In partnership with Watkins Community Education, the HerStory Institute presents a summer cinema series of films highlighting the writing, producing, directing, cinematography, production design and editing in films created by women. The series will screen a range of features, shorts and documentary films including but not limited to independent and foreign films, classics and festival favorites. In addition, the HerStory Institute will deliver monthly panels and/or workshops for film aficionados who desire a deeper understanding of the art and craft of film. HerStory Institute is supported by Her Point of View, an international arts and entertainment festival supporting the creative work of women.
In the late 1990s, Rose Mapendo lost her family and home to the violence that engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo. She emerged advocating forgiveness and reconciliation. In a country where ethnic violence has created seemingly irreparable rifts among Tutsis, Hutus and other Congolese, this remarkable woman is a vital voice in her beleaguered nation’s search for peace. When war came to Rose’s village, she was separated from her five-year-old daughter, Nangabire. Rose managed to escape with nine of her ten children and was eventually resettled in Phoenix, Arizona. Over a decade later, mother and daughter are reunited in the US where they must face the past and build a new future. As mother and daughter get to know one another, they must come to terms with a painful past, and define what it means to be a survivor, a woman, a refugee and an American. Through this intimate family portrait unfolding against the wider drama of war, we explore the long-term and often hidden effects of war on women and families, particularly those in traditional societies—financial despair, increased susceptibility to rape, and social ostracism. “Pushing the Elephant” captures one of the most important stories of our age, a time when genocidal violence is challenged by the moral fortitude and grace of one woman’s mission for peace. This is a powerful first-person portrait of an indomitable woman dedicated to peace and the healing power of forgiveness. A moving, joyful and hopeful chronicle of refugee experience and acculturation in the U.S. today, “Pushing the Elephant” is also an insightful portrait of the changing face of immigration in our increasingly diverse society.
83 min. 2010