New York’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival featuring 70% films directed by women

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“Clarissa’s Battle” will screen at the 2022 Human Rights Watch Film Festival. [Photo provided]

New York’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, now in its 33rd year, will present a full edition of 10 groundbreaking new films, including seven directed by women.

The film will be available both in-person and online nationwide in the U.S. from May 20-26, according to a news release.

For the first time in two years, the New York festival will be back with a full program of in-person screenings at Film at Lincoln Center and IFC Center, with in-depth discussions with filmmakers, film participants, activists and Human Rights Watch researchers.

The festival will continue to offer the opportunity to watch all 10 new films online across the U.S. with a full digital edition of the film festival.

This year’s edition highlights activism and features courageous individuals around the world standing up to powerful forces and demanding change.

“We are thrilled to be back in theaters after two years away, bringing our audience a full slate of powerful films tackling urgent human rights issues including China, Russia, the climate crisis and reproductive rights,” said John Biaggi, Director of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, in a statement.

The full 2022 lineup is:

“Clarissa’s Battle,” Tamara Perkins, USA
“Delikado,” Karl Malakunas, Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia, USA, UK
“Eternal Spring,” Jason Loftus, Canada
“The Janes,” Tia Lessin, Emma Pildes, USA
“Midwives,” Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing, Myanmar, Germany, Canada
“The New Greatness Case,” Anna Sishova, Finland, Croatia, Norway
“No U-Turn,” Ike Nnaebue, France, Nigeria, South Africa, Germany
“Rebellion,” Maia Kenworthy, Elena Sanchez Bellot, UK, Poland
“Up To G-Cup,” Jacqueline van Vugt, Netherlands
“You Resemble Me,” Dina Amer, France, Egypt, USA

“The Janes” will screen at the 2022 Human Rights Watch Film Festival. [Photo provided]

“The partnership between Film at Lincoln Center and Human Rights Watch is more important than ever in demonstrating the power of film to shine a light on international crises and individuals fighting for freedoms and human rights around the world,” said Lesli Klainberg, president of Film at Lincoln Center, in a statement. “History has shown that film not only empowers understanding, but also ignites urgent public dialogues about how to help the most vulnerable.”

The festival opens with “Rebellion,” the exhilarating behind-the-scenes story of Extinction Rebellion that was directed by Maia Kenworthy and Elena Sanchez Bellot, following the group as it takes daring steps to draw attention to the climate emergency, and confront both internal tensions and the harmful power structures in the climate movement itself.

The festival will close with Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes’ Sundance Film Festival hit “The Janes,” which showcases a group of brave and bold women, many speaking on the record for the first time, who built an underground, clandestine network in 1970s Chicago for women seeking safe, affordable, but otherwise illegal, abortions.

The one drama in this year’s festival, “You Resemble Me,” is the first feature by Dina Amer and explores the complex life of Hasna Aït Boulahcen, a survivor of abuse in France who sought support and opportunities to belong, but whose life was cut short by her radicalization. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and its executive producers are Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, Riz Ahmed and Alma Har’el.

Directed by Tamara Perkins, “Clarissa’s Battle” features the single mother and unstoppable activist Clarissa Doutherd, who works tirelessly to build a coalition of parents in Oakland, California, to fight for local and federal child care funding.

With brave honesty a group of Kurdish and Yazidi women reveal the challenges they face in a male-dominated society in “Up To G-Cup,” directed by Jacqueline van Vugt.

“The New Greatness Case,” helmed by Anna Sishova, offers remarkable access to a group of young Russians entrapped by the secret service, resulting in unjust trials and prison sentences, echoing the intensified crackdown on dissent and free expression in Russia seen on the news every day.

In “Midwives,” directed by Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing, amid an environment of ever-increasing chaos and violence against the Muslim Rohingya population in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, two midwives, one Buddhist and one Muslim, work side by side in a makeshift clinic, providing medical services to the oppressed minority community.

“IFC Center is proud to continue our partnership with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival and support their mission to use cinema to shine a light on important issues,” said John Vanco, senior vice president and general manager at IFC Center, in a statement.

In addition to 70% of this year’s filmmakers being women, 70% are sharing a story about their own region.

Select films in this year’s festival will be audio described for audience members who are blind or have low vision, and closed captions will be offered for deaf and hard of hearing members of the audience. For more information, go to




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