The Dork Shelf Guide to the 2014 Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Human Rights Watch

Balancing both the art of filmmaking and the need to bring vital and often overlooked societal issues around the world into the light, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival begins in Toronto (one of several cities where the not-for-profit organization holds screenings) today at the TIFF Bell Lightbox with an encore screening of this year’s Oscar nominated look inside the recent Egyptian revolution, The Square and runs through Thursday, March 6th with one screening every day.

From LGBT rights in American schools (the exceptional Hot Docs selection from last year, Valentine Road) to another Oscar nominated look at incredible atrocities in Cambodia (the multimedia constructed The Missing Picture), HRW strives to create a dialogue and forum to discuss major human rights abuses both past and present. Each film comes with either a filmmaker appearance or an expert in the topic being covered to help people gain a bigger understanding of the issues at hand beyond just showing what’s being exhibited on screen.

The festival largely speaks for itself, and while it certainly doesn’t aim to cater to audiences who want to feel good, these films inspire great amounts of hope that past mistakes and senseless tragedies can be avoided and that strides can be made for future progress throughout the world.

Here’s a look at a great deal of this year’s festival line-up, with the exception of The Square (which we covered here) and Uval Adler’s Bethlehem – this year’s lone fictional entry, which we will cover when the film sees its proper theatrical release next month. For a full list of screenings, guests, showtimes and tickets, check out the TIFF website. To learn more about Human Rights Watch, check out their website.


Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2014

Big Men

Highway of Tears

In the Shadow of the Sun


The Missing Picture

Saving Face (Kirk Haviland)

Valentine Road (Dave Voigt)