Berlin, 18 August 2021. From 16 to 25 September, the fourth Human Rights Film Festival Berlin is presenting forty documentaries on the current state of human rights around the world. This year’s focus is on stories of people whose rights are being brutally violated and who are fighting for change as activists. The films will be screened both online throughout Germany and offline in selected Berlin cinemas. Ten films are competing for the Willy Brandt Documentary Film Award. The Human Rights Forum is once again taking place this year, an interdisciplinary platform for storytelling, activism and human rights.
The festival will open with SABAYA, a film by Sundance-winning director Hogir Hirori about a group of men and women who risk their lives to free Yazidi women and girls from IS slavery. This film thus vividly illustrates the focus of this year’s Human Rights Film Festival Berlin, which is highlighting stories of activists who rise up against injustice and human rights violations.
This year, the festival is shining the spotlight on female activists: FLY SO FAR (German premiere) reports on the abortion ban in El Salvador, which criminalizes women who suffer miscarriages; and UNAPOLOGETIC (German premiere) tells the story of two courageous activists from the Black Lives Matter movement; while THE ANTS AND THE GRASSHOPPER (German premiere) follows an environmental activist from Malawi who travels all the way to the White House to show people there that the climate crisis is real.
‘With our film selection, we want to show that women activists are playing a leading role in the fight for justice and against corruption, injustice and hunger. Yet, to this day, they are underrepresented in the media and public perception,’ says Anna Ramskogler-Witt, Director of the HRFFB.
The festival is being organized by Action Against Hunger in cooperation with Save the Children and in partnership with Amnesty International. Aktion gegen den Hunger’s ‘Making a Difference’ series features five films that focus on humanitarian aid and hunger relief. In the series ‘The Right to Change’, curated by Save the Children, five films present stories about children and youth in need. Finally, with ‘Stories that Matter’, Amnesty International has curated three films that address activism and rights.
A total of forty outstanding documentaries will be screened at the festival, exploring the themes of democracy, freedom and human rights. These films reveal injustices and denounce human rights violations and abuses, but also show solutions and celebrate the courage and commitment of their protagonists. For most of the films, subsequent discussions and Q&As with the directors, protagonists or experts are planned, which will be broadcast live on YouTube, making them accessible throughout Germany.
The Willy Brandt Documentary Film Award for Freedom and Human Rights will be awarded again this year, with the winner, who will be selected by a top-class international jury, taking away 3,000 euros. Ten films are competing for this year’s award, which was designed by the Austrian artist Sabine Wiedenhofer. The award ceremony will take place on 24 September 2021 at the Festival Centre in the gardens of the Berlin Union Film Ateliers
For the second time, the Human Rights Forum is taking place as an interdisciplinary platform for storytelling, activism and human rights. It will be opened by Minister of State Michelle Müntefering, and forum guests will include experts like Ece Temelkuran (Turkish journalist), Lotte Leicht (Human Rights Watch), Aya Chebbi (pan-African feminist), Graeme Smith (war journalist and author), Katja Riemann (director and actress) and Andrew Gilmour (Berghof Foundation).
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 organization 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.
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