Human Rights Film Festival Returns to Rangoon for a Third Year

By Yen Saning 9 June 2015

RANGOON — The third edition of the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival (HRHDIFF) will be held in Rangoon next week.

The five-day, free admission festival features 69 documentary and short films from around the world, to be shown at downtown’s Waziyar and Nay Pyi Taw Cinemas.

“When a political change is coming… you need to also free human minds on an individual level,” said Igor Blaževič, founder of the Czech Republic’s One World Film Festival, the biggest human rights documentary film festival in Europe, who will serve on the jury of the HRHDIFF’s film competition. “You need to take this garbage out…to understand new ideas. Films can do a lot to help people open their minds. That’s why this festival is important.”

Organizers of HRHDIFF have prepared seven awards, named after prominent figures including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, 88 Generation Peace and Open Society leader Min Ko Naing and former political prisoner Win Tin, to be given to the best documentaries, animation, short films and student movies featured in the festival.

A human rights for women theme has been included in this year’s line-up, with films highlighting the challenges faced by women and girls both in Burma and worldwide. Blaževič encouraged women attendees to bring their husbands, sons, brothers and boyfriends to these film screenings in particular.

“These are the films that men should watch. Only then, I think, will they have a better understanding of and sympathy for women,” said festival founder and documentarian Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi.

The festival’s opening film is the work of alumni from the Human Dignity Film Institute and explores the impact of the Shwe Gas pipeline, Burma’s first cross-country natural gas transport project linking Arakan State to China’s Yunnan province.

A photography exhibition presenting the work of Oldřich Škácha, who captured a series of pictures of renowned writer and former Czech Republic President Václav Havel, will also be held at the Pansodan Scene art gallery alongside the festival.

Trailers, descriptions and a schedule of the films can be found at the festival’s website.