Image for HRW Film Festival, Nairobi 2019’s Opening Night Film Everything Must Fall by Rehad Desai © Daylin Paul

(Nairobi) – The seventh edition of the Human Rights Watch Nairobi Film Festival will showcase five films at various locations in the city between October 15 and 18, 2019. Each film will be followed by a panel discussion about human rights activism.

The festival’s films document struggles faced by activists in the region and elsewhere on the continent, who are pushing back against abuses by states and corporations, often at a personal cost. The festival aims to generate discussions around movement-building and government’s responsibility to protect human rights defenders.

This year’s festival is co-presented with DOCUBOX, and also partners with Rift Valley Institute and Filmaid.

“As we continue to document the harassment of activists by governments across Africa, this year’s Nairobi festival spotlights the personal hardships that many activists endure as they lead the fight for a just society,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The festival includes both documentaries and fiction films that address key issues relevant to activists everywhere, ranging from police brutality against protesters and the effects of poor labor protections, to forced evictions.”

On the opening night, Rehad Desai’s Everything Must Fall showcases how poor black South Africans challenged their exclusion from higher education. This film is open captioned, accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

On October 16, the focus will be on the struggles of East African migrant domestic workers in the Middle East depicted in Søren Klovborg’s Maid in Hell.

Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas, a documentary by Joakim Demmer screening on October 17, follows activists protesting government-supported forced evictions of local landowners in Ethiopia.

Two short films, The Plight and Struggle for Family, screening on October 18, shed light on the struggle of refugee families from South Sudan to overcome the loss of loved ones and to integrate into new societies that are not always welcoming.

All films are fully subtitled in English. Panel discussions with government officials, human rights defenders, trade union experts, student leaders, and Human Rights Watch’s researchers will follow each screening.

Tickets can be reserved on Eventbrite, and entry is free. Screenings will be at the Alliance Francaise on October 15 and 16. On October 17, the screening will be at the Rift Valley Institute. The screening on October 18 will be at Anno’s One Fine Day.