According to an official press release issued by the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, 16 documentary and fiction films from 12 countries will be screened at this year's event, including 14 New York premieres. Organised by Human Rights Watch and the Lincoln Centre Film Society, the festival will be held at the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theatre.
Most of the screenings will be followed by question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers, along with panel discussions with experts.
This year's festival will revolve around five themes: health, development, and the environment; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and migrants’ rights; personal testimony and witnessing; reporting in crises; and women’s rights.
"For over 20 years, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival has provided a forum for the creative community to share stories that bear witness to the human condition," Rose Kuo, Lincoln Centre Film Society executive director, declared. "We are proud to support their mission of bringing important issues to the screen."
The festival will launch on 14 June with a fundraiser for Human Rights Watch, featuring Kim Nguyen’s 'War Witch,' an emotionally-charged drama about a 14-year-old girl abducted by a rebel army in sub-Saharan Africa.
The main programme will begin on 15 June.
Some of the films screened at the festival will draw on experiences from the Arab world.
In 'Words of Witness,' Egyptian-American director Mai Iskander focuses on young Cairo-based internet reporter Heba Afify, as the latter takes to the streets to report on an Egypt in turmoil.
Three films will address women's rights issues, from the Middle East to the US.
Arab-American filmmaker Susan Youssef’s 'Habibi,' the first fiction feature set in Gaza in over 15 years, challenges the stereotype of oppressed Arab woman in a love story between two Palestinian students torn apart by Israeli apartheid and Palestinian social conventions.