Great Women Filmmakers attend this year\’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival

The 18th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London is taking place from 18 to 28 March 2014, with a programme of 20 award-winning documentary and feature films. The festival is taking place at the Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Ritzy Brixton and for the first time at the Barbican.

This year’s programme includes ten UK premieres and three exclusive previews organised around five themes: Armed Conflict and the Arab Spring; Human Rights Defenders, Icons and Villains; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights; Migrants’ Rights and Women’s Rights and Children’s Rights.

“This year’s programme demonstrates the risks filmmakers take to capture the stories behind the headlines, and our centrepiece film, the E-Team, reveals the tenacity and heroic efforts of human rights activists to bring war crimes to the world’s attention,” said John Biaggi, Human Rights Watch festival director. “We look forward as ever to welcoming many filmmakers and film subjects to festival screenings, which will give audiences insight and understanding into some of the most complex situations in the world today”.

This year’s Festival also welcomes a plethora of women filmmakers engaged in bringing to light human rights issues in the world and a few of the films focus on women issues, such as Scheherazade’s Diary (UK premiere), a tragicomic documentary that follows women inmates through a 10-month drama therapy/theatre project set up in 2012 by the director Zeina Daccache, at the Baabda Prison in Lebanon, holding a mirror to Lebanese society and all societies that repress women and Berit Madsen’s Sepideh – Reaching for the Stars, the story of a young Iranian woman who dares to dream of a future as an astronaut.

I’m so excited about meeting Big Men’s director, Rachel Bonyton, tomorrow at the Curzon Soho.

A cautionary tale about the toll of American oil investment in West Africa, Big Men reveals the secretive worlds of both corporations and local communities in Nigeria and Ghana. The director, Rachel Boynton, gained unprecedented access to Africa’s oil companies and has created an account of the ambition, corruption, and greed that epitomise Africa’s ‘resource curse.’ The film uncovers the human impact of oil drilling and contains footage of militants operating in the Niger Delta.

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