Document Human Rights Film Festival announces 2019 programme
- Julia Kajdi
- 4 October 2019
Glasgow film festival returns with another remarkable line-up of events
Document Human Rights Film Festival is back, running from Thur 24–Sun 27 October at the CCA with premieres, short films, panel discussions, live performances, seminars and a special club night event with director and DJ Rita Maia.
Since 2003, the festival has featured over 600 films, offering a platform for national and international independent documentary filmmakers to let their voices be heard. The festival is devoted to bringing the best in recent human rights films to audiences each year. As a member of the Human Rights Films Network, the event covers various topics and themes including women, racism, human trafficking, education, mental health, disability, social care, immigration and LGBTQA+ rights – just to mention a few. In 2019 – designated as the Year of Indigenous Languages by the UN – the festival focuses on Indigenous people and their struggles as well as showcasing pieces dealing with climate change and environmental crisis, questioning the collective responsibility of documentary filmmakers.
As Sean Greenhorn from Screen Scotland summarises: 'Across four days Document Human Rights Human Film Festival provides a vital platform to shed light on underrepresented communities from across the globe, using the format of documentary to amplify their voices to audiences in Scotland.'
Opening the four-day-long festival, Jay Bernard's Surge is a delicate mixture of poetry and archive films about a 1981 New Cross fire that resulted in 13 black British people dying. The line-up also includes Ai Weiwei's The Rest, centred on a small group of refugees and their disappointment in Western liberalism and its social systems; Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss' Lovemobil, introducing the difficult lives of sex workers and their lack of rights; Camila Freitas' Chão, documenting Brazilian workers' fight for land and land reform; and the Scottish premiere of Susana de Sousa Dias' Fordlandia Malaise, which explores the abandoned factory in the Amazon that was built in 1928 as part of Henry Ford's idea to industrialise the region.
Focusing on the environment, the festival devotes an entire section of documentaries to discussing climate change and its devastating effects on our world. Alvaro and Diego Sarmiento's Mothers of the Land captures the everyday fight of a handful of female Peruvian farmers against climate breakdown in the Andes; Tamara Kovetska and Ljubo Stefanov's Honeyland focuses on – sadly – the last line of wild beekeepers from Macedonia; while Carlos Casas' Cemetery is an emotional depiction of an elephant's very last journey on Earth.
Following on the celebrated tradition of collaboration between Document and Glasgow Short Film Festival, there is a compelling selection of short films screened throughout the four days including two Scottish premieres: Shengze Zhu's Present.Perfect. and Kavich Neang's Last Night I Saw You Smiling. The festival also yet again boasts a prestigious series of panel discussions and Q&As, where audiences can meet the filmmakers. Discuss Who is Europe? and the notion of 'home' in cultural contrasts with director Ian McDonald, or explore the outrageous case of blacklisting in the UK construction industry with filmmaker Lucy Parker after watching Solidarity.
As a truly unique film experience, Document offers the first-ever UK screening of Marta Rodriguez and Jorge Silva's 1981 classic Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future in a digitally restored version. The film depicts the repression of Colombian farmers whose status, rights and working conditions have not changed much in the last 40 years. There is also a unique retrospective programme of Ana Vaz and her works with screenings and discussion events.
Stepping out from the cinema and into Glasgow's Stereo, the festival has organised a special party featuring Portuguese DJ Rita Maia who directed Lisbon Beat with Vasco Viana. The film is a dazzling portrait of Lisbon's lively Afro-Portuguese music scene, that the audience can now experience first-hand at 11pm on Sat 26. This is the only event of the festival that runs with a fixed ticket price of £8 and £5 for concession.
Moreover, at Document's annual Critical Forum, audiences have the opportunity to learn about and discuss collaborative research and creative practices and how the two meet in documentary filmmaking. The workshop will explore the social and artistic responsibilities the directors have to depict certain issues, generate conversation and whenever possible, offer solutions. The free but ticketed Superlux Seminar is led by Kate Parker of City Projects at 2pm Fri 25 November in CCA Cinema.
The festival's closing film merges two of its main focuses of the year: Nguyen Trinh Thi's Fifth Cinema speaks up about the harsh results of colonialism and asks urgent questions on indigeneity, while pointing out the limitations of cinematic representation.
Tickets for the festival's screenings and events are on sale now with prices ranging from free to £8, depending on what members of the audience can afford. A highly welcomed and respectable practice that Greenhorm finds an 'inclusive approach that enables diverse audiences the opportunity to think and discuss the fundamentally important issues raised in these films.'
Document Human Rights Film Festival, CCA, Glasgow, Thur 24–Sun 27 November, documentfilmfestival.org/.
Document Film Festival
This dedicated international human rights documentary film festival uses international film to raise the profile of human rights and social issues that are not exposed in the mainstream media. Document showcases a wide range of styles from reportage to cinematic essays, investigative journalism to left-field experiments.