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5 African Diaspora Films to See at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival This Week

5 African Diaspora Films to See at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival This Week

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will run from June 11 to
21, 2015, with 16 films from across the globe that celebrate the power of individuals and communities to
affect change, the festival announced.

Now in its 26th edition, the festival is co-presented by
the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center.

This year’s film festival is organized around three themes: Art Versus Oppression, Changemakers
and Justice and Peace. The festival also features a series of special programs, including a discussion
around the ethics of image-making in documenting human rights abuses, a master class on international
crisis reporting and digital storytelling, and a multimedia project on the women activists of the Arab

“This year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival is all about challenging the status quo,” said the
festival’s creative director, John Biaggi. “From fighting government corruption in Guatemala, to
fighting to bring back the female voice in Iran, to fighting against the stereotyping of young AfricanAmerican
men in the US, the films this year showcase both the need and determination of individuals to
reform unjust social, cultural and political systems worldwide.”

The festival will begin on June 11 with a fundraising Benefit Night for Human Rights Watch featuring
Matthew Heineman’s harrowing look into Mexico’s drug war, “Cartel Land.” Winner of the US
documentary directing and cinematography awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the film exposes two
contemporary vigilante movements, one on either side of the US-Mexico border.

Of note, given this blog’s specific interests are:

– Director Marc Silver and special guests will be at the June 12 Opening Night screening of another
Sundance award-winner, “3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets.” The documentary centers on the 2012 shooting
death of black teenager, Jordan Davis, at a Florida gas station and the trial of his killer, a white man, Michael Dunn.

– The Closing Night screening on June 21 will be the renowned documentarian Stanley Nelson’s “The
Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” a history of the Black Panther Party in the US, featuring
rare archival footage, from the Party’s beginnings to its ultimate dissolution. The director and some of
the film’s subjects will be on hand for a discussion afterward.

– Winner of the Toronto Film Festival’s audience award for documentary, Hajooj Kuka’s “Beats of the Antonov” immerses viewers in the world of the Sudanese farmers, herders and rebels of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions, who defiantly continue to tend their lands and celebrate their musical heritage in the face of a government bombing campaign.

– Oscar-nominated filmmaker Gini Reticker’s “The Trials of Spring,” which will be shown in its world premiere, tells the stories of three Egyptian women who risk everything to fight for change in their country. The feature documentary anchors a larger multimedia project at the festival about women activists from the Middle East and North Africa.

– Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe’s “(T)ERROR” puts the filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation as they follow “Shariff,” a black revolutionary-turned informant, in his attempt to befriend a suspected Taliban sympathizer and build a case against him.

Tickets are available online at for the screenings at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and for the IFC Center, as well as directly from each of the organization’s box offices. A discount package is also available for screenings at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

For more information, call the Film Society at 212-875-5600 or IFC Center at 212-924-7771 or visit

For discounted tickets and festival updates, sign up for the mailing list at

Follow the festival on Twitter @hrwfilmfestival.

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