Cultivating a Generation of Empathy

The possibilities throughout our lives subject us to a variety of differences. Differences that uniquely shape the human experience to each individuals perspective. A facet of life that is beautiful when understood through empathy.

 The San Diego International Film Festival is leading the next generation to that understanding through the transformative power of film. Bridging the individual to the collective by sharing stories that shift focus from division by differences to connection through them. Replacing assumption with awareness, the FOCUS ON IMPACT Film Program is using documentary film to explore the complex issues that can divide us – creating space for dialogue, encouraging self-reflection, and ultimately developing empathy.

For the 2019 FOCUS Film Tour, SDIFF has selected Soufra and We Rise Up as their feature documentaries. Soufra will bring insight around how against all odds, one woman's resilience in pursuit of her dreams not only made them possible, but empowered the lives of the individuals inside and far beyond her world. We Rise Up shares the perspective's of the High-Impact Leaders of today, expressing new models of thinking around a life of fulfillment and purpose, a life that each individual has the choice to RiseUP and experience. Although these two films appear to be very different in terms of external context, they share one very beautiful underlying message – the power of ONE, one individual serving one human family. 

The FOCUS Film Tour kicks off April 17th, with each film screening followed by a discussion with the working filmmakers –engaging the students in a way that emphasizes critical thinking around the thought provoked through their shared film experience. Built on the foundation of inclusion, FOCUS introduces the films to students from all backgrounds, sharing their belief that each person plays a pivotal role in finding solutions. As they show the value in each individual perspective they are teaching the youth of today one of the most fundamental aspects of impact – how lasting change is only made possible through an inclusive solution.

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