For the second year in a row, Amnesty International will award a human rights film prize at the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff), which runs from 15–29 September.
Established in an effort to support the promotion of human rights in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean, the Amnesty International Human Rights Film Prize will be awarded to the maker of the feature-length Caribbean film screening at ttff/15 which best highlights a human rights issue.
“We are enthusiastically continuing our cooperation with the trinidad+tobago film festival this year as we remain convinced that films and filmmakers play an important role in promoting human rights,” said Chiara Sangiorgio, thematic adviser at Amnesty International.
“What may seem a remote and abstract UN instrument can suddenly become a close reality when analysed through the camera lens—something affecting a friend, a neighbour, our country. Through this prize we wish to more formally acknowledge the efforts of filmmakers and activists in the Caribbean to raise awareness about human rights in the region.”
This year four films—all documentaries—will be in competition for the prize, one more than last year. They are:
Director: Aleksandra Maciuszek
Citizens of Nowhere
Directors: Regis Coussot and Nicolas Alexandre Tremblay
Countries: Dominican Republic, Haiti
The Last Colony
Director: Juan Agustín Márquez
Country: Puerto Rico
My Father’s Land
Directors: Miquel Galofré and Tyler Johnston
Countries: The Bahamas, Haiti
“We are pleased to see more films selected for this year’s Festival grappling with human-rights issues,” said Jonathan Ali, Editorial Director of the ttff. “The range of issues considered is also noteworthy. Both Citizens of Nowhere and My Father’s Landdeal with the status of Haitians and people of Haitian descent in the Caribbean, a timely subject. The Last Colony considers the sovereignty issue in Puerto Rico, also timely, given the economic crisis there. And Casa Blanca is an intimate look at the status of the elderly and the mentally disabled in Cuba.”
The winning film will be chosen by a three-person jury. This year’s jury comprises Blanca Granados, Head of Industry at the Cartagena International Film Festival in Colombia; Jason Nathu, an attorney-at-law responsible for the Human Rights Law Clinic at the Hugh Wooding Law School in T&T; and Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty International’s London-based coordinator of the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty.
In addition to receiving a trophy, the winning filmmaker will also be given a cash prize of TT$5000. The ttff and Amnesty International will also assist the winning film in getting screened as widely as possible throughout the region.
Last year’s winning film was The Abominable Crime, a documentary directed by Micah Fink, about Jamaica’s LGBT community. Since then, Amnesty International USA has supported the screening of The Abominable Crime at the Pulitzer Center in New York City. There was also a screening of the film in Mexico City to celebrate the opening of Amnesty International’s regional office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and both the film and associated tools have been promoted through Amnesty International’s activists.
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than three million members, supporters and activists in over 150 countries and territories. The organisation exposes human rights violations and campaigns for justice around the world. It is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion, and is funded mainly by its membership and public donations.
The ttff celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities. Visit ttfilmfestival.com for more information.
Photo caption: Clockwise from top left, stills from Casa Blanca, Citizens of Nowhere, The Last Colony and My Father’s Land