Debates and films explore the major human rights issues of the moment.
As the seat of the Red Cross, the United Nations and numerous NGOs and international organisations, Geneva is an apt place for a festival on human rights. Established in 2003 and backed by filmmakers, human rights defenders, politicians and specialists in the field, the event presents debates and film screenings underlining human rights violations, with the aim of raising public awareness.
This year’s festival is a topical affair, comprising 44 films and 15 debates exploring subjects making news headlines today, including whistleblowers, cyber-surveillance, the environment, Ebola, Israel-Palestine, refugees, gay rights in Russia, Somali pirates and jihadist communication. As well as the two main venues (including the centrally-located Théâtre Pitoëff for the first time), the festival will offer various free debates and screenings in cafes, museums and community centres around Geneva. The festival will open with a tribute evening for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists murdered in Paris in January, with a screening of the Stéphanie Valloatto documentary film Caricaturistes, fantassins de la démocratie, first shown in Cannes last year, which paints the portraits of 12 cartoonists with a love for dissident drawing.
Often attracting the support of well-known names, this year the festival’s two prize juries will be graced by the presence of French footballer-turned-actor Eric Cantona, as president of the International Documentary Jury, and Canadian actress Arsinée Khanjian, who will preside over the Fiction prize jury.