The 17th edition of the FIFDH, the leading international event dedicated to film and human rights, will take place from 8th to 17th March hosting artists, activists and celebrities from around the world to debate on some of the most burning issues of today: inequality, gender based violence, populism, new social challenges, freedom of information.
A selection of films and debates, readings, conferences that have the power to inspire, touch our consciousness, urge us to reflect and take action against human rights violation and impunity. The 2019 edition of the FIFDH will start on March 8th for the International Women’s Day, with a film dedicated to Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize 2018, who after surviving Isis’s violence and crimes against the Yezidi people became the voice of her people and of all women victims of sexual abuse in war time.
ON HER SHOULDERS by Alexandria Bombach – Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by IS. Her story, relentlessly recounted on radio shows, thrusts this ordinary girl onto the world stage even on the floor of the United Nation making her the voice of her people. From the refugee camps in Greece to the halls of power, we observe a woman repurpose unimaginable trauma into a powerful rallying cry for justice.
COMPETITION – FICTION
ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE by Raul de la Fuente and Damian Nenow – The Angolan civil war during the 1975 chronicled in graphic by one of the most legendary war correspondent: Ryszard Kapuściński. He was sent by the Polish Press Agency to Angola where a bloody civil war has broken out on the eve of the country’s independence. As he was to get closer to the realities of war, Angola was a dangerous journey into the heart of darkness which changed Kapuściński forever turning him into a writer of a world renown.
HOUSE OF MY FATHERS by Suba Sivakumaran – Barbed wire separate two Sri Lankan villages that have been at war with one another forever. When both communities become completely sterile and there is fear for the continuity of their bloodlines, the village elders decide to make a sacrifice: to send Asoka, a veteran to Ahalya, a woman from the other village who has not spoken since losing her husband and son in the war. Asoka and Ahalya’s villages symbolise the Singhalese and Tamil ethnic groups, who have been fighting one another in Sri Lanka for 20 years. Their collective fears and traumas are submerged in magic-realist symbolism,
MANTA RAY by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng – In a village of Thailand by the sea where thousands of Rohingya refugees have drowned, a local fisherman finds a man lying unconscious in the forest. He rescues him and names him Thongchai. When the fisherman goes on a fishing trip, Thongchai slowly takes over his life, his house, his ex-wife. A poetically crafted film full of symbolism that draws attention to the plight of the most persecuted minority on earth
THE SWEET REQUIEM by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam – Refugees and painful memories. The story of Dolkar, a young Tibetan woman struggling with her living in exile in Delhi. In the city she unexpectedly meets a figure from her past, a man she believes responsible for the journey that brought her here. Dolkar was only eight when her parents left Tibet in a desperate attempt to live in a safer land.
COMPETITION – GRAND REPORTAGE
THEY DIDN’T HAVE A CHOICE by Youlouka Damiba and Gideon Vink – Throughout Africa from Yaoundè to Doula, from Abidjan to Dakar homosexuality remains a sensitive topic, a sin, a practice imported from the West. A documentary that launches an open challenge to the African societies on a very inconvenient and burning issue.
CONGO LUCHA by Marlène Rabaud – A vibrant tribute to the courage of people of LUCHA, a grassroots movement of Congolese men and women campaigning for democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo against the longstanding opposition of president Kabila to step down and allow new elections to take place.
OUT OF COMPETITION – FICTION
A TRAMWAY IN JERUSALEM by Amos Gitai – On a tramway that connects several of the city’s neighborhoods from Jewish West and Arab East, people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds meet on board every day, Jewish West and Arab East. A drama-comedy, halfway fiction and documentary, centered on the daily life of a divided city symbolically united through shared public transport.
IN SEARCH by Beryl Magoko – In Kenya Female Genital Mutilation is still practiced as a ritual. It is painful and even dangerous. Why do mothers allow their daughters to undergo this unsane tradition? The Kenyan director Beryl Magoko, who now lives in Germany, gave into peer pressure and chose to be circumcised as a young girl. She thought it was simply a rite of passage, but why did nobody tell her how painful and humiliating it was. The damage isn’t only physical. With frank discussions and openness
THE TRIAL OF RATKO MLADIC by Henry Singer and Rob Miller –The Bosnian War cost the lives of around 100,000 innocent people. In 2012, almost exactly 20 years after the bloody Bosnian War, whose death toll was 100,000 innocent people, the trial began of the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladić at the Yugoslavia tribunal in The Hague accused of leading the siege of Sarajevo and murdering 7,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica. The documentary sheds light on the war from two angles, by on the one hand speaking to the public prosecutors and visiting victims and witnesses, and on the other interviewing Mladić’s lawyers, supporters and family members, who consider him a patriotic hero. Shocking, potent images in archive and news footage remind us of the cruelty of this dirty war.
ZERO IMPUNITY by Nicolas Blies and Stéphane Hueber-Blies – An ambitous transmedia project of investigative journalism on the hundreds of thousands victims of sexual violence in conflicts. A call for action led by a group of 11 independent journalists, from Washington to Ukraine, Syria, the Democratic Repuclic of Congo. A cry for justice against impunity, a documentary that calls for justice.
CREATIVE DOCUMENTARIES COMPETITION
GHOST FLEET by Shannon Service – Much of the seafood in our daily lives – sushi, frozen fish, shrimp cocktail, and the vast amount that goes into pet food – has been caught by slaves. Thailand is one of the world’s largest seafood exporters with a huge fishing fleet that requires thousands of fishermen. Decades of overfishing has decimated fish stocks in the region and today the Gulf of Thailand is one of the most barren parts of the ocean. Human traffickers have started to fill the labour shortage by selling men from Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia. A documentary follows a small group of activists who risk their lives on remote Indonesian islands to find justice and freedom for the enslaved fishermen who feed the world’s appetite for seafood for a few hundred dollars each.
OUT OF COMPETITION – CREATIVE DOCUMENTARIES
THE APOLLO OF GAZA by Nicolas Wadimoff – In 2013 a more than 2000 year old bronze statue of Apollo is found off Gaza by a Palestinian fisherman.Instantly the statue became an object of mercantile and geopolitical interests and speculations before suddendly disappeared seized by Hamas. The episode gives the opportunity to look more closely at a territory known for the long-time war and a merciless blockade that has been suffocating and isolating its inhabitants from the world outside. A trace that reconnects Gaza’s people with its cultural past.
THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY by Petra Costa – Under the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva 20 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty. In 2010, Lula passed the presidential baton to the former female guerrilla Dilma Rousseff. Behind the official celebration people rage against the institutional corruption much of it abetted by a partisan judge who fed news outlets sensational, deeply flawed corruption reports that targeted Lula and Dilma Rousseff. The Edge of Democracy carries a potent warning against the present Brazil’s political crisis, allegedly fomented by Western superpowers.
A DARK PLACE by Javier Luque Martinez – A film which highlights the effects of the on online harassment of female journalists. Produced by the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the documentary crosses Turkey, Azerbaijan, Latin America, Western Europe where same patterns are repeated relentlessly.
THE OCCUPATION OF THE AMERICAN MIND by Jeremy Earp and Loretta Alper – Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. media culture, the film takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception exploring how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor.
WHEN THE WAR COMES by Jan Gebert – The surge of the far-right wing Slovakia. Peter Švrček has a normal life, a family, a girlfriend, university studies. But Peter has a double life, made up of camouflage uniforms, marches, Nazi symbols. He founded Slovak Recruits, a paramilitary group to defend Slovakia from immigrants. The institutions close their eyes, let them do until Peter inevitably enters politics.
AROUND A FILM
DICK MARTY, A SCREAM FOR JUSTICE by Fulvio Bernasconi – After September 11, the CIA signed a secret agreement with several European States that allowed the kidnapping and torture of suspected Islamists. When the Washington Post reveals the case in 2005, the Council of Europe mandates Swiss citizen, Dick Marty to lead the investigation. Armed with formidable tenacity, Marty defied America, Europe and Switzerland.
STILL RECORDING by Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub – Saeed is a young cinema passionate trying to teach the rule of filming to the youth in Ghouta, in Syria. His friend Milad, an art student, is on the other side of the fence, in Damascus, under the control of the regime. He decides to leave the capital and joins Saeed in under sieged Douma where they set up a local radio station and a recording studio. More than 500 hours of footage was shot, and the men face questions the use of art in a world facing destruction.