Posts Tagged ‘human rights films’

Indian Human Rights Commission calls for entrees into film competition

March 20, 2018

Having just raised in this blog the question of the power of images [] it was interesting to note that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India has opened the entries for its fourth annual competition for short films on human rights. ”The aim of the award scheme is to encourage and acknowledge cinematic and creative efforts of the Indian citizens, irrespective of their age, towards the promotion and protection of human rights,’‘ the Commission said in an official statement on Monday.

The award carries a certificate along with prize money of Rs one lakh, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 for the best first,second and third film respectively. Deadline 2 July 2018. The short films may be in any Indian languages with either sub-titles in English or in English language.
Read more at: rights/india/news/1173026.html#VBdrQZ5j82gJpSQ0.99


Human Rights Films: call for action or entertainment?

March 20, 2018

The 1972 photo of a young girl running naked in Trang Bang screaming in pain from the effects of napalm had a profound influence on the public’s perception of the horrors of the Vietnam War. The 2015 photo of a three-year-old refugee boy drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey also had a profound influence of the public’s perception, this time on the desperate plight of millions of refugees. The images of Phan Thi Kim Phuc and Aylan Kurdi are iconic representations. Both capture larger stories; both images express powerful narratives. 

Visualization is story telling in another form. ……Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s introduced the notion that the medium of communication – movies for instance – change how a message is perceived. Directors can alter time sequences; background music can play directly to our emotions. We have entered new forms of communication that are just beginning to be understood.
The recent Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights was a significant event; 61 films shown in 57 venues in the Swiss Romand and Grand Genève, 28 debates and discussions with important figures such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Catalonian leader Carles Puidgemont as well as a human rights film tour organized by Swiss embassies in 45 countries.
…The images were shocking, almost numbing. We in the theatre became more than viewers, we became indirect witnesses through the lens of the film.
Several directors participated in debates following the presentations. They all expressed hope that the revelations shown on the screen would encourage reaction from the audience beyond the theatre. The purpose of the film, many argued, was to move the attendees and future viewers from watchers – i.e., indirect witnesses – to activists. The films, according to their creators, were calls to action.
McLuhan is most pertinent here. Watching a movie, any movie, is passive/emotional. The director leads us through what he or she wants us to see and feel. We are being literally directed. At a human rights film festival, we are directed, made aware, and called to action. The message of the medium is more than just perception; it is a motivation to do something. But the screen is just a screen, and a silver screen at that. The films were expertly produced. Most were technologically impressive. The cruelty and crudeness of human suffering were presented with all that modernity could offer.
It is the contrast between the rawness of grave breaches of human dignity and the sophistication of the current cinema that somehow reduced the power of the message. If, according to McLuhan, the medium is the message, then the films themselves – with all their slick professionalism – somehow played against a call to action. The excellence of the films was in contradiction to the cruelty and chaos of what they were showing.
.. Human rights activists are turning to visualization to appeal to larger and larger audiences. Visualization is today’s most powerful means of communication and it is becoming more and more sophisticated. The object of human rights’ film makers is to get the message out to the largest audience in an appealing way. The written era of Gutenberg is no longer hot. It is easier to teach students World War II by viewing Saving Private Ryan than to have them read weighty tomes of historical documentation.
If the message of human rights’ films is to witness human rights violations and call to action, professional presentations may be counter-productive. Movies are fundamentally entertainment; however instructive they may be. But when it comes to human rights and their violations, there should be as little entertainment as possible.


Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival with help of Canada train film makers in human rights

March 1, 2018

 The trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) and Canadian High Commission are teaming up to encourage the making of local short films on human rights issues, as part of a filmmakers development programme that began in 2017, reports Loop on 27 February 2018.

The ‘Human Rights on Film’ training programme encourages 14 filmmakers and writers who participated in a scriptwriting workshop with Canadian-Jamaican film professional, Annmarie Morais, last year, to put their training into practice. A panel of three judges, including a representative from The National Film Board of Canada and from the Canadian High Commission in Trinidad, will select the best three scripts. Trinidadian-born, National Film Board of Canada producer, Selwyn Jacobs, will then conduct a two-day workshop on how to move from the scriptwriting phase to production and post-production. The completed films will screen at ttff/18.

According to Annabelle Alcazar, Programme Director of the ttff: “This programme marries our interest in developing the skills of local filmmakers and writers, with advancing the conversations on human rights in Trinidad and Tobago.  We are excited about this project and look forward to seeing how filmmakers rise to the challenge of using their artistic knowledge and skill to bring these important issues alive.”

See also:

Call for proposals to organize human rights film festivals 2018/19

February 14, 2018

To promote the screenings of human rights cinema worldwide, Movies that Matter offers grants to human rights film events in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, especially in countries with limited resources and freedom of press. These events can take various forms, such as human rights film festivals, LGBT film festivals and mobile cinema projects. Please note that Movies that Matter does not support film production. You can apply on-line. The deadline is 15 April 201§8

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Supporting film festivals on human rights in 2018

November 19, 2017

Movies that Matter presented the ten festivals that it recently decided to support. This month, it offered grants to a new round of projects. Among others, two debuting festivals that will receive the start-up grant: for the first time a human rights film festival will take place in Timor-Leste in 2018. To bring the cinema to the people, the Timor-Leste Human Rights Film Festival will use a portable set-up to screen their selection of films at multiple sites. A new film festival will also arrive in South Africa: Shining Lights onto Langa. The festival introduces people to the Sunshine Cinema, a solar powered mobile cinema that converts solar energy into social impact. It brings people together with the intent to uplift grassroots movements and create networks of social change.

Additionally, the support goes to  three film festivals that pay direct attention to LGTBQI+ rights in Turkey, Pakistan and Myanmar. Other supported cinema projects include those in Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Palestine, Turkey and Peru.

See also:

Read more about all projects that were supported this year

Martin Ennals Ceremony 2017 was very moving

October 19, 2017

For those who missed it, here the link to the FULL version of the ceremony for the 2017 Martin Ennals ward of Human Rights Defenders.

The Top Human Rights Lawyers and their films

June 28, 2017

On 28 June 2017 wrote “From Making a Murderer to To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Top Human Rights Lawyers on Our Screens”, listing her pick of the most interesting cases where human rights lawyers plays a crucial and even heroic role in seeking and finding justice,  She says: The struggle for human rights is very real deal – and a tough one, as shown by the worldwide attack on human rights defenders. As well as making their cases in the courts of law, some have even made it as far as the big – and small – screens.” ….

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International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights: 10-19 March 2017 in Geneva

February 14, 2017

The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) is an international event dedicated to film and human rights. For the past 15 years, the festival has taken place in the heart of Geneva, the human rights capital, parallel to the main session of the UN Human Rights Council in March. Each evening, the FIFDH provides high-level debates in which human rights violations are denounced and debated, wherever they occur, including those overlooked by the United Nations and not attract international attention. Diplomats, NGOs, victims, artists, philanthropists, activists, journalists, decision makers, and the general public are invited to debate their views in this unique setting. All the discussions are transmitted live online and have their own dedicated hashtags : you can submit questions and engage with the debate directly, wherever you are.

Prominent personalities who have participated in these debates include : Nobel Prize laureates Shirin Ebadi and Joseph Stiglitz, High Commissioners Navi Pillay and Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Jesselyn Radack, doctor Denis Mukwege, activists Pussy Riot and the Yes Men, artists JR and Ai Weiwei, lawyers Fatou Bensouda, Carla del Ponte and Baltasar Garzon, diplomats Leila Shahid and Samantha Power, journalist Anna Politkovskaïa, as well as leading human rights thinkers Edgar Morin and Stéphane Hessel.


The FILM FESTIVAL runs two international competitions – fiction and documentary – offering a world class selection of films that challenge the ways in which we see the world, in the presence of filmmakers and artists turned protagonists. Two prestigious Juries award Le Grand Prix de Genève (10’000 €), Le Grand Prix Fiction (10’000 €) and the Prix Sergio Vieira de Mello (5000€).

The FIFDH reaches out to young people: more than half of its audience is younger than 35! We offer an ambitious and exciting programme of films and debates for school students. The Festival also schedules special screenings for students of the University of Geneva, the Graduate Institute and film schools, complete with workshops and dedicated Masterclasses.
Source: International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, Geneva

Support for screening human rights films

March 15, 2016

Movies that Matter supports human rights film screenings in developing countries and countries where press freedom is at stake. Applications are welcome for mobile cinema projects, human rights film festivals, film outreach projects or other innovative cinema projects to stimulate the discussion on human rights, social justice and freedom of expression?
Starting this year, Movies that Matter offers two types of grants to stage human rights film festivals and screenings in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East:
a) start-up grants (max. EUR 7,500); and b) impact grants (max. EUR 10,000).
Please note that Movies that Matter does not support film production!
The application deadline is 17 April 2016.

See the website for more information about these types of grants, the selection criteria and how to apply:

For inspiration, read about Movies that Matter’s earlier grantees here:
P.O. Box 1968, 1000 BZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 7733630

Human Rights Watch film festival 2016

February 20, 2016

From 9 – 18 March there will be the 2016 human rights film festival of Human Rights Watch in London, and from there it will travel to Toronto (30 March – 7 April), New York (10 – 19 June) and Nairobi (14-18 November). Read the rest of this entry »