Picturehouse Central is delighted to welcome this year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Andrea Holley, Strategic Director of the HRWFF gives a preview of the lineup.
In this year’s edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, we have selected 16 topical and provocative feature documentaries that grapple with the challenges of defending human rights around the world today. In an era of global advances by far-right forces into the political mainstream, the programme explores individuals and groups exhibiting courageous resilience in challenging times, and celebrates the push for progress and transparency.
One group pushing for change is women – both behind and in front of the camera. We’re delighted that women play such a huge role in this year’s festival. The fight for women’s rights takes us across the world. We travel to Pakistan with Girl Unbound, where Maria Toorpakai becomes Pakistan’s finest female squash player despite Taliban death threats. In The Apology, we meet ‘the grandmothers’ in China, South Korea and the Philippines. Often referred to as ‘comfort women’, they continue to demand accountability for their sexual exploitation by the Japanese army during World War II. We’ll Be Alright takes us to Russia, where two young women fight for their independence and the right to live on their own in the challenging environment of the Russian legal system and its judgments on ‘competency’.
As well as fighting in front of the camera, we’re also screening a number of films made by women. Heather White and Lynn Zhang follow critically poisoned Chinese factory workers as they fight Chinese electronics giant Foxconn for acknowledgment, justice and health care in Complicit. In Lost In Lebanon, London-based filmmakers Sophia and Georgia Scott take a close look at the reaction of a country of four million inhabitants to the arrival of one million refugees from Syria – following in-depth individual stories that both illuminate and inspire.
To inspire you even more, you’ll get a chance to meet many of these women in person at #HRWFFLDN. After each screening, we will host in-depth discussions with filmmakers, film subjects, Human Rights Watch researchers and activists to offer you, the audience, a unique opportunity to ask questions and engage with topics covered in each film.
We are delighted to bring this programme to you, and hope that you will continue to join us in supporting and celebrating powerful human-rights achievements in film throughout 2017 and beyond.