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  • Florencia Santucho
  • Migrant Workers Block
  • Roberto Pérez Rocha
  • doxs!
  • FiSahara
  • Malena Bystrowicz
  • Luis Leguizamón

Florencia Santucho


In this 19th edition of the International Human Rights Film Festival (FICDH), we double down on our virtual format proposal and focus our debate on migrant identity, precisely now, when mobility has been limited by a virus that exposes the fragility of an environment that has been ravaged by an excluding and unsustainable societal paradigm. Furthermore, peoples’ uprooting all over the world will keep increasing due to famine and environmental emergency.

The human being’s need to move, circulate, transit, go into exile, individually or collectively migrate, in order to improve their original circumstances, chasing after wishes and partnership, is a constant phenomenon in all eras and areas of the world.

Migratory movements have transformed alongside globalization, forming complex relationship networks that connect communities in origin, transit and destination countries. In contrast with past times, these processes, in combination with the rapid growth of communication technology developments and the access to mobile devices, have favored the exchange between different sociocultural realities.

Our individual and collective identities are redefined in a transnational and transborder dimension. There is not an individual from here or there anymore, we are from here and there at the same time.

Migration cycles have become circular. This allows us to find once more the footprints our ancestors have left in our memories, the necessary roots for the present identity reconstruction and deconstruction.

In this edition, we will give visibility to the narratives of people who migrate because of economic and cultural reasons, and due to discrimination or persecution, as well as those people who have been displaced or seek refuge from military conflict or environmental issues, and those who have inherited a socioterritorial sense of belonging. We will focus particularly on the stories of cultural resilience and resistance of indigenous communities, afro communities, LGBTIQ+ persons, women and children.

Social movements, such as the Bloque Migrante (Migrant Block) that accompanies us in this presentation, claim that, among the main effects of xenophobia, racism and invisibilization of racialized people, migrants and refugees, are the lack of access to social rights, the stigmatization and criminalization, and the institutional and police violence. All of them are aggravated by gender and diversity circumstances.

From FICDH, we take on the commitment to decolonize our views through the cinema, centering them on roots in motion and their bond with identities, the land and active memory.

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Melina Sánchez Rincón

BTM-Migrant Workers Block
Regularization Now

“Migrating is not a crime, migrating is a human right.” This was the slogan raised by the voices of the hundreds of people who walked from Casa Rosada to the National Congress in the afternoon of Thursday, March 30th, 2017, in what we decided to call the First Migrant Strike in Argentina.

Migrant and refugees organizations, together with other human rights organisms, had been warning about the increasing violation of our rights caused by the implementation of the emergency decree (DNU) 70/2017. This decree was a modification to the National Migration Law No. 25871, focusing it on the detention and expulsion of migrants, instead of facilitating regularization of children, teenagers and their families. In connivance with this decree, the public opinion spread social unrest with the idea that “outsiders come to take our jobs”, or “jails are full of foreigners”, thus bringing back to life the ghost of Videla Act of 1981 -before Migration Law-, encouraged by other governments who, on one hand, put up an anti-immigrant wall and, on the other, criminalized the bodies piling up on their mediterranean costs.

Today, we talk about the “immigration crisis”, but we know what really is in a crisis is biological racism. The one that is challenged when the migrant bodies cross the borders created by the stereotypical “white and civilized” inhabitant, who can walk around the big cities, the only ones entitled to occupy public spaces.

Migrating is an ancestral community practice, a tool for survival and, moreover, it responds to a feature so human that equals reason: wishing. We, migrants, are always asked what we are doing here, but seldom invited to talk about what we left there. However, that there is so unique, but also so universal, that migration would lose its condition of odd, of foreign. Haven’t we all had a fleeing dream? Fleeing from that family violence, or fleeing a body which was told what it had to feel by society since birth, or fleeing that mountain from a childhood that is not lit by the river, but by the light of the miners’ drones, fleeing from gullies russeted by the sun and the crossfire lines.

All those possible flights will for sure surprise us in this new edition of the International Human Rights Film Festival (FICDH), because we know we have an ally in cinema, to raise awareness of the violence the states inflict on us, particularly, children, women and transexual people, whenever we are denied the right to an identity in the place where we lived, worked and grew up.

Regularization of every migrant person now!

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Roberto Pérez Rocha

Films 4 Transparency Founder and Director 
Transparency International Director

Films 4 Transparency 
International Anti-Corruption Film Festival & Impact Network

Films 4 Transparency (F4T) is your place to watch documentaries from all over the world about the causes and consequences of corruption in every aspect of life, such as the environment, human rights, social justice and gender issues. F4T aims visibilizing mainly the struggle stories of those affected by corruption who are part of a minority or disadvantaged group.

Likewise, F4T seeks to be a source of inspiration by showing the work of directors deeply involved with social causes, who portrait individuals or communities protecting their rights to bring about positive changes for everybody. 

F4T is a unique vehicle for reflection and critical debate. It is a project by Transparency International, the global coalition that fights for transparency and against corruption. 

In sight, in mind: cinema is the most effective tool when it comes to raising awareness, building solidarity bridges and fostering collective action, both at local and international level. That is why we believe in the need of using festivals and film exhibitions to educate and transmit values such as integrity and transparency as a common good that is crucial for our future.

Walking hand in hand to get further: from its first official edition and through its special ones, F4T has established strong bonds with other festivals, different foundations, governmental agencies, international entities and social organizations in several parts of the world. In this case, we take great pride in being allies with the FICDH, a festival we have collaborated with many times in the past.

Films 4 Transparency is the first and single international festival to take corruption and its effects as its main topic and as a tool to connect society with the public and private sectors in order to solve this common problem.

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Festival for children and youth documentaries

Being one of the world’s few festivals dedicated especially to children and youth documentaries, doxs! supports a unique mission. It takes place annually since 2002, embedded in the well-known Duisburger Filmwoche.

doxs! presents contemporary European documentaries with the aim to create a profound dialogue between filmmakers and young audiences. Especially, the festival programme pays specific attention to intelligent aesthetics and to current discourses deserving critical reflection. The film selection includes the age groups 4-18 and puts emphasis on topics like identity, diversity, coming of age or personal challenges. 

The political and educational impact of documentaries is recognized by the film prize of the festival “GROSSE KLAPPE” – a European award which is donated by the Federal Agency for Civic Education including the non-theatrical distribution in Germany. As a member of the European Children’s Film Association (ECFA) doxs! established the ECFA Documentary Award and stays in touch with its European partners. By supporting schools as well as cinemas in programming and mediating documentaries, doxs! carries its ambitions throughout the whole year. The festival puts importance on involving young audiences actively as well. During the festival doxs! organises extended Q&As with the filmmakers and media educators, students put together a programme slot and the “GROSSE KLAPPE” winner is selected by a youth jury. 

Moreover, the festival constantly develops new pilot-projects which set the pace and break new ground:  collaborating with TV stations, initiatives such as “doku.klasse”in collaboration with ZDF/3sat have been established to support filmmakers. In cooperation with the Goethe Institut doxs! produced the unique film package “Young Heros”, which enabled these festival films to reach a worldwide audience.

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FICDH opens a window to the Sahara

FiSahara and FICDH welcome you to the window to the Sahara and invite you to get to know the forgotten Western Sahara conflict. After 45 years under Moroccan military occupation, this former Spanish colony in Northern Africa is still pending decolonization. 

As a result of an enduring association between FICDH and the Western Sahara International Film Festival, this section offers screenings, debates, and a participation in the school section and the jury.

Twenty years ago, cinema barely existed in the Sahara, whose people’s ancient culture has an oral tradition. In 2003, the exiled Sahrawi people and the Spanish people launched the first edition of FiSahara in the refugee camps in Argelia, one of the world’s most remote and inhospitable places. FiSahara has since celebrated another 14 editions, thanks to the people’s ability to transform adversity into opportunity. 

Nowadays, cinema is one of the main tools the Sahrawi people have to make their fight for self-government visible and to preserve their culture and their identity. Through FiSahara courses and the Abidin Kaid Saleh Film School, the first generation of Sahrawi filmmakers is creating its own way of filming – a revolutionary and emancipatory cinema.

The basis for all three films is the point of view of Sahrawis located in different geographical areas related to the conflict, reflecting their fragmentation. 

In the Morocco-occupied Western Sahara, young video activists furtively film repression, aware that their images are the only window to the world in this police state and information black hole (3 Stolen Cameras). Along the enormous wall built by Morocco to divide the Western Sahara, a woman deminer faces death daily deactivating explosives (Mutha and the Death of Ham-Ma Fuku). And in the heart of the desert, several generations of women that have fled the Moroccan invasion build refugee camps, not knowing that 45 years later they would still be there (Toufa). 

Thank you! Shukran!

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Malena Bystrowicz

Programming Coordinator
Focus on Afro Identity | Focus on The Mediterranean

We decided to set the spotlight on Afro communities, a specific perspective and, at the same time, a wide one. Thousands of topics come up surrounding the word “Afro”: culture, blackness, colonialism, racism, diasporas, the struggles, the identities. Only in Argentina, we have communities ranging from the Cape Verdean communities, settled here for more than 130 years, to the Senegalese ones, who have been arriving in the country in the last decade.

Diversity is immeasurable and representing every community is extremely difficult. We believe it is deeply necessary to foster the making of films that address these topics from the point of view of the same communities and organizations in the first person.

From the Festival, we aim to focus on Afro Identities, using the cinema as a means to attempt to break the racist structure existing in our society, which systematically excludes, invisibilizes, and denies Africans and Afro-descendants.

The films our programming team has chosen for this focus are: Ethereality, directed by Kantarama Gahigiri, an Afro-descendant born in Switzerland, who symbolizes her community’s estrangement in Europe through the metaphor of an astronaut. Aïcha, a short film directed by two young Germans who have a critical view of their own privilege. It exposes the cultural contrasts and urges the viewer to reflect on identity, migration and discrimination. Finally, Softie, directed by Sam Soko, filmed in Kenia, and starred by a family that tries to fight for a fairer world through politics.

Many topics are still pending, but I am sure this Focus is here to stay, because in the International Human Rights Film Festival (FICDH), we have decided to give room to speeches, struggles, images, and cultures, as part of our roots and also our fruits.

For the third year in a row, FICDH has decided to focus on the Mediterranean Sea as a territory where human rights are being discussed and undermined. This year in particular, the central topic surrounding the festival is migrant rights and, therefore, the Mediterranean plays a key role. 

This huge body of water connects three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Naturally, it has been a channel of migration, commerce, and exchange since the beginning of times. Today, thousands of people dive into it hoping for a better life, fleeing from war and hunger. But, unfortunately, that dream usually becomes a nightmare: they realize that a safe life is a privilege that is becoming increasingly exclusive over time. Territorial boundaries are enforced when it comes to leaving people out, but they disappear when multinational businesses and the exploitation of natural resources are at stake. Migration is probably one of the most intense topics of the twenty-first century. Migrants suffer from injustice when crossing borders, which are not only physical, but also economic, cultural, racial and discriminatory.

We are aiming at providing an overview of the situation in this region of the world with three films: 13,000 Km from Syria, a new film by the Argentinian Fernando Lojo, tells the story of a family that fled Syria and now has to adapt to a completely different country; The Milky Way, an Italian film by Luigi d’Alfie that is beautifully done and shows the journey of navigating through the border, combining documentary and animation aesthetics with a touching narration; lastly, The Scarecrows, a Tunisian film directed by Nouri Bouzid that offers a clear gender perspective on this problem.

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Luis Leonardo Leguizamón

Schools Section Coordination

The world as we knew it no longer exists. What used to be no longer is. This new normality, in which we have more information and tools than the previous year, challenges us to better ourselves as a society in 2021. The pandemic is not over, and we must continue to care for ourselves and those who are the most vulnerable. For that reason, we invite you to reflect on our actions and how they affect others.

This year, the Schools Section is once again expanding its offer for young people. Workshops and talks with the participation of international professionals will be added to the traditional program of national and international short films made by children and teenagers, with the intention of providing tools to those who wish to use audiovisual arts as a means of expression and experimentation. We invite teachers and community leaders to participate in these meetings, so they can later replicate these experiences with those kids and teenagers who do not have access to an internet connection and a computer to participate online. We apologize to them and we will continue to fight from our place for the inequality gap to narrow.

We are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the “Youth and Memory” program with a special programming. We are thankful for every year’s collaboration in bringing schools and teachers to this space.

We believe cinema is a fighting and transforming tool. So, in the Schools Section, we try to pass on knowledge on this art so that kids and teenagers can create the pieces they want, pieces that convey what they feel and experience. As years go by, we see the evolution of their short films and how their critical eye sharpens. That is why we assert this section as a space for exchanging and learning, in which young people have the freedom to denounce, through their work, the realities they live in.

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