Sundance Institute Salutes Human Rights Day 2012

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) salutes filmmakers working to shed light on the human rights of all people – including women, youth, minorities, person with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized.

Celebrating 10 Years at the Sundance Institute, the DFP originated at the Open Society Foundations, as a global Film Fund focused on human rights stories. We strive to champion the struggles and triumphs of filmmakers across the globe encouraging the diverse exchange of ideas that is crucial for fostering an open society and public dialogue about contemporary issues.

Shining the spotlight on the intersection of Human Rights and documentary film, we celebrate Human Rights Day and reflect on the importance of ensuring that “My Voice Counts”. We celebrate the filmmakers who continue to highlight stories around the globe addressing these human rights – the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government (articles 19,20, and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

The last year has been marked with transitions around the world, whether it was the Occupy Movement in the US, Arab Spring throughout the Middle East and North Africa or a personal struggle for retribution, ordinary citizens appeared front and center on the world stage, demanding their voices be heard. Many of the DFPs recently completed projects which intimately deal with these human rights themes are premiering at documentary and international film festivals around the globe, including the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. We invite you to seek out the films listed below as they embark on their world premieres.

99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film
Directed by Audrey Ewell, Aaron Aites, Lucian Read and Nina Kristic.
The Occupy movement erupted in September 2011, propelling economic inequality into the spotlight. In an unprecedented collaboration, filmmakers across America tell its story, digging into big picture issues as organizers, analysts, participants and critics reveal how it happened and why.
(Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival 2013)

Citizen Koch
Directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin.
Focuses on Wisconsin, the birthplace of the Republican Party, now ground zero in the battle for the party's future.
(Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival 2013)

Dirty Wars
Directed by Richard Rowley.
Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill chases down the truth behind America’s covert wars.
(Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival 2013)

The Square
Directed by Jehane Noujaim.
What does it mean to risk your life for your ideals? How far will five revolutionaries go in defending their beliefs in the fight for their nation?
(Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival 2013)

Red Wedding (Noces Rouges)
Directed by Guillaume Suon, Lida Chan
Noces Rouges tells the story of a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime, who pits her humanity against an ideology and a system designed to annihilate people like her.
(Premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) 2012)

As we celebrate new voices that touch on the theme of “My Voice Counts,” here at the DFP, we are reminded of the more than 425 filmmakers living and working in 61 countries whom we have supported over the past 10 years. We invite you to explore the below listed films, that are available for home viewing, and host your own DFP Human Rights showcase for family and friends. Join the conversation and make your voice count.

Dear Mandela
Directed By: Dara Kell AND Christopher Nizza
When their shantytowns are threatened with mass eviction, three ‘young lions’ of South Africa’s new generation rise from the shacks and take their government to the highest court in the land, putting the promises of democracy to the test.

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator
Directed By: Pamela Yates, Paco de Onis and Peter Kinoy Granito is a story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s past, and how a documentary film intertwined with a nation’s turbulent history emerges as an active player in the present.

Last Train Home
Directed By: Lixin Fan
Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year’s holiday. This mass exodus is the world’s largest human migration—an epic spectacle that reveals a country tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future.

My Perestroika
Directed By: Robin Hessman
My Perestroika follows five ordinary Russians living in extraordinary times — from their sheltered Soviet childhood, to the collapse of the Soviet Union during their teenage years, to the constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia. Together, these childhood classmates paint a complex picture of the dreams and disillusionment of those raised behind the Iron Curtain.

Nostalgia for the Light
Directed By: Patricio Guzman
Is collective memory important - or does ignoring the past leave us unable to construct a new society?

The Law in these Parts
Directed By: Raanan Alexandrowicz
Can a modern democracy impose a prolonged military occupation on another people while retaining its core democratic values? The Law in These Parts (TLITP) is a feature-length documentary film that for the first time ever tells the story of the Israeli military legal system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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