The Human Rights Film Festival brims with bodies and the environment

The not-for-profit Human Rights Arts & Film Festival returns this week with an engaging lineup of films and live performances.

The largest public human rights arts event in Australia returns this week with a much-anticipated program of films, prominent visiting directors, artists, engaging workshops, and special guest speakers.

The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival will take place in Melbourne from this Thursday 28 April until 7 May and is guided by four interconnected themes: Bodies, Environment, Ancestors, and Distance.

The festival will open with a screening of Dear Future Children, a documentary about the new generation at the heart of the seismic political shift we are seeing with regards to climate change.

Read: Eva Orner on her climate-change film: ‘Vote as if your life depends on it’

Documenting human rights

When The Camera Stopped Rolling is a new Australian documentary about a daughter who turns her camera onto the life of her trailblazing filmmaker mother to find troubling shadows behind their stunning images.

Read: When the Camera Stopped Rolling: giving Lilias Fraser the recognition she deserves

Other documentary highlights include Jennifer Peedom’s River, and Eva Orner’s Burning. The Academy Award-nominated Flee will also be shown.

Read: River director Jennifer Peedom: ‘Our attempts to control rivers have begun to backfire

Immersive performance

Certain films, like the biting art-world satire The Man Who Sold His Skin, will be preceded by live performances. Local theatre group Western Edge (Yaw Dadzie and Betiel Beyin) will perform spoken-word pieces exploring power, ambition, fear, desire, displacement and love.

The film Cousins will feature a performance by TuiaTHT, who will conduct a ceremony in celebration of Maori traditions, including some of those depicted in the film.

Program Director Ayesha Mehta said ‘we are incredibly excited about this year’s festival, and to be building our arts events through collaborations with local artists.

‘We hope that travelling through our 10-day festival will be a vibrant experience, with a multitude of ways to engage with the stories and themes throughout. Platforming artists, filmmakers and musicians is at the heart and soul of the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival mission.

‘It’s why HRAFF exists – engaging and inspiring audiences on human rights issues through art, film and music and conversation, which flows through to the partnerships and relationships that we nurture’.

Tickets are available at the Human Rights Art & Film Festival website.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports