Meaningful Movies

Meaningful Movies – 2nd Wednesdays, 7:00 – 2016 - 2017
The Park Church – 209 West Gray St., Elmira, NY
Beecher Hall, enter via parking lot side door near Gray St.
Free -- All are welcome – Refreshments

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, a film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The film chronicles The Central Park Jogger case, from the perspective of these five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.

“Perhaps the most devastating portrait of contemporary social inequality to appear in an American documentary.”  David Denby, The New Yorker

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Life Animated 

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires.

Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him.

LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality.  Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks.

Owen’s story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Harvest of Empire – with introduction by Lauren Shaw, Professor or Spanish at Elmira College

Harvest of Empire, a feature-length documentary, examines the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today. 

Based on the groundbreaking book by award-winning journalist Juan González, Harvest of Empire takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape.

From the wars for territorial expansion that gave the U.S. control of Puerto Rico, Cuba and more than half of Mexico, to the covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire unveils a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S. “They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades — actions that forced millions from that region to leave their homeland and journey north,” says Juan González at the beginning of the film.

Harvest of Empire provides a rare and powerful glimpse into the enormous sacrifices and rarely-noted triumphs of our nation’s growing Latino community. The film features present day immigrant stories, rarely seen archival material, as well as interviews with such respected figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Dr. Lorenzo Meyer, journalists Maria Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, Grammy award-winning singer Luis Enrique, and poet Martín Espada. 

Wednesday,  May 10, 2017

99 Homes

In this timely thriller, charismatic and ruthless businessman, Rick Carver (Academy nominee Michael Shannon), is making a killing by repossessing homes - gaming the real estate market, Wall Street banks and the US government. When he evicts Dennis Nash (Golden Globe nominee Andrew Garfield), a single father trying to care for his mother (Academy Award nominee Laura Dern) and young son (newcomer Noah Lomax), Nash becomes so desperate to provide for his family that he goes to work for Carver – the very man who evicted him in the first place. Carver promises Nash a way to regain his home and earn security for his family, but slyly seduces him into a lifestyle of wealth and glamour. It is a deal-with-the-devil that comes with an increasingly high cost - on Carver's orders, Nash must evict families from their homes. As Nash falls deeper into Carver's web, he finds his situation grows more brutal and dangerous than he ever imagined.

Panel Discussion to follow movie -- Catholic Charities will join us for 99 Homes and will present a panel including  Foreclosure counselors to speak to foreclosures locally, zombie houses, impact on neighborhoods, importance of homeownership as a wealth/asset building way to address poverty etc.