Our Posts from August 2023

El Equipo

TUE SEP 26, 2023, 7pm

The Loft Cinema / FREE

In Person: Joining filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz for post-screening discussion:

  • Robin Reineke (Assistant Professor, Southwest Center & School of Anthropology, University of Arizona)
  • Mirza Monterroso (Forensic Archeologist)
  • Dr. Bruce Anderson (Forensic Anthropologist for the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner)

UA Co-sponsors: Southwest Center, School of Anthropology, Center for Latin American Studies, Human Rights Practice Program, School of Journalism

Still from El Equipo: Argentine forensic anthropology team in their early years.

An unlikely collaboration between a forensic scientist from Texas and a group of Latin American students changes the course of forensic science and international human rights.

In 1984, legendary U.S. forensic anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow traveled to Argentina to help uncover the fates of the estimated 30,000 people who were forcibly disappeared during the 1970s dictatorship. Unwilling to work with established scientists who had collaborated with the apparatus of the dictatorship, Snow set about to train a new group in the use of forensic anthropology.

He eventually met a group of medical and anthropology students – some as young as 19 – and the team was soon digging up an unmarked grave on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The group would go on not only to help establish accountability for the crimes committed under the Argentine military junta, but to initiate a decades-long relationship with investigative journalists working on parallel tracks to create a fact-based accounting of massacres and state-sponsored crimes in over 30 countries.


“A harrowing 40-year journey through the work of a resilient team of forensic scientists as they uncover and identify the victims of authoritarian regimes across Latin America and the world.”

»NBC News

»POV Magazine


Best Documentary Feature, Sebastopol Film Festival, 2023
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2023
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2023

»Bernardo Ruiz bio

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project

(Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, 2022)

TUE, NOV 7, 2023, 7:30pm

The Loft Cinema / FREE

Co-presented with Lesbian Looks and Hanson FilmTV Institute

UA Co-sponsors: UA Poetry Center, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies

“The trip to Mars can only be understood through Black Americans.” Legendary poet Nikki Giovanni’s revelation is a launching pad to an inspiring exploration of her life and legacy. Through a collision of memories, moments in American history, live readings of her poetry, and impressions of space, Giovanni urges us to imagine a future where Black women lead, and equity is a reality.

Directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson (American Promise, The Changing Same) craft a vision fit for the radical imagination of Nikki Giovanni. Present-day Giovanni reckons with the inevitable passing of time, while an evocative melding of vérité and archival images act as openings into her mindscape, transcending time and place. Brewster and Stephenson’s approach is imaginative and dreamlike, akin to the way Giovanni’s words are hair-raising in their power to summon unrealized ways of seeing. The Afro-futuristic lens honors Giovanni’s complexity and transports us on a journey through Black liberation from the perspective of one of America’s most acclaimed and beloved writers, a profound artist and activist. Next stop, Mars.

JOE BREWSTER is a media-maker who believes in the healing power of stories. Brewster left his medical practice to create immersive, narrative, and documentary stories that provoke, challenge, and inspire. He is an Independent Spirit Award and four-time Emmy nominee, a jury prize winner at Tribeca and Sundance, and a Guggenheim fellow.

MICHÉLE STEPHENSON is a platform-agnostic artist who pulls from her Haitian and Panamanian roots to create stories centering the lived experiences of the Black diaspora. She is a Guggenheim fellow and Creative Capital artist. Stephenson lives in Brooklyn with her creative and life partner, Joe Brewster.

»Film website


Sundance 2023, Winner U.S. Grand Jury Prize, Documentary
Frameline 2023, Winner Jury Award, Outstanding Documentary Feature


‘Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project’ proves the power of poetry
—McKenna Neef, VOX Magazine

“Simply Majestic. A masterpiece”
—Jeanine T. Abraham, BLACK GIRL NERDS
»Full review

“An eloquent and engaging portrait”
—Lisa Kennedy, VARIETY

“Insightful, entertaining”
—Manohla Dargis, NEW YORK TIMES

“An inventive, imaginative documentary”

“Fierce, funny and captivating to watch.”

Bernardo Ruiz

Bernardo Ruiz

BERNARDO RUIZ is a two-time Emmy®-nominated documentary filmmaker and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. EL EQUIPO (THE TEAM), his fifth feature documentary as director, was awarded the Jury Prize for best documentary feature at the 2023 Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival and was named a “Top 20 Audience Favorite” at the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival. The film will air on PBS’s documentary series Independent Lens in the fall of 2023. Previous credits as director include THE INFINITE RACE (ESPN’s 30 for 30, 2020), the James Beard Broadcast Award nominee HARVEST SEASON (Independent Lens, 2018), KINGDOM OF SHADOWS (PARTICIPANT MEDIA, POV, 2016), and REPORTERO, (POV, 2013).

Ruiz has also directed and produced a variety of commissioned work & nonfiction programming (including docu-series) for outlets as varied as Disney+, ESPN, HBO, VICE and PBS. He wrote, directed and produced ROBERTO CLEMENTE (American Experience, 2008) which was awarded the NCLR (now UnidosUS), “Alma” Award for “Outstanding Made for Television Documentary.” He also created, directed and executive produced the two part bilingual PBS series, THE GRADUATES/LOS GRADUADOS (Independent Lens, 2013). Edutopia called it “a winner that should be seen by as many students, teachers and parents as possible.” He wrote, directed and produced the 2020 election special, LATINO VOTE: DISPATCHES FROM THE BATTLEGROUND.

Ruiz frequently serves as a mentor to emerging makers and has recently worked with Firelight Media, DCTV and the the Future of Science Fellowship to support new documentary makers. In the fall of 2015, Ruiz was a filmmaker-in-residence at the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Previously he served on the board of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP).