THE 2018 HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FILM FESTIVAL, June 14-21 @ FSLC & IFC

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The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will present 15 timely and provocative films, from June 14-21, 2018, that shine a bright light on bravery and resilience in challenging times. In a year when women collectively raised their voices against discrimination and abuse, Human Rights Watch will present films offering incisive perspectives and critical insights on human rights issues impacting people around the world. 12 of the 15 films are directed or co-directed by women. 

Now in its 29th edition, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival is co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center. All screenings will be followed by in-depth question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers, film subjects, Human Rights Watch researchers, and special guests. 

This year’s festival turns the spotlight on strong women who take great risks to push back against powerful forces within their respective societies. And, at a time when the use of personal data by institutions is front-page news, this year’s program explores governmental and corporate regulation of information, and how, by burying the truth and creating their own narratives, these gatekeepers are uniquely positioned to abuse their power and control the populace. 

“In a year when women have spoken out against abuse, harassment and oppression, the festival highlights the outstanding work of women filmmakers telling epic stories of women fighting injustice with resilience and courage.” said John Biaggi, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival creative director. “The festival will also probe the headline-breaking questions of corporate and government control of information at a time when the use of personal data has outrun the limits of the law and ethics.” 

The Opening Night screening of the documentary On Her Shoulders introduces Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi survivor of atrocities by ISIS who makes it her life’s mission to fight for justice and freedom for her people. 

Two documentaries highlight women’s rights in Afghanistan. A Thousand Girls Like Me follows a young mother seeking justice from a legal system designed to criminalize sexual abuse survivors like her. Facing the Dragon (winner of the festival’s Nestor Almendros 2 Award) profiles two intrepid Afghan women — a member of parliament and journalist — who risk the safety of their families to bring change and accountability to their country. 

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Naila and the Uprising features courageous Palestinian women activists who played a pivotal role in the First Intifada, and in Women of the Venezuelan Chaos, five resilient women find creative ways to defend their fellow citizens, their families and their own lives amid the national crisis that has enveloped their country. 

In the profoundly moving and poetic Angkar, a filmmaker traces her father’s journey home to Cambodia to seek out his Khmer Rouge persecutors while confronting his country’s collective amnesia regarding their horrifying past. In The Silence of Others, survivors of the Franco dictatorship’s crimes against humanity refuse to relent in their pursuit of justice, despite Spain’s “pact of forgetting,” which has denied Franco’s victims legal recourse. The Cleaners reveals a murky world of digital “cleaning,” in which giant social media companies employ workers to delete internet content deemed inappropriate, raising essential questions over internet control and the life-threatening impact of erasing entire resistance movements from the world’s gaze. 

As always, the festival features critical human rights issues in the U.S., this year with three timely films. Charm City moves between community members, police and local officials during a period of heightened violence in Baltimore, exposing layers of disconnect and distrust that need to be addressed to move their city forward. TransMilitary focuses on the largest employer of transgender people in the country – the U.S. military – and the efforts of four brave people as they come forward to demand much-needed change. The Closing Night film, The Unafraid, introduces three high school students in Georgia, banned by the state from attending top state universities due to their unauthorized immigration status, and their passionate fight to pursue their dreams of higher education. 

The festival continues its partnership with MUBI, a curated online streaming platform reaching a community of film lovers across the globe. MUBI will feature select films from the festival online while the New York program is in progress. Learn more at mubi.com.

Complete Program and Schedule Information at Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Public screenings and special programs will take place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 W. 65th St) (FSLC) and at the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas (IFC). The opening night film, On Her Shoulders, will screen at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th St. (WRT)(between Amsterdam and Broadway).