The Alliance for Sustainable Communities and the SouthSide Film Festival are pleased to make these excellent short films available free of charge for classroom use. The films, all made by independent filmmakers, were chosen for the 2006 Festival. We are making them available to schools because they address important topics in unique, thought-provoking ways.
- A Question of Loyalty
- Anna und der Soldat [Anna and the Soldier]
- Stay Awake
- The Other Side
‘A Question of Loyalty’, ‘Anna und der Soldat’, and ‘Stay Awake’ are fiction with a strong connection to real-life events; ‘The Other Side’ is a unique documentary looking at the U.S.-Mexico border. ‘Stay Awake’, by Blerime Topalli, won the Viewer’s Choice award at the Century City Film Festsival in October 2006].
All four films are presented uncut, just as they were shown at the SouthSide Film Festival. Stay Awake contains language that is realistic and in context, but may not be appropriate for some settings.
Teachers interested in using any of these films in their classroom should contact Peter Crownfield by email.
Notes on the FilmsAnna und der Soldat [Anna and the Soldier] Christian Prettin & Sören Hüper; Drama, 2005, 10 minutes
Italy in 1950. Eighteen-year old Anna is haunted by her past. Six years ago she lost her whole family in a massacre by the German Wehrmacht; now she lives a hard and lonely life in her small village. Again and again she draws her horrific memories of the massacre and how the villagers had to dig their own graves before they were shot by the German soldiers. Suddenly one of the soldiers returns, troubled by what had been done. When Anna sees him, she digs out an old pistol of her grandfather and forces the stranger to dig his grave. Will she bring it to the deadly end?A Question of Loyalty Randall Wilkins; Drama, 2005, 14 minutes
Germany in 1939. Dr. Albert Krentz answers a knock at his door and invites a young stranger named Paul Schmidt into his apartment. Hearing that the Doctor’s son has been killed in action during the recent war, he says he has come to express his condolences. Paul soon reveals that he and the son were close friends and that not only is he far from being a stranger, he holds information that could affect the Doctor’s future. A timely look at how the Nazi government looked at those who said anything that might be considered critical.Stay Awake Blerime Topalli; Drama, 28 minutes LANGUAGE
New York City in 1998. The war in former Yugoslavia serves as a backdrop to the ethnic clash between two families living in the Bronx. Once best friends, Gregor, a Serbian, and Mirosh, a Kosovar, now suffer under a lost sense of ethnic pride, leading both men to bring the conflict into their own homes. Meanwhile, their children, Kosta and Lily, are secretly caught up in a romance. But before the two can successfully run away together, Mirosh discovers their relationship and challenges Gregor to a street fight. In this final confrontation, the fate of both families becomes inextricably tied together by the very violence they had fled from in former Yugoslavia.The Other Side Bill Brown; Documentary, 2005, 43 minutes
Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas; 2004-2005. A two-thousand mile journey along the US/Mexico border reveals a geography of aspiration and insecurity. While documenting the efforts of migrant activists to establish water stations in the borderlands of the southwest United States, Brown considers the border as a landscape at once physical, historical, and political. The desert that marks the border between the U.S. and Mexico is the subject of a deeply personal reflection on and expose of the issue of Mexican immigration. Pensive, raw and luminous images construct a montage of a land where immigrants leave traces of their struggles and hopes. With Brown, we ride in the cars of activists protecting the rights of migrants, set up water stations, listen to the tales of crossing attempts, learn the history of the land, view glimpses of the isolated desert, and explore immigration policies. Questions surrounding migrant workers, clashes of cultures and the place of migrants in our society are explored. Throughout the film, images of the land dominate as we reflect on the idea of borders and what motivates people to make drastic changes in their lives.