Film has always had the power to show us other ways of life, to expose social problems and even to change the world. This month, a York film festival offers the chance to watch some of the best documentaries about some of the worst injustices in the world today.
Founded in 2013, the York Human Rights Film Festival aims to raise awareness of human rights issues around the world in York through film. This year’s festival, which runs from March 23rd to 29th, was organised by six Human Rights MA students at the University of York with the backing of the university’s Centre for Applied Human Rights and the York Human Rights City Network. It has the theme of ‘Protest’, and the varied programme of films show the global scope of protest and the different meanings that word can have.
The festival’s most high-profile offering is Oscar nominee The Square, which immerses the viewer into the famous democracy protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. 7 Lives also looks at the impact of the Arab Spring – in particular, the problem of nostalgia in Tunisia for the dictator Ben Ali’s regime.
Elsewhere, Dangerous Acts considers the power of art as a form of protest by following Free Theater’s resistance movement in the totalitarian state of Belarus, while BANANAS!* sheds light on the global politics of food through the case of twelve Nicaraguan banana growers who sued their employers for using a banned pesticide which causes sterility.
The screenings will be accompanied by talks from human rights activists from the countries affected, as well as University of York lecturer Carrie Bradshaw. The Square and 7 Lives screenings are both free – in the case of The Square, there’s even free vegan food thanks to Food Not Bombs. Why not give one of the screenings a go and find out some more about the fight against injustice?