Program Type: 
2011 Human Rights Watch Film Festival
March 10, 2011 - March 31, 2011
Screening Room


For the last ten years, every March we’ve presented a selection of powerful films with distinctive human rights themes. Just a few of the remarkable works we've presented over the years include the Academy Award-winning Born into Brothels, War/Dance, Shakespeare Behind Bars, Mardi Gras: Made in China, and dozens more. The power of film cannot be underestimated to challenge the viewer and promote calls to action. Rather than wallow in despair, the films in this program will put a human face on threats to individual freedom and dignity, and celebrate the ability of the human spirit and intellect to prevail.

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  • Youth Producing Change
    Mar 10, 2011 7:00pm
    Screening Room

    Teen filmmakers turn the camera on their own struggles for human rights and invite audiences to experience the world as they do — as a Kenyan teenager living in Africa's second largest slum, as a 15-year-old girl in India who needs to chose between supporting her family or getting an education or as a 14-year-old Afghan seeking asylum after his father was killed by the Taliban. Youth Producing Change shares ten powerful stories made by teens from across the globe as they share their vision of change. Adobe Youth Voices, Founding Presenter. (2010, 74 min, digital)

  • Enemies Of The People
    Mar 17, 2011 6:30pm
    Screening Room

    By Rob Lemkin And Thet Sambath
    Winner of the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize, Enemies of the People follows the project of Thet Sambath, whose parents were among the approximately two million people who perished under the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s. With unprecedented access and groundbreaking confessions from the notorious 'Brother Number Two,' Nuon Chea, and from numerous grassroots killers, he uncovers terrifying personal explanations for the genocide by allowing the perpetrators to speak for themselves. (2009, 94 min, digital)

  • Last Best Chance
    Mar 24, 2011 11:30am
    7:30 pm
    Screening Room

    By Michael Camerini And Shari Robertson
    Last Best Chance brilliantly presents a political legend, Senator Edward Kennedy, in his final battle for comprehensive immigration reform in the US. Seeking legislation that he believes would best serve US interests and provide greater security and dignity to many of the 20 million people currently living in the shadows, Senator Kennedy joins forces with talented allies on the outside to marshal fellow Senators Obama, Clinton, Menendez, Kyl and McCain toward a 'Grand Bargain.' But deep at the heart of this fast-moving story, below the level of strategy and protocol, we find a moral tale of modern American politics. (2010, 100 min, digital)

  • In The Land Of The Free…
    Mar 31, 2011 6:30pm

    By Vadim Jean
    Post-screening Q&A with Robert King
    Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King—the Angola 3—have spent a combined century in solitary confinement in Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Targeted by prison officials for being members of the Black Panther Party and for fighting against terrible prison conditions, they were convicted of the murder of a prison guard, a verdict they continue to challenge and for which new evidence continues to emerge. In the Land of the Free... presents their ongoing story as dramatic events continue to unfold. Narrated by Samuel L Jackson (2009, 84 min, digital)

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Curator Statement

It’s been an honor for YBCA to present the Human Rights Watch Film Festival for the last ten years, which fits neatly into our “Encounter” Big Idea. In 'Encounter' we present work that is engaged with a social context. This Festival does this quite directly and explicitly, as much as any other program we present. Film is a unique art form, in that it’s both a popular commercial medium as well as an art form (sometimes, rarely, it can even be both). It has an uncanny power to capture the viewer’s imagination. Given the current state of the world, trivial and passive entertainment is no longer just trivial – it may actually be destructive to our future. YBCA is primarily concerned with engagement, not passive consumption. We are working very hard to make this a fundamental objective, and are making a lot of changes so this happens. I hope you will join us in engaging these profound investigations of human rights issues around the globe.

— Joel Shepard, Film/Video Curator

YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
The San Francisco Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Koret Foundation
Adobe Foundation Fund

YBCA Film/Video media sponsor:
SF Weekly