Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2013 Returns to NYC With An Impressive Slate of Provocative Films From Around the Globe

Featured Critic; New York City, New York
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The Human Rights Watch Film Festival, now in its 24th edition, returns to New York from June 13 through 23 with 20 films, 18 documentaries and 2 fiction films, with screenings at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the IFC Center. Many of the films will be followed by Q&A's with filmmakers, as well as panel discussions with experts and film subjects. As usual, the festival features an impressively diverse selection of films from all over the globe that explores their subjects with compelling approaches to storytelling and visualization of their themes. 

This year's festival includes a number of documentaries that have garnered great acclaim on the fest circuit, some of which have been covered here at ScreenAnarchy. One of these is Joshua Oppenheimer's astonishing and deeply disturbing The Act of Killing (see Jason Gorber's TIFF review), which interviews perpetrators of genocide in Indonesia who unapologetically boast of their crimes and dramatically recreate them for the camera. Another is Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin's Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (see J Hurtado's review), which follows the jailed members of the anti-Putin collective that staged a bold protest inside a hallowed cathedral in Moscow and brought the eyes of the world on Russia's often harsh crackdowns on dissent.

This year's festival centers on four main themes: traditional values and human rights, focusing on women's rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of the disabled; crises and migration; a focus on Asia; and human rights in the United States. Below are a few of this year's notable selections. For more information on these and other festival films, and to purchase tickets, visit the Human Rights Watch Film Festival's website.

ANITA (Frieda Mock)

The opening night film, Anita gets into the nuts and bolts of Anita Hill's testimony against Clarence Thomas concerning charges of sexual harassment in 1991 during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing. It goes well beyond the sensationalistic details of Long Dong Silver and pubic hair on Coke cans to explore the circumstances behind her testimony, Hill’s background, and her life before and after her time in the spotlight.

The film is very solidly on Hill's side, as is to be expected, and Hill is largely credited here with opening up a national conversation on sexual harassment in the workplace, which was not much talked about in public up to that point. Including extensive interviews with Hill herself, as well as other key figures in the case, Mock compellingly conveys the full story of what it was like for Hill to be "in the political lion's den," in the words of one interviewee.

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AnitaCamera/WomanCamp 14 Total Control ZoneFrieda MockJeremy TeicherKarima ZoubirMarc WieseTall as the Baobab Tree