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Name a schmaltzy movie scene, and we?ve cried during it. (When Forrest Gump finally figures out he can run? Stop it.) But thanks to a fledgling local film fest, this week we?re seeing flicks that are worth even more of our tears. ??

With a lineup of stories about struggles all over the world, the Chicago International Social Change Film Festival will tug at your heartstrings--and give you ways to do something about it.

??This weekend at the South Loop?s ShowPlace Icon theater, the festival is screening two-hour blocks of short films. Afterward charity organizations will speak to the audience and take questions about how to get involved with the causes explored in the documentaries.

We?re saving our Saturday morning (10 a.m. to noon) for a roster of four films that deal with youth empowerment--including the survival flick Bounce Back: The Ronnie Fields Story, about a teenage basketball player who was in a near-fatal car crash. (What topic could be more relevant to our city right now?)

Following the screenings, reps from Chicago nonprofit Pure Art will tell us how when we volunteer or fund after-school arts programs, youths? lives can be changed for the better.

?September 26 to 29 at the ShowPlace Icon, 150 W. Roosevelt Rd.; chicagosocialchange.org

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