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See our HRWFF London 2015 trailer (YouTube)

and download the PDF of our brochure

on our Press page

HRWFF podcast

with HRW's Peter Bouckaert on The Unravelling Guardian Masterclass


Sat 21 March at 16.00 at Barbican

Film Festival, March 18–27, 2015

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Alessandra Zeka and Holen Sabrina Kahn
Year: 2014 / 65m
March 25 / 26

At a public hospital in Nicaragua, OBGYN Dr. Carla Cerrato must choose between following a law that bans all abortions and endangers her patients or taking a risk and providing the care that she knows can save a woman's life.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Hajooj Kuka
Year: 2014 / 68m
March 21 / 22

Over two years, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka lived alongside farmers, herders, and rebels displaced to the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions, filming their lives within hillside hide-outs and refugee camps. Destructive air-raids are but occasional moments in an unexpected film, which instead focuses on the vibrant musical heritage of the region: a pulsing lifeblood of cultural resilience in the face of everyday conflict.

Filmmaker(s): Marcia Tambutti
Year: 2015 / 100m
March 20 / 21 / 23

In 1970, filmmaker Marcia Tambutti's grandfather, Salvador Allende, became the first democratic-socialist president elected in Latin America. Following his violent removal from power by a military coup d'état in Chile on September 11, 1973, and his death that very same day, Salvador Allende and his iconic image became a worldwide symbol for democracy and human rights. This fascinating documentary follows Tambutti on an intimate journey as she struggles to recover the personal side of her grandfather.

(International premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Joey Boink
Year: 2015 / 76m
March 25 / 26

Burden of Peace follows Guatemala's first female attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz. After taking office, Paz y Paz obtains spectacular results, including the arrest of a former head of state charged with committing genocide. But her determined efforts encounter strong resistance from powerful elites that have typically felt above the law.

Filmmaker(s): Camilla Nielsson
Year: 2014 / 100m
March 20 / 23

Over the course of more than three years, director Camilla Nielsson gained exclusive access to the inner circles of politics in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Democrats follows two political opponents, the forceful Mangwana of the long-time ruling party ZANU-PF, and the Movement for Democratic Change's progressive Mwonzora, as they face the gargantuan task of writing a new constitution for the country.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Andreas Dalsgaard
Year: 2014 / 104m
March 20 / 22

Violence is part of everyday life in Colombia, where the military, guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug cartels have been fighting for decades, and hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. But the unorthodox presidential candidate Antanas Mockus and his enthusiastic young activist supporters attempt to reverse the vicious cycle with an imaginative and positive election campaign.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Ayat Najafi
Year: 2014 / 93m
March 20 / 22 / 21

The Islamic revolution of 1979 banned female singers from appearing in public in Iran. They are no longer allowed to perform solo, unless to an exclusively female audience. Recordings of former female icons can only be bought on the black market. But Sara Najafi is determined to refresh the cultural memory by roaming Tehran in the footsteps of famous singers of the 1920s and 1960s.

Filmmaker(s): Jon Stewart
Year: 2014 / 103m
March 27

In 2009, Iranian Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari was covering Iran's volatile elections for Newsweek. One of the few reporters in the country with access to US media, he made an appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart". The interview was intended as satire, but if Tehran's authorities got the joke - they didn't like it.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Mikael Wiström
Year: 2014 / 100m
March 21 / 23

Josefin grew up in Sweden hearing a family myth about how her Peruvian aunt, Augusta, died in armed struggle for poor people in Peru. Augusta La Torre created the violent Maoist guerilla Sendero Luminoso or Shining Path, together with her husband Abimael Guzman. They initiated an internal war that lasted nearly 20 years and still profoundly marks Peru. Josefin defies her family and travels to Peru to find out the truth.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Francois Verster
Year: 2014 / 107m
March 24 / 26

Filmmaker Francois Verster explores how music and storytelling can serve as an outlet for citizens to process political upheaval.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
Year: 2014 / 110m
March 18

The photographer Sebastião Salgado was a refugee in the 1970s, fleeing the military dictatorship in Brazil. He became a global wanderer, photographing epochal events of violence and displacement, including Rwanda, Bosnia, and the war in Iraq.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Fernand Melgar
Year: 2014 / 101m
March 24 / 25

Accomplished documentarian Fernand Melgar is renowned for his powerful investigations into the injustices of Swiss society. His latest offering, The Shelter, charts a cold winter spent at an emergency shelter for homeless migrants in the wealthy city of Lausanne.

Filmmaker(s): Human Rights Watch
Year: 2014 / 90m
March 21

During this unique masterclass, Human Rights Watch emergencies director Peter Bouckaert and leading photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale discuss the techniques and strategies of international crisis reporting and multimedia storytelling. The event includes documentary footage from The Unravelling, a cross-platform project documenting the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan
Year: 2014 / 75m
March 24 / 26 / 23

Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, The Wanted 18 recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army's pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel."

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Laura Nix and the Yes Men
Year: 2014 / 90m
March 19

For the last 20 years, notorious activists the Yes Men have staged outrageous and hilarious hoaxes to draw international attention to corporate crimes against humanity and the environment. Armed with nothing but quick wits and thrift-store suits, these iconoclastic revolutionaries lie their way into business events and government functions to expose the dangers of letting greed run our world.

(UK premiere)
Filmmaker(s): Patricio Henríquez
Year: 2014 / 99m
March 22 / 24

October 2001: As US-led forces invade Afghanistan in search of Osama Bin Laden, 22 members of China's Uyghur minority happen to be in the country. These Turkish-speaking Muslims are fleeing repressive authorities in Beijing, which view them as dangerous terrorists. They are about to be drawn into an unbelievable odyssey, becoming pawns who are mercilessly manipulated on the chessboard of international politico-economic interests

(Work in Progress)
Filmmaker(s): Beth Murphy
Year: 2015 / 90m
March 20 / 21

What Tomorrow Brings follows one year in the life of the first all-girls school in a remote, conservative Afghan village. The film traces the inter-connected stories of those who bring the school to life: students, teachers, village elders, parents, and school founder Razia Jan.