Written by Bishnu B Khatri, Director: Cooperation and International Relations at the Human Right Film Center, Kathmandu Nepal.
Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival (NHRIFF)
The (Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival) NHRIFF, as the platform to showcase the issues of human rights in Nepal and the world through films, aims at making the concerned actors more concerned towards the issues of human rights. Hence, the proposed activity is targeted to concerned stakeholders, members of civil society, NGOs, INGOs, colleges and universities, media houses, diplomats, politicians and common people, who can input their idea to uplift the human rights condition.
Film is one of the most powerful tools to advocate human rights, peace and justice in the society.
This sort of movement has been well established in international arena. In the context of Nepal, documentaries and short films are being made on the issues of human rights. But issue of Human Rights is still to become one of the hot subjects for mainstream films, although few films are made on this issue in the past couple of years.
Film culture in Nepal is continuously gaining maturity with numbers of film festivals coming up in the recent years; most of them outside Kathmandu, which is good initiative for broadening the space of film appreciators. However, none of the festivals target a specific issue and audience as Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival (NHRIFF) does. NHRIFF focuses on human rights films and targets the audiences, who are involved in human rights defending and ensuring as watchdogs or duty bearers. Coming up to its 6th edition, NHRIFF has established itself as a forum for advocating human rights via films in the country. The voices of the people and the issues of human rights are not sufficiently raised through films in Nepal. So, the project, ‘Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival’ will focus on those issues of human rights. The festival will be dedicated to the vulnerable communities who are historically backward in Nepal and global context.
The film festival will contribute to make government agencies and different stake holders accountable towards HR violation issues as they could experience practices of handling HR violation issues form different countries. They can gain knowledge about handling complex HR violation issues form experiences of other countries.
NHRIFF is being organized since 2010 and five editions of the festival have been organized already. The fifth NHRIFF was organized on March 17-20, 2017 in Kathmandu, where 101 films from 39 countries made on human rights issues were screened. These films were selected from among the 4000 entries we received from different channels. The jury of the NHRIFF is always a combination of Nepali and international film makers. In the last edition there were four jury members from The Netherlands, India, Bangladesh and Nepal, all of whom were highly recognized faces globally.
HRFC has planned to organize the 6th edition of NHRIFF on March 7-10, 2018 in Kathmandu, where 60+ films will be screened during the 4 days. We have already received over 2000 entries from about 50 countries, which are in process of selection.
The objectives of human rights international film festival is to provide space for interaction between film makers and human rights defenders.
The objectives of human rights international film festival is to provide space for interaction between film makers and human rights defenders, especially on rights of women, enhance understanding of the situation of rights of women in the country through the understanding of that in other countries around the globe, encourage and empower film makers from Nepal to make films on rights of women and to value their rights during filmmaking process, encourage HR defenders working on different issue to make films for HR education, advocacy and monitoring and provide opportunity for Nepali filmmakers to interact with filmmakers from other countries and share experiences.
Major activities of the festival are screening films about different issue of HR, diverse audience participation, learning through films from around the world, Issue related audience for each issue related films, audience participation in discussion on the HR issue with experts and highlights about the films and theme in the media. Human rights film festival will help to invite public debate in HR Film making, enhance film literacy from prism of Human Rights, Women Rights and Rights of vulnerable peoples, encourage media, film analysts and film critic to review films from human right prospective, helps to build film maker capacity to make films in HR related stories such as refugee, forced migration, displacement, Gender Based Violence (GBV), domestic violence etc, influence film makers to develop film narrative in HR issues, will be a learning opportunity for festival team itself, create discourse on the film making from the gender perspective and aware filmmakers to produce gender friendly films in the future and sensitize filmmakers on film making on women rights issues etc.