Film festival puts human rights back in focus

1:00pm Monday 20th February 2012

By Fran Bardsley

FOR a decade students at Oxford Brookes University have shone a light on human rights issues across the globe.

This month the university will hold its tenth annual Human Rights Film Festival.

Over the course of five days, starting Monday, February 27, ten films will be screened at the Oxford Hub in Turl Street and at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Cowley Road.

Along with the films, there will be a number of speakers, including Brookes chancellor and human rights organisation Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti.

The festival is organised each year by students on the university’s masters course in development and emergency practice – many of whom have personal experience of living in countries where they have experienced war, poverty and deprivation.

The idea is to raise awareness about a range of human rights concerns.

Miranda Hurst, one of the student organisers, said: “I’m really excited about a week of quality films which come from all over the world and cover hugely diverse subjects. The screenings are free so we’re expecting them to pack out.”

Each of the festival’s five days will focus on a different region, Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Ms Hurst said: “We’re lucky to have such a good line-up of interesting and powerful speakers too, from organisations such as Peace Direct, the Overseas Development Institute and Liberty’s Shami Chakrabarti.”

The films include The Whistleblower, a true story of a policewoman played by Rachel Weisz who discovers sex trafficking in post-war Bosnia and You Don’t Like the Truth, an award-winning documentary about Guantanamo Bay.

Mike Wooldridge, BBC world affairs correspondent, Marcie Shaoul, head of external affairs at the Commonwealth Foundation, Amnesty International’s Chris Goodchild and Sir David Madden, former political adviser to the EU peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are also all involved.

Over the past nine festivals, speakers have included musician and campaigner Annie Lennox, Billy Bragg, and former Beirut hostage John McCarthy.

Each of the films is free and open to all but places are limited and should be reserved in advance.

* The festival launches with Kudus of Uganda at 1pm at the Oxford Hub on Monday and closes at the Ultimate Picture Palace with Halaw (Ways of the Sea) at 6.30pm on Friday. Films will be screened at 1pm each day at the hub and 6.30pm at the cinema. For a programme and to reserve seats, visit oxfordhumanrightsfestival.org

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