The 10th Annual Human Rights Arts and Film Festival Announces Program! Happy 10th Birthday!

Ahh the glorious Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (HRAFF) returns for its big 10 year anniversary and what a stunning line up the event has planned for 2017. I could gush on about it but the presser does a damn fine job of it all its own and you can read it below!

The 10th Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (HRAFF) has launched the complete program for its 2017 edition, which begins in Melbourne on Thursday 4 May and then tours to Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart throughout May and June.

Highlights of the full Melbourne program include Australia’s first ever Oscar-nominated foreign language feature film, Tanna (dirs. Martin Butler, Bentley Dean – Festival guest), about a young couple from the Yakel tribe in Vanuatu whose relationship is threatened by their elders’ insistence upon tribal custom, and the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winning Dheepan (dir. Jacques Audiard, A Prophet, Rust and Bone), which offers a searing examination of the immigrant experience in contemporary Europe.

The Festival is extremely honoured to present Sundance Film Festival favourite Quest (dir. Jonathan Olshefski – Festival guest), as its Closing Night film. Quest offers a profound illumination on race, class and community in its profile of Christopher ‘Quest’ Rainey and Christine ‘Ma Quest’ and their North Philadelphia home music-studio. Olshefski follows them over the course of a decade, as they open their hearts and their home to their underprivileged community and family-at-large (Melb, Can, Bris).

Australian Premieres screening in Melbourne (only) include Stranger in Paradise (dir. Guido Hendrikx), an insightful and original work that explores the opposing ideologies behind mass global migration; An Insignificant Man (dirs. Vinay Shukla and Kushboo Ranka), about the radical politician Arvind Kejriwal, aka ‘the Bernie Sanders of India’; The Pearl of Africa (dir. Johnny von Wallstrom), an exceptional document of what it means for one courageous transgender woman to live in Uganda in the face of anti-homosexuality laws; and Nowhere To Hide (dir. Zaradasht Ahmed), which offers a harrowing insider’s view into Iraq after the US withdrawal, an incisive film that won Best Documentary at IDFA 2016.

Highlights of the touring program include: Café Waldluft (dir. Matthias Kobmehl) (Melb, Can), an empathetic view of the refugee crisis in a small German mountain town; The Freedom to Marry (dir. Eddie Rosenstein) (Melb, Syd, Bris), which documents the former Obama administration’s journey towards the landmark ruling in the US Supreme Court for marriage equality; and Check It (dir. Dana Flor, Toby Oppenheimer) (Melb, Syd) which documents the first LGBTI ‘gang’ to emerge on the streets of Washington DC as a response to the violence experienced by gay and gender-queer teens.

The Australian Shorts (Melb, Syd, Per) and International Shorts (Melb, Syd) sessions will present sensitive and provocative films from around the country and across the globe. Highlights include Black Chook (dir. Dylan River), about a man’s (Brendan Cowell) journey to find out the identity of his late mother, and French, which won the Bridging the Borders award at the 2016 Palm Springs Film Festival, about a teenager who faces unexpected obstacles on her mission to become a French citizen.

This year’s Cineseeds program (Melb), suitable for children and adults alike, includes Zach’s Ceremony (dir. Aaron Peterson), a moving documentary about a 15-year-old boy caught between worlds, and Satellite Boy (dir. Catriona McKenzie), the captivating coming-of-age tale of a young boy desperate to stop the demolition of the bush cinema he calls and his indigenous grandfather (David Gulpilil) call home. HRAFF is also presenting an afternoon of collaborative street art and creation with one of Melbourne’s top street artists, Kaff-eine (Happyland), as part of HRAFF Goes West. Create with Kaff-eine is free for all-ages, at Footscray’s Phoenix Youth Club.

The Festival’s Arts program includes a variety of exhibitions and events from Melbourne and around the world. Artist Glenda Nicholls curates Weaving the Waterways – Women and Fishing, an inspired exhibition of the riverside life lived by women around South-East Australian waterways, which will exhibit at the Koorie Heritage Trust alongside Listen to your Elders, an aural exhibition of Elders’ knowledge from the Trust’s Oral History Collection.

Other Arts highlights include Rohingya: Refugee Crisis in Colour, a photography exhibition that portraits the people enduring the ongoing genocide West Myanmar – exhibiting at Fitzroy Library; and as part of the HRAFF Goes West eventMusic and Movement, the Footscray Community Arts Centre offers a free-dive into the multicultural music project Key of Sea and a free screening of Spear, directed by Stephen Page, artistic director of Bangarra Dance Theatre.

No Vacancy gallery at QV hosts Melbourne-based multi-media Kurdish artist Rushdi Anwar’s exhibition Reframe “Home” with Patterns of Displacement and The Substation presents Conflicted: Works from the Vietnam Archive Project, an installation that presents an alternative reading of the Vietnam War. The oral history project Behind The Wire, which documents personal stories from people who have sought asylum in Australia, has been transformed into an audio-visual and live oral history performance at Melba Spiegeltent alongside the launch of a book and accompanying exhibition, They Cannot Take the Sky – Stories from Detention, at the Immigration Museum.

This line-up joins the previously announced Opening Night film – the Australian Premiere of Hollie Fifer’s previously-maligned documentary The Opposition (Melb, Can, Bris) (director Hollie Fifer and protagonist Joe Moses in attendance) and the early announcement of the World Premiere of Happyland (Melb only; director Marti Salva, producers Emile Cheesman and Kaff-eine in attendance) and accompanying Happyland exhibition as part of the Arts program, Raving Iran(Melb, Syd), Radio Kobani (Aus premiere), Constance on the Edge (Melb, Syd, Hob), Do Not Resist (Melb) and the special Hear My Eyes presentation of Oscar-nominated Fire at Sea (Melb) set to a live score by Evelyn Ida Morris (Pikelet).

Finally the HRAFF Talks program invites filmmakers, artists, experts and activists into forums as an opportunity to extend the discussions provoked by the film and arts program alongside several live and video post-film Q&As. The line-up for HRAFF Talks this year includes: Industry Forum: Cinema and Social Impact, Building Communities: Immigration and Integration, Protest and Solidarity: First Nations and Indigenous Peoples, All is Love: Families and Marriage Equality. High profile panellists include writer Benjamin Law, 2015 NSW Young of Australian of the Year, Genevieve Clay-Smith, and contemporary choreographer and dancer, Amrita Hepi.

“HRAFF is proud to present a dynamic, inclusive and engaging program for the 10th Anniversary Festival and we look forward to your company in celebrating this major milestone,” says the Festival’s Program Director, Lauren Valmadre.

The full HRAFF Program also includes:

Plastic China (AP)

Fallen Flowers Thick Leaves (AP)

Off The Rails (AP)

Tempestad (AP)

War Book (AP)

When The Earth Seems to be Light (AP)


Les Chevalier Blancs

Melbourne Cinémathèque Screening: Water Rites


The Settlers


AP = Australian Premiere

For tickets and more information visit: HRAFF.ORG.AU






MELBOURNE 4 May – 18 May

Film Venue: ACMI

Art Venues: No Vacancy (Federation Square and QV), Footscray Community Arts Centre, the Immigration Museum, Fitzroy Library, Newport Substation, Koorie Heritage Trust

23 May – 27 May

Venue: Dendy Cinema Newtown

29 May – 31 May

Venue: Palace Electric Cinema


BRISBANE 1 – 3 June

Venue: Palace Barracks


PERTH 1 June

Venue: Luna on SX

Venue: University of Tasmania