10 Docs you can’t miss at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival

We present ten documentaries worth watch at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival held in Australia from May 8th until June 8th (in various cities).

Burden of Peace

Burden of Peace by Joey Boink – Netherlands, Guatemala, Spain | 2014 – 76 min.

Burden of Peace is a fascinating portrait of Guatemala’s first female Attorney-General, Claudia Paz y Paz, and her campaign to reduce incidences of crime and impunity following decades of civil war. During the military dictatorship, an estimated 200,000 Guatemalans – mostly Indigenous Mayans – were murdered. Filmmaker Joey Boink delivers intimate access to the term of Paz y Paz in office and shines a light on the softly-spoken woman who brought former head of state, Efraín Rios Montt, to prosecution for genocide.

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Awards & Appearances
Winner: Young Europeans Jury Prize – FIPA, Biarritz
Winner: Audience Award – Mittelamerikanisches Filmfestival, Vienna
Winner: Best Human Right Documentary – Festival des Libertes, Brussels
Human Rights Watch 2015

05.11.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 6:00 pm

Chasing Asylum

Chasing Asylum by Eva Orner – Australia | 2016 – 96 min.

Globally, there is no more urgent issue than the plight of asylum seekers and refugees. Chasing Asylum – created by Academy Award-winning Australian director Eva Orner – is an ambitious, moving and confronting documentary that explores this issue in-depth. The film features never-before-seen footage of off-shore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, revealing the conditions asylum seekers are living in.

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Awards & Appearances
2016 Hot Docs

05.16.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 9:00 pm | SOLD OUT!
05.24.2016 – Dendy Cinema Newtown (Sydney) – 7:00 pm | SOLD OUT!
05.25.2016 – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane) – 7:30 pm
05.30.2016 – Alice Springs Cinema (Alice Springs) – 7:00 pm
05.31.2016 – Luna On Sx (Perth) – 7:00 pm
06.07.2016 – Deckchair Cinema (Darwin) – 7:30 pm

Driving with Selvi

Driving with Selvi by Elisa Paloschi – Canada | 2015 – 74 min.

Like so many girls living within India’s impoverished patriarchal culture, Selvi, a warm and kind-hearted young woman, found herself in an abusive forced marriage at the delicate age of 14. Severely beaten but not broken, Selvi decides to escape her torturous existence by running away and starting a brand new life, eventually becoming South India’s first female taxi driver. Lovingly shot by Elisa Paloschi over a 10 year period, we see Selvi’s astonishing transformation from a fresh runaway at a girl’s shelter, to learning to drive, starting her own business and becoming an educational leader in her community. Driving with Selvi is an empowering human story with a brave and remarkable hero at its centre.

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Awards & Appearances
2015 – Winner: Truth to Power Documentary Award – Toronto Reel Asia
2015 – International Film Festival 2015
2015 – IDFA
2016 – Thessalaniki Documentary Film Festival
2016 – Movies That Matter

05.17.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 5:45 pm

Hooligan Sparrow

Hooligan Sparrow by Nanfu Wang – China, USA | 2016 – 84 min.

“If you film us, we’ll break your camera.” Intimidated and under surveillance from the Chinese government, first-time filmmaker Nanfu Wang becomes a target along side her protagonist and human rights activist Ye Haiyan, a.k.a. Hooligan Sparrow. We follow Sparrow and her fellow activists as they travel to seek justice for six elementary school girls who have been sexually abused by their principal. The government reacts intensely, marking them as enemies of the state. Sitting somewhere between Citizenfour and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Hooligan Sparrow is shot guerrilla-style in 3 months, using hidden cameras and secret-recording devices. Raw, energetic and a true act of cinematic bravery, Wang manages to smuggle her footage out of China to the big screen.

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Awards & Appearances
2016 – Sundance Film Festival
2016 – Human Rights Watch Film Festival

05.18.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 6:00 pm

la buena vida

La Buena Vida by Jens Schanze – Germany, Switzerland | 2015 – 97 min.

For centuries the Wayúu community of Tamaquito in northern Colombia have lived off their native land, remaining completely self-sufficient and sustainable throughout generations. Their traditional way of life is challenged as the rapidly expanding Cerrejon coalmine begins to take over their home and implements immediate relocation for the community. Jairo Fuentes, the young leader of Tamaquito, faces a relentless battle of inevitable change that he and many other indigenous communities are currently facing around the world. Presenting a David-vs-Goliath tale of a spirited indigenous community resisting a global mining conglomerate, La Buena Vida urges us to consider the personal and environmental impacts of global capitalism.

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Awards & Appearances
2015 – Winner: Best Documentary – Bavarian Film Awards
2015 – Berlinale
2015 – Visions du Reel
DOK. Fest Munich

05.17.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 7:45 pm

land grabbing

Land Grabbing by Kurt Langbein – Austria | 2015 – 94 min.

Urgent and outrageous, Land Grabbing, shows us both sides of the contentious issue of land ‘acquisitions’. Beautifully filmed, we journey from Romania, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Indonesia, hearing from investors, international agro-businesses to farmers and land users in hunger-stricken countries. The spike in market demand for food and bio-fuel after the GFC in 2008 sparked a rush in land deals securing access and profits to important resources like palm oil, soybeans and sugar cane. As the world’s farmland becomes scarcer and more valuable, the consequence of land grabbing is a lesson in neocolonialism, impacting climate, biodiversity and indigenous people, dispossessed, intimidated and denied control and value of their lands.

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Awards & Appearances
2015 – IDFA
2015 – Docville
2016 – One World International Film Festival
2016 – Human Rights Human Wrongs Film Festival

05.16.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 6:15 pm
05.26.2016 – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane) – 6:30 pm
05.28.2016 – Dendy Cinema Newtown (Sydney) – 3:00 pm
06.04.2016 – Palace Electric Cinema (Canberra) – 7:00 pm

out to win

Out to win by Malcom Ingram – US, Canada | 2015 – 99 min.

Although 2014 was dubbed the ‘Year of the Gay Athlete’, it was just 39 years earlier that American Football player David Kopay made headlines for being an openly gay sportsman. Chronicling the dramatic history of gay and lesbian sports professionals, acclaimed director Malcolm Ingram interviews a comprehensive selection of all-star players – including tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova – on their identities and advocacy. An enriching and powerful documentary, Out To Win speaks to the potential of sport, as a cultural phenomenon, to be an inclusive community that provides positive representation for future LGBTIQ sports superstars.

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Awards & Appearances
2015 – SXSW
2015 – AFI Docs Film Festival
2015 – Frameline San Francisco LGBT Film Festival
2015 – Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival

05.16.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 6:00 pm

Prison Songs

Prison Songs by Kelrick Martin – Australia | 2015 – 56 min.

In Australia’s first ever musical documentary, the inmates of the notorious Berrimah Prison in the Northern Territory share their stories, experiences and feelings through songs they helped to create. Berrimah Prison has been described as Dickensian; first opened to hold 115 prisoners, but by the time it closed in 2014 it was housing more than 800. The vast majority of inmates are Indigenous. Alcohol and drugs drive much of the crime and over 90% of prisoners have experienced domestic violence. Through hip-hop, blues, gospel and reggae, the prisoners mesh personal, intimate stories with song to create a portrait of life in a society with one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.

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Awards & Appearances
2015 – Winner: Best Direction (Standalone) – Australian Director’s Guild Awards
2015 – Winner: Best Humanitarian/Investigative Film – Banff Media Festival
Winner: Best Documentary – WA
2015 – Screen Awards
2015 – ImagineNATIVE

05.09.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 6:30 pm
05.26.2016 – Dendy Cinema Newtown (Sydney) – 7:00 pm
06.08.2016 – Deckchair Cinema (Darwin) – 7:30 pm

The Bad kids

The Bad kids by Keuth Fulton and Louis Pepe – US | 2016 – 101 min.

Straight from Sundance, Special Jury Prize winner The Bad Kids looks into the hallways of a Mojave Desert high school devoted to carrying at-risk students over the finish line to graduation. Dedicated principal Vonda Viland gives every ounce of her energy to ensuring these kids wake up on time, make it to class, and avoid the life of drugs and crime that might otherwise ensnare them. Lost In La Mancha directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe bring a clear-eyed focus and beautiful camerawork to this sensitive, challenging portrait. Sometimes all we need is someone to recognize our value and worth before we can start to believe it. Here, the sheer willpower and true grit of both Viland and her students provides a deeply dramatic and heart-warming picture that’s bound to stay with audiences long after it’s over.

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Awards & Appearances
2016 – Winner: US Documentary Special Jury Award for Vérité Filmmaking – Sundance

05.19.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 7:00 pm
05.26.2016 – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane) – 8:30 pm
05.28.2016 – Dendy Cinema Newtown (Sydney) – 7:00 pm
05.31.2016 – Alice Springs Cinema (Alice Springs) – 8:30 pm
06.01.2016 – Luna On Sx (Perth) – 7:00 pm
06.05.2016 – Palace Electric Cinema (Canberra) – 7:00 pm

the true cost

The True Cost by Andrew Morgan – US | 2015 – 92 min.

A global documentary, The True Cost investigates the effects of globalised production caused by the rapacious nature of “fast fashion”. Over the last two decades, it has become the world’s second most polluting industry – second only to oil. Worth an exponential $3 trillion dollars, the fast fashion industry operates on an inhumane supply chain with risks carried by the most vulnerable. Having been confronted by the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh and the implications of such catastrophes, Andrew Morgan has crafted a documentary that exposes the grievous human rights violations apparent in the current system by interviewing those directly affected and others looking to make change from all across the world.

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Awards & Appearances
Winner: Jury Prize for Lens To Action – Social Impact Media Awards
2015 -Nominated: Best Documentary Film – Environmental Media Awards
2015 – Cannes Film Festival
2015 – Vancouver International Film Festival

05.10.2016 – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) – 6:00 pm

To confirm schedule hours please visit the official webpage of the festival here: Human Rights Arts & Film Festival

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a multiple city film festival so please be aware of the following dates
Melbourne – May 5th to 19th
Sydney – May 24th to 28th
Brisbane – May 24th to 26th
Perth – May 30th to June 1st
Alice Springs – May 30th to 31th
Canberra – June 3rd to 5th
Darwin – June 6th – 8th

Categories: News

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