Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, June 12, the New York edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival celebrates a quarter century of showcasing films addressing vital global concerns. With screenings through Sunday, June 22, the event will screen nearly two dozen programs to bear witness to and bring greater awareness of continuing human rights abuses around the world. Among the thematic offerings this year are:
Women’s Rights and Children’s Rights: Included here are both the fest’s opening night and closing night selections, respectively Cynthia Hill’s PRIVATE VIOLENCE, on domestic violence, and Zeina Daccache’s SCHEHERAZADE’S DIARY (pictured), about a theatre workshop for Lebanese female prisoners that reveals the harsh circumstances that informed their crimes; as well as Alessandra Zeka and Holen Sabrina Kahn’s A QUIET INQUISITION, focused on a Nicaraguan OB/GYN who must contend with the country’s draconian abortion ban; and Joanna Lipper’s THE SUPREME PRICE, about Nigeria’s struggles with democracy, as told through a political family’s tragedy.
Human Rights Defenders, Icons, and Villains: Among the films grouped by this theme are the pre-opening night benefit film, Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman’s E-TEAM, a profile of the HRW’s Emergency Team; and fellow Sundance winner Edet Belzberg’s WATCHERS OF THE SKY, which explores Raphael Lemkin’s legacy against genocide. Included in the Migrants’ Rights theme is Mano Khalil’s THE BEEKEEPER (pictured), about a displaced Kurdish apiarist now living in Switzerland.
Finally, Armed Conflict and the Arab Spring includes several titles, such as Rachel Beth Anderson and Tim Grucza’s FIRST TO FALL (pictured), which follows two Canadian students as they travel to Libya to fight against Gaddafi; and Sara Ishaq’s THE MULBERRY HOUSE, in which the filmmaker’s return to Yemen coincides with the popular uprising that ended decades of authoritarian rule.