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Human Rights Arts & Film Festival 2014 - Perth

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by Carolyn Hopping (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
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Movies with the power to change the world
Over recent years the issue of human rights has become an increasingly hot topic of conversation. Although the standard of living has improved dramatically in many places throughout the world, millions of human beings are still enduring horrific catastrophes that threaten their lives and those of their communities. In these places war, persecution, poverty, famine, sexual exploitation and slavery aren't simply crises of the distant past but are very real dangers of everyday life. Similarly, the widespread evil of human trafficking has only become common knowledge recently, while the number of refugees fleeing danger zones globally has reached unprecedented numbers.

Image courtesy of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival Facebook page
Image courtesy of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival Facebook page
Throughout the world various organisations struggle to bring relief to the victims of such crises and to lobby governments and the public about human rights issues. One of the most powerful tools to raise awareness about the plight of our less fortunate sisters and brothers is the arts, and throughout the world many artists, writers, musicians and film-makers use their talents to educate people and raise funds to help those who are suffering. As Australian film producer and critic, Margaret Pomeranz has commented, 'Film and the arts have so much power to influence the way we see the world, to heighten our awareness of the plight of those in our community and in the world community.'

It is to this ends that the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is currently touring Australia, and the great news is that it will be here in Perth for three days early next month. Beginning on June 3rd, three highly acclaimed international films will be showing at the Luna on SX in Fremantle which highlight very different human rights issues in the world. Showing on Tuesday June 3 at 7.00pm, The Square is set in contemporary Egypt, and follows a small group of political dissidents as they protest against their government's corruption. While the movie portrays the wider political and social context of the current Egyptian crisis and the myriad problems that plague the country, it also focuses on its human core - the ordinary citizens whose lives have been disrupted by the chaos and bloodshed. A deeply moving narration of a people's fight for freedom and justice, The Square was nominated for an Academy Award this year and has won several other international awards.

Image courtesy of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival website
Image courtesy of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival website


The second documentary to be shown during the festival's sojourn in Perth is Light Fly, Fly High. Produced by Norwegian film-makers Susann Ostigaard and Beathe Hofseth, it focuses on the struggles of a young Tamil woman in India to create an independent life for herself in the highly competitive world of boxing, and to rebuff the sexual advances of the powerful and exploitative head of the boxing association who holds her fate in his hands. An inspirational movie about a strong-willed and determined young heroine, Light Fly, Fly High will be screened on Wednesday June 4 at 7.30pm.

Image courtesy of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival website
Image courtesy of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival website


Multi award-winning American documentary Rich Hill is the last of the movies to be shown at the festival this year. Set in a small, once-thriving mining town in Missouri, it examines the lives of three adolescent boys as they struggle to survive, navigating their way through poverty, broken families, mental illness and the inevitable challenges these issues present. Despite the bleakness of their lives and the mistakes they make on their path to adulthood, the boys' inherent optimism is inspirational and heart-warming. The winner of the US Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Rich Hill has been described as an 'exceptionally beautiful, rare and moving film.' It will be showing at the Luna on SX on Thursday June 5 at 7.30pm.

Image courtesy of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival website
Image courtesy of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival website


In a nutshell, although this year's Perth leg of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival will be short and sweet, the documentaries to be screened are precious gems. With a potential to move hearts and instigate social and political change, movies such as these are powerful indeed, and should not be missed.

To find out more about the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival 2014, take a look at their official website.
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Why? These great international films will change your perspective on life and the world.
When: The Square - Tuesday June 8 at 7.00pm; Light Fly Fly High - Wednesday June 4 at 7.30pm; Rich Hill - Thursday June 5 at 7.30pm
Website: hraff.org.au
Where: Luna on SX, 13 Essex Street, Fremantle, Western Australia, 6160
Cost: Full price - $16.00; concession - $13.00; festival pass - $33.00
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