The 9th Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (HRAFF) is excited to announce a selection of highlights from its 2016 program, which offers an entertaining and innovative showcase of events that delve into diverse and powerful human stories. These are just a few sneak peaks from the creative program of film, arts, music and forums which opens on 5 May in Melbourne.
"This year we have had the choice of so many excellent films. The Opening Night film will be a special premiere and is set to be one of the most important Australian documentaries of 2016 - more details to be unveiled in the coming weeks. The program is bound to challenge your thinking on contemporary issues: the films are passionate, thoughtful and inspirational; the arts are captivating and immersive; and the forums will throw fresh light on critical global and local issues. This will be another stellar year for HRAFF, exploring the complexities of many social justice issues that confront us today."
– Malcolm Blaylock, Program Director
Music, one of the most important forms of communication in Mali, disappeared overnight in 2012. Rather than lay down their instruments, Mali's musicians fought back. They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile, is a documentary which follows various musicians in Mali - in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music in the region. The film features one of the world's most exciting new bands, Songhoy Blues; created when four budding musicians from different corners of Mali fled to exile in Bamako. Writing and performing in response to the conflict with energy and a refusal to be dictated by extremist groups, these rising stars captured the attention of Damon Albarn (Blur), Brian Eno and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs). With their debut album, Music in Exile, released in 2015 to international acclaim, Songhoy Blues make their Australian debut just prior to HRAFF, playing Melbourne Recital Centre on Wednesday 16 March.
Straight from Sundance 2016 comes the winner of U.S documentary Special Jury Award: Verité Filmmaking The Bad Kids. Set on a remote patch of the Majave Desert sits an anomaly: a high school where educators, lead by principal Vonda Viland believe empathy, life skills, and constancy of a caring adult are the tools that will give at-risk students command of their fate. This is a touching and rich documentary that uses intimate verité camerawork and poetic, stylized sequences to create an immersive, emotional experience that gives way to not just information, but also insight about America's most pressing education problem: poverty.
Taking out two awards at the Sundance Film Festival, including Best Screenplay, the tense psychological thriller Stanford Prison Experiment makes its Melbourne Premiere at HRAFF. Featuring an extraordinary cast of rising young actors including Ezra Miller and Thomas Mann (Me, Earl and the Dying Girl) and Billy Crudup in the starring role. In 1971, Stanford University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo conducted an experiment in a simulated jail to examine the source of abusive behavior in the prison system. The experiment's results astonished the world, revealing the dark side of power and the effects of imprisonment in this notorious true story.
Another highlight takes us into the world of fashion. The True Cost is a story about clothing: the clothing we wear, the people who make it, and the impact the industry is having on our world. This groundbreaking documentary pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider: who really pays the price for our clothing? Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, featuring interviews with the world's leading influencers, including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva.
As part of its arts program, and for the first time ever, the festival sets foot in Footscray for HRAFF GOES WEST, an afternoon of entertainment and discussion, showcasing the stories of our newest Australians and celebrating their creative and cultural contribution. The event kicks off with a rhythmic, cross-cultural performance by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre's Music Group, followed by a selection of short films from the Festival's 2016 line-up and a paneldiscussion.
This year, due to the high-calibre of International Shorts available and popularity of HRAFF's short film offerings, the festival is expanding its line-up to include an additional International Shorts session. There will be four shorts sessions across the Melbourne leg in total, including the very popular Australian Shorts session. As part of the line-up HRAFF has secured all five nominees for Best Live Action Short Film at the 2016 Oscars, which include: Ave Maria, Day One, Everything Will Be Okay, Shok and Stutterer.
For its second year, HRAFF will present the highly successful Breakfast Sessions – four forums over two weekends in Melbourne that will discuss topics that are at the forefront of current human rights debates. Bringing fresh perspectives and new insights, panels have been assembled to bring a variety of opinions, knowledge and expertise. There will also be forums in Sydney and Darwin, with the schedule to be confirmed in the coming weeks. Breakfast Sessions in Melbourne will be accompanied by tea, coffee and a muffin. These events areticketed and bookings are essential.
The national tour kicks off in Melbourne on 5 May, followed by Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Alice Springs and Darwin.
The full program will be announced in early April.
For more information or to subscribe to the e-news visit www.hraff.org.au
hraff 2016 Festival Dates:
MELBOURNE 5 May – 19 May
Film Venue: ACMI
Art Venues: Koorie Heritage Trust, The Substation, Neon Parlour, The Ownership Project, No Vacancy
(The Atrium) and Footscray Community Arts Centre
SYDNEY 24 May – 28 May
Venue: Dendy Cinema Newtown
BRISBANE 24 May – 26 May
Venue: Brisbane Powerhouse
CANBERRA 3 – 5 June
Venue: Palace Electric Cinema
PERTH 30 May – 1 June
Venue: Luna on Essex Cinema
ALICE SPRINGS 30 May – May 31
Venue: Alice Springs Cinema
DARWIN 6 June – June 8
Venue: Deckchair Cinema