Sundance award-winner ‘Sabaya’ to open festival
Berlin, 10 August 2021. The Saudi Arabian women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul is the patron of the 2021 Human Rights Film Festival Berlin. The Sundance award-winner ‘Sabaya’ will open the festival, a documentary revealing the fate of thousands of Yazidi women still being held in captivity.
‘Storytelling is a critical form of documentation that ensures that injustices, silencing and oppression are never forgotten – no matter where these human rights abuses occur. We all have to believe in and harness the power of stories in our collective fight for human rights,’ says Loujain al-Hathloul.
Before her arrest in 2018, Saudi Arabia’s most renowned women’s rights activist was a key figure in the ‘Women to Drive’ movement, which called for the abolition of the ban on women driving. After more than 1,000 days in jail, she was released from prison in February 2021 on strict release conditions. She will not be allowed to travel for the next five years, and her family has also been arbitrarily banned from leaving the country. She will not be allowed to speak publicly or continue with her activism for the next three years. Her sister Lina al-Hathloul, who lives in Europe, where she fights tirelessly for her sister’s freedom, will give the opening speech at the festival on her behalf.
The opening film of this year’s festival is the captivating documentary ‘Sabaya’ by director Hogir Hirori. It follows a group of men and women who set out to rescue Yazidi women and girls who have been abducted by the self-styled Islamic State (IS) and are being held in a Syrian refugee camp.
‘“Sabaya” is an impressive contemporary documentary that reveals the cruel and unbearable consequences of war. It is a film that also reminds us that, as an international community, we cannot accept that people are being persecuted and suffering injustice,’ says Anna Ramskogler-Witt, Director of the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin.
The Human Rights Film Festival Berlin will take place from 16 to 25 September 2021, both on- an offline. The film programme will again be accompanied by an extensive supporting programme that includes conferences and exhibitions.
The main festival location will be the BUFA Studios. The cinemas participating in Berlin are Moviemento, Sputnik Kino am Südstern, ACUDkino and KlickKino. The films will also be available throughout Germany on the streaming platform Sooner.
The complete programme will be available from mid-August. Advance booking starts on: 17 August 2021
Note to editors
Lina al-Hathloul and Hogir Horori are available for interviews. We are also happy to arrange interviews with protagonists, festival partners, directors, the festival director and other participants.
About the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin:
The Human Rights Film Festival Berlin (HRFFB) was launched by the humanitarian and development organisation Aktion gegen den Hunger and has taken place every 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 2021 HRFFB has been organised by Aktion gegen den Hunger in cooperation with Save the Children. Each organisation has selected a theme and curated a selection of films, which focus on the overarching topics of humanitarian aid and the fight against hunger, and children’s rights.
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