A young boy and woman looking over a ledge.  | Still from film "Mali Blues" for "Link Voices"

The Year We Thought About Love

Boston-based True Colors: OUT Youth Theater transforms daily struggles into performance for social change. With wit, candor, and attitude, the cast of characters captivates audiences surprised to hear such stories in school settings. The film introduces a transgender teenager kicked out of her house, a devout Christian challenging his church’s homophobia, and a girl who prefers to wear boys’ clothing even as she models dresses on the runway. When bombs explode outside their building, the troupe becomes even more determined to share their stories of love to help heal their city.

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Sepideh

Sepideh is a young Iranian woman who dreams of becoming an astronaut. At night, she stares up at the sky while taking lessons from a space fanatic who teaches schoolchildren about astronomy. At home, full of hope and longing, she watches recordings of the world's first female space tourist, Iranian-American, Anousheh Ansari.

When Sepideh's father died suddenly six years ago, she discovered that she could feel closer to him by watching the stars, and so her dream was born. But not everyone around her appreciates her boundless ambition.

Mali Blues

The West African country of Mali is a birthplace of the blues, a musical tradition later carried by the transatlantic slave trade to America's cotton fields. Yet today, the music and musicians of Mali are in grave danger. As fundamentalist Islam and sharia law become more widespread, dance and secular music are prohibited, musical instruments are destroyed, and musicians are forced to flee their homeland.

Sweet Dreams

In 1994 Rwanda suffered a devastating genocide. Close to a million were killed by neighbors, friends, even family.

The country has made great strides in economic recovery since then, but "people are not like roads and buildings" says Kiki Katese, pioneering Rwandan theater director. "How do we rebuild a human being?"

Kiki decided to start Ingoma Nshya, Rwanda's first and only women's drumming troupe, open to women from both sides of the conflict. There was only one requirement: to leave the categories of the past at the gate.

Herman's House

Herman Wallace spent 41 years in a 6-by-9-foot cell in Louisiana, making him the the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States. Imprisoned in 1967 for a robbery he admits, he was subsequently sentenced to life for a killing he vehemently denied. Herman was released in 2013 and died of liver cancer within days. "Herman's House" is a moving account of the remarkable expression his struggle found in an unusual project proposed by artist Jackie Sumell.