Film Festival

12 Documentaries you cannot miss at the 4th Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival


We present a list of 12 documentaries worth watching at the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival (HRHDIFF) that will take place from June 14th – 19th in Yangon (Myanmar).


Behemoth by Liang Zhao – China, France | 2015 – 90 min.

Behemoth is a biblical monster, the beast of an invincible country. Today, the beast could be seen as man himself, raping the earth to obtain its wealth. He is unaware that the destruction of the land is far from over. The beast eventually begins to devour itself. This film operates as a cinematic parable, training its focus on Chinese mines, with their giant machines, noise, dirt, destroyed nature, sick and dying miners. It leads to a newly built city, where nobody lives. The allegory relies on the power of images and words from Dante’s Divine Comedy, the inspiration for the filmmakers.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

Cartel Land2

Cartel Land by Matthew Heineman – US, Mexico | 2015 – 100 min.

A riveting look behind the scenes at the battles with the Mexican drug cartels, which plays out almost like a feature film. The filmmakers follow the stories of two characters, the Mexican doctor Jose Mireles and the American war veteran Tim Foley, who fight against the mafia, each on their side of the border. Mireles forms an armed civilian militia, which pushes the cartels out of several cities, but the situation is gradually getting out of hand. Foley’s paramilitary unit tries to uncover the traditional smuggling routes, but the mafia can still find new ways. The film won the prize for best American documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)


Cecilia by Pankaj Johar – India | 2015 – 84 min.

An affluent couple from New Delhi – a filmmaker and a lawyer – have a quiet family life; at least until they learn about the mysterious death of the daughter of their maid, Cecilia. She comes from the poorest parts of Bengal, where child slave labour is sadly commonplace. The couple begins to investigate the circumstances of the tragedy, motivated among other things by the guilt they feel in sharing in the whole perverse system as “end customers”. Soon it is clear that Cecilia’s daughter had been a victim of human trafficking. Is Cecilia willing to speak out against her home community? Will she fight for the truth, to protect other children who might end up like her daughter?

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

Daughter of the lake

Daughter of the lake by Ernesto Cabellos Demián – Peru | 2015 – 87 min.

Peru, a village in the Andes. The locals worship the life-giving Mother Water present in the lakes and rivers. The excavation plans of a gold mining company will disrupt the ancient unity; the lake, sacred to the locals, may dry up forever. The young law student Nelidasymbolises the villagers’ resistance and their connection with nature. Bolivia, another Andean village. The result when multinational prospectors win: a parched, less fertile landscape. The third story completing the picture presents a Dutch jeweller, who re-evaluates how she purchases precious metals after visiting the Amazonian gold mines. The film combines meditative shots of the breathtaking Andes with a record of civic activism reminiscent of the battle between David and Goliath.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

Dreams behind the wall

Dreams behind the Wall by Elena Herreros – Spain | 2015 – 71 min.

Can anyone live in jail, within a land surrounded just by walls and prohibitions? Can you figure out what it is like not knowing what is there on the other side, to be a prisoner in your own city? Dreams behind the wall is the story of two kids: Shada, born in Gaza and Ahmed, in Cisjordania, who talk us through their fears, but also through their dreams. They, as starring roles, are the link that helps us get to know the life of their families, and hence, that of the entire Palestinian people.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)


Excision by Victoria Vellopoulou – Greece | 2014 – 54 min.

In Kenya, in the year 2014, girls from 6 to 15 years of age are being “cut”. 85% of them undergo total mutilation of their external genitalia for non-medical reasons. Long before the completion of their growth, girls get in line, and undergo this operation, without any anesthetic or analgesic and under conditions of no hygiene. With the same blade, with no kind of sterilization, all of them will be “cut”. Some will die of bleeding, some will get HIV. “Excision” examines the consequences of FGM (female genital mutilation) through female portraits and demonstrates the effects of this action on millions of girls and women worldwide.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

Frame by Frame

Frame by frame by Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli – Afghanistan, US | 2015 – 85 min.

This documentary follows a foursome of Afghan photojournalists who are in the country after the fall of the Taliban and were among the first to create free media. From the personal perspective of people who were born in Afghanistan and have their families and friends there, they capture the contemporary face of Afghanistan. They do not choose their photographic shots based on what news agencies might want, but instead they look for the authentic face of a troubled country, where photography was, until recently, a crime. This breath-taking spectacle is a tribute to the power and beauty of images. The film project, by two American filmmakers, has won several prestigious film awards.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

The Cove

The Cove by Louie Psihoyos – US | 2009 – 92 min.

The Cove tells the amazing true story of how an elite team of activists, film makers and free divers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a hidden cove in Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret. The shocking discoveries uncovered were only the tip of the iceberg.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

The Longest Race

01:05:12 – The Longest Race by Javier Triana and Ruben San Bruno – Spain | 2015 – 51 min.

Can legs change the world? The victories of hundreds of Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes are turning to hit stride, the socioeconomic landscape two countries entrenched macho tradition. Men who cook and women who bring home their livelihoods are the new roles of the marathon towards equality.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

The Trials of Spring

The Trials of Spring by Gini Reitcker – US, Egypt | 2015 – 80 min.

In 2011, HendNafea and thousands of other young Egyptian women arrived in Cairo to support protests against decades of military rule. Hend was arrested and tortured. Although her family asked her to not talk about her experience, she persevered. Instead, in a country where the army and Islamists are fighting for power, she sets out to find freedom and justice. The violence against women during demonstrations shows how much worse the position of women is compared to men. This documentary tracks the battle of Hend and other women against the judicial system and prejudice, presenting the society-wide events, which started with hope during the Arab Spring and ended in the agony of new oppression.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

While they watched

While They Watched by Jake J. Smith – South Korea | 2015 – 93 min.

Harness the power of hindsight. While they Watched is a 90-minute feature documentary about North Korea set in the future, that looks back at the collapse of the Kim dictatorship. The film questions the morality of the current inaction by regional and global powers towards the North Korean dictatorship.


Yanmagon – Faces of Yangon by Francois Le Pivain – France | 2015 – 50 min.

Yangon, Myanmar/Burma, a few years after the opening of the country, while the victory of the democratic party of Aung San Suu Kyi was confirmed through the ballot, the documentary film Yanmagon drew up a portrait of a changing city. Architects, photographers, activists, journalists, poets, the actors of the change bring us at the heart of their city.

Trailer (Will open in a new window)

To find more information about this festival visit the Festival Profile here: Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival

If you want to know more about the festival visit the official website here: OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.