March 27, 2017
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s (CHRI) inaugural film festival, “Matter of Rights(s)” opened to a packed house at Jamia Millia Islamia and received a rousing reception from students and academics. Marking CHRI's 30th anniversary, the festival was held at the University of Delhi on March 24-25, and at Jamia Millia Islamia today.
Exploring issues of marginalization, police excesses and injustice through the lens of cinema, the festival sought to generate debate and sensitize students on human rights abuses around the world and encourage viewers to question the mistakes of the past.
The festival featured nearly a dozen critically-acclaimed films and documentaries from India and abroad, selected for their thematic focus as well as cinematic merit by filmmaker Harshawardhan Varma. Among the films screened at the festival included ‘Rambuai’ by Maulee Senapati; 'Some Stories Around Witches' by Lipika Singh Darai, depicting the humanitarian crisis surrounding instances of witch hunting in Odisha; "Tell Them, “The Tree They Had Planted Has Now Grown” by Ajay Raina, a cinematic diary of a Kashmiri revisiting his home to witness the scars of a paradise lost, and 'Le Cercle des Noyes' (Drowned in Oblivion) by Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, which focused on mid-1980s Mauritania where an onslaught of political and social oppression unfolded against black men that sank below the basest forms of inhumanity.
‘Candles in the Wind’ by Kavita Bahl and Nandan Saxena, ‘Le Cas Pinochet’ (The Pinochet Case) by P Guzman, ‘What the Fields Remember’ by Subasri Krishnan and ‘Diamantes Negros’ (Black Diamonds) by Miguel Alcantud were the other films screened at the festival.
CHRI hosted this initiative in collaboration with the Centre for Violence, Memory and Trauma (CSVMT), University of Delhi, and Department of English and Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, Jamia Millia Islamia.