The Human Rights Watch Film Festival Wraps up 2015 Program in NYC

After screening in seven other cities around the world, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival is in the midst of wrapping up its 2015 program in New York City, where it continues through June 21. 

One hopes that, like all the best tours, they are offering some bitchin' shirts at the merch table. 

The festival brought its social justice-themed selection of films through such cities as London, San Diego, and Amsterdam in the earlier part of 2015 as part of its overall mission to "[bring] to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people."

There is certainly no lack of material in the festival to provoke such empathy and a desire to seek justice: this year's films include the opening- and closing-night selections, 31/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, respectively. 31/2 Minutes tells what is beginning to be a familiar story of a young, black, unarmed man being shot to death — in this case, the victim being 17-year-old Jordan Davis. The Black Panthers shares the history of the group, including the murder of its leader, Fred Hampton, in 1969.

Other films featured include Burden of Peace, about Guatemala's first female attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz, who brought a former dictator to justice for genocide and human rights violations, and Of Men and War, a chilling look at the PTSD that plagues American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 

For more information about the Human Rights Watch Film Festival (especially for lucky New Yorkers who plan to catch the last few days of screenings, you can visit the website here

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