Shami Chakrabarti to open Human Rights Film and Music Festival

Monday, 16 February 2009

Championing human rights and putting the spotlight on oppression through music and film.

Chancellor of Oxford Brookes and Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, will open a film and music festival to champion human rights organised by students determined to put the spotlight on oppression.

Now in its 7th year, the annual festival is led by Brookes students on the renowned master's in Development and Emergency Practice.

From Friday 27 February - Sunday 8 March, up to 14 feature-length films will be showcased at venues across Oxford including the Asian Cultural Centre, Exeter College Chapel, Oxford Synagogue, Oxford Union, Friends Meeting Place, The Corner Club, Baby Simple and Oxford Brookes University.

The films chosen look at the theme of 'awakening to human rights' and focus on identity, self, compassion, faith, strength, conscience, hope and justice. Among the headliners are Rendition, Persepolis, It's a Free World, Provoked and Hull Freedom Trail.

Shami Chakrabarti will join students at the opening night on Friday 27 February in Oxford Brookes Main Lecture Theatre for the screening of South African film Between Joyce and Remembrance. The London Lucumi Choir - finalists in the BBC Choir of the Year competition – will also be performing.

She said: "Too often we take our civil liberties for granted and highlighting injustice through film can open people's eyes to situations and conflicts they may otherwise not have recognised. The idea of 'awakenings' that is embedded through this year's film festival is very apt as is the message of hope for the future.

'Many of the students involved in the event will go onto work for aid and emergency organisations in disaster and conflict zones across the world. I am truly impressed by their commitment to uphold people's most intrinsic human rights.'

23-year-old Oxford Brookes student, Mona Luxion from Chicago, is the event's co-ordinator. She said: 'We hope the films appeal to a wide audience and bring the issue of human rights home to Oxford.

'The subtitle of our festival is visions of our common humanity and we want to raise awareness of the values like dignity that tie us all together as human beings, and that are worth safeguarding.'

Films are shown free of charge and are open to the public as well as to Brookes students and staff.

For full film listings and venue information see CENDEP: Human Rights and Forced Migration

Many of the showings will be followed by discussions led by experts on humanitarian issues.

This year, the Human Rights Film Festival 2009 co-incides with Love and Justice month - a series of events from mid February - mid March exploring these themes led by Oxford Brookes University.

Oxford Brookes master's in emergency and development attracts a diverse cohort of students from around the world every year, many of whom have experienced working in countries that have witnessed war, disaster and poverty. This year there are 48 students from 19 countries. The course achieved the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2001.