The First Festival in 2003 featured a series of films addressing six principal themes: refugees; women; marginalised groups; disappearances; armed conflict; and the death penalty. The 2004 Second Annual Festival included more than twenty films relating to armed conflict; children; human rights and health issues; and Israel/Palestine. Guest speakers – including film directors, Amnesty International researchers, staff from Medecins Sans Frontieres; and other human rights campaigners – have taken part in lively audience discussions following the screenings. Award-winning Lebanese filmmaker, Jean Chamoun, was welcomed as the university’s first Director-in-Residence at the 2004 Festival. In addition to screenings of some of Chamoun’s earlier work, Oxford Brookes hosted the world premiere of his most recent film, “Women Beyond Borders.
In April 2004, Oxford Brookes partnered the Human Rights Office Tuzla to present the very first Human Rights Film Festival ever to be held in Bosnia-Herzegovina - in connection with a new CENDEP field-based programme on human rights and peacebuilding practice in the Balkans. Several films that had been screened in the Second Annual Festival at Oxford Brookes were also included in this very successful programme of events in Tuzla. Another such festival will be held in Tuzla, again in partnership with Oxford Brookes, in October 2005.
In attracting diverse audiences to each of our screenings, the Festival has certainly achieved its objective of raising awareness about a range of human rights concerns among Oxford Brookes students and staff - as well as across the wider Oxford community. Screenings have been held in a variety of venues at Oxford Brookes University and at Modern Art Oxford, the city’s contemporary art gallery. In the interests of maximising accessibility, admission to all films and discussions is free. While wishing to enlarge the scope and the reach of our festival programme in 2005, we remain committed to our model of a student-led initiative that places human rights activism centre stage.
The 2003 and 2004 Festivals were made possible by grants from Oxfam UK, and a number of the films included in the festival programme reflected Oxfam’s commitment to address the particular vulnerability to poverty and suffering of groups marginalised because of their gender, caste or class.
The Oxford Brookes University Human Rights Film Festival is an initiative of post-graduate students on the MA course in Humanitarian and Development Practice at the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) – coordinated by Dr. Brian Phillips, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at the Centre. Awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2001, CENDEP was recognised for its '…international reputation for pioneering education and training for humanitarian aid workers. Combining innovative practice-based study with a multi-disciplinary academic approach, its unique emphasis on educating humanitarian practitioners for work in war, political violence and disaster is a model for others.
Monday 11th April
Inside Guantanamo – BBC
Panorama uncovers the true picture of this new system of arrest, detention, interrogation and eventual trial by military commission, a key part of America’s war against terror following the events of 9/11.
Tuesday 12th April
John McCarthy & Geoff Dunlop (Director) present…
Faultlines; Israel & India
In Faultlines, we travel with presenter John McCarthy to Israel and India to explore one of the most pressing issues of our time – the relationship between religion and politics.
Out of Shadows
In this film we follow John McCarthy as he makes an emotional return trip to Lebanon, the country in which he was held hostage by Shia gunmen for 5 years.
Wednesday 13th April
The patents make me sick- Rony Brauman, Gerard LaFont & Anne-Christine Roth
Through personal accounts of patients and doctors, this documentary both explains and illustrates the current state of the struggle against AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
Orphans of Nkandla- Brian Woods & Deborah Shipley
The AIDS pandemic has orphaned around three-quarter of a million children in South Africa alone. This tale is a heartbreaking pathos and breathtaking beauty, as we witness human tragedy unfurl against a backdrop of vast landscapes and rustic poverty.
Thursday 14th April
Trembling before G-D- Sandi Simcha Dubowski
A film about the terrible conflict experienced by gay Orthodox Jews – who are told they can be one (gay) or the other (Orthodox), but not both….
Saints and Sinners- Abigail Honor
The documentary follows the challenging and emotional journey of a devoutly Catholic gay couple determined to marry in a Catholic church, despite the expected rejection from the local church hierarchy
Friday 15th April
Pourquoi, pourquoi vous violez les femmes?
(Why Why do you rape women?)- E.Feytit & C. Bourbigot
Alongside war and other problems in Brazzaville, another phenomenon destroying Congo is rape. MSF started in 1999, a programme which involves listening to the victims, providing them with medical and psychological care, as well as administrative and social assistance. Owing to the limitations they faced, MSF decided to launch an awareness campaign on Women’s Day, 8th March 2003.
Ararat – Atom Egoyan
This remarkable, intricate movie from Atom Egoyan centres around the making of a film about the genocide of Armenians in Turkey in 1915. A complex yet powerfully emotional examination of memory ( both cultural and personal), loyalty (to one’s family, to one’s heritage), creativity, and the subjectivity of truth.
Saturday 16th April
Report; Clandestines – Giovanna Boursier
An investigation into the situation for migrants in the Temporary Permanence detention centres in Italy
Old- Brian Woods & Kate Blewett
Through a handful of characters, we are given an insight into a grim future that could await any of us. “Old” is an investigative documentary that shows being old and forgotten are tragic and undeniable realities for many people in today’s Britain.
Kids Behind Bars- Brian Woods & Kate Blewett
Filmed for the BBC this is a hard-hitting documentary that confronts the realities of life for child prisoners around the world, raising questions surrounding the issue of juvenile crime and justice around the globe.
Sunday 17th April
S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine- Rithy Panh
A Man Escaped- Robert Bresson
Bresson’s most gripping and moving work narrates the story of an escape attempt from a Gestapo prison, and achieves a degree of emotional involvement with it’s hero’s predicament that most filmmakers never dream of.
Monday 18th April
War feels like War – Esteban Uyarra
The inside story covering the second Gulf War, as Esteban Uyarra travels across Kuwait and Iraq in the tracks of independent journalists from around the world.
Petits Soldats (Little Soldiers)- Francois Margolin
Set in Monrovia, children, aged 10-17, tell their stories, of forced conscription, voluntary participation, revenge and committed atrocities.
Tuesday 19th April
Deadline- Kate Chevigny & Kirstin Johnson
What would you do if you discovered that 13 people slated for execution had been found innocent? On the eve of his departure from office, Gov. George Ryan surprised the nation by commuting the sentences of all 167 prisoners on Death Row.
Wednesday 20th April
The Russian Newspaper Murders- Paul Jenkins
To be an independent journalist in Russia proves to be a life threatening profession. In the last six years alone around 110 journalists have been murdered for expressing their personal opinions.
Prisoners of the Caucaseus – Yuri Khashchavatski
Yuri Khashchavatski brilliantly draws correlation with Chechnyan contemporary war and the mindless violence of the area over the past 100 years. Masterfully edited from extensive and at times graphic video footage of several war cameramen, the director shows the modern-day carnage in Chechnya from both sides of the conflict.
Thursday 21st April
BonHoeffer – Journey Films
Ghosts of Attica- Brad Lichtenstein
Ghosts of Attica offers the definitive account of America’s most violent prison rebellion, its suppression, and the days of torture that ensued.
This film unravels one of America’s deepest cover-ups, and shows how the legendary prison riot transformed the lives of its survivors.
Poster (PDF format):