Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, and its annual film festival is a vital forum for movies that tackle important global issues. Showcasing an international selection of acclaimed works that bring human rights struggles to life through storytelling, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival presents challenging, provocative art that calls for justice and social change. Selections in recent years have included some of the most urgent documentary and fiction films of our time (including The Act of Killing, Born Into Brothels, The Cleaners, Dheepan, Incendies, The Invisible War, Iraq in Fragments, The Oath, and Restrepo), and this year again features essential and entertaining films everyone will be talking about.
See more information at HRW.org.
World Premiere · Q&As with Eunice Lau, Yusuf Abdurahman, Ikraan Abdurahman, & Jumana Musa, joined by Blair Imani on June 15Twenty-five years after Yusuf Abdurahman left Somalia as a refugee to begin his life anew in Minnesota, his worst fear is realized when his 19-year-old-son Zacharia is arrested in an FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Accept the Call explores racism and prejudice against immigrants, the rise of targeted recruitment by radicalized groups, and the struggles of Muslim youth growing up in the US today.
New York Premiere · Q&A with Rachel Leah Jones, Lea Tsemel, Jamil Dakwar & Balkees Jarrah · Opening Night ReceptionJewish Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel and her Palestinian colleagues have taken on their youngest defendant yet: Ahmad, a 13-year-old boy implicated in a knife attack on the streets of Jerusalem. Together, they must counter legal and public opposition and prepare Ahmad for a difficult trial in a country in which the government, court system, and the media are stacked against him.
U.S. Premiere · Q&As with Maryam Zaree (joined by Sharon Content on June 19)When she was 12 years old, the actress and filmmaker Maryam Zaree found out that she was one of a number of babies born inside Evin, Iran’s most notorious political prison. In Born in Evin, she confronts decades of silence in her family and embarks on an exploration into the circumstances of her birth.
New York Premiere · Q&A with Tuki Jencquel and Francisco ValenciaCaracas-born filmmaker Tuki Jencquel investigates the near-total collapse of Venezuela’s once vibrant health system, which is resulting in severe medicine shortages, a dramatic increase in infant mortality, the reappearance of once-eradicated diseases like diphtheria, and a mass exodus of doctors to hospitals overseas.
U.S. Premiere · Q&A with Rehad Desai, Larissa Johnson, Whitney Stephenson & Antonia HyltonWhen South Africa’s universities raised their fees, a wave of students took to the streets in opposition, quickly gaining momentum and scope. Everything Must Fall features student leaders and their opposition as they unpack how a moment evolved into a mass movement. Closed Captioning and live transcription (CART) of the Q&A available.
U.S. Premiere · Q&A with Beryl Magoko and Maryum SaifeeDirector Beryl Magoko learns of an opportunity for reconstructive surgery for the female genital mutilation she and her friends underwent as young girls, leading to frank and raw discussions with friends who uncover the beauty of collective strength and the importance of female pleasure, and shed the societally imposed shame around women’s bodies. Winner of the 2019 Human Rights Watch Film Festival Nestor Almendros award for courage in filmmaking.
U.S. Premiere · Extended Q&A with Floriane Devigne, film subject "M," Kyle Knight & Maria TridasDeborah and M were born with variations in their sex characteristics different from classical understandings of male or female. For M, growing up intersex has meant grappling with the fact that she underwent unnecessary surgeries to “normalize” her body as a child. But when M finds Deborah online, she is introduced to new voices, language, and representations that allow her to expand her understanding of who she is.
U.S. Premiere · Q&As with James Jones, Olivier Sarbil & Carlos CondeIn 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte announced a “war on drugs” in the Philippines, setting off a wave of violence and murder targeting thousands of suspected drug dealers and users. With unprecedented, intimate access, On the President’s Orders is a shocking and revelatory investigation into the extrajudicial murders that continue to this day.
Q&As with Nanfu Wang and Yaqiu Wang, joined by Minky Worden on June 14Academy Award-nominated documentarian Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang explore China’s One Child Policy, which made it illegal in most circumstances for couples to have more than one child. Nanfu digs fearlessly into her own life, composing a revelatory record of China’s drastic approach to population-control. Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
New York Premiere · Q&A with Bassam Jarbawi, Yasmine Qaddumi, Shrihari Sathe & Sarah SaadounShot entirely on location in the West Bank with a largely Palestinian crew, Bassam Jarbawi’s debut feature follows Ziad, the young star of the Al-Amari Refugee Camp basketball team on the outskirts of Ramallah. When his best friend is shot and killed in crossfire, his teammates seek revenge, with results that will affect Ziad for the rest of his life.
New York Premiere · Q&As with Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, joined by Sophie Richardson on June 18 and Shrihari Sathe on June 19 · 30th Anniversary ReceptionAt age eight, Dolkar and her father fled Tibet, escaping Chinese armed forces in an arduous journey across the Himalayas. Now 26, she lives in a Tibetan refugee colony in Delhi, India, where an unexpected encounter with a man from her past uncovers long-suppressed memories.
New York Premiere · Q&A with Jason DaSilva and Carlos Rios-EspinosaFacing a rapidly progressing form of multiple sclerosis and experiencing a swift decline in his motor skills, New Yorker Jason DaSilva learns that the harsh restrictions of the U.S. Medicaid system would prevent him from accessing the services he needs to live life as fully as possible and from being the dad he wants to be for his young son. Closed Captioning and live transcription (CART) of the Q&A available.
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