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Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Friday, February 27, 2004
7:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Pacific Film Archives

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, the largest U.S.-based international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization continues their outreach with the fourth Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (HRWIFF) in the Bay Area. Taking place at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley from February 26-28 and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on 4 consecutive Fridays in March (5, 12, 19 and 26) this year offers twelve provocative films which help put a human face on threats to individual freedom and dignity, and celebrate the power of the human spirit and intellect to prevail.

Human Rights Watch's International Film Festival has become a leading venue for distinguished fiction, documentary and animated films and videos with a distinctive human rights theme. Through the eyes of committed and courageous filmmakers, we showcase the heroic stories of activists and survivors from all over the world. We seek to empower everyone with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a very real difference.

The festival schedule is as follows:

Friday Feb, 27 – 7:00pm

WAR TAKES Directed by Patricia Castano and Adelaida Trujillo
Produced in Colombia/England, 2002/ Running Time:78m

For many people Colombia is associated with guerillas, cocaine and a variety of political buzzwords that may or may not reflect the daily reality of its citizens. Through the very intimate and personal video diaries of three filmmakers, we as outsiders are given a look inside the daily reality of a certain group of Colombians. The impact of the political landscape on these individuals lives' and relationships help us to understand the complexity of Colombia and its society. In the face of all of it, these three filmmakers retain their sense of humor and their ability to act in difficult and even dangerous circumstances.

In WAR TAKES three Colombian filmmakers turned their cameras on themselves for over four years, using personal stories to expose the tough reality in their violent, war-ravaged country. According to these filmmakers, Colombia has been functioning for many years in the gray area between legalism and lawlessness. Their portrayal does not aim to confirm the image the outside world has of Colombia as a hotbed of excessive political violence and drug traffic, but instead draws out the beauty and warmth amidst the larger turmoil within their homeland. The humor borders on surreal as the film moves between conversations in the jungle with guerrillas to elegant dinner parties with society's elite. War Takes allows the real lives of its heroes, forever changed by war, to break through the stereotypes, forcing us to rethink our own conceptions, or misconceptions, of the beliefs and values by which these Colombians live.

FORD TRANSIT Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Produced in Palestine, 2002/ Running Time:80m

Director Hany Abu-Assad (NAZARETH 2000, HRWIFF 2001; RANA'S WEDDING, HRWIFF 2003) follows cab driver Rajai and his passengers in Ramallah and Jerusalem, as they detour around roadblocks and speed through short cuts. Rajai's passengers form a heterogeneous group of ordinary people and local celebrities-including politician Hanan Ashrawi and filmmaker B.Z. Goldberg (PROMISES, HRWIFF 2001) -who, with humor and sincerity, express divergent opinions about the situation in Palestine and views of the conflict with Israel while being bused around in his van. Interwoven with these powerful interviews is Rajai's life and dreams: we hear about his family, his sideline pursuit of smuggling illegal CDs, his view of the political situation and solutions for it, his dreams of a future abroad. Winner of the 2003 HRWIFF Nestor Almendros Prize for courage in filmmaking
Added to the calendar on Sat, Feb 7, 2004 7:52PM
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