Jun 13, 2016

Human Rights Watch Festival Coverage

A still from Mehrdad Oskouei's documentary Starless Dreams, which screened this weekend at HRWFF. (Photo courtesy of HRWFF.)

Human Rights Watch Film Festival, which opened on June 10th, comes to New York City every year, and I have been covering it for nearly a decade (for Film Journal International) because it remains one of the most important venues for short subject and feature-length human rights documentaries and narrative films. My overview of the 2016 slate is here: http://www.filmjournal.com/features/advocating-women-female-issues-dominate-human-rights-watch-fest.

Daniel Beaty and Omari Hardwick in a still from Jamal Joseph's Chapter & Verse. (Photo courtesy of HRWFF.)

As part of my coverage, I interviewed Iranian filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei for his documentary Starless Dreams, about a juvenile detention ward for girls: http://www.filmjournal.com/features/juvenile-injustice-starless-dreams-painfully-intimate-look-imprisoned-girls-iran. It screened at HRWFF this weekend. You can read my interview with American filmmaker and former Black Panther Jamal Joseph for his debut narrative feature Chapter & Verse, the story of a former inmate who returns to his Harlem neighborhood: http://www.filmjournal.com/features/fathers-and-sons-jamal-joseph-depicts-redemption-harlem-chapter-and-verse. The film screened on Sunday, June 12th, to a full house. Check back for my upcoming interview with George Kurian for The Crossing, a documentary short about a group of Syrian refugees that will screen at HRWFF on June 15th and 16th.

As a final note, the horrific shooting this weekend in Orlando has raised many issues for Americans, among them the fact that this was a hate crime committed by an American against the LGBTQ community. Those interested in LGBTQ rights issues may wish to see Eric Juhola's Growing Up Coy, a documentary that follows the eponymous 6 year-old transgender girl and her courageous parents as they pursue a landmark civil rights case after Coy was denied access to the girl's bathroom at her elementary school. It screens at HRWFF on June 16th and 17th. The official website for HRWFF New York is here: https://ff.hrw.org/new-york.