Justice Film Festival

The Justice Film Festival is an annual event dedicated to showcasing the inspiring stories of vulnerable and oppressed people worldwide. It is a platform for conversation and connection amongst justice-minded individuals and is the only event of its kind in North America.

June 5–7, 2015

Film Row Cinema at Columbia College

Chicago, Illinois

Ticket Information:

  • Festival Admission: $25.00
  • VIP Admission: $55.00
Register Now

June 5–7, 2015

Film Row Cinema at Columbia College

Chicago, Illinois

Ticket Information:

  • Festival Admission: $25.00
  • VIP Admission: $55.00
Register Now

About the Festival

Our team hand selects films from both well-known and emerging filmmakers. These films move and inspire the aspirational community one that seeks to live out justice in a beautiful but broken world.

We strive to curate a festival that is diverse in both content and geography. The collection of justice films offer new perspectives on topics well known and reveals new stories of unexpected courage and redemption.

We believe that telling stories through art and film can shape global culture for the common good.

View the Films & Judges from Justice Film Festival 2014

Congratulations to our 2015 Justice Film Festival winners!

Best Feature Film

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story

A documentary following the inspiring journey of 26-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist.

Best Short Film


Based on the true story behind a landmark legal case, Aullido displays what can happen when children are bold in the face of injustice and how those in power can stand on their behalf.

Best Justice Film

Among the Discarded

On his 44th birthday, artist Trent Dion Soto voluntarily joined the homeless population on LA’s notorious Skid Row for 30 days.



Starring David Oyelowo (Selma) and Kate Mara (House Of Cards) will have it’s festival premiere on Friday June 5 at 9:30 PM.

Director: Jerry Jameson
Country: USA

CAPTIVE, based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives. When Brian Nichols -on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son - takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.

Most Likely To Succeed

(86 minutes)

Director: Greg Whitely
Country: USA

For most of the last century, entry-level jobs were plentiful, and college was an affordable path to a fulfilling career. That world no longer exists. The feature-length documentary Most Likely To Succeed examines the history of education, revealing the growing shortcomings of our school model in todayʼs innovative world. The film follows students in a school created to prepare graduates for the innovation era. There, over the course of a school year, ninth graders take on ambitious, project-based challenges that promote critical skills rather than rote memorization and, indirectly, bring to life new approaches that revolutionize school as we know it.

(DIS)HONESTY – The Truth About Lies

(89 minutes)

Director: Yael Melamede
Country: USA

It’s human nature to lie; we all do it! From scandalous headlines to little white lies, (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies explores the complex impact dishonesty has on our lives and everyday society. Interweaving groundbreaking experiments from celebrated behavioral economist Dan Ariely with personal stories from individuals affected by the unraveling of their lies, Ariely and a team of scientists uncover our propensity to be dishonest—sometimes even unknowingly. What’s revealed is a fascinating look at the forces behind our collective behavior and the many truths behind lies.

Poverty, Inc.

(81 minutes)

Director: Michael Matheson Miller
Country: USA

This critique of the development establishment examines the rise of the vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry of doing good, a system that often benefits multinational corporations, large NGOs, and geopolitical interests more than the people actually living in poverty.

Imba Means Sing

(73 minutes)

Director: Danielle Bernstein
Country: Uganda

As a member of the African Children's Choir, Moses relies on his youthful resilience. Growing up in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, Moses and his family lack enough resources for him to even attend the first grade. In Imba Means Sing fellow choir members join Moses, on his journey from poverty towards his dream of becoming a pilot.

Code Oakland

(21 minutes)

Director: Kelly Amis
Country: USA

Code Oakland examines the evolution of Oakland, California as Silicon Valley spreads across the Bay and into the second largest black community in the state. The story is told through the eyes of social entrepreneurs, determined that youth of color not be left on the sidelines. But is Silicon Valley ready to be hacked?

Among The Discarded

(48 minutes)

Director: Trent Dion Soto
Country: USA

On his 44th birthday, artist Trent Dion Soto voluntarily joined the homeless population on LA’s notorious Skid Row for 30 days. With only basic toiletries, art supplies and his trusty GoPro camera, Soto captures the experience in this raw and emotional expose.


(15 minutes)

Director: Nathan Gotsch
Country: USA

Inspired by actual events, Katie is the story of an adolescent girl caught in the web of domestic sex trafficking.

In Plain Sight

(68 minutes)

Director: David Trotter, Noah Lamberth
Country: USA

In Plain Sight seeks to raise awareness of the thousands of women and children who are forced, coerced, or deceived into the commercial sex trade each year in the United States. The film follows six modern-day abolitionists as they fight sex trafficking across America.


(15 minutes)

Director: Kevin Neynaber
Country: Nepal

Untouchable follows human rights activist Bishnu Maya Pariyar as she journeys across Nepal to return to the village where she was born and raised. Throughout the trek, Bishnu recalls memories of her youth and painful reminders of the discrimination that she faced as a result of her family’s low-caste heritage.

Camp 72

(75 minutes)

Director: Seema Mathur
Country: Liberia

During Liberia’s Civil War, Gladys was forced to watch the brutal murder of her mother. Now a decade later, Gladys like many survivors of the civil war, is trying to rebuild her life by returning to “Camp 72” and the place of her sorrow.

Truth Has Fallen

(60 minutes)

Director: Sheila Sofian
Country: USA

Truth Has Fallen examines the cases of three individuals who were wrongfully incarcerated for murder and shares the story of how these convictions were ultimately overturned. Employing innovative painted animation, the film suggests reforms to the United States justice system that could help reduce the rate of wrongful convictions.

Lighter Than Orange

(72 minutes)

Director: Matthias Leupold
Country: Vietnam

In Lighter Than Orange ten North Vietnamese veterans tell about their memories of the war and Agent Orange, as well as the struggles they have faced as a consequence of both. There is an estimated 3-million victims of Agent Orange living today.

A River Between Us

(90 minutes)

Director: Jeff Martin
Country: USA

For over a century along the Klamath River, injustice has reigned. Native tribes have had their human rights, spiritual traditions, and habitat trampled by settlers and industry. A River Between Us tells the story of the oldest and most bitterly disputed water war in the West today.

If I Give My Soul

(58 minutes)

Director: Andrew Johnson, Ryan Patch
Country: Brazil

In Brazil, the inmates in prisons and jails are almost exclusively poor, black, uneducated males. In these previously un-filmed locations, If I Give My Soul examines how five Brazilian inmates have coped with this profound social stigmatization as well as Rio's brutal justice system by joining prison-based, inmate-led Pentecostal Churches.

Daylight Come

(77 minutes)

Director: Evan Vetter
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo

Following decades of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, two American women struggle to help a group of Congolese women rebuild their lives amidst the scars of sexual violence and poverty. As their Western ideas create new challenges, Daylight Come begs the question: in the face of tremendous suffering, can one person really make a difference?

We The Pearls

(43 minutes)

Director: Zion Rempel
Country: Thailand

Over 27 million human beings are trapped in the dungeon of human trafficking. We The Pearls shines a light on those who have emerged from these depths with strength and beauty. Following the trek of Thailand’s sex trafficking trade from the northern poverty stricken regions to the concrete jungle of Bangkok, the film centers on personal stories of redemption, bringing light into the darkness and leaving the viewer with hope.

Finding Beauty In The Rubble

(4 minutes)

Director: Matthew T. Burns
Country: Japan

A story of hope and courage, about a woman who survived the huge tsunami that devastated Japan who now makes gorgeous jewelry out of debris she finds on the beach.

Untouchable: Children of God

(60 minutes)

Director: Grant Knisely
Country: India/Nepal

At least 10,000 girls are trafficked from Nepal to the brothels of India each year. Untouchable explores the stories of the “untouchable” Badi people of Nepal and Dalits of India. Despite these seemingly insurmountable odds, there are a growing number of abolitionists and social advocates taking action to help end this brutal form of modern day slavery.


(24 minutes)

Director: MD Neely
Country: Guatamala

There's a violent secret under the surface in Guatemala City. It affects families in every social class and in every neighborhood. Everyone knows it but everyone is silent. That's when Vicente decided to speak up. Based on the true story behind a landmark legal case, Aullido (Howl) displays what can happen when children are bold in the face of injustice and how those in power can stand on their behalf.


(56 minutes)

Director: Joel Mains
Country: USA

INK180 is a gripping documentary on the life and work of tattoo artist Chris Baker as he struggles to keep his tattoo business afloat while working with the FBI, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies on his mission to offer free tattoo removals and cover-ups to sex trafficking survivors and former gang members trying to make dramatic changes in their lives.

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story

(78 minutes)

Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo
Country: USA

A BRAVE HEART: The Lizzie Velasquez Story is a documentary following the inspiring journey of 26-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist. Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Velasquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different and, later online, as a teenager when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her “The World's Ugliest Woman.” The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie’s physical and emotional journey up to her multi-million viewed TEDx talk, and follows her pursuit from a motivational speaker to Capitol Hill as she lobbies for the first federal anti-bullying bill.




Download the Full Program
Friday June 5, 2015
9:30 PMSpecial Advanced Screening: CaptiveTheatre
Saturday June 6, 2015
9:00 PMRooftop VIP PartyThe Flats at East-West University
Sunday June 7, 2015
10:00 AMAnnouncementsTheatre
10:15 AMIMBA Means SingTheatre
12:45 PMThe Sold ProjectTheatre
1:00 PMFinding Beauty in the RubleTheatre
1:15 PMMost Likely to SucceedTheatre
1:30 PMA River Between UsScreening B
2:00 PMCode OaklandScreening A
2:45 PMUntouchableTheatre
3:00 PMWe The PearlsScreening A
3:15 PMIf I Give My SoulTheatre
3:30 PMLighter Than OrangeScreening B
4:00 PMKatieScreening A
4:30 PMDaylight ComeTheatre
4:45 PMAullidoScreening A
5:00 PMTruth Has FallenScreening B
5:30 PMUntouchable: Children of GodScreening A
6:00 PMInk 180Theatre
6:30 PMA Brave HeartTheatre
6:30 PMCamp 72Screening B
6:45 PMIn Plain SightScreening A
8:00 PMAwardsTheatre
8:15 PMPoverty Inc.Theatre
8:30 PMInk 180 (Encore Presentation)Screening A
10:00 PM(Dis)HonestyTheatre