campus news & events

Colby-Sawyer College's Human Rights and Social Justice Film Series Highlights Global Warming and Growing Threat of Nuclear Weapons

NEW LONDON, N.H. – As part of its Human Rights & Social Justice Film Series, Colby-Sawyer College will host "The Devil Came on Horseback, about the genocide in Darfur; “Everything's Cool,” a rousing call to action on global warming; and “White Light/Black Rain,” highlighting the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of World War II and the growing threat of nuclear weapons today.

“The Devil Came on Horseback” will be shown on Thursday, March 6; “Everything's Cool” on Tuesday, March 18, and “White Light/Black Rain” on Tuesday, April 15. All the screenings will be held at 7 p.m. in Clements Hall of the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center. Admission to all three films is free, and the public is welcome to attend. The series is sponsored by the college's Cultural Events Committee.

The New York Times calls “The Devil Came on Horseback” an up-close, acutely painful call to action. Filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern used the photographs and first-hand testimony of former U.S. Marine Corps Captain Brian Steidle to create an “emotionally charged journey into the heart of Darfur, Sudan.”

The Arab-run government of Sudan has been systematically extinguishing the lives of black African Sudanese for years now in efforts to rid the region of its native inhabitants. Steidle, an observer for the African Union — a United Nations peace-keeping force — had access to parts of the country that no other journalist or outsider had the ability to penetrate. Upon arriving there, Steidle found he was completely unprepared for what he would witness and experience. He was fired on, taken hostage, and despite his efforts, unable to save the lives of young children.

The filmmakers and Steidle hope the film will encourage the public to take action in any way they can to end the tragedy of Darfur. Steidle said, “I'd like to see more African-American's involved in the issue, but it's about what community I can influence.” Visit the “The Devil Came on Horseback” Web site.

“Everything's Cool” is a film that seeks to fuel America's growing awareness of global warming. The film, laced with animations by Jeremiah Dickey and Emily Hibley, follows the history of the politics surrounding global warming, tracing it back to 1987, when it was commonly called “the greenhouse effect.”

“People think about 'global warming' in the way they think about 'violence on television' or 'growing trade deficits',” said Bill McKibben, one of the activists highlighted in the film, “as a marginal concern to them, if a concern at all.” This documentary sets out to change that.

Instead of the grand overview of global warming that Al Gore offered in “An Inconvenient Truth,” the film's style is similar to that produced by activist Michael Moore, without the rabble-rousing techniques. The filmmakers' goal is to offer a fun, factually accurate, passionate film that will propel a new political and social movement to tackle the problem of global warming.

“Our goal is no less than to help galvanize the American public,” said Judith Helfand, a film contributor, “and through them to rouse the federal government to take meaningful action on global warming.” Visit the “Everything's Cool” Web site.

After 60 years, the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki continue to spark debate, yet few people know much about what happened on those dark days in 1945. “White Light/Black Rain” is a film by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki that seeks to put a human face on the destructive nature of nuclear weapons.

The film highlights 14 survivors of the atomic bomb attacks, most of whom have not spoken publicly about their ordeal, and four Americans who were involved in the bombings. The film depicts unimaginable suffering of both parties as well as the extraordinary power of human resilience. The accounts of those interviewed are enhanced by paintings and drawings done by the survivors, historical footage and photographs, some of which are newly uncovered.

The film has been called “fairly conventional” by reviewers, but the images of survivors holding photos of themselves before the bombings speaks volumes about the devastating power of the weapons that countries in modern times fight wars over. Okazaki tackled a film of much the same topic two years ago in “The Mushroom Club,” which was nominated for a short subject Oscar.

“White Light/Black Rain” serves as a powerful reminder to all of us living in today's world—a world with enough nuclear weapons to equal the firepower of 400,000 Hiroshimas—that we should never forget what happened on those two days in 1945. Visit the “White Light/Black Rain” Web site.

-Amber Cronin '11

Colby-Sawyer, founded in 1837, is a comprehensive liberal arts college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Our students learn in small classes through a select array of programs that integrate the liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional experience.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000.