We are proud to present the 33rd edition of the New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival, running from May 20-26, 2022, in partnership with Film at Lincoln Center and IFC Center. This year’s edition highlights activism, as we meet courageous individuals around the world standing up to powerful forces and demanding change.
After over two years away we are thrilled to be back with a full program of in-person screenings at Film at Lincoln Center and IFC Center, with in-depth discussions with filmmakers, film participants, activists, and Human Rights Watch researchers. We will continue to offer the opportunity to watch these 10 emboldening new films online across the US with a full digital edition of the festival.
The festival opens with Rebellion, the exhilarating behind-the-scenes story of Extinction Rebellion (XR), following the group as it takes daring steps to draw attention to the climate emergency – and confront both internal tensions and the harmful power structures present in the climate movement itself. Closing the festival, The Janes showcases a group of brave and bold women, many speaking on the record for the first time, who built an underground, clandestine network in 1970s Chicago for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions.
We meet courageous activists and brave individuals throughout the program. With stunning animation and powerful interviews, Eternal Spring tells the gripping story of brave members of a religious movement who protest their persecution by the Chinese government by hijacking the local TV station. In Delikado, three environmental defenders are tested like never before in their battle to save their home, Palawan, an island paradise in the Philippines from the illegal destruction of its forests, fisheries, and mountains. In Clarissa’s Battle we meet single mother and unstoppable activist Clarissa Doutherd, who works tirelessly to build a coalition of local parents in Oakland, California, to fight for local and federal childcare funding. With brave honesty a group of Kurdish and Yazidi women reveal the challenges they face in a male-dominated society in Up To G-Cup.
The films at the festival could not be timelier. The New Greatness Case offers remarkable access to a group of young Russians entrapped by the secret service, resulting in unjust trials and prison sentences – echoing the intensified crackdown on dissent and free expression in Russia we see on the news every day. In Midwives, amid an environment of ever-increasing chaos and violence against the Muslim Rohingya population in Myanmar, two midwives, one Buddhist and one Muslim, work side by side in a makeshift clinic in western Myanmar, providing medical services to the Rohingya of Rakhine State. No U-Turn by celebrated Nigerian director Ike Nnaebue takes us on a journey with Nigerian citizens leaving their country, traveling north through Africa and beyond in search of work and opportunity to build a future, despite the known and unknown challenges lying ahead.
Lastly, the one drama in this year’s festival, You Resemble Me, an impressive first feature by Dina Amer and executive-produced by Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, Riz Ahmed and Alma Har’el, explores the complex life of Hasna Aït Boulahcen, a survivor of abuse in France who sought support and opportunities to belong, but whose life was cut short by her radicalization.
As always, the festival strives to prioritize space for identities, viewpoints, forms of expertise and experiences either silenced or marginalized in the film industry, news, and media. Seventy percent of this year’s filmmakers are women and seventy percent are filmmakers sharing a story about their own region. This program reflects the festival’s ethos of celebrating diversity of content and perspective.
We welcome you to join us in celebrating the power of individuals to make a difference at the 2022 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.
- The HRWFF Team