Carnegie Mellon University
February 18, 2011

Press Release: CMU International Film Festival Focuses on Immigration Issues

"Faces of Migration" Runs March 17 - April 10 With Special Preview of "Separations" on March 2

Contact: Shilo Raube / 412-268-6094 /

PITTSBURGH—In 2010, an estimated 214 million people worldwide left their native countries to live elsewhere. Each person has a story to tell — from the initial motivations to migrate to the socio-cultural and personal identity conflicts faced upon entering these new countries. 

The 2011 Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival will bring the intricacies surrounding migration to life at venues throughout Pittsburgh with "Faces of Migration," March 17 — April 10.

Sponsored by CMU's Humanities Center, the Heinz Endowments and PNC Bank, "Faces of Migration" will feature 15 award-winning independent films hand-picked by Jolanta Lion, festival director and assistant director of the Humanities Center. Lion, who for the past five years has shaped the CMU International Film Festival into a prestigious celebration of films that confront important social issues, selected films that depict migration through a variety of unique circumstances and perspectives. The films will all make their Pittsburgh debut and are not otherwise available to the public. 

"Each film tells a brilliant story that will provoke thought, emotion and discussion, so to capitalize on that, we have worked to create an interactive atmosphere at each screening," Lion said. "Several of the directors will be present to introduce their films and answer questions. We'll have expert panels discussing the issues following certain screenings. For Neukölln Unlimited, a documentary that showcases break dancing as a part of the story, the CMU break dancing club will perform. Each event will enforce the message of the film."

The festival will kickoff with a special preview of the Dutch film "Separations" at 8 p.m., March 2 in CMU's McConomy Auditorium. "Separations" is an autobiographical film by Andréa Seligmann Silva and Mieke Bal that confronts Seligmann Silva's family's long history of migration, from narrowly escaping the Nazi's in the mid-20th century until the present day. Following the screening, Bal will attend and host a discussion on family, the Jewish identity and migration.

The festival's opening night, Thursday, March 17, features a 7:15 p.m. screening of "The Arrivals" at the Melwood Screening Room, followed by a reception. This French film tells the story of two social workers in Paris who consistently encounter individuals seeking asylum in France. Presented in conjunction with the Alliance Française de Pittsburgh, the film utilizes carefully gleaned humor to portray the exasperating yet emotional immigration process.

At 9 p.m., Friday, March 18, the Melwood Screening Room will host a viewing of "Littlerock," an American film that follows a Japanese student who suddenly finds herself stranded in the small desert town of Littlerock, Calif. Exhilarated by a sudden sense of freedom, the young student falls into the youth subculture of drugs, sex and alternative rock, but, in the process, she discovers friendship, romance and the promise of a new home. Directed by Michael Ott, who grew up on the outskirts of Los Angeles, "Littlerock" has won nine major independent film awards, including a 2011 Independent Spirit Award.

Another festival highlight includes two screenings of "Immigrant Nation! The Battle for the Dream," a documentary about the immigrant rights movement from 2006 to 2009.  Directed by Esaú Meléndez, the film chronicles the protests, marches and one woman's resistance to deportation in Chicago. The screenings will take place at 4 p.m., Friday, April 8 at 105 College Hall at Duquesne University, and at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 9 in CMU's McConomy Auditorium. Meléndez will lead panel discussions following each viewing. Carnegie Mellon's Roger Rouse, associate teaching professor of history and an expert in cultural politics, class relations and migration, will participate on the panel at CMU.

For the second consecutive year, the film festival will include an International Student Short Film Competition. Open to all undergraduate and graduate students at accredited institutions, its aim is to gather student perspectives on the issues of migration. Selected submissions will be played at 5 p.m., Sunday, April 10 at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Additionally, the Pittsburgh Latino youth group "Jóvenes Sin Nombres" (Youths Without Names) received financial support from CMU's Center for the Arts in Society to produce an entry; their film will be unveiled prior to both screenings of "Immigrant Nation!"

The festival will close with "Diplomat" at 7 p.m., Sunday, April 10 at SouthSide Works Cinema. "Diplomat" is an Israeli film directed by Dana Goren that takes place within the luxurious Hotel Diplomat in Jerusalem. Once known for its green lawns, elaborate corridors and exclusive clientele, the hotel has become a place where time stands still. For nearly 20 years, the hotel has been home to more than 600 immigrants from the former Soviet Union who were never integrated into Israel's society.

Additional film festival venues include the Regent Square Theater and Future Tenant Gallery. Opening night general admission tickets to the film and reception are $15 and $10 for students. General admission tickets for all other screenings are $7 and $4 for students. A full-access festival pass can be purchased for $40 ($20 for students). For ticket reservations, film descriptions and a complete schedule, visit the festival's website at

In addition to sponsorships from CMU's Humanities Center, the Heinz Endowments and PNC Bank, the 2011 festival is supported by organizations that include several Carnegie Mellon affiliations: CMU Filmmaking Club, Center for the Arts in Society, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Master of Entertainment Industry Program, Tepper School of Business, School of Art and the Humanities Scholar Program.

Additional sponsors include Duquesne University, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Polish Consulate of New York, Women and Girls Foundation, Global Studies Department at the University of Pittsburgh, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Vibrant Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, American-Hellenic Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, Alliance Francaise, Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum Festival, WYEP, WPTS, Pittsburgh City Paper, WDUQ, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Future Tenant Gallery, East End Food Co-Op, Allegro Hearth Bakery, Aladdin's Eatery, Green Forest Café, Sababa, Green Pepper Lounge and Bistro, Mexico City and Coriander India Grill.
2011 CMU International Film Festival Schedule
Wednesday, March 2
McConomy Auditorium, CMU's University Center, 8 p.m.
Festival Sneak Preview: Separations (Netherlands, 2010) + Reception
Thursday, March 17
Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., 7:15 p.m.
The Arrivals (France, 2009) + Opening Night Reception
Friday, March 18
Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., 7 p.m.
Warsaw Available (Poland 2009) and Hanoi-Warsaw (Poland 2010)
Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., 9 p.m.
Littlerock (USA, Japan 2010)
Saturday, March 19
Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., 5 p.m.
First of All, Felicia (Romania, Belgium, France, Croatia 2009)
Melwood, Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., 7:30 p.m.
Norteado (Mexico 2009)
Sunday, March 20
Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Ave., 5 p.m.
Plato's Academy (Greece, Germany 2009)
Friday, March 25
The Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., 7:30 p.m.
Pink Saris (UK, India 2010)
Saturday, March 26
McConomy Auditorium, CMU's University Center, 5:30 p.m.
Neukölln Unlimited (Germany, 2010)
Thursday, April 7
McConomy Auditorium, CMU's University Center, 7 p.m.
Gitmek: My Marlon and Brando (Turkey 2009)
Future Tenant Gallery, 819 Penn Ave., 7:30 p.m.
Cuban Film Shorts: The Daily Experience of Living
Friday, April 8
105 College Hall, Duquesne University, 4 p.m.
Immigrant Nation! The Battle fro a Dream (USA 2009)
McConomy Auditorium, CMU's University Center, 7 p.m.
Dooman River (France 2010)
Saturday, April 9
McConomy Auditorium, CMU's University Center, 6:30 p.m.
Immigrant Nation! The Battle for a Dream (USA 2009)
Sunday, April 10
The Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., 5 p.m.
The Competitive Shorts Program
SouthSide Works Cinema, 425 Cinema Dr., 7 p.m.
Diplomat (Israel 2009)