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Hero or Villain Documentary Explores One of the Twenty-First Century’s Most Divisive Figures

Julian Assange1

By John Wharton

Is Julian Assange a free speech martyr or a narcissist with a thirst for chaos? Few figures in the twenty-first century have inspired more fury and worship in equal measure.

Through his WikiLeaks platform, he’s unapologetically unleashed volumes of private government and corporate data under the banner of public interest. He’s a self-proclaimed crusader, an uncontrollable megalomaniac, and a modern-day cybercelebrity who now finds himself standing in the crosshairs of those in power.

Join us for a discussion of the man behind the headlines as Shelter presents the documentary Hero or Villain: The Prosecution of Julian Assange.

In the film, WikiLeaks coworkers share their personal insights on the enigmatic ringleader and take viewers behind the curtain for many of the key actions that have molded his controversial image in the public consciousness. This new documentary begins in the midst of a new chapter in the Assange saga, as he faces a slew of fresh charges and fights extradition to the United States.

Ever since Daniel Ellsberg leaked the “Pentagon Papers,” in 1971, US prosecutors have prosecuted journalists like Assange for leaks of classified information under the Espionage Act. Are these the acts of heroic whistleblowers or treasonous troublemakers? Please join us on Saturday, August 24, for this fascinating study of one of the most controversial figures of our time.

For this month of Mexican heritage, Shelter celebrates the “Época del Oro” or The Golden Age of Mexican cinema.

From 1936 to 1959, Mexican cinema reached its artistic peak, starting with the classic Vámonos con Pancho Villa (1936), directed by Fernando de Fuentes. We’ll be showing it August 16 at 5pm.

Continuing with this series, on Friday, Aug 23 at 5pm, we present El Compadre Mendoza, a film from 1934 also by Fernando de Fuentes.

In this film, set during the Mexican Revolution, the sly Mendoza survives by making and winning favors from both federal forces and Zapata’s army. Eventually the situation becomes unsustainable, and he is forced to take sides. Betrayal and deception finally overcome Mendoza, and his dark side surfaces.

The Pacific Film Archive writes, “The revolution energized all of the Mexican arts… This film is a complex analysis of the corrupted ideals of the Mexican Revolution.”

Visit for our map, a list of events, and online tickets. Send ticketing questions and comments to You do not need to print your online tickets, just tell us your name when you arrive at the event. Advance tickets are not available for films. Find our logo on the Que Pasa map in the upper left-hand corner.


Vámonos con Pancho Villa

Fri, Aug 16, 5pm

100 pesos


Live Music/Variety

Open Mic

Tue, Aug 20, 7pm

80 pesos (includes drink)



El Compadre Mendoza

Fri, Aug 23, 5pm

100 pesos


Documentary and Discussion

Hero or Villain: The Prosecution of Julian Assange

Sat, Aug 24, 5pm

70 pesos


All events are at Shelter Theater


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