Cairo Human Rights Film Festival

The AIC Egypt office is temporarily closed.

In 2008, more than three years before Egyptians took to Tahrir Square to protest repression, AIC’s Egypt office launched the Cairo Human Rights Film Festival (CHRFF). During the inaugural run, no theater in Cairo would agree to host the festival opening – so organizers booked a Nile cruise boat and held the opening screening on the water. Following that bold beginning, CHRFF has grown into an annual event – held in major theaters – that offers free film screenings on human rights topics from around the world, from Senegal to South Africa to Argentina and beyond. The festival aims to highlight international human rights issues and build understanding between cultures, exposing Egyptian audiences to under-reported human rights challenges and underscore the universality of individual rights.

Click here for more information on the 2011 Cairo Human Rights Film Festival, taking place Dec. 27-30 in Cairo, Egypt.


All screenings are free and held at Saykat el-Sawy cultural center in Zamalek.

Tuesday, December 27 – Opening Ceremony & Awards

6pm: Presentation of Human Rights Activist of the Year Award to Mostpha Alnaggar
32 year-old Alnaggar was one of the leaders of the January protests in Tahrir Square, where he provided medical care to injured protesters. After the revolution, he co-founded the Eladl Party with other young activists and recently won a seat in parliament after a tough campaign against a Muslim Brotherhood rival. Alnaggar’s blog won an international award in 2010 for his insightful commentary, and his book “Take off Your Niqab” is a collection of short stories supporting women rights and encouraging women to play an effective civic role in their local communities. Previously detained for vocally supporting the rights of religious minorities in Egypt, Alnaggar has been featured in by the BBC, CNN, and Time Magazine.

6:30pm: Screening Winning Films from the “Eye to Heart” Short Film Contest
Provocative short films made by emerging young filmmakers (age 25 and under) from across the Middle East. The contest asked young artists to explore character development, through defining moments, responding to repression, transformation, and entrepreneurship. Films screened include: Sign of the Times, Beeshou, Freedom, People Want?, Unlocked, and Under the Eyes of the Buddha.

7:30pm: Presentation of Awards to Winning Filmmakes from “Eye to Heart” Contest 

Wednesday, December 28 – Day Two

6pm: A Force More Powerful – Part I: “We Were Warriors” & “Defying the Crown” 
Narrated by Oscar winner Ben Kingsley, this Emmy-nominated series exploring how nonviolent power has overcome oppression and authoritarian rule all over the world. The first part spotlights black students in Tennessee trying to desegregate lunch counters as well as Gandhi’s famous Salt March protest against a British salt monopoly in India.

7:30pm: My Name is Tahrir
Directed by the award-winning Ali Algehini, the film explores the story behind the January 25 movement in a mixture of narrative and documentary scenes. Named by Al Ahram newspaper as the most comprehensive and honest films about the January revolution.

8:45pm: Confronting the Truth
When bloodshed ends, political agreements are signed, and peace is restored, the past still remains. This film looks at how countries emerging from political turmoil have decided to move forward by confronting the past, specifically via “truth and reconciliation” commissions. Includes footage from Peru, South Africa, East Timor and Morocco.


Thursday, December 29 – Day Three

6pm: A Force More Powerful – Part II:  “Freedom in Our Lifetime” & “Living with the Enemy”
The second installment in the series explores how nonviolent power has overcome oppression and authoritarian rule around the world. The evening’s screening spotlights a consumer boycott campaign against apartheid in South Africa and Danish civil disobedience during the Nazi’s occupation.

7:30pm: Zero Silence
A special preview of a forthcoming documentary examining how a new generation of Middle Easterners has refused to be silent in the face of political repression and instead turned to the Internet – and then to the streets – to express discontent. Drawing on the historic events of the past year, the film examines technique and trends driving protests across the region.

8:30pm: The Desert of Forbidden Art
Under Soviet repression, one man rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artist’s works and creates a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan. There Igor Savitsky discovers a school of artists inspired by local Islamic culture who fuse European modernism with centuries-old Eastern traditions. Featuring narration by Ben Kingsley, Sally Field and Ed Asner.

10pm: Pink Saris
Meet Sampat Pal Devi, the bold leader of an Indian all-female street patrol known as the “Pink Gang” that defends at-risk women. “If you’re shy, you’ll die,” observes Sampat in explaining her unique brand of women’s rights advocacy in the streets. The film offers a window into the world of India’s “untouchable” caste.


Friday, December 30 – Day Four

6pm: A Force More Powerful – Part III: “We’ve Caught God by the Arm” & “Defeat of a Dictator”
The second installment in the series explores how nonviolent power has overcome oppression and authoritarian rule around the world. The evening’s screening spotlights the Gdansk Shipyard strike in Poland and a national day of protest by Chilean copper miners against the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

7:30pm: Egypt: Insights into a Revolution
Two months after the fall of Mubarak regime, bloggers, activists, artists, opinion leaders and ordinary citizens revisit their experience during the revolution. How do they remember the historic 18 days? How did the revolution change their lives? What are their hopes and fears as a new Egypt slowly emerges?

8:45pm: The Orange Revolution
In freezing weather, over a million Ukrainians pour into the streets to protest a stolen election. This documentary chronicles their remarkable 17-day stand, branded around dramatic orange banners. This 2004 uprising offers a provocative foil to the 2009 protests in Iran and the 2011 protests in Tunisia, Egypt, and beyond.


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