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Cinema and Human Rights Days

Cinema and Human Rights Days is running again this year with a full weekend programme of screenings and discussion at the Gordon Square Cinema, Birkbeck.

March 14 – 16, 2014 Gordon Square Cinema, Birkbeck, University of London, WC1H OPD

Cinema and Human Rights Days is running again this year with a full weekend programme of screenings and discussion at the Gordon Square Cinema, Birkbeck. The event takes place on Friday evening, 14th March, Saturday 15th March and Sunday, 16th March, 2014, and is a collaboration between Birkbeck, Middlesex University, the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at the University of Galway, Ireland, and is supported by Open Society Foundations.

Cinema and Human Rights Days seeks to provoke discussion and debate about the impact of cinema in documenting political struggles and exposing human rights abuses and there will be a number of speakers introducing screenings and contributing sessions. Some of the issues discussed will be: What difference do films, videos and digital media make to public debates about human rights issues? How can we begin to assess the work of filmmakers and political activists using film and video to campaign for justice and democracy, or the use of digital media for human rights advocacy on the internet? Who are the subjects of human rights films and what is the nature of human rights discourse in film? One of the key themes this year for Cinema and Human Rights Days is the recent spate of films that addresses the role of perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

Speakers include:

  • William Schabas, Professor of International Law at Middlesex and author of many books on human rights law, who will introduce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through film;
  • Rod Stoneman, Professor of Film and Director of the Huston Centre of Film and Digital Media, film producer and author, and former deputy Commissioning Editor of the Independent Film and Video Department of Channel 4 Television and Chief Executive of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ the Irish Film Board, who will discuss The Freedom to Speak.
  • Christopher Hird, executive producer of Utopia, and many other films which deal with human rights and issues of truth, justice and reconciliation. Founder of Fulcrum Productions, he also established Dartmouth Films to specialize in independent documentary. He is the chair of the Channel Four British Documentary Film Foundation, honorary treasurer of the freedom of expression organisation, Index on Censorship and a trustee of the Wincott Foundation.
  • Andrea Luka Zimmerman, an artist filmmaker and cultural activist and is based at the Central School of St Martins. A founding member of the film collective Vision Machine, she worked using film with perpetrators and victims of state sanctioned violence.
  • Jacqueline Maingard, Reader in film at the University of Bristol. She has written on widely on film in Africa and in particular South Africa, and has published a book, South African National Cinema.
  • Sue Clayton, a UK feature film director, writer and composer, based at Royal Holloway College. She has written and directed features, shorts, campaign videos and documentaries.

The programme is organised and will be introduced by Claudia Modonesi and Emma Sandon.

There will be a feature-length screening each day, as well as short films and extracts.

  • Cinema and Human Rights Days will start by hosting a screening of the award-winning Best Documentary in the BAFTA 2014 and Oscar-nominated Director’s Cut of The Act of Killing (159 mins) directed by Joshua Oppenheimer about perpetrators of mass killings in Indonesia in 1965-66. The film will be introduced by Andrea Luka Zimmerman.
  • Saturday lunch-time, Sue Clayton will show her short film, Hamedullah (23 mins) which highlights the plight of child refugees in Britain, by focussing on an Afghan boy who was deported from the UK and sent back to Afghanistan. She will present other material she has filmed about children refugees in Britain, and discuss how her films have led to campaigns to change the law in Parliament.
  • Saturday evening’s screening will be an opportunity to see the new film by South African filmmaker, Marc Kaplan, The Village under the Forest, on the eradication of the village of Lubya in Palestine, through the planting of a forest paid for by the Jewish National Fund. It will be introduced by Jacqueline Maingard who will also discuss the director’s other films on perpetrators of apartheid atrocities, and his commitment to human rights and social justice..
  • The Sunday afternoon screening will be John Pilger’s new film, Utopia (2013) about indigenous Australians’ struggle for equality and justice. This polemical and controversial film screened in Australia and recently on British television, will be introduced by Christopher Hird.

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