Another year marked the annual tradition launched by the Embassy of Netherlands in Albania for holding the event Movies That Matter, corresponding to human rights issues. This year was the tenth anniversary of the event, which symbolically started on Dec. 10, the Human Rights Day.This event in Tirana is a derivative from the annual Movies That Matter event about human rights which takes place in the Netherlands.
Five different movies were screened by different civil society organizations and educational institutions in Tirana and Fier. The films are human rights issues, peace and freedom followed by a discussion panel.
The mission of Movies that Matter is to open people’s eyes to human rights through film. Moving images can create insight into human rights with their emotional and immediate impact, and encourage dialogue about it.
The festival consists of two main programs, one is the Activist (previously as A Matter of ACT), on human rights defenders, in partnership with Amnesty International, and the other is Camera Justitia, made possible by the vfonds foundation, which focuses on the importance of the rule of law, the ongoing fight against impunity, and related topics.
The film screenings in Albania were from Dec. 10 until 17, and started and ended with the film The Poetess. The screened films are described as below:
The Poetess is a film documentary about Hissa Hilal, a 43 –year-old woman from Saudi Arabia, who achieved international fame after being the only female in a televised talent competition for Arabic poets. Her poetry is controversial: she criticizes extremist fatwas and is an advocate of women’s rights. Based on talks with Hissa and TV clips from the show, the documentary paints a picture of Saudi society; how public life changed drastically for women over the years due to increasing strictness and increasingly extreme religious rules and regulations.
Jaha’s Promise is a documentary about the life and activism of Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian anti-female genital mutilation campaigner who returns to her country of birth to confront the harmful tradition that she and 200 million women and girls have undergone globally. This practice has mostly occurred in war prevailing countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia.
Mr. Gay Syria follows two gay Syrian refugees who are trying to rebuild their lives. Husein is a barber in Istanbul, living a double life between his conservative family and his gay identity. Mahmoud is the founder of Syria’s LGBTI movement and is a refugee in Berlin. The dream to participate in an international beauty contest as an escape from their trapped lives and an answer to their invisibility is what brings these two men together.
Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower is about teenager Joshua Wong who decides to save his city when the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China’s most notorious dissidents.
Truth Detectives, an interesting documentary about human rights activists, journalists and lawyers globally who collect evidence of human rights violations with the help of victims. Using mobile devices to film and photograph their experiences, they become digital witnesses. Amateur videos of bombs exploding, people being abused or even shot dead are distributed almost in real time via social media. Digital investigators use various forensic methods, from internet tracking to DNA analysis, to analyse and verify this deluge of images, supporting them with other evidence and scientific expertise. These criminological investigations have only one purpose: to bring to justice those who violate human rights.