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  • Human Rights Film Festival Berlin: Our highlights


Human Rights Film Festival Berlin: Our highlights

Global injustice is under the spotlight once again as Berlin's Human Rights Film Festival returns both on and offline.

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Welcome To Chechnya (ARTE) – screening on 22/09 and 25/09 at this year’s 4th edition of HRFFB.

The Human Rights Film Festival Berlin kicks off this week (September 16-25), and once again shines a light on social injustice to raise awareness of human rights violations through documentary filmmaking.

This year’s fourth edition returns as a hybrid on-and-offline event and presents 40 documentaries on the current state of human rights around the world. It is also inviting storytellers to attend the Human Rights Forum, a transdisciplinary conference on storytelling and activism that takes place from September 20-23. It will be opened by German Minister of State Michelle Müntefering and international guests include the likes of Aya Chebbi and Wim Wenders.

The festival itself opens with Sundance winner Sabaya by Hogir Hirori. “Sabaya” is the term for sex slaves; thousands of Yazidi girls and women were forced to become sabaya when the Islamic State attacked the Iraqi city of Sinjar in 2014. It’s a heartbreaking film that screens on the 16th at BUFA (20:00), with a repeat showing at Sputnik Kino on 24/09 at 20:30.

You can’t go far wrong with HRFF’s impressive selection of documentaries. However, we can’t stress enough that you should book tickets for one-or-all-four of our standouts: Bryan Fogel’s The Dissident, the thought-provoking and powerful reconstruction of events that asks the question: Did Jamal Khashoggi have to die? (19/09 at BUFA – 20:30; 23/09 at ACUDkino – 19:00); Ousmane Zoromé Samassékou’s breathtaking The Last Shelter (19/09 at ACUDkino – 19:00; 22/09 at BUFA – 20:30); Franz Böhm’s portrait of three young frontline activists in Dear Future Children (19/09 at BUFA Open Air – 20:00); and David France’s devastatingly vital documentary Welcome To Chechnya (22/09 at ACUDkino – 21:00; 25/09 at BUFA – 18:00).

We had the pleasure of sitting down with investigative-journalist-turned-director David France at last year’s Berlinale to talk about his investigation of the struggle faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the Russian republic of Chechnya. It’s a documentary about love, an urgent call for action, and an unmissable piece of filmmaking. You can read our interview here.