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Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Saturday, February 28, 2004
1:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Pacific Film Archive

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:

Saturday Feb. 28 - 1:00pm and 8:00pm

BALSEROS Directed by Carlos Bosch and Josep M. Domenech
Produced in Spain, 2002/ Running Time:120m

In the summer of 1994, a crew of television reporters with unprecedented access filmed and interviewed seven Cubans with their relatives before they set out as economic refugees on homemade rafts headed for US shores. The crew followed the survivors who were rescued at sea and transported to Guantánamo, a United States military base and, at that time, site of a temporary refugee camp. Seven years later, this same crew reconnects with their subjects to discover the outcome of their new lives in different regions across the United States. Life in the US and under capitalism is not a fairy tale for these refugees; BALSEROS is a true story about some of the authentic survivors of our times, an epic adventure of castaways caught between two worlds.

Produced in France, 2003/ Running Time: 101m
Q & A with Richard Dicker, HRW Director of International Justice Program, following screening

In the mid-70s, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge converted the Tuol Sleng High School in Phnom Penh into the notorious S21 detention center. Between 1975 and 1977, roughly 17,000 people passed through its doors. Only seven survived. Filmmaker Rithy Panh, who himself spent four years in a Khmer Rouge labor camp, works with the same sense of devotion and relentless pursuit of truth as Claude Lanzmann. He accompanies the detention center's official painter, Vann Nath, on his first visit to S21 in more than 20 years, during which he confronts several of his former captors and tormentors. Like Lanzmann, Panh uses cinema to get the facts on record: the guards re-enact their former routines, victims are remembered and named, and their stories are told. And we learn that the terror of the Khmer Rouge was felt by torturers and victims alike: for four years, an entire society was held in a grip of murderous terror. Essential viewing, a potent, scrupulously constructed act of witness, and a step toward reconciliation with an unfathomable past.
Added to the calendar on Sat, Feb 7, 2004 7:57PM
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