The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts (ISLA) is hosting its first ever social justice film festival on April 12 and 14. ISLA Assistant Professor Emily Ryalls is spearheading the planning of the event. 

She says the event was inspired in 2020 and 2021 when social justice became a big topic in the local community with activists like Tiana Arata protesting the treatment of Black community members. 

“I was kind of getting sick of posting these ‘we stand in solidarity with our community’ statements and wanted to do something more,” Ryalls said.

On Tuesday, April 12, there will be a showing of “Black Panther” followed by a keynote address by activist Ayana Jamieson. On Thursday, April 14, the department will show “The Farewell,” which will be followed by a discussion panel with speakers from the local community.

Ryalls said there was careful thought that went into choosing the films for the festival.

“We wanted films that would allow us to dig deeply into issues of diversity and marginalization and oppression, but also would allow us to have fun and enjoy seeing films that really celebrated people of color,” she said. 

Communication studies lecturer Lisa Kawamura will be a part of the discussion panel following the showing of “The Farewell.” Kawamura said she is hoping to add her perspective as an Asian American.

“I hope that our other-than-Chinese-or-Asian students can look at this film not as something weird or ‘why would they do that,’ but more from an understanding point of view like, ‘Wow, that’s interesting and that’s not something we do and I’d like to learn more about that,’” Kawamura said.

Both events will start at 5:30 p.m. and will be air SLO Brew Rock. Admission is free for Cal Poly students and anyone who would like to attend. 

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