London’s annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival shows dramas, documentaries and short films with the aim of spreading ideas and information – about oppression and resistance, about equality and tolerance, about the worldwide struggle for freedom. This year’s strong programme includes films from across the world, with a particular focus on the Middle East. From Iran comes ‘Sepideh’, about a young girl’s dreams of becoming an astronaut, while Turkey offers up ‘My Child’, a film about a group of parents fighting for the rights of their gay offspring.
There’ll also be an evening of films from the Abounaddara collective, whose short films explore the reality of life in war-torn Syria, plus a panel discussion on the idea of ’emergency cinema’. There’s a strong European element too, including ‘No Man’s Land’ director Danis Tanovic’s film about the Roma minority in Bosnia, ‘An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker’, which won several prizes at last year’s Berlin Film Festival. From Africa, rather inevitably, comes a film about the great Nelson Mandela – but ‘Mandela: The Myth and Me’ is no old-fashioned biopic, rather a deeply personal exploration of how the late President affected the lives of ordinary South Africans like filmmaker Khalo Matabane.
Many of these screenings will feature introductions or Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. Find out more about the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.