Human Rights Forum: The Art of Storytelling

2 September 2021 - The Human Rights Film Festival Berlin is inviting storytellers to attend the Human Rights Forum from 20 to 23 September 2021. This four-day international and transdisciplinary conference on storytelling, human rights and activism will be opened by German Minister of State Michelle Müntefering. International guests like Aya Chebbi, Ece Temelkuran and Wim Wenders will provide insights into their work, ideas and current projects in keynotes, discussions and workshops. 

The Human Rights Forum is an innovative platform that aims to promote the transformative power of storytelling, creating a place where film-makers, media professionals, artists*, activists, NGO workers and scholars can discuss and share their stories with the world. This is the promise behind the forum, which is offering four days of open discussions, workshops and pitches.”

‘Media have the power to make people understand what it really means to be persecuted or discriminated against. They have the potential to build bridges and promote intercultural dialogue on human rights issues across language barriers and national borders. That is why the work of journalists, documentary film-makers and activists is so important. They not only expose human rights violations, but also shape the narrative of human rights protection,’ says Minister of State Michelle Müntefering, who will open the forum.    

Forum highlights include a keynote by Tunisian activist and first African Youth Ambassador Aya Chebbi on storytelling and activism, an in-depth conversation with Ece Temelkuran about strategies for countering populism and a discussion with journalist and Afghanistan expert Graeme Smith on the fine line between journalism and activism. He is also co-director of the film “Ghosts on Afghanistan”, a director's cut of which will be screened at the festival.

In addition, the forum is offering four documentary projects the opportunity to introduce themselves and harness the power of the collective to further develop their projects. These include ‘The Sharp Edge of Peace’ by Afghan journalist and director Roya Sadat, who is currently working on a film about five Afghan women fighting for their place at the peace negotiation table. Director Wim Wenders will present his new project ‘Peace by Peace’ at the forum and discuss different aspects of the topic of peace together with experts, forum participants and the audience.

In addition, the forum will be putting on workshops with experts on topics such as participatory storytelling formats, campaign design, postcolonial conflict-sensitive reporting and interview techniques that take into account the trauma experienced by survivors of human rights violations. ‘We are convinced that international and transdisciplinary exchange can strengthen excellent narratives and inspire new approaches, perhaps actually helping us to rethink entrenched and sometimes even discriminatory structures,’ says Anna Ramskogler-Witt Aktion gegen den Hunger and Director of the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin.

The forum will take a hybrid format and has been organised in collaboration with the innovative conference platform WYTH, which will allow the networking aspects of the conference to take place online as well, providing a truly interactive experience. 

Detailed Program and Registration: Link

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 and in partnership with Amnesty International. Each organisation has set a thematic focus, curating a selection of films on the intersecting themes of humanitarian aid and the fight against hunger, and human and children’s rights. The Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation is awarding the Willy Brandt Documentary Film Prize for Freedom and Human Rights once again this year.

Press contact
Vassilios Saroglou
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