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The 7th Annual Justice Film Festival Returns Nov. 13 -16 at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture

The 7th Annual Justice Film Festival Returns Nov. 13 -16 at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture

The seventh annual Justice Film Festival returns to the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, Loreto Theater, Wednesday, November 13 through Saturday, November 16, 2019. The Justice Film Festival inspires justice seekers by showcasing films of exceptional courage and stories of redemption that are as diverse in the issues they explore as they are in geography. As always, this year's event will include feature documentaries and shorts from both well-known and emerging filmmakers, all of whom are using the medium of film to shine a light on culturally relevant social justice issues. Many of the screenings will be followed by talkbacks with the filmmakers, offering a deeper dive on the wide-ranging topics explored onscreen. Purchase a $40 Festival Pass or $15 individual screenings tickets at, by phone at 212-925-2812, or in-person at The Sheen Center box office Monday to Friday Noon to 5PM. Festival Passholders will be guaranteed seating in all screenings, including Dark Waters.

Organizers have announced that the Festival will launch with an exclusive advance screening of Dark Waters, the new film featuring Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins and directed by directed by Todd Haynes. This special screening takes place at the Angelika Film Center, 18 West Houston Street at Mercer Street. A post-screening conversation with Rob Bilott, the real-life inspiration for the film, follows.

Among the more than 20 features and shorts selected for the 2019 event, the Festival will also feature a special presentation of First Reformedfollowed by a discussion with the film's Oscar-nominated writer/director, Paul Schrader. Among his many credits, Paul Schrader wrote the scripts for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull and wrote and directed Affliction, Light Sleeper, and American Gigolo. The Festival closes with the world premiere of Free Burma Rangers, an inspiring documentary about Dave and Karen Eubank, exploring their extraordinary journey as they venture into war zones with their three young children, fighting as a family to bring hope to the hopeless.

"We are thrilled to be kicking off Justice Film Festival with Dark Waters, a film that speaks to both the nature of corporate greed and what happens when principled people fight for justice no matter the cost," says Andy Peterson, creator and Director of the Justice Film Festival. "What a privilege it will be for us to welcome Rob Bilott, the real life hero of this story whose work has been the catalyst for reforming policies that were causing harm to millions of Americans. In a similar fashion Paul Schrader's First Reformed also speaks to humankind's impact on the environment and tensions that arise for those of us unsure of how to balance our hope for the future in light of the paralyzing fears around climate change data. It's a different kind of social justice film and one we'll be anxious to unpack with the famed writer and director himself."

"As a Catholic arts center committed to promoting the sacred dignity of every human person, we are delighted to be once again hosting the Justice Film Festival this year," says David DiCerto, interim Executive Director of The Sheen Center. "This is our fourth year hosting the festival, and each year the slate gets better, not just in showcasing artistically outstanding, life-affirming works that celebrate the best of humanity, but in demonstrating the power of cinema to help inspire hope, healing, moral courage and community."

This year's updated Festival schedule**:

Wednesday, November 13



Angelika Film Center, 18 West Houston Street at Mercer Street

Inspired by a shocking true story, a tenacious attorney (Mark Ruffalo) uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths due to one of the world's largest corporations. In the process, he risks everything - his future, his family, and his own life - to expose the truth. Directed by Todd Haynes, the film co-stars Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins. A post-screening conversation with Rob Bilott, the real-life inspiration for the film, follows.

Thursday, November 14


FIRST REFORMED, followed by a discussion with writer/director Paul Schrader

Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence. A discussion with writer-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver; American Gigolo; Affliction) follows the screening of this gripping thriller about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political, and planetary.

Friday, November 15



In The Pursuit, professional musician turned intrepid economist, Arthur Brooks travels around the globe IN SEARCH OF an answer to the question: How can we lift up the world, starting with those at the margins of society? His journey takes him through the chaotic streets of Mumbai, a town in Kentucky left behind by the global economy, a homeless shelter in New York, a street protest in Barcelona, and a Himalayan Buddhist monastery. Along the way, he discovers the secrets not only to material progress for the least fortunate, but also true and lasting happiness for all.



A criminal court judge starts a running club on L.A.'s notorious Skid Row. The club's members, comprised of homeless drug addicts, a recovering single mom, and a paroled murderer, consider themselves among those least likely to succeed. As they train together to run in international marathons, fighting the pull of homelessness and addiction at every turn, they learn to dream big as they are re-acquainted with their own dignity. Their story is one of hope, friendship, and dignity.



Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., longtime president of Notre Dame, was a formidable Catholic leader at a tumultuous time in our nation's history. This documentary explores his role in advancing the causes of peace and equal rights for all people, working alongside 20th Century giants.

Saturday, November 16



Join us for an afternoon of powerful short films that examine timely moral issues and represent diverse cinematic voices related by shared affirmations of the dignity of every human person, through a lens of conscience and compassion, including Lost and Found, Refuge(e), Unforgivable, For While, Turn It Around, Restored: Stories of Encounter, and New York premieres of This Is My Home and Ashes to Ashes.



Free Burma Rangers is a documentary film about a family who risks everything to bring hope to the front lines of war. It's the incredible 20-year story of David and Karen Eubank and their family to realize their mission to free the oppressed.

** Screening times and films subject to change.

Sponsors of the seventh annual Justice Film Festival include Conscious Magazine, Sister City, Docs/ology, National Geographic, One Hope and Sword & Spoon. 2019 social goods vendors include Plant with Purpose, YOUME Clothing, The Arena and Uncvrd Jewelry

The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture ( is a New York City arts center located in NoHo that presents a vibrant mix of theater, film, music, art and talk events. The arts center of the Archdiocese of New York, The Sheen Center serves all New Yorkers by presenting performances and artists that reflect the true, the good, and the beautiful. Named for the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best remembered as an inspirational author, radio host and two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality, The Sheen Center reflects his modern-day approach to contemporary topics. The Sheen Center is a state-of-the-art theater complex that includes the 270-seat off-Broadway Loreto Theater, equipped with five-camera high-definition TV and live-stream capability and a multi-track recording studio; the 80-seat off-off-Broadway BLACK BOX Theater; four rehearsal studios; and an art gallery.

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