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Filming with a cause

March 2009

Since the camera was invented, it has borne witness to the human condition. During the 10th Action Week against Racism, the 4th edition of the Montreal Human Rights Film Festival will present 72 films from 22 countries, continuing the 7th Art’s tradition of raising awareness among the fortunate while giving a voice to those who may not speak for themselves.

The festival, which runs from March 12 to 22, will open with the North American premiere of “8,” co-produced by Lissandra Haulica and Marc Oberon, who invited eight well-known film-makers to create a reminder of the “Millennium Development Goals.” In 2000, 191 countries had resolved to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

There will be 56 documentaries, 9 fiction films and 7 animated works presented throughout the festival, including nine recent documentaries from Quebec. Many screenings will be followed by discussions with special guests. The works will explore the impact of civil war on the people of Iraq, the conflict in the Middle East and political repression in Albania, Philippines, Chile and Tibet. Women’s and children’s rights will be highlighted as well as the dangers facing human rights workers and journalists.

Although Canada is known as a leader in human rights, it is not without its challenges, in particular regarding the rights of Aboriginal people. Canada was one of four nations who voted against the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. Not too shy to take a look in “our backyard,” three Quebec films will follow marginalized or homeless women in their struggle for survival. Other works will focus on gay rights, the environment and the relocation of Inuit families.

As well, a photographic exhibition featuring the work of 32 photojournalists will be held at UQAM’s Coeur des Sciences, 175 President Kennedy, and Cinéma du Parc, 3575 Park. The exhibition will feature 5200 images from 61 countries. The vernissage, free, will take place on Friday March 13 at 6pm. Info: anthropographia.org Tickets for screenings, $7, will be on sale beginning March 5 at Cinéma du Parc, 514-281-1900 or cinemaduparc.com, and at the NFB cinema, 1564 St. Denis. Info: ffdpm.com

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