Voices in Action: Human Rights on Film

  • October 3, 2013 — November 7, 2013

While cinema provides entertainment and escape, for many filmmakers and viewers it is a vital portal into reality—a medium of engagement with the world and a powerful tool for social action. Tackling wide-ranging, thought-provoking issues, activist filmmakers bring attention to injustice, the values of dignity and equality, and the price of commitment, as they tell stories of struggle and triumph. We hope that the films presented in this year’s series, many of them showcased in the Human Rights Watch Film Festivals in New York and London, broaden understanding and stimulate involvement as they reveal the inspiration and courage of individuals whose hearts and minds are focused on our many shared challenges. Our special thanks go to Human Rights Watch, Portland Center for Public Humanities at Portland State University, World Affairs Council of Oregon, The Portland Alliance, City Club of Portland, and other organizations worldwide that help bring important events, issues, and the work of citizen activists to light.

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Salma

Directed by Kim Loginotto

When Salma, a young Muslim girl in a south Indian village, was 13 years old, her family locked her up

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Gideon’s Army

Directed by Dawn Porter

In 1963, the US Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright. The ruling was simple: in felony cases,

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The Trials of Mohammad Ali

Directed by Bill Siegel

Cassius Clay's transformation to Muhammad Ali—his conversion to Islam and refusal to serve in the Vietnam War—was one of the

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Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Directed by Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin

In the winter of 2011, after a controversial election, Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin as president of Russia. The

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Fatal Assistance

Directed by Raoul Peck

Award-winning, Haitian-born filmmaker Raoul Peck takes us on a two-year journey inside the challenging, contradictory, and colossal rebuilding efforts in

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Tall as the Baobab Tree

Directed by Jeremy Teicher

TALL AS THE BAOBAB TREE poignantly depicts a family struggling to find its footing on the edge of the modern

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The Undocumented

Directed by Marco Williams

THE UNDOCUMENTED tells the story of Marcos Hernandez, an undocumented Mexican living and working in Chicago. Marcos came to the

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Alias Ruby Blade: A Story of Love and Revolution

Directed by Alex Meillier

Once an aspiring documentary filmmaker, Kirsty Sword instead became a revolutionary, working in Jakarta for the Timorese resistance. Using the

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Forbidden Voices

Directed by Barbara Miller

Miller’s film features three brave women who—had they not been born in Iran, Cuba, or China—could have led ordinary, peaceful