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Film Descriptions

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

6:30PM Wine and Cheese Reception

7:45PM Program and Screening

10:00PM Dessert Reception

» See HRW’s work on the Pinochet prosecution


A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman

From Producer and Emmy Award-Winning Director Peter Raymont

With special guest Ariel Dorfman

Based in part on his own memoir “Heading South, Looking North,” this film explores the extraordinary experiences of renowned Chilean-American novelist, playwright, and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman who barely escaped with his life when Augusto Pinochet overthrew the government of Chilean President Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. A Promise to the Dead is courtesy of White Pines Pictures.

To purchase tickets contact Tara Golden at or 212.216.1881


American Outrage (New York premiere)

Beth Gage and George Gage— The US—2007—56m—video—doc

In English

Carrie and Mary Dann are feisty elderly Western Shoshone sisters who live and ranch in beautiful but barren north central Nevada. Like most Western ranchers, they graze their livestock on the open range outside their ranch. That open range is part of 60 million acres recognized as Western Shoshone land by the United States in the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley but subsequently claimed as public land by US authorities. In 1974 the US sued the Dann sisters for trespassing. That set off a dispute between the Dann sisters and the US government that swept to the US Supreme Court, then eventually to the United Nations. The underlying question is “Why”? The government says the sisters are degrading the land. The Dann sisters say the reason is the resources hidden below. Shoshone land is the second-largest gold producing area in the world. Contrasting the Dann sisters’ personal lives with their political actions, the film examines why the United States government has spent millions of dollars persecuting and prosecuting two elderly women grazing a few hundred horses and cows in a desolate desert.

Presented in association with American Indian Community House and The Film + Video Center of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian

preceded by


Rightful Place (New York premiere)

The Center for Minority Rights Development and Witness—Kenya, USA—2007—16m—video—doc

In English and Endorois with English subtitles

In 1974, the Endorois community was evicted from their sacred lands by the Kenyan government to make way for a game reserve and tourist resort. After decades of inaction and harassment by successive governments, the Endorois decide to take their claims for reparations and restitution to the highest regional human rights body, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. Rightful Place is an intimate film of a people in search of justice.

Sat June 14: 4:15; Mon June 16: 1:30; Mon June 16:9



Prisoners in Time

Stephen Walker, Director; Ariel Dorfman & Rodrigo Dorfman, Screenplay


In English

This film features a powerful performance by John Hurt as Eric Lomax, a former British soldier who was tortured as a POW of the Japanese and who, fifty years on, still suffers daily bouts of post-traumatic stress. Concluding that revenge is the only way to exorcise his ghosts, he goes in search of Nagase Takashi, the Japanese soldier he believes tortured him. But his quest leads Lomax into dangerous territory, forces him and us to question if redemption is ever possible after terrible crimes have been committed, if those who are most damaged can ever truly find peace, if repentance is enough. *Winner of the 1995 Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Teleplay.

preceded by


Dead Line (US premiere)

Alex Marengo, Director; Ariel Dorfman & Rodrigo Dorfman, Screenplay


In English

Using Ariel Dorfman’s classic poems of exile and the “disappeared” as read by Bono, Emma Thompson, Juliet Stevenson, Harold Pinter and others, the film follows a desperate Iraqi exile (Art Malik) through the streets of London in search of a magical phone from which he can call home and find out the fate of his brother at the hands of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship.

Sat June 14: 1:30


» See HRW’s work on the Pinochet prosecution


A Promise to the Dead (New York premiere)

Peter Raymont—Canada—2006—92m—35mm—doc

In English and Spanish with English subtitles

“... my first September 11th had been in 1973, when terror was also inflicted on the innocent, when death also rained down from the sky, sending me into exile, making me into the man I have now become...” —Ariel Dorfman

On September 11, 1973, Chile’s military attacked its government. As the coup took hold, the democratically elected president Salvador Allende called government members to the presidential palace to stand against their attackers, facing certain death. Ariel Dorfman was Allende’s cultural advisor, and should have been called too; he later discovered his name had been struck from the list so he could live to tell what happened that day. Three decades later, Dorfman is an internationally respected writer and human rights activist, winner of the Sir Laurence Olivier Award for the play “Death and the Maiden.” Filmmaker Peter Raymont travels to Chile with Dorfman in late 2006, at the time when Augusto Pinochet, Allende’s overthrower and Dorfman’s long-time nemesis, is dying. Raymont follows Dorfman through emotional reunions with his friends and fellow resistors, to personal landmarks that are powerful both emotionally and historically. During the journey they explore exile, memory and the search for justice.

Presented in association with Cinema Tropical and the International Center for Transitional Justice

*Fri June 13: 6:30; Wed June 18: 1:30

» See HRW’s work on Brazil


Behave (US premiere)

Maria Ramos—Brazil—2006—80m—35mm—doc

In Portuguese with English subtitles

Following Justice, Maria Ramos’s razor-sharp scrutiny of the Brazilian judicial ­system, in Behave Ramos turns her lens on Rio’s juvenile courts and detention ­centers. In her beautifully-framed, unadorned documentary style, Ramos allows us to watch court cases play out, and reveals a system overwhelmed. Brazilian law ­forbids filming juveniles in the judicial process, so Ramos faced the challenge of how to present her teenage subjects without showing them. Her brilliant solution: she found teens from the Rio favelas, or slums—some themselves veterans of the detention system—to portray their peers. The hearings were all shot facing the judge, so the “actors” could be edited in as countershots, each one carefully but naturally repeating the words spoken by the real, unseen defendants. The one ­figure who remains a constant and on screen throughout is Judge Luciana Fiala, a no-nonsense type who knows the system has little chance of saving these kids, and yet through irony, cajoling and sternness still tries to tailor her interrogations and punishments to the individuals on trial. Behave shows the process of judging, and how easily we are swayed over questions involving minors breaking the law. Who really knows what to do?

Presented in association with El Museo del Barrio and the Brazil Foundation

Thurs June 19: 9:15; Fri June 20: 1:30; Sat June 21: 4


The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) (New York premiere)

Director: Ellen Kuras; Co-Director: Thavisouk Phrasavath—USA/LAOS—2008—100m—35mm—doc

In English and Lao with English subtitles

Filmed over the course of 23 years, THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON) is an epic story of one family's journey from war-torn Laos to the mean streets of New York in the 80's to the present. Thavisouk Phrasavath tells the story of himself as a young man struggling to survive a war and the hardships of immigrant life. His mother tells her own astonishing tale of perseverance as a soldier's wife. Breathtaking and compelling, renowned cinematographer Ellen Kuras’s directorial debut is a remarkable collaboration with co-director Phrasavath – a poetic, deeply personal film about the hidden, human face of war’s “collateral damage.” Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2008. Winner of the 2008 CinereachLtd. Award. A co-production of American Documentary | P.O.V. and The Diverse Voices Project. The Betrayal (NERAKHOON) has its national broadcast premiere on PBS’s P.O.V. series in 2009.

Sat June 14: 6:30; Sun June 15: 8:30

» See HRW’s work on Chile


Calle Santa Fé

Carmen Castillo—Chile/France/Belgium—2007— 163m—35mm—doc

In Spanish with English subtitles

Chile, October 1974. A house on a suburban street in Santiago is the scene of a shoot-out with Pinochet’s secret police. Miguel Enriquez, a rebel leader, is killed. His companion and comrade Carmen Castillo is wounded. Calle Santa Fé is this courageous woman’s story as she embarks on a raw, uncompromising journey into the present, and into the memory of rebellion defeated. Were those heroic acts of resistance really worth it? Did Miguel die in vain? Through a series of remarkable re-encounters—with the house on Santa Fé street, her family, the neighbor who saved her life, her former comrades—Castillo retraces the path from resistance to exile, from the luminous days of Allende to the long, somber years under Pinochet, remembering the men and women who rose up against his tyranny.

Presented in association with Cinema Tropical and the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center

Wed June 18: 7


The Camden 28

Anthony Giacchino—USA—2006—82m—doc

In English

How far would you go to stop a war? On August 22, 1971, twenty-eight men and women in Camden, New Jersey, carried out a powerful act of civil disobedience against United States involvement in the Vietnam War. The group was part of a nonviolent antiwar movement popularly known as the “Catholic Left.” One of the most dramatic tactics utilized by this movement was breaking into draft board offices to remove and destroy government records that identified young men available for military service. The activists claimed that their actions were meant to show their belief that killing—even in war—was morally indefensible. And by conducting their raids mostly in inner cities, they hoped to call attention to war’s damaging effect on some of America’s most vulnerable populations. The documentary tells of the activists’ covert preparations, government intrigue, a government raid and arrest of the protesters, and an ensuing legal battle which the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan called “one of the great trials of the twentieth century.” Thirty-five years later, key participants openly discuss their motives, their fears, and the tremendous personal costs of their actions. It is a story of resistance, friendship, and betrayal played out against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent periods in recent American history. Winner of both the Jury Prize and Audience Award for Best Documentary, Philadelphia Film Festival 2006. Part of the Human Rights Watch Selects Collection at First Run Features

Fri June 20: 4


» See HRW’s work on children’s rights in China


China's Stolen Children (US premiere)

Jezza Neumann—UK—2007—87m—video—doc

In English

“I think there must be something wrong with treating children as goods, but I can’t figure out what it is.” -Wang Li, veteran Chinese human trafficker

Five year old Chen Jie was kidnapped from a market while his grandmother sold vegetables nearby, changing forever the lives of those who love him. Sadly, Chen Jie is just one of the approximately 70,000 children snatched from the streets of China and their families each year. China’s Stolen Children follows Chen Jie’s parents as they do everything in their power to secure their son’s safe return, from hanging “missing” posters (risking fines from the government for doing so) to hiring Detective Zhu, a former law-enforcement official who now works trying to retrieve China’s stolen children. In a society where the one-child policy has made it both socially and financially beneficial for a family’s one child to be a son, child-trafficking is thriving on an imbalance of supply and demand. Not all children sold on the Chinese black market are stolen, though; families who break the policy, like Way Ling, by having a first child without a birth permit, are required to pay a fee and, when they cannot, some are forced to sell their children through traffickers like Wang Li, who view human life as a commodity comparable to text books. Narrated by Sir Ben Kingsley, China’s Stolen Children explores the unintended and devastating ramifications of China’s controversial one-child policy through the stories of Chen Jie's parents, Detective Zhu, Way Ling, and Wang Li. This HBO Documentary Film will premiere on HBO on July 14th.

Presented in association with Asian CineVision

Sat June 21: 9:15; Sun June 22: 1; Tues June 24: 3:30


» See HRW’s work on the U.S.


Critical Condition (New York premiere)

Roger Weisberg—USA—2008—83m—video —doc

In English

What happens when you’re sick and uninsured in America? Award-winning filmmaker Roger Weisberg boldly answers this question in his new film Critical Condition. It takes viewers inside the lives and harrowing struggles of a diverse group of uninsured Americans battling critical illness, and reveals that being uninsured can cost them their jobs, health, homes, savings, and even their lives. The film arrives at a decisive moment, the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, when politicians and the public again focus attention on the dire need for healthcare reform in the United States. A production of Public Policy Productions in association with Thirteen/WNET New York and American Documentary | P.O.V. Critical Condition has its national broadcast premiere on PBS’s P.O.V. series in a special presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008 at 9 p.m.

Presented in association with Community Service Society

Mon June 23: 6:30; Wed June 25: 8:45; Thurs June 26: 3:30

» See more on the Case Against Hissène Habré


The Dictator Hunter (US premiere)

Klaartje Quirijns— The Netherlands—2007—75m—video—doc

In English, French and Arabic with English subtitles

“If you kill one person, you go to jail. If you kill 40 people, they put you in an insane asylum. But if you kill 40,000 people, you get a ­comfortable exile with a bank account in another country, and that’s what we want to change here.”

—Reed Brody, Counsel, Human Rights Watch

Souleymane Guengueng, a former civil servant, watched hundreds of his cellmates perish from torture and disease during two years in prison under Chadian dictator Hissne Habré. Guengueng took an oath before God that if he ever got out alive, he would bring his tormentors to justice. Habré fell from power in 1990, and Guengueng’s quest for justice began. For the past eight years Guengueng has been joined in the chase by Reed Brody—known as Human Rights Watch’s “dictator hunter” for his work on the case of Chile’s former tyrant Augusto Pinochet. Now Habré lives in Senegal, where Brody and Guengueng are attempting to have him brought to trial or extradited. In The Dictator Hunter we follow Brody and Guengueng over the course of two suspenseful and critical years. The Dictator Hunter shows what committed individuals can accomplish when working relentlessly to break the cycle of impunity.

Presented in association with the African Film Festival, Inc. and in association with FilmAid International

Sun June 15: 3:30; Mon June 16: 6:30; Tues June 17: 1:30


Dreaming Lhasa

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, India/UK, 2005, 91m, drama

In Tibetan and English with English subtitles

Karma, a Tibetan filmmaker from New York, comes to Dharamsala – a small town in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, home to the exiled Dalai Lama and the spiritual and political focus of the Tibetan diaspora. Escaping from a deteriorating relationship back home, she is here to make a film about former political prisoners who have escaped from Tibet. Their harrowing stories of courage and suffering heighten her own sense of cultural alienation. One of Karma’s interviewees is Dhondup, an enigmatic ex-monk who has recently escaped from Tibet after spending four years in prison for his role in anti-Chinese activities. Dhondup confides in Karma that his real reason for coming to India is to fulfill his dying mother’s last wish, to deliver a gahu – a charm box that Tibetans use as a protection amulet – to a man named Loga. He appeals to her for help in finding him. As they set out to find Loga, Karma finds herself unwittingly falling in love with Dhondup even as she is sucked into the vortex of his quest, which becomes a journey into Tibet’s fractured past and a voyage of self-discovery. Part of the Human Rights Watch Selects Collection at First Run Features

Mon June 16: 4

» See HRW’s work on Democratic Republic of Congo


The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo

Lisa Jackson—US—2007—76m—video—doc

In English, French, Swahili, Lingala and Mashi, with English subtitles

Shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this extraordinary film sensitively yet unflinchingly brings to light the plight of women and girls caught in that country’s intractable conflicts. A survivor of rape herself, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Jackson travels through the DRC to understand what is happening and why. The film features interviews with activists, peacekeepers, physicians, and even the indifferent rapists. But the most remarkable moments of the film come as survivors recount their personal stories—inspiring examples of resilience, resistance, courage and grace. *Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2008. This HBO Documentary Film will air on HBO throughout the remainder of 2008

Presented in association with Center for Women's Global Leadership, Rutgers University, The ENOUGH Project and Human Rights House of Douglass Residential College, Rutgers University

Tues June 17: 6:30; Thurs June 19: 1:30

La Sierra

» See HRW’s work on Colombia


La Sierra

Scott Dalton and Margarita Martinez—Colombia/USA—2004—84m—video—doc

In Spanish with English subtitles

Shot over the course of a year, La Sierra follows three young people—a leader, a soldier, and a young woman—affiliated with Colombia’s illegal paramilitary armies as they go about their daily lives. The charismatic Edison is a 22-year old commander, de facto mayor of La Sierra, and neighborhood playboy who has fathered six children with six different women. Cielo is a 17-year old widowed mother who has a new paramilitary boyfriend she devotedly visits in jail every Sunday, while trying to find a way to make a living without taking a job in Medellin’s red light district. And wounded 19-year old Jesus seems ready for death while indulging his taste for marijuana and cocaine, but when the war in La Sierra comes to an end and the gang members begin a government-sponsored disarmament process, he starts to think of life without war. Part of the Human Rights Watch Selects Collection at First Run Features

Weds June 18: 4



» See HRW’s work on Russia


Letter to Anna (New York premiere)

Eric Bergkraut —Switzerland—2008—84m—video—doc

In Russian and English with English subtitles

Anna Politkovskaya was a brave and tenacious journalist for one of Russia’s only independent journals, Novaya Gazeta. Anna used her journalist platform to strongly criticize Russian military actions in Chechnya. On October 7, 2006, she was shot dead in the stairwell of her Moscow apartment building. A few years before her untimely death, filmmaker Eric Bergkraut met Politkovskaya while making his documentary Coca: The Dove From Chechnya. Bergkraut filmed some powerful, frank interviews with the late reporter. In Letter to Anna these are interwoven with a tantalizing search for her likely killers and insightful contributions from colleagues and loved ones who discuss her work while celebrating the life of an extraordinary woman and mother, a fearless defender of the people, “the conscience of Russia.” Narrated by Susan Sarandon.

Presented in association with the Committee to Protect Journalists

Thurs June 26: 1; *Thurs June 26: 6:15


Project Kashmir (World premiere)

Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel—USA—2008—89m—video—doc

In English, Urdu, Kashmiri, Hindi with English subtitles

Two American friends, one Hindu and one Muslim, enter the war zone of Kashmir to investigate the 60-year rivalry between their homelands India and Pakistan. How does a young generation remain hopeful in this endless war? Beautifully lensed by award-winning cinematographer Ross Kauffman, the film captures the physical splendor of Kashmir, while expertly interweaving deeply moving personal stories of Kashmiris with those of the two American women, who strive to reconcile their ethnic and religious heritage with the violence that haunts their homeland.

Presented in association with Breakthrough, Tribeca All Access and the Tribeca Film Festival

Sat June 21: 6:30; Sun June 22: 8:30; Mon June 23: 4


The Recruiter (New York premiere)

Edet Belzberg—USA—2008—86m—video—doc

In English

Bringing new meaning to the slogan “An Army of One,” The Recruiter follows US Army Sergeant First Class Clay Usie, one of the most successful recruiters in America, as he seeks out the young men and women of Houma, Louisiana. Sergeant Usie’s infectious ‘can do’ spirit draws in the kids, and he begins working with some of them three to four years before they are able to enlist. He becomes their mentors, their role models, and in some cases their surrogate fathers, as he trains beside his recruits and pushes them to their physical limits to prepare for Army basic training boot camp. But the realities of the war hit closer to home as the death count in Iraq for soldiers from the Houma area begins to rise and fewer and fewer civilians are willing to enlist. Four of Sergeant Usie’s recruits, Chris, Bobby, Lauren, and Matt, enter boot camp inflated with Sergeant Usie’s vim and vigor and talk of brotherhood and pride, but are soon confronted by the realities of the day-to-day life of a soldier. Sergeant Usie has prepared them for the physical brutality of boot camp, but can anyone prepare them for the emotional and psychological hardship that separation from their families, boot camp, and actual combat will bring? *Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2008. This HBO Documentary Film premieres on HBO on July 28th.

Presented in association with Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival

Fri June 13: 4; Sat June 14: 9:15; Sun June 15: 1


S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine

Rithy Pahn - Cambodia/France - 2003 - 101m - doc

In Khmer with English subtitles

In 1975-79, almost two million Cambodians lost their lives to murder and famine when the Khmer Rouge forced the urban population into the countryside to fulfill their ideal of an agrarian utopia. The notorious detention center code-named 'S21' was the schoolhouse-turned prison where 17,000 men, women and children were tortured and killed, their "crimes" meticulously documented to justify their execution. In this award-winning documentary and astonishing historical document, survivor Vann Nath confronts his captors, some of whom were as young as 12 years old when they committed their atrocities. Part of the Human Rights Watch Selects Collection at First Run Features

Thurs June 19: 4


» See HRW’s work on Nepal


The Sari Soldiers (US premiere)

Julie Bridgham—US/Nepal—2008—90m—video—doc

In Nepali with English subtitles

Filmed over three years during the most historic and pivotal time in Nepal’s modern history, The Sari Soldiers is an extraordinary story of six women’s courageous efforts to shape Nepal’s future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King’s crackdown on civil liberties. When Devi, mother of a 15-year-old girl, witnesses her niece being tortured and murdered by the Royal Nepal Army, she speaks publicly about the atrocity. The army abducts her daughter in retaliation, and Devi embarks on a three-year struggle to uncover her daughter’s fate and see justice done. The Sari Soldiers follows her and five other brave women, including Maoist Commander Kranti; Royal Nepal Army Officer Rajani; Krishna, a monarchist from a rural community who leads a rebellion against the Maoists; Mandira, a human rights lawyer; and Ram Kumari, a young student activist organizing the protests to establish democracy. The Sari Soldiers intimately delves into the extraordinary journey of these women on all sides of the conflict, through the democratic revolution that reshapes the country’s future.

Presented in association with the International Center for Transitional Justice

Fri June 20: 9; Sun June 22: 3:30*; Tues June 24: 1
*Sign language interpretation will be provided for the introduction and post-film discussion

» See HRW’s work on women's rights in Asia


Silent Waters

Subiha Sumar—Pakistan—2003—95m—video—drama

Silent Waters is set in 1979 in Pakistan, when General Zia-ul-Haq took control of the country and stoked the fires of Islamic nationalism. Ayesha, a Muslim woman who gets by on her late husbandŐs pension and by teaching young girls the Koran, invests her hopes in her beloved son Saleem. But when Saleem takes up with a group of Islamic fundamentalists just as a group of Sikh pilgrims come to town, AyeshaŐs haunted past turns her present life upside down. Part of the Human Rights Watch Selects Collection at First Run Features

Tues June 17: 4

» See HRW’s work on Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories


This Way Up (New York premiere)

Georgi Lazarevski—France—2007—60m—video—doc

In Arabic with English subtitles

Just east of Jerusalem lies the formerly bucolic Our Lady of Pains, a senior citizens’ home for Palestinians. A few meters from the front door rises the grimly spectacular and unavoidable wall of separation, whose unstoppable progression gradually isolates the seniors from their children’s visits, the outside world, even from the very staff that attends to them. With beautiful imagery, contemplative pacing, moments of laughter, and brilliant use of a quietly humorous ‘guide’—a memorable character with a trademark knitted cap, weathered expressive face, and savoring appreciation for smoking—filmmaker Lazarevski has fashioned a film whose political message grows like an approaching thundercloud.

preceded by

» See HRW’s work on Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories


Open Heart (New York premiere)

Claire Fowler—UK/Palestine—2006—22m—video—doc

In Arabic and English with English subtitles

An emotional journey highlighting the plight of the struggling Palestinian healthcare system under occupation. A Palestinian couple’s son’s life is threatened by congenital heart disease. A charity offers a ­life-saving surgery in Jerusalem, but to get there the family must make an uncertain trip through Israeli checkpoints.

Presented in association with Arte East

Tues June 24: 9; Wed June 25: 1; Wed June 25: 6:15



» See HRW’s work on Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories


To See if I’m Smiling (New York premiere)

Tamar Yarom—Israel—2007—59m—video—doc

In Hebrew with English subtitles

Israel is the only country in the world where 18-year-old girls are drafted for compulsory military service. To See If I’m Smiling is a disturbing look at the actions and behavior of women soldiers in the Israeli army who, stationed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, help maintain the 40-year-old occupation of Palestinian territories. The women in the film, veterans who’ve tried to bury the past for years, finally speak openly about their experiences. Deeply personal interviews are dramatically interwoven with both archival footage and details of the women’s daily lives. One woman recounts how she posed for a photo with a Palestinian corpse. She searches for that picture, saying, “I wanted to see if I’m smiling.” At a time when women in the military are increasingly on the frontlines, this powerful film explores the ways that gender, ethics, and moral responsibility intersect during war.

preceded by


» See HRW’s work on cluster bombs


Deadly Playground (US premiere)

Katia Saleh—UK/Lebanon—2007—23m—video—doc

In Arabic and English with English subtitles

Thirteen-year-old Hussein from the village of Sadikkeen in south Lebanon has been watching the demining experts in his area clearing the estimated 3 million cluster bombs that the Israeli forces dropped in the war with Hezbollah in 2006. A projected 1 million of these remain unexploded and scattered around the villages and mountains of south Lebanon. Hundreds of children, like Hussein, are still fascinated by them.

Fri June 13: 1:30; Fri June 13: 9:15; Sun June 15: 6*
*Sign language interpretation will be provided for the introduction and post-film discussion


Traces of the Trade (New York premiere)

Director: Katrina Browne; Co-Directors: Alla Kovgan and Jude Ray—USA—2008—86m—video—doc

In English

Shot in Rhode Island, Ghana, and Cuba, Traces of the Trade is a gripping tale of a family’s attempt to uncover the history of its slave-trading roots in New England. When filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her ancestors, the DeWolfs, a highly respected Northern family, used to be the largest slave-trading family in US history, she and nine relatives embark on a journey along their ancestors’ slave trade route—from quaint Bristol, Rhode Island, to the slave castles in Ghana, and the family’s former sugar and coffee plantations in Cuba. Their voyage unveils the all-encompassing economic system in which the DeWolfs played a lead role, but that involved all corners of Northern commercial life. The global economy of slavery was about more than the cotton fields of the South; it included rum distilleries, textile mills, provisioning of the islands, Northern financiers, and on an on. And their journey raises issues for all of us today. Confronting guilt (or the lack of it), grief, and questions of their own privileges, the family members each begin to develop a vision of how to reconcile their own lives with their family’s past. Katrina Browne traces a brave journey that provides a glimpse of how we can work our way through the rough tangle of the black-white divide. Traces of the Trade has its national broadcast premiere on PBS on Tuesday, June 24, 2008, opening the 21st season of the P.O.V. documentary series. Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2008.

Presented in association with the New York Historical Society and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Sun June 22: 6; Mon June 23: 1:30; Mon June 23: 9

» See HRW’s work on the Israel - Lebanon Conflict


Under the Bombs (New York premiere)

Philippe Aractingi—France/Lebanon/UK/Belgium—2007—98m—35mm—drama

In Arabic with English subtitles

There is a fine line between fiction and documentary, and Lebanese filmmaker Philippe Aractingi walks this line stunningly in his new film, Under the Bombs. Aractingi takes us to Lebanon, to the Israeli-Hezbollah war of summer 2006, and combines real footage of the massive destruction with a moving narrative story. The Israelis have just bombed the south. Into the chaos comes Zeina, a Shiite woman in her thirties, searching for her sister and her six-year-old son, both of whom are reported missing. Zeina pays Tony, a Christian taxi driver, who is the only driver willing to take her to the south. At first they keep their distance, but during the search they grow closer. Aractingi captures remarkable and unscripted scenes, as Zeina and Tony encounter victims of the war and sights of bombed-out buildings, witness a Hezbollah rally, and see peacekeeping forces and international journalists arrive. The only side that Aractingi takes is the side of the civilian victims. Under the Bombs asks us to join Zeina and Tony’s journey and keep our eyes open throughout.

Tues June 17: 9; Thurs June 19: 6:30*
*Sign language interpretation will be provided for the introduction



» See HRW’s work on Counterterrorism


USA vs. Al-Arian (New York premiere)

Line Halvorsen—Norway—2007—98m—35mm—doc

In Arabic with English subtitles

A passionate, outspoken pro-Palestinian activist, university professor Sami Al-Arian was charged in 2003 with funding and supporting a Palestinian terrorist group and held in prison awaiting a trial for two-and-a-half years. USA vs Al-Arian is an intimate family portrait that documents the strain brought on by Al-Arian’s trial, a battle waged both in court and in the media. A tight-knit family unravels before our eyes as trial preparations, strategy, and spin consume their lives. This is a nightmare come to life, as a man is prosecuted for his beliefs rather than his actions. Director Line Halvorsen presents democracy in a new light—in a post-9/11 culture of fear, “security measures” trump free speech, and punishment is meted out in the name of protection.

Presented in association with the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union

Tues June 24: 6:15; Weds June 25: 3:30; Thurs June 26: 9


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Youth Producing Change (World premiere)

Founding Presenter: Adobe Youth Voices 

Run time: 80m

A program of short films directed and produced by youth from across the globe. Armed with digital cameras, computers and their own boundless creativity – these young people bravely expose human rights issues faced by themselves and their communities. It’s time that we listen to what they have to say.

Fri June 20: 6:30; Sat June 21: 1:30


The Countdown

Rene Dongo, Fast Forward Program at The Institute of Contemporary Art—US—2007—6m—doc

In English

A plane left spoken word artist Sofia Snow’s hometown on September 11th, never reaching its destination. Sofia shares her hope that society can work to fill the empty space left by the tragedy.


Women Empowerment

Lithiko Mthobeli, in collaboration with Siphokazi, Athi, Ongezwa and Daza, Bridges to Understanding – South Africa—2007— 5m—doc

In English

Reflecting on the harsh reality mothers face in raising children alone in their township, these young South African filmmakers celebrate their mothers' resilience to overcome the obstacles that lay before them.


I Want My Parents Back

Aaron Dominguez, Euniz Gonzalez, Argenis Herrera, Garrett Hayes, Khirye Rice, Melly Jenny, Nathan Villalobos, Omar Flores and Cody Marshall of Media Arts Center San Diego – US/Mexico—2007— 11m—doc

In English and Spanish

The impact of U.S. immigration policies hit home when the undocumented parents of the Munoz family are deported without warning to Mexico, leaving their 3 young American-born children behind.


Islands of the People

Amber Good, Raven Hausman-Hayward, Justin Klevgaard and Jesse Williams of Atira Women’s Resource Society, in partnership with the Old Massett Youth Program – Haida Gwaii, Canada —2007—6m—doc

In English and Haida

Amber Good is a 13 year old Haida girl with a very important role to play. Facing the dark history of colonization and forced assimilation that nearly wiped out her culture, Amber makes a commitment to learn the Haida language from her grandmother Nonnie Mary Swanson, one of the last living people who can speak, read and write in Haida.


The True Cost of Coal

Brittany Hunsaker, Autumn Nikki King and Willa Johnson of Appalachian Media Institute, Appalshop, Inc. —US —2007 —14m —doc

In English

Coal mining is a way of life and death in Eastern Kentucky. Despite over 100 years of mining, the communities that provide this work force remain some of the most poverty-stricken and contaminated areas in the United States. As energy prices soar and the government and coal companies unite to increase coal extraction, mountain communities rally to protect their rights.


The Hidden Cost of Cashmere

Zane Scheuerlein, Member of Open Youth Networks – US—2007—3m—doc

In English

THE HIDDEN COST OF CASHMERE cleverly links America's appetite for cheap consumer goods with desertification and the growing environmental crisis.


A Maid Is Not A Slave (Mbindaan Du Jaam)

Mariama Maréna, Seynabou Ciss, Dioundiouba Diagne, Marietou Ndoye Seck, Salimata Sow, Aissatou Gueye Seye, Aminata Dčme, Dieynaba Koné of Mariama Ba Girls Boarding School – Senegal, West Africa—2007—5m—drama

In French with English Subtitles

Kiné, a young Senegalese girl is sent to the city to work as a maid in order to support her family back home. When her employers begin to abuse her - who is there to protect her?


Slave Label

Philosophy students from Queen Elizabeth School in partnership with Whitewood & Fleming– U.K.—2007— 18m—doc

In English

How much do your new jeans cost? Who made them and how much did they get paid? Two teenage girls embark on an eye-opening journey as they discover the dark truth behind the clothing industry and take a stand for change.


Playing with the Other Tigers

Zachary Lennon-Simon of Reel Works Teen Filmmaking—US—2007—10m—doc

In English

The story of two childhood best friends, Amir who is Muslim and Zach who is half-Jewish. When Amir is harassed after 9/11, their friendship takes on added significance.

Adobe Youth Voices 

Adobe Youth Voices is the Adobe Foundation's global philanthropic initiative that empowers youth from underserved communities worldwide to comment on their world using multimedia and digital tools to communicate and share their ideas, demonstrate their potential, and take action in their communities. By harnessing the energy and insight of youth and enabling them to express themselves, their opinions, and aspirations, Adobe Youth Voices aims to inspire a dialogue for change in their communities. In and out of the classroom, Adobe Youth Voices utilizes the power of technology as part of the learning experience for middle-and high-school aged youth to enable them to think creatively, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively--critical 21st century skills. For more information, visit


» See HRW’s work on human rights in China & the 2008 Olympics


Olympian Human Rights Challenges

Photos by Kadir van Lohuizen
Photo Exhibit June 13-26, 2008
at the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at the Walter Reade Theater

For three decades, Human Rights Watch has relentlessly defended the human rights of the most vulnerable people across the world. We use our expertise in unbiased research and reporting to expose human rights violations in order to effect deep-rooted changes in practices and policies. We seek justice for past abuses, we work to make a difference here and now by uncovering violations as they unfold, and we set standards that impact the future of the human rights climate and change people's lives.

Human Rights Watch works in over 75 countries around the world. We conduct on-site investigations, speak with victims and witnesses, examine and gather evidence, work with colleague organizations and vast networks of local activists and journalists, in order to assemble a wide-ranging, accurate and objective picture of a human rights situation. We release our findings in reports and press releases, photo essays and video documentaries, and distribute them to key policymakers, the media, the international community, and the public to press for change. Through these methods, we have been able to report on countries with the most repressive regimes, the worst human rights records, and the most hidden abuses.

With the world's attention increasingly focused on the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Human Rights Watch has challenged the Chinese government to take this moment in the international spotlight to make a dramatic shift from repression and human rights abuse to a just and responsible international leader. To increase the pressure on the Chinese government, Human Rights Watch has documented and exposed ongoing abuse of domestic and foreign correspondents, migrant workers, and individuals evicted from their homes to make space for Olympic venues. The 2008 Olympic slogan "One World, One Dream" might apply to the athletes and thousands of visitors participating In the games, but Human Rights Watch's work demonstrates that this theme is hollow for countless Chinese. For more on Human Rights Watch's work on China and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, please visit

We partnered with Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen to help us expose the abuses and show the world facets of Beijing that Olympic organizers would prefer to conceal.

Kadir van Lohuizen is a founding member of Noor Images ( who has documented human rights abuses in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and most recently received a fellowship to capture the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the United States. He has won numerous awards for his photographs, which have been featured in solo exhibits and published worldwide. He has published several books including Diamond Matters and Rivers.

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