“In selecting films for the festival, Human Rights Watch concentrates equally on artistic merit and human rights content. The festival encourages filmmakers around the world to address human rights subject matter in their work and presents films from both new and established international filmmakers.”
Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organisations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. A major part of this work is, of course, the raising of awareness in the international community of human rights abuses. To this end, the organisation has curated an annual film festival since 2009.
The 2012 festival opens in London on 21 March, direct from San Francisco, showcasing films of all forms from short to documentary to drama, from varying points of view – all with a central theme of human rights. Submissions this year include Brother Number One, a New Zealand film charting Rob Hamill’s journey through Cambodia, where his brother Kerry was killed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s; Even the Rain (Spain), based on the events of the Bolivian Water War of 2000, and Saving Face, a chilling documentary about acid attacks on women in Pakistan.
An undoubted highlight will be Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life, another documentary. The film chronicles the imprisonment of the Burkett brothers, convicted of a three capital murders in Texas, and explores the application of the death penalty in the United States.
The London Human Rights Watch Film Festival runs from 21-30 March at The Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, ICA and Brixton Ritzy cinemas. For more information and bookings, visit their website.