Movies that Matter 2018 – Creating Rights’ selection

By Manon Beury

Every year at the end of March, the festival Movies that Matter comes to The Hague, The Netherlands, and reminds us that camera is a powerful weapon against social indifference. During this year’s edition, more than 70 movies about human rights will be screened between March 23 and March 31, 2018. As the explicit goal of the festival is to stir debate and promote human rights education, the festival offers also a forum for discussions, debates and diverse occasions to meet with human rights defenders, filmmakers, experts, politicians, journalists and representatives of the civil society.

Camera Justitia

Camera Justitia is a programme of Movies that Matter specifically focusing on the worldwide fight for justice. Sofia Stolk, coordinator of the programme for the second consecutive year, described it for Creating Rights in this post last year. In 2018, four documentaries and four fictions will reflect on legal dilemmas, truth-finding, international law and the fight against impunity.

As part of the Camera Justitia programme, a Masterclass will be delivered by Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The ICMP has been active in some 40 countries. It provides technical assistance to governments in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons and supports institutional capacity building, public involvement and addressing the needs of justice. Kathryne Bomberger has led the development of the organisation since 1998. She will talk about the work of the ICMP using excerpts from the films Truth Detectives and Armed to the Teeth, both nominated for the Camera Justitia Award.

The full documentary Truth Detectives will be screened at 13:30 on Thursday 29th March, before the Masterclass taking place at 16:00 in Theater an het Spui, The Hague. Built on reports from Ukraine, Colombia, Israel, Syria and Mali, the film explores how the latest technologies are combined with the findings of citizen journalists and investigators, to combat impunity and injustice. Tickets are available at the festival’s box office. The Masterclass is organised by Movies that Matter in cooperation with the T.M.C. Asser Institute. It will take place on Thursday 29th March at 16:00 in Theater an het Spui, The Hague. The event is free of charge.

Creating Rights’ selection

Our team has selected six movies related to human rights and justice in their relationship with art.

  • The Congo Tribunal, Milo Rau (Documentary): Swiss theatre director Milo Rau stages a fictitious court to search for truth and justice in the deadly conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Involving actual protagonists, it becomes clear that the country is trapped in a complex web of exploitation, corruption and violence that is very hard to escape.
  • Naila and the Uprising, Julia Bacha (Animation): The story of the first Palestinian intifada, and the key role women played in it. Central to the story is activist and feminist Naila Ayesh, who was imprisoned twice for her resistance to the Israeli rule of the occupied Palestinian territories. The women’s struggle to be free from occupation paralleled their fight against male domination.
  • The Poetess, Stefanie Brockhaus/Andreas Wolff (Documentary): Hissa Hilal, a 43-year-old woman from Saudi Arabia, achieved international fame when she was one of the few women to compete in a televised talent search for Arabic poets. Her poetry is controversial: she criticizes extremist fatwas and is an advocate of women’s rights.
  • Truth Detectives, Anja Reiss (Documentary): All over the world, people are combining the latest technologies with the findings of citizen journalists and investigators, to combat impunity and injustice. They have one goal above all: denying perpetrators the chance to deny. Fascinating reports from Ukraine, Colombia, Israel, Syria and Mali.
  • Delicate Balance, Guillermo García López (Documentary): Three stories from different continents about the present and future of mankind, including an interview with the former president of Uruguay, José Mujica, as a common thread. His ideas about modern society, in which economic interests prevail over human values, are the unifying factor.
  • Tehran Taboo, Ali Soozandeh (Animation): Animated film in which the lives of three women and a young man intersect in the schizophrenic society of Teheran, the capital city of Iran. Everything prohibited and taboo – sex, drugs, adultery and corruption – lurks behind the illusory façade of the strict Islamic country.


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