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Human Rights Watch film festivals: Toronto and London
an article by Human Rights Watch (excerpts)

Toronto – The Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns for its 10th year in Toronto with a 10-film lineup of politically charged, inspiring and empowering stories covering themes of oppression, struggle and resilience. The Festival opens on February 26, 2013 at TIFF Bell Lightbox with Lise Birk Pedersen’s Putin’s Kiss (2012), a documentary/coming-of-age story about life in contemporary Russia as experienced by Masha Drokova, a middle-class youth activist and member of the anti-fascist group Nashi. The Human Rights Watch Film Festival is a co-presentation between Human Rights Watch and TIFF, and runs until March 7.

click on photo to enlarge

The Festival features selections from a range of global territories, including the Middle East, Russia, North Korea, Africa, Indonesia and South America. One of the films particularly relevant to Canadians is legendary Canadian filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin’s The People of the Kattawapiskak River (2012), a documentary that takes viewers to Northern Ontario's Attawapiskat First Nation, where crushing poverty and a housing crisis have made international headlines. Other selections from celebrated filmmakers include No Place on Earth (2012), an extraordinary testament to survival from Emmy–winning producer/director Janet Tobias bringing to light a story that remained untold for decades: that of 38 Ukrainian Jews who survived World War II by living in caves for 18 months; The Act of Killing (2012), a chilling and inventive documentary, executive-produced by Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, which follows former members of Indonesian death squads who are asked to re-enact some of their many murders in the style of the American movies they revere. . .

London - The 17th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival will be presented in London from March 13 to 22, 2013.

The programme this year is organised around four themes: traditional values and human rights - incorporating women’s rights, disability rights, and LGBT rights; crises and migration; focus on Asia/South Asia; and occupation and the rule of law.

“In addition to our opening film, Kim Longinotto’s extraordinary Salma, and the closing film, Haifaa Al Mansour’s Wajdja, another five festival titles reveal not only the tension between traditional values and women’s rights, but also the resilience shown by the women featured – which is inspirational,” said John Biaggi, film festival director at Human Rights Watch. “From start to finish, the directors pull no punches. We are delighted to welcome Raoul Peck back to the festival this year with his provocative and powerful indictment of the international community’s post-disaster efforts in Haiti”.

The programme includes 14 documentaries and five dramas, set in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordon, Morocco, North Korea, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Tanzania. Many of the films will be followed by question and answer sessions, and discussions with filmmakers, experts, and film subjects. . .


Question(s) related to this article:

Film festivals that promote a culture of peace, Do you know of others?

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Latest reader comment:

Chicago, IL, USA has an annual Peace on Earth Film Festival.

This report was posted on February 9, 2013.