Documentary ‘Ithaka’ about Julian Assange to open the fifth Human Rights Film Festival Berlin

Berlin, 11 September 2022. The fifth Human Rights Film Festival Berlin will present 41 films on the current state of human rights in the world from 13 to 23 October 2022. The festival’s opening film is ITHAKA: a powerful portrait of the family of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reveals the personal consequences of his fight for the truth. 

John Shipton, an anti-war activist and builder has been at the vanguard of defending his son: the world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. With ITHAKA by Australian director Ben Lawrence, the fifth Human Rights Film Festival Berlin is getting off to a brilliant start. The film will be celebrating its German premiere on 13 October in the historic hall of the Berlin Colosseum cinema.

Beyond Red Lines – the motto of the fifth Human Rights Film Festival

‘Many of our films this year illustrate the dramatic consequences of crossing red lines. But our films also tell the stories of people who, despite all adversity, will not give up fighting for a better world,’ explains Anna Ramskogler-Witt, director of the festival.

The festival focuses on the personal stories of inspiring people: the film ERASMUS IN GAZA tells the story of a medical student from Italy who chose the crisis area of all places to spend his year abroad. GENERATION EUROMAIDAN  is about three former Maidan activists who are now being confronted with the reality of the war in Ukraine as members of parliament. TALIBAN LAND follows a journalist who goes to Afghanistan to document contemporary history when everyone else is leaving the country.

Willy Brandt Documentary Film Award and the Human Rights Forum

The Willy Brandt Documentary Film Award for Freedom and Human Rights, endowed with 3,000 euros, will be awarded this year for the fourth time. Ten films will be competing for the prize. The winner will be chosen by a first-class international jury.

Moreover, this will be the third time that the festival is being accompanied by the Human Rights Forum, which will take place in the new festival centre at Villa Elisabeth in Berlin-Mitte. The forum is an interdisciplinary platform revolving around storytelling, activism and human rights, comprising conferences, workshops and a multimedia exhibition.

For the first time this year, the discussion series ‘Talking Humanity’ will be taking place, addressing current political issues. So far, Minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus and Bärbel Kofler, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, have confirmed their participation, as have restitution expert Bénédicte Savoy and diplomat and activist Aya Chebbi. 

‘Wars, the climate crisis and inequality – worldwide, humanity has already crossed too many red lines. With our film festival and accompanying programme, we are taking a constructive look ahead to find solutions for a better future,’ says Jan Sebastian Friedrich-Rust, Managing Director of Aktion gegen den Hunger and founder of the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin, which is taking place this year with Save the Children and Greenpeace as its main partners.

The films will be shown online and offline in six Berlin cinemas (ACUDKino, Colosseum, Hackesche Höfe Kino, Kant Kino, Passage Kino, Sputnik Kino am Südstern, Zeiss Großplanetarium). Advance booking has begun. 

Press accreditation is now possible at We are happy to arrange interviews with directors, protagonists and activists.

Producer Gabriel Shipton and ITHAKA’s protagonist John Shipton will be available for interviews in addition to director Ben Lawrence. John and Gabriel will also be attending the opening of the festival. 


About the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin
The Human Rights Film Festival Berlin (HRFFB) was launched by the humanitarian aid and development organisation Action Against Hunger and has been held each year since 2018. The festival focuses on stories from all over the world that report on the current state of human rights in a powerful way. The 2022 HRFFB is being organised by Action Against Hunger in partnership with Save the Children and Greenpeace. Each organisation selects a theme and curates a selection of films, which focus on humanitarian aid and the fight against hunger, as well as peace, resource and environmental conflicts, children’s rights, refugees and migration.

Press contact 
Vassilios Saroglou 
phone: 030 - 279 099 776 

12. SEPTEMBER 2022