The issues are all too painfully familiar, but this year’s Geneva International Film and Human Rights Festival (FIFDH), (14th edition from 4-13 March, 2016), will be placing particular focus on migration, refugees, rape and other forms of violence, coping with climate change, terrorism, Israel-Palestine, human trafficking, abuses in Saudi Arabia and Russia, the death penalty in the United States, impunity, mafia, the destruction by belligerents of cultural heritage, indigenous peoples and other key areas of global concern.
With screenings and discussions to be held throughout the Greater Geneva region, over 200 film-makers and international figures are scheduled to be taking part with 16 high-level public debates. These will help highlight issues being discussed at the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is being held at the same time at the Palais des Nations.
This year’s festival is also poignantly tragic given that its Artist-of-Honour, French-Moroccan photographer and film-maker, Leila Alaoui, was killed last 18 January in the terrorist attacks in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. This was only two weeks before she was supposed to come to Geneva to help with the organizing of the festival. The 33-year-old, who was on assignment for Amnesty International was already internationally renowned for her photography depicting social injustice, notably refugees. She was wounded during the assault of the Capucciono Café and the Splendid Hotel by gunmen and died three days later.
According to FIFDH director, Isaeblle Gattiker, it is because of such harsh realities that the Festival is opening itself up even more to pointed public debate, new locations and audiences, plus new themes and artistic forms. Stressing the need to explore the issues of today rather than the future, Gattiker said that “we need to focus on the present, through unpredictable and surprising debates, leading us from Eritrea to Mexico and from Riyadh to Paris.”
For more information on the Festival and Human Rights Forum, please see: http://www.fifdh.org/site/en/home