Sept. 6-8: 3rd Annual RightsFest - a Traveling Civil Rights Festival comes to Tribeca Cinemas, September 6-8, 2012

Posted by Lia Chang on Friday, 31 August 2012.


Opening night: Thursday, September 6
The 90th Minute (24 min) compels viewers to think about the way we value women’s sports. More than a decade after the 1999 Women’s World Cup, when players like Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain inspired girls across the country to take up soccer, the Women’s Professional Soccer league still cannot survive. In May, just months after The 90th Minute’s release, the WPS folded completely.
* Director Jun Stinson will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

Jesse Owens (56 min), a 2012 American Experience film produced by Firelight Media (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), delves beyond the sprinter’s stunning performance at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany to tell the story of the son of a sharecropper who becomes a world champion, only to be confronted by the harsh realities of celebrity.
* Director Laurens Grant will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

Centerpiece presentations: Friday, September 7
Transcending: the Wat Misaka Story (50 min) chronicles the journey of the first minority basketball player in the NBA. Amidst a hostile racial climate that incarcerated 120,000 innocent Japanese Americans during World War II, Misaka prevails as a top college basketball player who is ultimately drafted by the New York Knicks in 1947.
* Co-directors Christine Toy Johnson and Bruce Alan Johnson will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

In Her Corner (43 min) profiles 2012 Olympic bronze medal boxer Marlen Esparza. The 2012 Olympic Games were the first to allow women’s boxing, the last female sport to be included in the world’s most prestigious sporting competition. In Her Corner reflects the lives and many struggles of female boxers in this country.
* CNN host Soledad O’Brien will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

Closing night: Saturday, September 8
Blind Ambition (12 min) introduces us to Simon Hill, a Paralympic soccer player who competes in England’s blind football league. In the world of professional soccer, celebrities and endorsements often drown out individual stories of struggle and sacrifice. Blind Ambition is a refreshingly beautiful portrait of one man’s pure love of the game.

Black Power Salute (58 min) examines one of the most iconic sports images ever captured: the raised fists of two sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, as they receive their medals during the 1968 Olympics. With the world watching, this single gesture of courage forces the spotlight onto the harsh reality faced by Black Americans.
* Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith, along with director Geoff Small, will join a Q&A discussion following the screening.

Screenings are at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $8.00 per night and available for purchase at

About RightsFest
RightsFest is a traveling, pan-ethnic, civil rights film festival sponsored by the Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education. The annual RightsFest brings audiences a diverse range of social justice films as well as panels to discuss civil rights, activism, filmmaking, and community-bridging solutions. RightsFest 2012 is made possible by funding from Open Society Foundations. 2012 Community Co-sponsors include the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian CineVision, Black Documentary Collective, DV Republic, Firelight Media, Metropolitan Black Bar Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

About the Korematsu Institute
The Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education is a program of the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco. The Korematsu Institute is dedicated to advancing pan-ethnic civil and human rights through education. Founded in the name of the late civil rights hero Fred Korematsu, the Korematsu Institute develops and distributes free curriculum about Asian American history to teachers around the country. In 2010, the Institute led community efforts to pass California’s Fred Korematsu Day, the first day in US history named after an Asian American. Fred Korematsu is celebrated every January 30, on Mr. Korematsu’s birthday. For more information, or

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Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.