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Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
19-27 March 2009
The Ritzy, ICA, Clapham Picturehouse, Curzon Renoir

“A film festival that wagers hope against injustice, imagination against apathy.” –
Ariel Dorfman

(London – 16 February 2009). From 19—27 March, Human Rights Watch International
Film Festival (HRWIFF) returns to four cinemas across London with a programme that
includes 16 features and nine shorts from 21 countries, one World premiere, one
European premiere, 10 UK premieres, and two London premieres. Thirteen of the 16
features focus on the following places: Afghanistan; Burma; Ecuador; Gujurat, India;
Kashmir; Lebanon; Liberia; the Palestinian territories; Russia; Rwanda; South Africa;
and Sudan. Many screenings are followed by lively debate and discussion between
filmmakers, audiences and human rights experts.

Five titles in this year’s HRWIFF focus on Rwanda, South Africa, Liberia, Uganda,
Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan including the World Premiere of Anne
Aghion’s film My Neighbor, My Killer.


MY NEIGHBOR, MY KILLER (World premiere) directed by Anne Aghion

Saturday, 21 March 21.30, Ritzy filmmaker present
Sunday, 22 March 17.00, Ritzy filmmaker present
Thursday, 26 March 18.30, ICA
Could you ever forgive the people who slaughtered your family?

In 1994 Rwanda’s Hutu populace was incited to wipe out the country’s Tutsi minority.
From the crowded capital to the smallest village, local “patrols” massacred lifelong
friends and family members, most often with machetes and improvised weapons. In 1999
the government began Gacaca (ga-CHA-cha)—open-air hearings with citizen-judges
meant to try their neighbours and rebuild the nation. As part of this experiment in
reconciliation, tens of thousands of confessed genocide killers are sent home from prison,
while traumatised survivors are asked to forgive them and resume living side-by-side.
Filming for close to a decade in a tiny rural hamlet, award-winning filmmaker Anne
Aghion has charted the impact of Gacaca on survivors and perpetrators alike. Through
their fear and anger, accusations and defences, blurry truths, inconsolable sadness and
hope for life renewed, she captures the emotional journey to co-existence.

In French and Kinyarwanda with English subtitles

South Africa:

TAPOLOGO (UK premiere) directed by Gabriela Gutierrez Dewar and Sally Gutierrez
Saturday, 21 March 16.00, Ritzy filmmakers present
Sunday, 22 March 16.00, ICA filmmakers present

A moving story of women in South Africa who have turned their tragedy into a tool.

The impact of South Africa’s unprecedented mining boom on the labour camps that
support the industry is told through the brutal realities facing women in these
communities. Freedom Park squatter camp, situated in the Northwest province,
accommodates a migrant workforce that mines the world’s largest single source of
platinum. The women in this community service the needs of the male miners as a means
of basic survival. A group of HIV-infected former sex-workers have created a network
called Tapologo and have learnt to be home-based care-workers, transforming
degradation into solidarity and squalor into hope. As we learn each woman’s story, we
come to understand how she herself was transformed—from someone who had lost hope
into someone who decided to help others in the same situation. An inspiring and
emotional tale, TAPOLOGO shows how one’s own experience is often the best source of
help for others.

South Africa/Spain—2008— 88m—doc
In English and Tswana with English subtitles

PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL (UK premiere) by director Gini Reticker

Friday, 20 March 18.30, Renoir filmmaker present
Saturday, 21 March 15.30, ICA filmmaker present
Monday, 23 March 18.30, Ritzy

A story of the power of women’s solidarity in Liberia in the face of almost impossible

With skilful eloquence, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL tells the remarkable story
of how thousands of women in Liberia helped peacefully end the country’s second
bloody civil war. Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian woman who witnessed both civil wars, had
a dream: “To get the women of the church together to pray for peace.” She invited
ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters from neighbouring churches to start
the Christian Women’s Peace Initiative. They dressed in pure white and sat by the
thousands to protest the war. When peace talks in Ghana came to a standstill, the women
literally formed a barricade around the building and didn’t allow the men to exit until a
deal was bartered. The women of Liberia are proof that non-violent and peaceful protest
isn’t just a fantasy—it can be a triumphant reality. PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL
is a commanding, inspiring, and emotionally stirring documentary about the futility of
war and the splendour of peace.

*Academy Award Nominee, Best Feature Documentary. Winner Best Documentary,
Tribeca Film Festival

In English and Liberian English [Pidgin] with English subtitles

Uganda / Democratic Republic of Congo:

COURT (London premiere) directed by Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy and Paco de Onis

Tuesday, 24 March 18.30, ICA filmmakers present
Wednesday, 25 March 18.30, Ritzy filmmakers present

An insightful documentary that follows two riveting dramas—the prosecution of
unspeakable crimes and the International Criminal Court’s fight for justice.

The International Criminal Court represents the most ambitious attempt ever to apply the
rule of law on a global scale and to protect the most basic human rights. Launched in
2002, it is the first permanent international court set up to prosecute individuals for
crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Pamela Yates’s THE RECKONING:
prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for three years across four continents as he and his
team tirelessly issue arrest warrants for Lord’s Resistance Army leaders in Uganda,
prepare to put Congolese warlords on trial, challenge the UN Security Council to help
indict Sudan’s president for the Darfur massacres, and shake up the Colombian justice
system. Moreno-Ocampo has a mandate but no police force. At every turn he must put
pressure on the international community to muster political clout for the cause. As this
tiny court in The Hague struggles to change the world and forge a new paradigm for
justice, victims suffer and wait. Will the court succeed and will the world ensure that
justice prevails?

*Official selection, Sundance Film Festival 2009

In English and Acholi, French, Spanish and Swahili with English subtitles


BACK HOME TOMORROW (UK premiere) directed by Paolo Santolini and Fabrizio

Wednesday, 25 March 18.30, ICA filmmakers present
Thursday, 26 March 19.00, Ritzy filmmakers present

A cinematically stunning examination of two lives affected by conflict that illustrates
how hope prevails in even the most desperate of settings.

The Italian aid organisation Emergency offers medical help to civilian casualties in war
zones, of whom about one-third are children. In BACK HOME TOMORROW, directors
Fabrizio Lazzaretti and Paolo Santolini use the moving stories of two of these children to
show the work Emergency does. Yagoub, who fled with his family from Darfur and now
lives in the Mayo Refugee Camp in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, looks jealously at the
other kids playing football. He has to undergo a serious heart operation, but neither his
family nor his fellow tribesmen can come up with the money to pay for it. Then there’s
Murtaza. He’s recuperating in hospital in Kabul after losing his left hand to a landmine.
Murtaza also has to find his way among his fellow patients, who fervently compete with
each other in wheelchair races and kite-flying contests. The directors deliver these two
fascinating and
heartfelt stories without commentary and combine them in a way that is both compelling
and poignant.

In Dari, Nuba and Arabic with English subtitles
For further press information / DVD screeners / images / filmmaker interviews
please contact: Sarah Harvey, Publicity: 020 7703 2253 /

Box Office information:

Ritzy Cinema: 0871 704 2065 /
ICA: 0207 930 3647 /
Clapham Picture House: 0871 704 2055 /
Curzon Renoir: 0871 704 2055 /

For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has spoken out against systemic abuse and
oppression, demanding justice for tyrannized people around the world. By focusing
international attention wherever rights are violated, we give a powerful voice to the
oppressed. By applying pressure and holding humanity’s most heinous abusers
accountable for their crimes—no matter who or where they are—we help make justice
possible where there was none before. Around the world, our staff and supporters share a
deep sense of responsibility to bear witness and take action.

From many of the world’s most desperate places to the highest levels of government, we
work tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted changes. By
doing so, we help bring greater dignity and safety to the world and make a genuine
impact on people’s lives. Twenty years ago, we created the Human Rights Watch
International Film Festival to educate and galvanise a broad cross-section of concerned
supporters through the power of film. Since that time, Human Rights Watch’s
International Film Festival has become a leading venue for distinguished fiction,
documentary, and animated films, and videos with a distinctive human rights theme.
Through the eyes of committed and courageous filmmakers, we showcase the heroic
stories of activists and survivors worldwide. We seek to empower our viewers with the
knowledge that personal commitment can make a very real difference.

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