The Lebanese NGO “Art Factory 961” launched today the fourth edition of "Karama Beirut Human Rights Film Festival" under the theme “Talk to Her,” at a press conference held at Metropolis, Empire Sofil. The festival, held in cooperation with the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC Beirut), and with the support of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the regional office for the Middle East and North Africa (OHCHR-MENA), the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the embassies of Switzerland and the Czech Republic in Lebanon, runs from 1 to 5 July at Metropolis, Empire Sofil.
The conference featured statements by Mr. Robert Tripes, Minister-Counsellor at the Embassy of the Czech Republic to Lebanon, and festival director Haytham Chamass. The festival’s program manager Najwa Kondakji presented the films that will be screened throughout the five-day Festival period.
In his speech, Tripes recalled that the Czech Republic has always been a strong advocate for human rights, and a supporter to the Karama Beirut Human Rights Film Festival. He highlighted the different types of disadvantages facing women, particularly the so-called ‘system restrictions” that are manifested, not only in wartime sexual violence, sex trafficking and femicide, but also in gender pay gaps, and other forms of socio-economic equalities that leave women at high risk of poverty. “Women spend on unpaid care and domestic work 250% more time than men,” Tripes noted as an example to highlight the problem of gender inequality. Tripes concluded by insisting that men should be part of the struggle for the achievement of women rights. “This is not just a fight for one gender. We can only get things done if there is an alliance between men and women on this,” he hammered before wishing the Festival “every success.”
In his speech, Chamass highlighted the principle of gender equality as a fundamental human right and as an essential foundation for peace and sustainable prosperity. He pointed out the importance of looking at gender from a modernist point of view, since achieving gender equality helps build a contemporary life that guarantees efficient production, positive achievement and innovation. Referring to discrimination between women and men in many parts of the world, Chamass said: “We have a social problem that is worth being addressed, monitored, examined and presented through cinematic arts as an effective tool of expression.” He also noted the importance of this Festival in “sharing human responsibility” through the production and presentation of films that tell the reality of women in different societies and cultures, aiming to “establish a civilized discourse that links individual and public interests,” and call for “expanding interaction and dialogue among us as equal individuals.”
For her part, Kondakji presented the festival programme (attached), which includes 24 films from Lebanon, the Arab World, Europe, America, and Asia, including seven long documentaries, four short documentaries, three long features, four short feature films and six animation films, followed by Q&A sessions. The festival programme also features a major panel discussion addressing the law of personal status and its negative effects on women in Lebanon.
2019 Festival Guests
Each year the festival hosts a number of distinguished guests from Lebanon and the Arab world in the fields of art and direction. The following are some of the guests of the fourth edition:
- Anas Tolba: Director of “Between Two Seas”- Egypt
- Tamara Abu Laban: Director of “The Walls of Dheisheh” – Palestine
- Salim Saab: Director of “Strong”-Lebanon/France
- Søren Klovborg : Director of “Maid in Hell”- Denmark
- Fawaz Traboulsi: Producer of “The Hour of Liberation”- UK/ Lebanon/ France
- Allaith Hajjo: Director of “The Cord”- Syria
- Seif Shekh Najib: Director of “Tent 56”- Syria
- Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud: Director of “Fatwa” – Tunisia
- Dima Nachawi: Director of “The Secret of Raindrops” - Syria
- Jiri Zykmund: Director of “Never Stop”- Czech
- Andreas Wolff: Director of “The Potess”-Germany
- Reza Farahmand: Director of “Women with Gunpowder Earrings”- Iran
- Maya Mounayer: Director of “Home of The Rivers”- Syria
- Inka Achté: Director of “Boys Who Like Girls”- Finland
- Souudade Kaadan: Director of “The Day I Lost My Shadow”-Syria
- Lama Tayara: Journalist- Syria
- Sawsan Darwaza: Festival Director of Karama Human Rights Film Festival – Jordan
- Ehab Khatib: Artistic Director of Karama Human Rights Film Festival -Jordan
Karama Beirut Human Rights Film Festival (KBHRFF) is a film event that contributes, among other well-established and renowned human rights film festivals in the world, to spreading a cinema that denounces racism, hate discourse, discrimination and injustice. The 1st edition of KBHRFF was held in 2016 under the theme “The Others,” and aimed to raise awareness on the rights of refugees and minorities in Lebanon and the Arab World, while the 2nd edition in 2017 addressed the theme “New Identities” and focused on new identities conflict. The 3rd edition in 2018 aimed to support freedom of expression.
The current fourth edition falls under the framework of the Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality. Equality between women and men is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a world of peace, prosperity and sustainability.