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AEMS Documentary and Independent Film Series at the Spurlock Museum

All AsiaLENS screenings are FREE and open to the public. They are all held at the:

Spurlock Museum's Knight Auditorium
600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana, IL 61801
First Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm.

Select screenings will be introduced by a local scholar who will also lead a post-screening discussion. This series is a collaboration between AEMS and the Spurlock Museum. Check full schedule details on this webpage.

Information on past screenings: Fall 2008

AsiaLENS Spring 2009 Calendar:

Please Vote for Me
February 3, 2009
7:00 pm

Kabul Transit
March 3, 2009
7:00 pm

The Last Ghost of War
April 7, 2009
7:00 pm

Please Vote for Me
Tuesday, February 3, 2009, 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium

By Weijun Chen, 2007, 55 minutes.

Discussion led by Gale Summerfield (Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program, UIUC).

Chinese director Weijun Chen explores the question of democracy in China through this account of an experiment in electoral politics in a third-grade classroom in Wuhan, a major city in central China. For the first time, the students elect their own class monitor, who would normally be appointed by the teacher. Chen's film follows the dramatic two-week campaign, from the introduction of the candidates to the final vote.

Please Vote For Me
is a thought-provoking look at how these Chinese children, parents and teachers understand democracy, authority, and power. Earning a Sterling Feature Award at the Silverdocs Documentary Festival in 2007, Please Vote For Me continues to receive enthusiastic accolades outside of China, while within the country the topic is too sensitive for the Chinese government to allow the film to be officially seen.


Please Vote for Me official website (

Video c lip of the film at Why Democracy? (

Please Vote for Me on Independent Lens ( includes downloads and interactive features.


Please Vote for Me was reviewed by Clayton Dube the Fall 2008 issue of AEMS News and Reviews (PDF download)

Kabul Transit
Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium

By David Edwards, Maliha Zulfacar, and Gregory Whitmore; 2007; 84 minutes.

Discussion led by John Santas, Associate Director, ACES Global Connect

A street-level exploration of the fractured cityscape of contemporary Kabul, Afghanistan, Kabul Transit takes the viewer from a kite-flying spot on a hilltop to a bureaucrat's office, and introduces the people of Kabul, from a fortune teller to a black-market entrepreneur. Presented in a verité style without narration, the voices, sounds and images of Kabul give us a revealing glimpse of the complex realities of a desperate, yet utterly human city transformed by 30 years of war, on an uncertain road to recovery.


Official website includes trailers, image gallery, and information about the filmmakers.

Film distributor provides a discription and a list of awards given to Kabul Transit and reviews at (


Kabul Transit was reviewed by M. Nazif Shahrani the Fall 2008 issue of AEMS News and Reviews (PDF download).

Kabul Transit was also reviewed by Robert Koehler in Variety Magazine.


The Last Ghost of War
Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 7:00 pm

By Janet Gardner, 2006, 54 minutes.

Discussion led by Joseph T. Miller (Adjunct professor, Political Science; Academic Adviser, LAS; and national coordinator for Vietnam Veterans Against the War)

Following the legacy of Agent Orange into the 21st century, The Last Ghost Of War reveals the devastating impact of this chemical defoliant on the generations living beyond its initial Vietnam War victims. Giving a human face to the medical statistics, the film traces Vietnamese victims' attempts to find reparation through the legal system. Vietnamese victims, their attorneys, scientists, activists, and a military historian take us to this new battlefield where moral responsibility and corporate accountability are debated. What could the law be expected to provide the victimsócompensation, punishment, apologies? Who is responsible? Audiences must weigh the evidence and decide.


The Last Ghost of War official website (


The Last Ghost of War
was reviewed by Tom Ginsburg in the Summer 2008 issue of AEMS News and Reviews (PDF download).



Last Updated February 17, 2009.

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