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Human Rights Film Festival: David versus Goliath


© Foto: Inga Gerke/HRFFB

Oct 12, 2022 - The Berlin Human Rights Film Festival is presenting 41 films about the human rights situation worldwide this year. It will open this Thursday in the Colosseum with “Ithaka”, a portrait of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s family, in particular his father John Shipton.


Australian documentary filmmaker Ben Lawrence has followed the pensioner as he fights for his son’s release, which Shipton is working with Assange’s wife Stella Moris to secure. Assange has been in a British high-security prison since 2019 and is currently in extradition custody. In the US, he faces 175 years in prison. Two relatives against the powerful US judiciary: a David versus Goliath constellation.

“Beyond Red Lines” is the motto of the fifth year of the festival, and this time the Willy Brandt Documentary Film Prize for Freedom and Human Rights will again be awarded in the competition with ten productions, endowed with 3000 euros. All contributions focus on people who fight back when the red lines of free living are crossed, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and physical integrity. And people who suffer as these lines get tighter and tighter.

A film from Ukraine is also on the program: “Generation Euromaidan” follows three former Maidan activists and journalists. Svitlana Zalishchuk, Serhiy Leshchenko and Mustafa Nayyem, often dubbed “The Three Musketeers”, switched sides and became MPs. Today they face Putin’s war.

Other festival entries are located in the Gaza Strip, in Afghanistan, Niger, Congo or on the Napoleonic island of St. Helena. The spectrum ranges from portraits of very young activists from all over the world to denied education and reflections on the colonial perspective (“Stop Filming Us But Listen”). The climate catastrophe and sexism in social media are also discussed, in “The Oil Machine” from Scotland and in “Backlash. Misogyny in the Digital Age” from California.

The festival runs until October 23 in seven Berlin venues (Acud, Colosseum, Hackesche Höfe, Kant, Passage, Sputnik, Zeiss Großplanetarium); most of the films are also available as streams throughout Germany at www.humanrightsfilmfestivalberlin.de, where you can also find further information about the films and ticketing.

Poverty, corruption, violence These films tell of the high price of political resistance The accompanying “Human Rights Forum” in the Villa Elisabeth (Berlin-Mitte) is dedicated to topics such as activism and storytelling in forums, workshops and an exhibition. In the “Talking Humanity” series of talks, Bärbel Kofler from the Development Ministry and restitution expert Bénédicte Savoy, among others, have their say.

 

Source: Article by Christiane Peitz for Tagesspiegel, via Global Happenings, 12 Oct 2022

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