10 Films Every Human Rights Defender Should Watch in HR Watch

May 31, 2014

I announced the HRW film festival in an earlier post [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/human-rights-watch-film-festival-celebrates-25th-anniversary-with-5-films-on-human-rights-defenders/] but now that the Huffington post of 31 May 2014 has listed the 10 films it says every human rights defender should see, I gladly share their pick:

1. Sepideh — Reaching for the Stars (Denmark/Iran/Germany/Norway/Sweden) The story of a teenage girl named Sepideh, living in a rural village outside of Tehran, who dreams of becoming a famous astronomer. The documentary tackles gender roles in Iran while showcasing one young woman’s ambition and strength in the face of her family’s discouragement, university pitfalls and societal expectations. Directed by Berit Madsen. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTzbIc6oiqs?wmode=opaque]

2. Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus (US/UK/Belarus) Made up of smuggled footage and uncensored interviews, this documentary gives audiences a glimpse into Belarus’ dissident movement as it takes the shape of stage performances and public activism. Directed by Madeleine Sackler. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGALySJ3O24?wmode=opaque]

3. Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story (US) A veteran shares her story moving from one identity, a former U.S. Navy Seal named Chris Beck, to another, a transgender woman named Kristen Beck. Directed by Sandrine Orabona. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r21OdLSTfQY?wmode=opaque]

4. A Quiet Inquisition (US) Here you’ll meet OBGYN Dr. Carla Cerrato, who must navigate the perilous territory of Nicaragua’s anti-abortion policies, which prohibit abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is at stake. Directed by Alessandra Zeka and Holen Sabrina Kahn.

5. Scheherazade’s Diary (Lebanon) This “tragicomic documentary” follows women inmates in Lebanon as they stage a theater/drama therapy project titled “Scheherazade in Baabda,” revealing personal stories of domestic violence, failed relationships and traumas associated with motherhood. Directed by Zeina Daccache. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VnZGmd6EMg?wmode=opaque]

6. Siddharth (Canada/India) One father’s desperate journey to locate his son, a 12-year-old boy who was sent to work in another province to support his family, but did not return and is feared to have been kidnapped or trafficked. Directed by Richie Mehta.

7. The Supreme Price (US) The film covers the evolution of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles. Directed by Joanna Lipper.

8. Private Violence (US) Questioning the accepted discourse on domestic violence, the documentary introduces audiences to two women survivors who advocate for justice while exploring “the fact that the most dangerous place for a woman is her home.” Directed by Cynthia Hill.

9. The Beekeeper (Switzerland) This is the touching story of Ibrahim Gezer, a Kurdish beekeeper from southeast Turkey who, robbed of his family, possessions and 500 bee colonies, moves to Switzerland to make a new life. Directed by Mano Khalil.

10. Abounaddara Collective Shorts from Syria (Syria) The Abounaddara Collective is a group of filmmakers who came together in 2010 to help provide an alternative image of Syrian society, one not seen in mainstream media. This portion of the festival will showcase 90 minutes of their short films.

 

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will run from June 12 to June 22, 2014. See a complete schedule of screenings here.

10 Films Every Human Rights Advocate Should Watch.

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