The San Sebastian Film and Human Rights Festival, organised by the Human Rights Department of the City Council and Donostia Kultura, seeks to build, through images and constructive debate, a critical, plural and committed vision of the great challenges facing humanity and to disseminate values thanks to the magic of cinema.
The topics covered in this edition are gentrification, the situation of women carers, the criminalisation of abortion, exile, the situation of refugees, Mali and its dependence on France, the internal borders of the countries of the North, the control of journalism by states, the roots of the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, rap as a tool of cultural resistance in Morocco by young people, and the battle of Matxitxako. As you can see, a very, very complete and certainly interesting programme.
A full-fledged festival
Up to 18 films will participate in the Official Section of the Festival in the current edition, the 19th to be held. In the same way, and as always, there will be talks with the public at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre during the evening, and at the weekend morning sessions at the Teatro Principal. All of these will be attended by members of the production team of the films presented, experts in the field, representatives of organisations and NGOs.
If you would like to attend, tickets are priced at 5 euros. They can be purchased at the box offices of the Principal and Victoria Eugenia theatres or online. There will also be invitations for the free sessions, which will be available to the public from Friday at the box offices of both theatres.
An engaged festival
Furthermore, the aim is to involve young people in the competition, as 90 young people between 18 and 30 years old will form the Youth Jury whose function is to choose the best short film of the International Short Film Competition. The writer of these lines participated in his time in this jury.
This year will also see the 4th Human Rights Educational Resources Fair, focusing this year on Educational Resources in Memory for Coexistence, which aims to make citizens aware of their rights, promote their application and be aware of violations when they occur. According to their own words, the objective they pursue is the construction of a “shared and broad memory of both the conflicts caused by political violence and the conflicts and discrimination made invisible by them”. One of the tools used by the fair is the online human rights game Begira TÚ.
The protagonist of the poster is a survivor
One interesting fact is that the Afghan activist and basketball player Nilofar Bayat is the protagonist of this poster. Bayat has serious mobility problems due to a Taliban shell that left her badly injured, but with tenacity and the help of organisations such as the Red Cross, she was able to participate in the national wheelchair basketball team. But with the Taliban taking control of the country, she had to flee Kabul. He was able to do so thanks to a pass from the Spanish government.
Nilofar Bayat posing with the poster
Once in Spain, the association of people with functional diversity Bidaideak helped Nilfar Bayat to start a new life in Euskadi, and she currently plays for Bidaideak Bilbao BSR, and with other women she has formed Free Women for Afghanistan, which carries out projects to collaborate with groups of women with disabilities in her country and denounce the Taliban’s policies towards them.
I can’t think of a better protagonist for this festival’s line-up, to be honest.