The Poetess / Andreas Wolff & Stefanie Brockhaus
The 15th annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival, co-presented by TIFF and Human Rights Watch, features a diverse lineup celebrating the power individuals can hold in complex social and political situations.
The festival is an opportunity for both organizations to come together to recognize the essential role that compelling storytelling plays in helping shine a light on important issues, from citizen journalism in West Africa to the difference spoken-word can make in the Arab world. Of the seven exceptional features that make up this year’s edition, five were directed by women.
Most screenings will be accompanied by exciting discussions with filmmakers, Human Rights Watch researchers, or subject-matter experts to spark conversations around the challenging issues featured in the films.
Directed by Andreas Wolff and Stefanie Brockhaus
Tuesday April 24, 2018 / 6:30pm
Saudi poetess Hissa Hilal made headlines around the world as the first woman to reach the finals of the Arab world’s biggest televised poetry competition, Million’s Poet. The Poetess is the inspiring story of a woman risking her personal safety and seizing an opportunity, live on TV in front of 75 million viewers, to use her wit and lyricism to critique patriarchal society and religious extremism.
What Will People Say
Directed by Iram Haq
Friday April 20, 2018 / 6:30 pm
Sixteen-year-old Nisha lives a double life. At home with her family she is the perfect Pakistani daughter, but when out with her friends, she is a normal Norwegian teenager. When her father discovers her deception, Nisha’s two worlds brutally collide. To set an example, Nisha’s parents decide to kidnap her and send her to live with relatives in Pakistan. Here, in a country she has never been to before, Nisha is forced to adapt to her parents’ culture. Iram Haq’s empathetic story of family, community, and culture juxtaposes the complex relationship between a father and daughter, and the efforts of a young woman who must find her own way in life.
Muhi — Generally Temporary
Directed by Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman
Thursday April 19, 2018 / 6:30pm
Muhi, a young boy from Gaza, has been trapped in an Israeli hospital for over eight years. Rushed there in his infancy with a life-threatening immune disorder, he and his doting grandfather, Abu Naim, are caught in an immigration limbo and only permitted to reside within the constraints of the hospital walls. Made by Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman — two filmmakers from Jerusalem — this documentary lays out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in human terms, documenting the impact these paradoxical circumstances have on individual lives.
The Other Side of Everything
Directed by Mila Turajlic
Sunday April 22, 2018 / 3:30pm
A locked door inside a Belgrade apartment has kept one family separated from their past for over 70 years. As Mila Turajlic begins an intimate conversation with her mother, the political fault line running through their home reveals a house and a country haunted by history. The chronicle of a family in Serbia turns into a searing portrait of an activist in times of great turmoil, questioning the responsibility of each generation to fight for their future.
This Is Congo
Directed by Daniel McCabe
Saturday April 21, 2018 / 6:30pm
A whistleblower, a patriotic military commander, a mineral dealer, and a displaced tailor share a glimpse into life amid Africa’s longest-running conflict. Over the last two decades, the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen more than 5 million conflict-related deaths, multiple changes of government, and the wholesale impoverishment of its people. Through four profoundly resilient characters, This is Congo provides an immersive and unfiltered look at this lush, mineral-rich country, from the 2012 rise of Rwandan- and Ugandan-backed M23 rebels in the North Kivu region to the present day.
Directed by Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman
Wednesday April 25, 2018 / 6:30pm
When the rights to one-third of Liberia’s land are signed away to multinational corporations, activist Silas Siakor and a network of dedicated citizen reporters respond with swift action. Armed with mobile phone cameras, Silas and his team travel from village to village, working with local communities to document the government-approved pillaging of Liberia’s natural resources that wreaks havoc on the environment and impoverishes families. As the battle for accountability gains momentum, rural communities unite to protect their land and their future. Silas celebrates the true power of individuals to fight the immense power of money and politics.