At the Heart of It: The Justice Film Festival

[dropcaps]T[/dropcaps]here is a simple truth to humanity: people care about people.

If there is one statement that can be made about the human race as thinking, feeling species, it is this: that humans have the remarkable capacity to sense pain or discomfort in another human—so deeply that it seeks to abate it as if for its own relief. We are able to care enough about the other person that we sacrifice our time and sweat even though there may be no direct benefit to ourselves.

From this example, we see that humans foster, nurture and humans cherish each other instinctively.

This nature for selfless, empathetic interaction stems from a universal presence of the concept of justice. Somehow, every person walking this earth harbors a keenly similar expectation, a common understanding of what mankind innately deserves, whether white or black, rich or poor, old or young or passed. These things can be called freedoms or rights. They can be called happiness pursued. They can be called joy.

But sometimes, these things can also be called food. Sometimes water or shelter. Often they are called innocence, or chances. And at other times, these entitlements are simply, collectively, and magnificently, called life.


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Justice Film Festival


On February 23rd, in Los Angeles, California, World Relief’s The Justice Conference held a 12-hour, ongoing, come-as-you-please film festival featuring short documentaries and feature-length films that promote social awareness and curing our race of injustice. Some notable titles in the lineup included the following.

Imba Means Sing, a documentary on the African Children’s Choir of impoverished Uganda; A Place at the Table, which was a feature-length on the growing hunger epidemic in America; Jubilee Project’s 50 People, One Question series, this time focused on creating conversation with residents of Skid Row by asking, “What is your dream?”; The Pink Room, about child sex trafficking statistics; and The Drop Box, an increasingly popular piece yet to be released on the story of one South Korean pastor who created “a large heated drawer, affixed to a house, that is designed to receive abandoned babies.”

Some of our writers  at Religio Magazine had the chance to interview filmmakers at the festival. And more than any great story of box-office achievements that these directors might have shared, the best of their words were ones that proved them human.

Jubilee Project’s Eddie Lee and Elaine Zhou, Bread for the World’s Jared Noetzel, and several others in attendance all spoke on behalf of their causes. But what made them different was the focus on the words they shared. Whether in front of an audience or alone with our writers, each spoke as if the advocacy he stood for was his alone. He drew all attention to the Skid Row dwellers and the starving population for which his cause was created. It was plain they knew more than a thing or two about responsibility and the people they were acting as voices for.

The foundation behind the Justice Film Festival is called World Relief, an organization that “stands for the vulnerable,” and it’s evident that its members fully perceive and stand for the same cause and purpose as well.

This festival was the finale of a larger event the organization did called The Voice of Injustice, which was a two-day conference that “[educated, inspired, and connected] a generation of men and women around a shared concern for the vulnerable and oppressed.”

Speakers of varying caliber—ministers, women activists, authors, artists, presidents of different initiatives, and several religiously affiliated authorities—gave their testimonials to an audience seated in the red plush seats of the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Visual artists did impromptu work on canvasses propped up against the walls of the venue. Poets recited verse in a poetry slam down the hall. Singers sang, volunteers came, books sold, and outside on the streets of urban Los Angeles, hundreds of human beings like you and we existed as members of the unknowing recipients of these advocates’ efforts.

Through these gatherings we can tangibly see the result of the human heart through their actions, which ultimately pinpoint the universal human values that are present in each person.

The forefathers of the United States declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These certain inalienable rights join humans together in perfect unity. These rights to life are our blood, and therefore, we are all brothers.

3 thoughts on “At the Heart of It: The Justice Film Festival”

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