Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2020

For more than 40 years, Human Rights Watch has defended people at risk of abuse by investigating abuses scrupulously, exposing the facts widely, and relentlessly pressing those in power for change that respects rights. Our researchers examine situations in some 90 countries around the world functioning as investigators, journalists, and advocates.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2020 screenings at Curzon Soho

Far From The Tree | Human Rights Watch Film Festival at Curzon Soho

Far From the Tree

93mins | 12a

Followed by Q&A event, featuring:

  • Andrew Solomon, film participant
  • Shantha Rau Barriga, Disability Rights Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Moderated by Graeme Reid, Director, LGBT Rights Program, Human Rights Watch

This life-affirming documentary follows the lives of Jack, Jason, Loini, and Trevor, who don't fit society's narrow definition of “normal.”

We meet them and their families and discuss how expectations placed on children, parents, and families have such power to turn “unconditional love” on its head by ways of extraordinary challenges.

Fascinated with this idea, writer and film subject Andrew Solomon’s work on this issue stems from his own traumatic experience coming out as gay to his parents.

Rejected and cast aside, he tried everything to regain his parents’ love and be “normal,” including conversion therapy. In a quest for understanding, this film encourages us to let go of our preconceptions – for example, about people with autism or dwarfism – and celebrate our loved ones for all that makes them uniquely themselves.

Friday 13 March 6.30pm | Curzon Soho.

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Leftover Women | Human Rights Watch Film Festival at Curzon Soho

Leftover Women

85mins | 12a

Followed by Q&A with filmmakers Shosh Shlam.

In China, unmarried women over the age of 27 are deemed "sheng nu" or "leftover". As an effect of the now-defunct one-child policy there are 30 million more men than women, leaving single women under immense social pressures to marry, and fast, or be rejected from society.

Public dating contests, "marriage markets" where city sidewalks are lined with parents advertising their children's attributes, and government-sponsored matchmaking festivals are just some of the humiliating ordeals that unwed women face.

This eye-opening documentary follows three women in their gruelling quest to find a husband, weighing the cost of family and society’s approval against their own chances of happiness.

Saturday 14 March 4.00pm | Curzon Soho

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Radio Silence | Human Rights Watch Film Festival at Curzon Soho

Radio Silence

77mins | 12a

Followed by Q&A with filmmaker Juliana Fanjul.

To millions of people in Mexico, the incorruptible journalist and news anchor Carmen Aristegui is regarded as the trusted alternative voice to official government spin, fighting daily against deliberate disinformation spread through news sources, government corruption, and the related drugs trade.

When she is fired by a radio station in 2015 after revealing a scandal involving then-President Enrique Peña Nieto, Carmen - with her dedicated journalist colleagues - decides to build a separate news platform. Facing threats of violence in the wake of a prominent journalist's vicious murder, they must overcome fear for their personal well-being to continue in a shared fight for democracy and justice.

Saturday 14 March 6.40pm | Curzon Soho.

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I Am Not Alone | Human Rights Watch Film Festival at Curzon Soho

I Am Not Alone

93mins | 12a

Followed by Q&A with filmmaker Garin Hovannisian.

On Easter Sunday 2018, Nikol Pashinyan put on his backpack and started on a 120 mile walk across Armenia to protest President Serzh Sargsyan's attempt to stay in power for a third term. Nikol's solitary act of peaceful protest would mark the start of a 25-day revolution that inspired thousands of protesters across the country to peacefully join together with one clear demand: Serzh Sargsyan must go.

With remarkable access to key players reaching the highest levels of government and with footage recorded by phone wielding protesters, I Am Not Alone captures the energy and hopefulness of grassroots protest and direct action. This emboldening "velvet revolution" started with one man who, standing firm in his belief that he was not alone, convinced a nation that it deserved more.

Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival, 2019
Winner, Audience Award, DOCNYC, 2019

Sunday 15 March 3.45pm | Curzon Soho.

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Born in Evin

98mins | 12a

Followed by Q&A with filmmaker Maryam Zaree.

When she was 12 years old, actress and filmmaker Maryam Zaree found out that she was one of a number of babies born inside Evin, Iran's most notorious political prison.

Maryam's parents were imprisoned shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, a period in which tens of thousands of political dissidents were arrested and tortured.

With Born in Evin, Maryam confronts decades of silence in her family, seeking to understand the impact of trauma on the bodies and souls of survivors and their children.

Her vulnerable, lyrical journey leads her to question how her generation can relate to their own history while also respecting the people they love who prefer to heal in silence.

Winner Best Film, Perspektive Deutsches Kino Programme, Berlinale 2019

Sunday 15 March 6.30pm | Curzon Soho.

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