HRWIFF 2009 – Festival Round-up

[Cross-posted from the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

WITNESS has a proud history of participating in, supporting and even awarding prizes at film festivals, but we’ve never tried to cover a film festival before here on the Hub.  So it was with a little trepidation that we asked the good people over at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York City if they’d let us loose on their 20th anniversary festival…  Here’s John Biaggi on the idea behind the festival:

I’m really happy that they agreed, and with this first experiment (which we could not have carried out without a battalion of clear-eyed and committed interns) – I’m already looking forward to next year’s edition.  With a handful of posts yet to go up, we’ve already notched up perspectives on films in the festival, audience reactions, filmmakers interviews, and even an extended interview with the festival director – all shedding light on the relationship between moving images and change.  As the nature of film creation, distribution and exhibition changes, we’ll be tracking how major meeting-points like the HRWIFF evolve to meet the challenges of building public engagement, debate and participation in human rights in a new participatory landscape…

Here’s the full list (I’ll update these links once all the posts are in – including my own…):

Film reviews, reactions and filmmaker interviews:
– Youth Producing Change Program (+ audience reactions 123 and 4)
– Mrs Goundo’s Daughter (+ filmmaker interview)
– Look Into My Eyes filmmaker interview
– Crude (interview with director Joe Berlinger to come)
– Good Fortune interview with director Landon Van Soest
– The Reckoning
– The Yes Men Fix The World

John Biaggi, Festival Director (short versionfull version)

In other coverage, has pieces on The ReckoningGood FortuneMy Neighbour, My KillerSnow, and Afghan Star.  And writer/lawyer Deji Olukotun, who covered our panel in the PEN World Voices Festivalearlier this year, wrote to let us know about the series of reviews he has written of many of the HRWIFF films mentioned above.  If you’ve seen or written about the films in the festival too, please feel free to let us know via the comments box below – we’d love to hear a wide range of perspectives on the films…  And don’t forget you can also comment on the individual blog posts and video interview pages.  Get stuck in!



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