Human Rights Watch unveils programme
by Naman Ramachandran
- Highlights of festival’s 20th edition include The Idol, The High Sun and Among the Believers
The 20th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival (9-18 March) will open in London with Nanfu Wang’s Hooligan Sparrow (China/US), a film that highlights the cost of defending human rights in China, and close with Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s much acclaimed Mustang [+see also:
interview: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
film profile] (France/Germany/Turkey/Qatar), the story of five rebellious sisters growing up in Turkey. Other highlights include Hany Abu-Assad’s The Idol [+see also:
film profile] (Palestine) about a Palestinian pop singer who wins ‘Arab Idol’; Dalibor Matanić’s Cannes winner, the Balkan drama The High Sun [+see also:
interview: Dalibor Matanic
interview: Tihana Lazovic
film profile] (Croatia/Serbia/Slovenia); and George Amponsah’s The Hard Stop (UK) about the Tottenham riots. The festival’s Benefit Gala will be Mohammed Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi’s Among the Believers (Pakistan/US), an exploration of the Red Mosque Islamic schools in Pakistan.
The festival also includes programmes combining visual media with discussions about filmmaking and human rights between Human Rights Watch experts and human rights advocates including Charif Kiwan, spokesman for the Syrian film collective Abounaddara, the filmmakers Kim Longinotto and James Brabazon, and photographers Giles Duley and Zalmaï.
Festival creative director John Biaggi said, “The stand out themes this year are censorship and freedom in China; migration and the refugee crisis; artists as agitators; as well as LGBT, children and women’s rights – and weaving throughout is empowered personal filmmaking shows that it is as much the journeys made by the filmmakers themselves as the struggles faced by their subjects that make human rights storytelling so powerful.”