“The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal.” - Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut's words may invoke images of a perfect world, but they are the first sentence in his dystopian short story,
Harrison Bergeron. Though everyone in his world is equal, they are stripped of their individual traits in the process. A dystopian future may not be what most of us think of when we think
equality. Rather, many of us think instead of utopia or at least a better tomorrow. A socially, racially, and economically loaded word, equality conjures up thoughts of peace and harmony, while also reminding us of conflicts begun and lives lost in its name. However, just as good cannot exist without evil, can equality exist without inequality? We believe that film is a platform with sufficient depth and global roots to help us better understand what it means to be equal, as well as how and why those around the world fight for or against it. This is why the 12th year of the CMU IFF is titled
Faces of (In)Equality
Today, it seems we live in a world in which the call for equality is stronger than ever. But what does an equal world look like? Is it like Vonnegut's world, in which there are no differences among people? Or is it a world where people treat each other with mutual respect despite their differences? Our hope is that the relationship between you, the viewer, and our films will open the way for conversations about what it means to be equal or unequal in any of these words' multiple senses and connotations. While film may not offer all the answers, the CMU IFF wishes to celebrate our similarities and differences in a way that will lead to a better understanding of these issues.