Human Rights Films

Matia Jones, a graduate student in my lab, recently evaluated films for a screening as part of the 2017 Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival and was kind enough to share her evaluation (scores are from 1 to 5, where five is a must see).  Check out the full screening schedule on Twitter or at the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival.  Thanks for sharing the list, Matia! This is a great resource for anthropology classes!



Thought provoking, sober, and a hopeful call to conscious engagement. a good tone for the festival. Score: a bit long, but a 5 or hight 4 none-the-less


A Bold New Peace

I loved the focus on building peace rather than fighting war as a path to national security and social wellbeing. A great example of what alternatives can and do exist. Very important for any US citizen to watch. I vote for this being a central theme for the entire festival. Score: 5



Explores more nuanced understanding of human trafficking. I think its wholistic view of pre and post trafficking victims experiences is an important one to include on this topic. unfinished sound/music and poorly done audio makes it a bit hard to watch. Score: 4



A Must- This example of conflict resolution that isn’t centered on punitive measures is important for our culture to see. This story is also a cautionary tale of institutionally enforced class distinctions.Score: 4.5-5


Ode to Lesvos

A good potential companion piece to others films on refugees. Highlights positive human responses to the Syrian disaster. This could soften the emotional blow of other films on same topic. Super short and sweet.Score: 5


Beyond the Divide

Nice example of Americans moving past entrenched oppositional politics. It seemed a bit long, but had a useful message and uplifting/hopeful tone. Pertinent to current cultural problems in US.Score: 4


Secret Life of Clothes

A bit repetitive, but a worthwhile topic. Addresses excessive consumption in N. Europe/US and asks the viewer, in a non-confrontational manner, to examine their own purchasing/discarding habits. I liked that the film maker occupied a variety of marginalized social positions but none of them were the topic of the film. This in itself is a great example of empowerment. Addressed topic in a light weight tone- could be useful if we have too many serious downers…Score: 3.5



I think we decided not to screen this one because it’s available on u-tube. But I thought it was very well filmed, outlined, was an effective call to action, and quite pertinent to our region and time in history.Score: N/A


Out Run

Interesting look at the LGBT rights movement in Philippines. Neat to contrast their movement with ours… however, I found it a bit too long for the amount of meaty material presented.Score: 3.5


Women are the Answer

Yes- this one touches on environmental issues, class issues, gender/sexuality issues, socialism/capitalism, and globalization. I give it two thumbs up. Very informative and engaging…it also offers concrete and attainable solutions-based recommendations for addressing a variety of social and environmental issues. Score: 5


Sin Pais

A touching and personal account of undocumented refugees in US…a pertinent and pressing current issue. I was not strongly drawn into the story line or the film- but perhaps it could be paired with another one that is a bit more engaging. It is short.Score: 3.5


American Bird

A bit heavy and lacking suggestions for solutions…but that seems to be the nature of whistleblower stories. The purpose of these narratives is to inform an uninformed audience. Perhaps it is too early for solutions to be offered up. Our citizenry absolutely needs to become educated about the current impacts and future implications of drone use.Score: 5


A River Between

Yes! Bi-partisan, multi-stakeholder collaboration on conservation efforts!!! This is a wonderful example to share far and wide.Score: 5


Three to Infinity

A bit long, but the voices represented in this film could be quite elucidating for audiences unfamiliar with current gender politics.Score: 4

Human Rights Films
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