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"SUT&WFOUT MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE Children living in a Kolkata slum work to improve conditions in “Revolutionary Optimists.” THE OF ONE POWER By Elena Kadvany I n one film, a San Luis Obispo massage therapist becomes interested in altruistic kidney donation and gives one of her organs to a stranger. In another, an 11-year-old boy and girl in India become community leaders who fight for access to clean drinking water and polio vaccinations. They call themselves the “Dakabuko Club,” dakabuko meaning to “have the courage of a daredevil.” “Dakabuko” could easily be the theme for this year’s United Nations Association Film Festival, which begins Oct. 17. The documentaries this year focus on different kinds of courage displayed by people from various parts of the world and periods of history. “It’s about having these rare stories about very interesting people that are changing our thinking about the way how we live and also inspiring us,” said festival founder Jasmina Bojic, a Stanford University lecturer and film critic. She brought United Nations Association festival brings 70 films about individuals making change the festival to Palo Alto 16 years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 10-day film festival features 70 films, with screenings scheduled in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Stanford, Atherton and San Francisco. This year’s films expand the notion of what constitutes a human-rights issue, touching on more common topics — environmental issues, health, women’s rights, war, peace, poverty — along with some unexpected ones: cyberbullying, altruistic organ donation, the science of human enhancement, the life of criminal defense lawyers. The films come from far and wide, but some of the filmmakers are local. In “Perfect Strangers,” Jan Krawitz, the director of Stanford’s M.F.A. Program in Documentary Film and Video, shows the drawn-out pain — physical and emotional — of kidney disease through Kathy, a hospice nurse who has polycystic kidney disease. The film shows Kathy doing home dialysis: a complex, intimate procedure in which an intimidating machine set-up transforms her living room into a hospital room five nights a week for hours at a time. Kathy’s husband, Jim, is the dutiful partner and doctor, trained on the machine that cleans her blood as her kidney fails to do. Jim is not a match for Kathy. Ellie Edwards, the massage therapist from San Luis Obispo, is a self-described “heart bleeding” liberal with blonde hair died pink at the tips. But she is not radical or hard to relate to but instead rational, kind and insightful. Krawitz describes her as an “every woman” who is not proselytizing or giving an organ away for anything except altruistic reasons. After taking a community-college course and meeting a student with kidney disease who tells her about the need for donors, Edwards decides to look into the issue. She heads to Matching Donors, an online database that matches patients and interest donors for transplants. “I kept looking at those profiles and thinking, ‘If not me, then who?’” Edwards says in the film. The film is punctuated with statistics that remind viewers of the gravity and Continued on next page October 4, 2013 ■ Mountain View Voice ■ ■ 17

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