The Human Rights Watch Film Festival brings human rights issues to life through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all. The festival creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference.
Post-screening panel with Marc Silver, Orlando Bagwell, and Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, moderated by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
This riveting documentary explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense laws by investigating the trial of Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man who in 2012, after a brief altercation about the volume of their music, fired 10 bullets into the car of four unarmed African-American teenagers, killing one of them. Winner of a Special Jury Award for Social Impact, U.S. Documentary at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Q&A with Ayat Najafi and Sara Najafi
The Islamic revolution of 1979 banned female singers from appearing in public in Iran, but composer Sara Najafi is determined to revive their voices in the present as she courageously plans an evening of performances by Iranian and French soloists to rebuild shattered cultural bridges.
Q&A with Hajooj Kuka
Over two years, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka lived alongside farmers, herders, and rebels displaced to the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions, filming their lives within hillside hideouts and refugee camps. The result is this unique perspective on the complex realities of a divided Sudan, focusing on the vibrant musical heritage of the region.
Q&A with Francois Verster
Using the metaphor of Shahrazad—the princess in the classic tale of The 1001 (Arabian) Nights who saves lives by telling stories to the murderous Sultan Shahriyar—Francois Verster’s documentary explores how music and storytelling can serve as an outlet for citizens to process political upheaval.
Q&A with Joey Boink
This epic tale of personal sacrifice, hard-fought change, and hope follows Guatemala’s first female attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz, as we witness her battle to bring to justice powerful criminals and corrupt politicians.
Q&A with Andreas Dalsgaard
Unorthodox presidential candidate Antanas Mockus and his enthusiastic young activist supporters attempt to reverse the vicious cycle of brutal violence in Colombia with an imaginative and positive election campaign: as mayor of Bogotá, dressed in a Superman costume, he took on towering crime rates and people’s bad traffic habits. But can good ideas and an idealistic drive alone change a political culture where violence is rampant?
Q&A with Gini Reticker at both screenings
Gini Reticker’s moving documentary reveals the vital and under-reported role of females in post-2011 Egypt through the journeys of three brave women who fight for the original goals of the Arab Spring—“Bread, Freedom and Social Justice” for all.
Emotionally wrenching, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence is a companion piece to his first film, The Act of Killing (ND/NF 2013), about the mid-1960s Indonesian genocide. In a society where the populace has been cowed into silence, the adult brother of one of the hundreds of thousands of victims tracks down and confronts the killers and their families.
Q&A with Beth Murphy
The story of the first all-girls’ school in a remote Afghan village, What Tomorrow Brings traces the interconnected tales of students, teachers, village elders, parents, and the tenacious school founder who teaches a nation, a community, and the students themselves that females also count.
Q&A with Laurent Bécue-Renard
Of Men and War focuses on some of the many combat veterans have made it home safely to the U.S. after serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan but are unable to escape the battlefield that rages in their own minds. At The Pathway Home, a first-of-its-kind PTSD therapy center, the film's protagonists resolve to end the ongoing destruction.
Q&A with Tamara Erde
Questioning what the future holds for the next generation of Israeli and Palestinian children, This Is My Land follows several Israeli and Palestinian teachers as they help their students understand the complicated, segregated, and often violent world around them, filtered through the state-approved curriculum.
Post-screening discussion with Julia Bacha, Creative Director, Just Vision, Ina Fichman, producer, Amer Shomali, director, and Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, MENA division, Human Rights Watch. Moderated by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Through a clever mix of stop-motion animation and interviews, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali and veteran Canadian director Paul Cowan re-create an astonishing true story: the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared “a threat to the national security of the state of Israel.”
During this unique masterclass event, Human Rights Watch Emergencies director Peter Bouckaert and leading photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale will discuss the essentials of international crisis reporting—from on-the-ground investigation methods to techniques for ensuring stories reach the broadest audience possible.
In a year where women collectively raised their voices against discrimination and abuse, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival is proud to present 15 outstanding films offering fresh perspectives and critical insights on human rights concerns affecting people around the world, 12 of which were directed or co-directed by women. Read More
In an era of global advances by far-right forces into the political mainstream, assaults on the free press, and the rise of citizen journalism, the 28th New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival will present 20 topical and provocative feature documentaries and panel discussions that showcase courageous resilience in challenging times, and celebrate the ongoing fight for justice, progress, and transparency. Read More
Now in its 27th year, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns with inspiring, topical, and provocative feature documentaries and dramas, as well as special interactive programs that grapple with the challenges of defending human rights around the world today. Read More
The Human Rights Watch Film Festival brings human rights issues to life through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all. The festival creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. Read More
The 24th edition of the Human Rights Film Festival returns with a selection of films that bring human rights abuses to life through storytelling—challenging each individual to empathize and demand justice for all. One of the striking themes in this year’s festival is the tension between “traditional values” and human rights. Read More