Tri-Continental film fest: Human rights frame by frame

New Delhi, Jan 16 Moving images speak to us as nothing else does and a human rights organisation is using the medium to tell stories on issues that affect day-to-day lives.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | 1:29:07 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Moving images speak to us as nothing else does and a human rights organisation is using the medium to tell stories on issues that affect day-to-day lives.

Breakthrough, an international human rights organisation, brings these engaging stories by hosting the Tri-Continental Human Rights Film Festival in the capital from Jan 18.

The annual festival started in India in 2004. This year it will showcase human rights documentaries from Latin America, Africa and Asia in four centres - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will inaugurate it at the India Habitat Centre.

'Sheila Dikshit has shown a lot of interest in the festival and is seeking details about it,' Alika Khosla, associate director of Breakthrough, told IANS.

Award winning Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei's 'It's Always Late for Freedom' will open the festival. Oskouei, who is known for making documentaries with unique plots, focuses on social problems of drug addiction, poverty and divorce in the movie through three teenage boys kept in Tehran's House of Corrections.

The festival is an attempt to bring untold stories from the past, depths of memory as well as varied forms of framing them within the context of human rights. It has been generating a lot of interest among cineastes as well as rights activists across India.

'As far as the impact of the festival is concerned, I have noticed two major ones - first, people's attitudes have changed. In the first year, only 70-80 people turned out for the show, but the numbers shot up and the theatres are now packed. Secondly, the films are not boring. All the stories are engaging and keep you on the edge of your seat,' Khosla added.

Another interesting documentary titled 'Pirinop, The First Contact' captures the elders in the Ikpeng tribe in Brazil telling their story without hiding failures or claiming innocence as they re-enact their first contact with the white men for the younger generation. It is a film on displacement, violation of a civilisation, of destruction yet invoking a desire to retain age-old wisdom.

'The Mall on Top of My House' is the only animation film at the festival. It questions the economic progress and development at the cost of human resources.

A bouquet of 23 films will be showcased during the four-day festival, including 'In The Tall Grass', 'China Blue', 'From Dust', 'With or without Fidel', 'Movement (R)evolution Africa', 'Independent Intervention', 'Assaulted Dream' and 'A Jihad For Love'.

Khosla says initially they faced financial problems.

'But now we have been able to raise the funding for the festival. We will approach Delhi government for further help.'

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