Two tickets for human rights, please

Amnesty International (AI) Wits will do its part for the “social justice cinema” and support the Tri Continental Film Festival happening next week in Johannesburg.

The South African festival is dedicated to the promotion of human rights. Amnesty International is one of the partners of the event and has provided a selection of films to be screened.

Pearl Pillay, AI Wits president, says: “We as an organisation can talk about human rights issues until we are blue in the face, but until people actually see what is going on, it won’t really make that big of a difference.

“This festival is a chance for people to have a narrative from the people who have actually experienced it [human rights issues], and that in itself is amazingly effective,” she adds.

The festival films – documentary and fiction – will reflect global concerns on human rights, such as HIV and Aids, the International Criminal Court, political affairs, poverty and environmental issues.

Some films will be followed by a question and answer session with the filmmakers and discussions will also be hosted.

Pillay says the discussion at the end of each film is crucial because it will give people the forum to air their views and talk about practical ways to sort out human rights issues.

The selected titles, chosen from over 500 entries, are intended to “promote democratisation” and “afford those marginalized a substantive voice”, according to the festival organisers.

Rehad Desai, the festival director, hopes the event can play “[its] own small part in building a movement to halt the forward march towards the end of humanity as we know it”.

TCFF was founded in 2003, and this year’s event will host over 25 directors from South Africa and the rest of the continent.

The films are being screened in Johannesburg at Rosebank Cinema Nouveau from September 9 to 18. There will be an Amnesty membership recruitment desk at the place.

The films supported by Amnesty International are: Amnesty! When They Are All Free, Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children, Prosecutor and Manenberg.