Human Rights Film Festival 2007

Friday, 16 February 2007


Fifth annual festival organised by MA in Humanitarian and Development Practice students. 26 February until 10 March.

Fifth Annual Human Rights Film Festival

Oxford Brookes students who are being equipped to work in countries ravaged by conflict and poverty have put together a film festival to put the spotlight on human rights issues across the world.

For full film listings see: www.brookes.ac.uk/schools/be/cendep/humanrights/programme.html

Musician and activist Billy Bragg launched the festival on 26 February when he introduced the screening of Gem Slaves, a film about the burdening role that children play in the mining of the precious stone tanzanite in Tanzania.

The festival is organised by students on Oxford Brookes’ renowned masters course in Humanitarian and Development Practice, which is well known for its celebrity involvement. In 2005, former Beirut prisoner John McCarthy presented his film Out of the Shadows, and last year Annie Lennox became patron of the course.

The masters programme, which was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2001, attracts a diverse cohort of students from around the world: some of whom want to work in the developing world and some of whom have already witnessed war, disaster and poverty first hand either through their upbringing or through their work with aid agencies.

David Sanderson, who leads the course in Humanitarian and Development Practice said: “The strength of the course is that it is very practical. In every lecture we apply what we are teaching to what you’d do in the field. We attract students from every continent. This year for example, we have a Sudanese refugee sitting next to an ex British army officer. What unites them is their drive to end poverty, and their vision to make the world a better place.”

“There is a serious message behind the film festival that applies to Oxford, Oxfordshire and the world. Making sure people’s human rights are upheld can mean the difference between life and death, the difference between the haves and the have-nots. Next month, Britain will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, and slavery is a human rights issue too, and it still takes place today in hidden forms.”

From 26 February until 10 March, more than a dozen films will be shown at the festival which is in its fifth year running. The films chosen look at the theme of freedom and belonging, and one of the headliners will be the academy award-winning film Tsotsi.

Many of the showings will be followed by discussions led by experts and directors such as Refik Hodzic, Director of Statement 710399 who is flying in from Bosnia, and Nigel Roffe Barker,Director of the film Asylum.

Films are shown free of charge and are open to the public as well as to students and staff. Screenings will take place at two venues: Oxford Brookes Headington Campus and the Vaults and Gardens cafe in Oxford city centre.

Further information:

For more information about Oxford Brookes’ Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, CENDEP, see www.brookes.ac.uk/schools/be/cendep/index.html