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May Day Labor Film Festival starts Thursday

Justin San Diego

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Students create event highlighting struggles of working class people

A film festival produced by the Labor Studies 15 class is scheduled to take place April 24 to May 8 on campus and at the San Jose Peace and Justice Center.

“Citizen Koch” will be the first filmed screened this Thursday. Oscar-nominated filmmakers Ta Lessin and Carl Deal – “Citizen Koch,” “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11” – will speak on the issues involved in “Citizen Koch.”

The film will be an advance screening, premiering in theaters this June.

Labor studies major Eric Acedo, 23 is the student organizer for “Inocente” and Sophia Said is the organizer for “Cointelpro 101.” Each student individually organizes a film.

“You’re going away with the whole experience of talking to filmmakers and people who are interested in the issue,” Said said.
There will be speaker and a Q&A session after each movie.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” said Jim Kelly, professor of labor studies. “We linked people who are experts on the issues and encourage participation.”

Several of the films relate to the issues in the SJCC community. “Inocente” is about a homeless artist, “Where Soldiers Come From” is about coping with a friend going to war and “Cointelpro 101” is about the FBI plot to suppress minority groups during the 60s and 70s.

“Speakers for ‘Inocente’ include Society, from Silicon Valley Debug,” Acedo said. “He has been a voice for the homeless in Silicon Valley and Sandy Perry of Community Homeless Alliance Ministry.”

“The class rekindles your spark in activism, which our generation lacks,” Said said.

Students are asked to bring a canned food item, which will be donated to charity, but admission is free.

Kelly’s class focuses on creating the film festival, but also analyzes leadership, reaching out to the community and working as a team.

For the festival, students research about 30 movies, research guest speakers, book them to speak, write press releases for the films and write a resume with skills you achieved during the class.

The 13th annual Reel Work 2014 Labor Film Festival will focus on economic, social and political issues.

The festival is planned around May 1 or May Day, which is when the eight-hour work day was established.

“This event helps our event planning (skills) while creating something positive,” Acedo said.

Labor 15 is only offered in the spring. Students may sign up for immigrant leadership training, Labor 34, leadership and communication, Labor 24, and other related labor classes next semester.

Visit http://reelwork.org/ for more information.

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May Day Labor Film Festival starts Thursday