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Human Rights Watch Film Festival Returns To MOPA

Courtesy photo.
What Tomorrow Brings
Courtesy photo.
Human Rights Watch Film Festival Returns To MOPA
Human Rights Watch Film Festival Returns To MOPA GUESTS: Paolo Zuñiga, film programs coordinator, Museum of Photographic Arts Beth Murphy, director and producer, "What Tomorrow Brings"

The films have a point of view. So that the people who watch them. That's an essential element of this year's human rights watch film festival at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts. The film festival gives us a glimpse of how people struggle to obtain and re-attain their rights and dignity. It focuses on hot button issues this year. To the films will explore the importance of a free press and the plight of Syrian refugees. The festival organizers are hoping the screenings will lead to what they call much needed debate in the community. Joining me as Colona Zika, he is the film program manager. Welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. Best -- Beth Murthy joins us as well. Thank you so much. This is the seventh year, give us a sense of the specific topics the festival is tackling this year. I think one of the biggest ones is sort of women's empowerment. The refugee crisis that is happening. Essentially all across the globe. And freedom of the press. Those are the three key topics that we are focusing on this year. What are the elements that make the film right for the human rights film Festival? Through this selection process I think we obviously look for a well-made film. Also we consider the connection and the possible conversations that can happen here locally in San Diego. There's a lot of great films that don't make the cut. Specifically, obviously there's a limited number of films, also the conversation is not as strong. San Diego may not be the right city for it. With that said I feel that this election this year is a very important one. It will lead to great discussions this weekend. Beth year the director of the film that's opening up the film festival. I'm very honored to be opening the festival. What tomorrow brings is focused on the first girl school in a small village in Afghanistan. It's a place that never had a girl school before. The fathers weren't really sure they wanted to send their daughters to school at all. There was a lot of resistance when the school founder, who will also be at the festival, when she came to town and wanted to open the school for girls and go to school for the first time. We have a clip of that Beth. Let me play that now. When I opened the school the first year, I think it was very tough. Some men came inside and said please make it into a boy school because the boys are the backbone of Afghanistan. They need this help. I said you know the women are the eyesight of Afghanistan. I said unfortunately you all are blind. That is a clip from what tomorrow brings. The film's director, Beth Murphy, is on the line with me. Beth why did you want to tell the story? I thought what Paolo Zuñiga was doing was incredible. She was bringing education to a place for girls that had never had an education available to them before. Of course learning is happening, they are learning how to write and read and do math. It is a school, but the education that these girls are getting is so much beyond what is happening in the classroom. They are really learning what it is like to become a young woman. In Afghanistan and what is like to come of age in a very patriarchal society. And what it's like to try to realize their dreams given the challenges that they face. The teachers and Paolo Zuñiga help these girls navigate that in the most beautiful way. Not everything is a success story. As -- little by little they are able to chip away at some of those attitudes that prevented girls from going to school. They went from being a community that did not want to have a girl school at all to being a community that now is celebrating their daughter's graduation from high school. And supporting the building and opening of a college right next to the school. Paolo Zuñiga there are six films that are going to be screened during the human rights watch film festival. There seems to be a special emphasis this year about these films providing a setting for dialogue among committee members. It's an opportunity essentially to gain a better understanding of some of the issues that are going on around the world. There are so many things right now. I think we are creating a platform for people to come and see these films, and create this dialogue, not only have conversations with the filmmakers, but also amongst themselves. A lot of times this is our seventh year, and every year it is something were after the film and the Q&A people still hang out have these conversations. They always want to get more information on how they can help, or how they can share this film with someone else. The film what tomorrow brings is a great one. We try to get this last year, it's such a great film. It just didn't work out. I'm glad it did this year. It's looking to sell out. It's a great thing. We are hoping that sparks the conversations for the entire weekend. Some of these films are actually difficult to watch. What you want the audience to walk away with? The reality of these issues is a difficult thing. We can't turn away from it. It's important that we hear these stories and see the stories. And that we reflect on them. The human rights watched film Festival starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday at the Museum of Photographic Arts at Balboa Park. I have been speaking with Paolo Zuñiga , and Beth Murphy director of what tomorrow brings. Thank you both very much.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival

When: Friday-Sunday

Where: Museum of Photographic Arts

Ticket Info

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns this weekend to the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park for the seventh year.

The festival features six films that shine a brighter light on human rights abuses happening around the globe. The aim, organizers said, is to 'explore courage and and progress through documentary films.'

Opening the festival this year is the documentary "What Tomorrow Brings" about the first girls' school in a rural Afghan village.

The Oscar-nominated documentary "I Am Not Your Negro" screens Saturday. Using text from novelist James Baldwin's unfinished book, filmmaker Raoul Peck explores what it means to be black in America and the nation's history of racial tension from the Civil Rights era to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Other featured films touch on free speech rights and the plight of Syrian refugees.

Paolo Zuñiga, film programs coordinator at the Museum of Photographic Arts and Beth Murphy, director and producer of "What Tomorrow Brings", preview the festival's lineup, Wednesday on Midday Edition.

What Tomorrow Brings