Culture, Globe, Listings, Screen, United Kingdom

London: Human rights on the Big Screen

An Pakistani athlete who dressed as a boy for the first 16 years of her life to not be discovered by the Taliban and an Iraqi who had to flee war for five years to save his own life. These are some of the inspiring stories which will be brought to life at the Human Rights Watch  Film Festival in London between the 6th and 17th March.


THE APOLOGY 01_Image courtesy Icarus Films
“The apology”

The dark room, eyes wide open and a wide screen which shows us the reality that we only suspect. Documentary cinema festivals are interesting in this way: as soon as we leave our seats, we feel anxious to share with the world what we have learnt and – if we really feel moved – we want to react to the facts.

John Biaggi, the creative director of the  Human Rights Watch  Film Festival  has his goal clearly in mind: “At a time when extreme right wing forces are making advances global advances in the global political system, it is more important than ever that our programme should highlight the individuals and groups who show brave resilience in challenging times”. It is with this in mind that the films which will be a part of the 2017 festival, which will have the slogan “16 films which connect the changing attitudes to human rights”.

During the almost two weeks many stories will be told including those of Chinese migrant workers, an adolescent in Hong Kong, Mayan villages in Guatemala and stories of sexual exploitation told by elderly women, amongst many others.

HRW IAmNotYourNegro
HRW IAmNotYourNegro “I am not your negro”

Amongst the outstanding works on show some highlights include “I am not your negro”, nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar which tells the story of racial conflict in the United States and “Nowhere to hide”, which tells the true story of those who are seeking refuge having escaped the terror in Iraq.

It is important to note that 7 out of the 16 films were made by women. In fact, Maria Toorpakai, the Pakistani squash player who defied Taliban threats, will be in the film“Girl unbound”. Now 26 years old, the young athlete had to dress as a man to be able to play sport until she was 16 years old. In keeping with tradition at the festival, the showings will be accompanied by discussion panels after each film.

Including for example, the British sisters Sophia and Georgia Scott, who will present the premiere of their film “Lost in Lebanon”, which follows four Syrians  desperate because of the new immigration laws in Lebanon.

HRW Girl_Unbound
“Girl unbound”

Date: Between 6th and 17th March 2017. Location: Barbican, British Museum and Picturehouse Central. More information here.

Promotional Photos – (Translated by Peter Savin – Email:

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