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Living in Lebanon during the 2006 Israeli bombardment led activist filmmaker Iara Lee (BENEATH THE BORQA, SYNTHETIC PLEASURES) to redouble her efforts to focus on the ways the arts can function as powerfully subversive weapons of peace. In this engaging documentary she traverses five continents to explore vibrantly effective movements that counter tyranny and violence with music and dance, including a look at the flourishing hip hop culture in Iran that flies in the face of government repression.

2010, Iara Lee, USA, 73 min. In English, Arabic, Burmese, Xhosa, Persian, French, Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese with English subtitles.  HDCAM video. (Description courtesy of the Gene Siskel Film Center.)

Presented in partnership with WBEZ 91.5 FM, as part of Global Activism Expo 2011. A panel discussion moderated by WBEZ's Alison Cuddy to explore the work of several Chicagoans involved in art as activism follows the screening. 

Panelists will include:
Leslie Thomas, Executive and Creative Director of ARTWORKS Projects whose mission is to use design and the arts to raise awareness of and educate the public about significant human rights and environmental issues.  ARTWORKS Projects will be one of the featured organizations at WBEZ’s Global Activism Expo 2011 on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

Kitty Kurth is President of Kurth Lampe, an international public relations and political consulting firm which has been working with clients to create peace and social and political change through the Arts since the 1980's.

Che 'Rhymefest' Smith is a Hip-Hop Artist and Community Activist (self-proclaimed Raptivist) who ran for Alderman in the 20th Ward here in Chicago; he was narrowly defeated by incumbent Willie Cochran in the April 5th, 2011 runoff election. Rhymefest is a Grammy-award winning artist who is known by many for the political and sociological commentary in his raps, and his activism has led to work with politicians around the world including the current prime minister of the UK, David Cameron.

Alison Cuddy (moderator) is the host of WBEZ’s award-winning weekday newsmagazine Eight Forty-Eight.  Alison joined the staff of WBEZ in August 2001 as associate producer for the nationally-syndicated program Odyssey. In addition to the daily program, Alison produced Odyssey’s live specials, including the two-hour "Dissent and Democracy in Chicago." Prior to joining WBEZ, Alison worked in the Immigration Department of ThoughtWorks, Inc. in Chicago, and was an adjunct professor at DePaul University as well as a teaching fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.F.A. in Cinema Studies from Concordia University in Montreal.

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