New Human Rights Film Festival launches in York
A new human rights film festival launches this week in York, online from Tuesday 1 to Sunday 6 February.
Yorktivist Human Rights Film Festival celebrates films and art which explore human rights. Unlike most human rights festivals in the UK, which focus on documentary films, the new festival also welcomes films featuring storylines that are a work of fiction. Films may be short or feature-length, live action, animated, hybrid, documentary or not.
“The defining characteristic for a Yorktivist film is that it explores human rights,” says a festival spokesperson. “This is a fantastic selection of films, masterclasses and discussions for film enthusiasts and anyone who supports human rights. We hope people will take time to have a look at the webpage and join in with the free online film festival.”
The 2022 line-up features six feature-length films, seven short films, each with their own dedicated discussion, two MasterClasses and four panel discussions. All Yorktivist films and events are free of charge to the audience for the duration of the festival. Access to the films can be found via links on the festival webpage.
Watch Out For:
Waiting for Anya, based on the story by Michael Morpurgo with script by York-born Toby Torlesse.
1946. Director Rocky Roggio and researcher Kathy Baldock speak with Malcolm Wren about their film, which is still in production and exposes how a mistranslation in 1946 of biblical text led to generations of bigotry against the global LGBTQIA+ community.
Purple Sea. Made with images filmed by Amel Alzakout after the boat on which she was fleeing Syria in 2015 sank near Lesbos; those fleeing await rescue. (2020, 67 mins. Producer: Alex Gerbaulet, Ines Meier. Director: Amel Alzakout, Khaled Abdulwahed.)
There Once Was An Island. Three people in the unique Pacific Island community of Takuu face the first devastating effects of climate change, including a terrifying flood. Will they decide to stay on the island or leave their culture and language behind forever? (2010. 80 mins. Producer: Lynne Collie; Director Briar March.)
Waiting for Anya. During World War II a young boy stumbles upon a dangerous secret: children are being smuggled out of Nazi-occupied France to the safety of Spain. He and his grandfather stage one last daring effort to get all of the children across the border to safety. (2020. 109 mins. Producers Phin Glynn, Alan Latham; Director: Ben Cookson. Based on the story by Michael Morpurgo, screenwriter Toby Torlesse is from York, as is producer Alan Latham.)
Children of the Light. The life story and legacy of Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu, one of the fathers of modern-day South Africa. 2014. 92 mins. Director: Dawn Gifford Engle.
Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege. During the Syrian civil war, Yarmouk, a district of Damascus, where thousands of Palestinians are refugees, was the site of fierce fighting. This filmed diary follows the fate of civilians during the brutal siege imposed by the Syrian regime in 2015 following these battles. Yarmouk-born filmmaker Abdallah Al-Khatib composes a love song to a place that resists the atrocities of war with dignity. (2021. 90 mins. Producers: Mohammad Ali Atassi, Jean-Laurent Csinidis. Director: Abdallah Al-Khatib)
Put Away. Prudence was put away – in a mental hospital, for ‘her own good’. She’s been there since 1920 and it’s now 1965. She tells her story to the wall every day while she struggles to stay sane. (2021. 11 mins. Producer & Director: A.D. Cooper.)
Flamingoes. A humane and heart-felt exploration of migration. Sergio Falchi’s directorial debut. (2016. 10 mins. Directed & Produced: Sergio Falchi.)
Rachel. From beyond death, a young woman fights to have her last wishes fulfilled against the will of her intransigent father. First debuted in Death and Maiden, this short film reflects on the complex relationships between love, death, family and religion. (Premiered at the 2017 Death and the Maiden Conference. 2016. 15 mins. Directed & Produced: Karen Anstee.)
Approval Needed. Approval Needed is a thought-provoking comedy-drama which tells the tale of a lonely traffic warden who suffers abuse at the hands of angry drivers. (2018. 11 mins. Written, Directed and Produced by Karen Anstee.)
Women’s Films: Spot the Abuse; World’s Strongest Women; Safe Spaces Now. Women’s Aid is a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services in England and build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated. These three films are in support of Women’s Aid.
The Craft of Film Making, with Tracy Bass and Patrick Hough. 3 February, 4pm. Renowned award-winning film producer Tracy Bass and Irish artist Patrick Hough present a MasterClass in the craft of filmmaking.
The Art of Continuity, with Nicoletta Mani. 4 February, 4pm. Nicoletta Mani is a script supervisor whose talents are valued by major franchises including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (where she began as an assistant), Kingsman, Mission Impossible, Now You See Me 2 and dipping in and out of Lucas Film Productions' Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Her flawless work on Sam Mendes' epic film 1917 sees her back on set for Mendes’ latest project which begins filming in February.
The Panel Discussions:
1946. Director Rocky Roggio and researcher Kathy Baldock speak with Malcolm Wren (from York-based charity ‘Time to be Out’) about their film 1946, which is still in production and exposes how a crucial mistranslation in 1946 of biblical text wrongly led to generations of religious bigotry against the global LGBTQIA+ community.
Purple Sea. 2 February, 6pm. A panel discussion with the makers of Purple Sea as well as, Emilie Flower (CAHR Associate, University of York) and Dr Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani (Associate Lecturer, History of Art, University of York).
Generation Change. 4 February, 5.30pm. This discussion reviews the film “Children of the Light” about the life of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and looks at PeaceJam UK's Generation Change programme, which seeks to make a difference for young people in a world emerging from the pandemic.
Generating Respect Project. 4 February, 7pm The Generating Respect Project (GRP), hosted at the Centre for Applied Human Rights and the York Law School, examines how religious actors influence the behaviours of state and non-state parties to armed conflicts and whether their religious interpretations generate greater respect for humanitarian norms. This panel will reflect on the fieldwork conducted by some project team members in Mali between July and August 2021.