Posts Tagged ‘Sundance Film Festival’

Kenyan documentary Softie shows defenders torn between family and the struggle

October 22, 2020

Katharine Houreld writes for Reuters on 21 October 2020 a very interesting piece about a documentary that puts the focus on the difficult dilemmas facing human rights defenders.

Njeri and Boniface Mwangi are activists – they protest together and are arrested together – but as the film progresses, the focus moves from whether their crusade will succeed to whether their family will implode.

Families of human rights defenders or activists … I want people to know we exist,” Njeri, a movie buff and avid motorcyclist, told Reuters at the film’s Kenya premiere this week. “Our children really struggle.”

Softie – an award-winner at the Sundance and Durban film festivals – shows the evolution of Boniface from an activist outraged by the 2007-8 election violence into a political candidate promising his new Ukweli party will change the system from within, a decade later.

His family grapple with his absence, a house permanently full of people, and death threats targeting their three young children. Njeri, fearing for their lives, eventually takes the kids to the Unites States in 2016.

In one tense on-camera exchange before his family leaves, Boniface pleads with his wife: “you need to have an ideal that you live for, that’s worth dying for.” “You think it will be better if you die?” Njeri replies sadly.

A later scene lays out the stakes. The couple’s eldest son Nate returns from his American school with something he has made for father’s day: a loving card for his mother. When filmmaker Sam Soko asks from behind the camera why there’s no message for his father, Nate shrugs.

Moments like that forced a reckoning, said Boniface, who appeared with his family at the premiere, all in matching purple outfits. Now he’s building his party, taking a rest from protests and spending time making meals for his family. He’s finally realised he can’t – and shouldn’t – try to change everything himself.

Change is not an event… it’s not a popcorn that pops in a microwave,” he told Reuters. “It’s a very slow painful marathon – and then the marathon doesn’t end.”

The film started out as a five-minute Youtube clip about organising a protest, said Soko, who is an activist himself. It sprawled into a seven year project, now streaming on PBS in the United States and Britain’s BBC.

It’s essentially still an activist manual,” he said. “But a different kind of manual … (about) what it means to love.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kenya-film/kenyan-documentary-spotlights-activist-torn-between-family-and-the-struggle-idUSKBN2761FY

Tonight screening of “Boys State” by RFK Rights

October 6, 2020

Tonight 5 October 2020 you can participate in the virtual private screening of Boys State, which won this year’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize for documentary. This engaging film tells the story of 1,100 boys who come together to build a representative government from the ground up, and in the process examines our divided country and the health of the American democracy. Rolling Stone calls it “both sweeping and intimate” and “exhilarating.”   The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers and two of the film’s subjects, moderated by Kerry Kennedy.

Tonight at 7 p.m. EDT.    To RSVP to the event: email BoysStateRFK@a24films.com.   

https://mailchi.mp/rfkhumanrights/d7az6w232t-855714?e=99673fdc45

“We are the Giant” – film about the Arab spring – here is the trailer

January 23, 2014

WE ARE THE GIANT by Greg Barker, former war-correspondent-turned-filmmaker, is a full-length documentary about human rights people in the context of the Arab spring. It comes out in the Sundance Film festival 18-26 January. English and Arabic with English subtitles, 2014, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A./United Kingdom.

http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/14064/we_are_the_giant

Human Rights First to hold Human Rights Summit: 4-5 December

November 29, 2012

 

On December 4-5, 2012, Human Rights First will convene the inaugural Human Rights Summit: American ideals. Universal values, marking the 64th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Summit is designed to bring international civil society activists, U.S. policymakers, military and business leaders together to look at U.S. global leadership on human rights. Human Rights First believes that American leadership is necessary to secure human rights around the world. We hope you will join us as we celebrate progress and address the challenges ahead. Sessions during the two-day Summit will cover human rights issues including the Arab Spring, emerging technologies, immigration reform, and more. Senators Richard Durbin (D – IL) and John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the United Civil Front Garry Kasparov, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Dr. Richard Land, and Vice President of Communications and Public Policy at Facebook Elliot Schrage will join us as guest speakers.

Human Rights First also invites you to the screening of the award-winning film THE HOUSE I LIVE IN on Tuesday, December 4, at 7 p.m. The screening will be followed by a discussion with acclaimed filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, who received the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for this film. This event is free and open to the public

 

Space is limited. Reserve <http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=kHQZD8AfBaT%2FEULL8Hi1yi%2BQnID0Npd%2F>  your spot today!

Register for sessions now! <http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=3twClNNnpynWcNjK3OOtRy%2BQnID0Npd%2F>

 

Guatemalan General accused of genocide and Granito film images help to nail him

January 29, 2012

The ex-dictator of Guatemala, General Efraín Ríos Montt, has to face charges of genocide in a Guatemalan court and was placed under house arrest. The culmination of decades of work by human rights advocates, forensic scientists and survivors of the Guatemalan genocide forced former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt to appear in court Thursday after 30 years of impunity, for a hearing to decide whether there was enough evidence to take him to trial on charges of genocide.  This was a major event in Guatemala with hundreds of Maya people coming down from the highlands to gather in front of the courthouse, holding a candle vigil for the their murdered family members.

The prosecution spent hours presenting overwhelming evidence in the form of military documents,  exhumation reports, photos and footage from the film Granito: How To Nail A Dictator, linking Ríos Montt directly to hundreds of deaths and disappearances. Surviving family members, Ixil Maya in traditional dress, crowded the standing room only courtroom in stunned silence. Some wept. Outside the courthouse, in an open area now named Human Rights Plaza, hundreds more watched the proceedings on a huge screen. I reported in an earlier post on the film Granito: How To Nail A Dictator which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. (The defense argued that Ríos Montt did not have command responsibility over his Army officers in the highlands, and that he was not responsible for the massacres.  This is belied by a clip from Granito that the prosecution and the Guatemalan media used to show the general taking command responsibility, saying that “If I don’t control the army, then who does?”)

Judge Carol Patricia Flores deliberated for hours and returned her decision to prosecute Ríos Montt on charges of genocide, place him under house arrest, and set bail for USD $65,000. People hugged, cheered and set off firecrackers outside when the Judge read her decision stating that “the extermination of the civilian population was the result of military plans, and that these plans were executed under the command of Ríos Montt.”