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Films to look out for at HRW film festival Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Films to look out for at HRW film festival

"Lost in Lebanon" sheds light on the fate of Syrian refugees in Lebanon [GroundTruth Productions]

Date of publication: 13 February, 2017

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Human Right Watch film festival showcases 16 award-winning international documentary feature film this year. The New Arab puts together five must-sees.
Child brides from Yemen, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, a male nurse from Iraq and an Egyptian "Jon Stewart" are among those featured in this year’s Human Rights Watch film festival line-up.

The festival began this year in Amsterdam and moved to the American state of California in February. 

It featured 16 award-winning international documentary feature films that shed light on human rights abuses around the world in artistically merited and gripping ways.

John Biaggi, the festival's creative director, said this year’s programme celebrates individuals exhibiting bravery and resilience in the face of urgent human rights abuses faced by many today.

"In an era of global advances by far-right forces into the political mainstream, it's more urgent than ever for the program to highlight individuals and groups exhibiting courageous resilience in challenging times", Biaggi said.

The festival comes to the British capital city London on March 6, before heading to the Canadian city of Toronto on March 29.

This year, five films have caught our eye:

1. Lost in Lebanon

As the war in Syria enters its sixth year, "Lost in Lebanon" sheds light on the fate of Syrian refugees who have cross over to neighbouring Lebanon.

The film follows individual Syrians who have come together to advocate for themselves in a new land.

2. Nowhere to Hide

An Iraqi male nurse Nori Sharif reflects on working and raising a family in Jalawla - an increasingly dangerous and inaccessible part of Iraq.

Sharif received a camera from film director Zaradasht Ahmed and was taught how to use it after US troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011.

In "No Where to Hide" he documents the reality of life in his community and the hospital where he worked.

3. Child Mother

Born into Jewish communities in Yemen and Morocco, where child marriage is a traditionally acceptable custom, "Child Mother" documents conversations documents conversations between mothers and their families.

The film relays some heart-wrenching and haunting stories of women who had been forced into marriage when they were young children, exposing the impact of child marriage on the community through their largely unheard voices.

4. The Settlers

The film showcases some of the extreme ideologies that have caused people – often from outside Israel - to set up homes on occupied Palestinian lands.

"The Setters" also portrays some of the Israeli government’s own controversial interactions with them. 

5. Tickling Giants

Popular television presenter Bassem Youssef is the subject of "Tickling Giants".

Dubbed "the Egyptian Jon Stewart", Youssef left his job as a heart surgeon to become a comedian during the Arab spring that swept Egypt.

Hosting "al-Bernameg" (The Show), Youssef and his courageous staff develop way to challenge the abuse of power in a country where freedom of speech has become increasingly restricted.

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