soundscape. Featuring an engaging, first-person narrative, this film is an exquisite portrait of a search for meaning in tumultuous times.

Colby-Sawyer, founded in 1837, is a comprehensive liberal arts college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Students from 25 states and seven foreign countries learn in small classes through a select array of programs that integrate the liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional experience. Visit us on the World Wide Web at