Women's History Month

A cinematic look at women and the reality of their lives

The Women’s History Month in March 2021 aims to highlight the importance of women on historical events and contemporary society. As a tribute and to celebrate the International Women's Day on March 8, the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin is presenting a series of interviews with eight inspiring women. We talk with them about the power of documentaries and how films have changed their perception of the fate of women worldwide.  

•    Anna Ramskogler-Witt - Director of the Human Rights Film Festival Berlin
•    Shahida Tulaganova - Director "Exile: The Rohingyas"
•    Christina Lamb – Author “Our Bodies, Their Battlefields” & “I am Malala”
•    Barbara Fickert - Founder and Author of kinoblindgaenger.de
•    Lisa Witter - Apolitical Foundation
•    Michaela Dudley - Columnist, Cabaret Artist, Diversity Expert & Lawyer
•    Kristina Meyer - Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung
•    Andrea Steinke - Researcher at the Center for Humanitarian Action

How to read these amazing interviews? Just subscribe to our newsletter. Each week we will share two interviews of those amazing women with you. The film tips mentioned in the interviews can be found at the bottom of this page.

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#WomenBeatHunger
Where women have rights, hunger recedes

Although women all over the world play a key role in securing the food supply for their families, they themselves are disproportionately affected by hunger and malnutrition. Over 690 million people worldwide suffer from hunger; around 60 percent of them are women! Women and girls are also massively disadvantaged when it comes to access to land, water, seeds and credit. The situation is worsening due to the corona pandemic.

In an appeal to the federal government, Aktion gegen den Hunger calls for the rights of women to be strengthened and protected internationally.

SIGN NOW!

USA 2015 I 86 min
by Michele Mitchell, Nick Louvel
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The Uncondemned

THE UNCONDEMNED is a riveting documentary about an underdog group of young lawyers and activists who defied the odds to do what had never been done: prosecute rape as an international war crime. In 1997 before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, they accomplished the unseen. With the courage of three heroic Rwandan women, who overcame their fears and feelings of shame to come forward and speak for all those who could not they changed the course of international judicial history.

DE 2017 I 89min
by Stefanie Brockhaus, Andreas Wolff
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The Poetess

Hissa Hilal with her poems critical of terrorism and the ideologies of fanatic Islamists gains international fame at Abu Dhabi’s prestigious contest “Million’s Poet”: Veiled in a burqa, a 43-year-old housewife from Saudi Arabia tests her boundaries in the daily struggle for change.

US, BA, CO, CD, RS 2018 I 96 min
by Leslie Thomas
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The Prosecutors

The motivating power of so-called “spoils of war” for those who stand victorious on the battlefield is a sad but undeniable truth. Rape and pillage are concepts as old as war itself, but far from being mere collateral damage, sexual violence is a war crime and it must be punished accordingly. THE PROSECUTORS centers on the story of three lawyers who fight to ensure that sexual violence in conflict is not met with impunity. Filmed over five years, THE PROSECUTORS takes viewers across three continents on a long journey towards justice.

AT, DE 2009 I 84 min
by Sudabeh Mortezai 
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In the Bazaar of Sexes 

The film revolves around the practice of temporary marriage, also called lust marriage, a Shiite tradition in Iran that allows a man and a woman to marry for a limited period of time. The marriage can last from one hour to many years – sometimes for five gold coins a year, sometimes for 100,000 tomans. Legalized prostitution or a loophole for couples to live a relationship within the repressive law of the Islamic Republic of Iran – religious dogma meets macho sentimentality, meets female life reality

US 2010 I  70 min
by Mimi Chakarova
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The Price of Sex 

Intimate and revealing, The Price of Sex is a feature-length documentary about young Eastern European women who have been drawn into a world of sex trafficking and abuse. It is a story told by the young women who refused to be silenced by shame, fear, and violence. Emmy-nominated photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal journey¬–exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe.

US 2019 I 70 min 
by Joe Piscatella
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Interview with Joe Piscatella

Mai Khoi and the Dissidents 

Her first song made her famous, her latest one made her a political refugee. With a single song about her home country, the Vietnamese singer Mai Khoi gained money, popularity, and the blessing of the Communist Party. Now, she realizes that she can no longer remain silent about the current political situation. Despite intimidation from the regime, she steps up her critique and records her new album "Dissent", in which she calls for freedom of speech and democracy — and flees the country the day of its release.

USA 2009  I 53 Min
by Gini Reticker
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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

The film "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," profiles Leymah Gbowee, a woman who led her countrywomen to fight for peace in war-torn Liberia. Armed only with a simple white T-shirt, Leymah Gbowee and other supporters of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement took to the streets, knowing they could be beaten and killed. They are fighting for peace with a tactic so old it was used by women in ancient Greece: No peace, no sex.

USA 2019 I 87 Min
by Rachel Lears
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Knock Down The House

In a moment of historic instability in American politics, four women Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin decide to fight back and embark on a journey that will change their lives and their country forever. With no political experience or corporate money, they build a movement of insurgent candidates to challenge powerful incumbents in Congress. Their efforts lead to a legendary coup.

USA 1977 I 55 Min
by Luce Guilbeault , Nicole Brossard & Margaret Wescott
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Some American Feminists

This documentary consists of a series of interviews combined with newsreel footage that puts the American feminist moment in historical perspective. Six of the movement's founders, including Betty Friedan and Kate Millett, discuss the issues that most concerned them. A film that is still relevant today.

USA 2017 I 105 Min
by David France
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The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Documentary about the 1992 murder of African-American transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson. Johnson called herself a "street queen," fought for the rights of the LGBTQ community in the streets of New York, and co-founded the Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Sylvia Rivera. Her death in 1992 was ruled a suicide by police, but friends of Johnson, whose body was found in the Hudson River, believe she was murdered.

USA 2018 I 98 Min
by Betsy West, Julie Cohen
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RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg made headlines around the world when, after Donald Trump's election as U.S. president, the now 86-year-old decided against retirement. In 1993, she became the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court and now holds the fort there ironclad. Active in the service of equal rights, she has become an icon of all those who advocate an alternative policy to the one represented by US President Donald Trump.

UK 2019 I 95 Min
by Waad al-Kateab
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For Sama

A love letter sent from a young mother to her daughter during the uprising in Aleppo, Syria. FOR SAMA follows the story of Waad al-Kateab for five years, as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, while the terrible conflict spreads around her like wildfire. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival, as Waad struggles with an impossible choice: whether to stay and fight for her freedom or to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life.

UK 2016 I 102 Min
von Kirsten Johnson
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Cameraperson

What does it mean to film another person? What impact does it have on that person and on the person holding the camera? Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson draws on her vast trove of camera footage gathered around the world over decades to illuminate her role behind the camera.

26. MARCH 2021