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Now in its 24th year, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival marks its third year in Nairobi, Kenya with an extraordinary program of films set to inspire, inform and spark debate.
The five films that will be screened at the 2013 Human Rights Watch Film Festival address social, economic, and political systems that operate against the interests of ordinary people. They tell the stories of champions, real and imagined, who are fighting for justice against all odds.
The festival will run over 5 days from November 18 to 22, 2013 at the Alliance Française de Nairobi.
On opening night, the festival kicks off with “In the Shadow of the Sun,” the story of two men with albinism in Tanzania, who pursue their dreams in the face of virulent prejudice, discrimination and violence. As Josephat Torner, one of the film’s protagonists, puts it, "One of the many things we have had to learn is to live in danger." Josephat Turner and Kenyan Member of Parliament Hon. Isaac Mwaura, founder of the Albinism Society of Kenya, will join us as guests of honor at an opening reception beginning at 6:30 pm on November 18.
On November 19, the documentary “Fatal Assistance” by acclaimed director Raoul Peck, addresses the political aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Interviews with aid workers, government officials and ordinary Haitians expose the rotten underbelly of corruption, complicity and guile that underlie development aid.
The third night, November 20, we will screen “Tall as the Baobab Tree,” a feature film from Senegal dealing with child marriages, a widespread practice with a devastating effect on girls’ lives. When their father decides to sell 11-year-old Debo into an arranged marriage, Debo, her older sister, and a friend conspire to outwit a patriarchal system and overcome the odds.
On November 21, we feature “The Act of Killing,” which interrogates torture and genocide of alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in Indonesia by the military regime that overthrew Indonesia’s president Sukarno in 1965. Decades later, a film director asks former perpetrators to re-enact the crimes they committed. Will these “acts” result in remorse, in a context of ongoing impunity?
The festival will end on a celebratory note with “99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film” on Friday, November 22. An unprecedented collaboration of almost 100 filmmakers, the film explores how the “Occupy” movement ignited the world’s imagination by positing radical alternatives to a political and financial system that only benefits a small minority. The film seeks to provide a reflective platform for activism for meaningful change.
Each film will be followed by a panel discussion or a Q & A session featuring civil society activists, who will engage the audience in debating the film’s relevance to our situation in Kenya, and the possible solutions and engagements that might contribute to a more just and rights-respecting world.