East Africa: Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

(Nairobi) – The Nairobi edition of the Human Rights Watch film festival celebrates its 9th season this year with its first digital expansion to audiences in seven countries in eastern Africa, showing free films November 9-13, 2020. The films and panel discussions will be accessible online to audiences in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and uprisings this year against police brutality and the systemic abuses of minorities, activists in the East Africa regions are pushing back against abusive government responses to the pandemic, and the use of security forces to crack down on critics. The festival aims to continue conversations about movements against repression and exclusion and demands to governments to be treated with dignity.

This year, the festival is co-presented with Filmaid.

“As we document human rights violations in the region, we are working with activists in Africa who are building support and leading change even during this pandemic,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “These documentaries follow people who are inspiring communities to resist repression and stand up for their rights. We are excited to expand the festival to audiences around East Africa.”

The lineup of the festival follows.

On the President’s Orders, James Jones and Olivier Sarbil
No Box for Me: An Intersex Story, Floriane Devigne
Maxima, Claudia Sparrow
Imported for My Body, Nyasha Kadandara and Pete Murimi
Gather, Sanjay Rawal, co-presented with FILMAID

Tickets to the film festival are limited. The online panel discussions following each film will feature Human Rights Watch experts, filmmakers, and activists, who will be live-captioned in English.

To secure a free ticket for this film festival and to register for the online discussions, please visit:

For additional details about the films, please see below.

Opening Night: 

Live Q&A November 9, 8:30 p.m. EAT
On the President’s Orders: by James Jones and Olivier Sarbil, 2019, 72m
In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte announced a “war on drugs” in the Philippines, setting off a wave of violence and murder targeting thousands of suspected drug dealers and users. With unprecedented, intimate access both to police officials implicated in the killings and the families destroyed as the result of Duterte’s deadly campaign, On the President’s Orders is a shocking and revelatory investigation into the extrajudicial murders that continue to this day.
Fully subtitled in English.
Register for the Q&A here: https://bit.ly/3jnk3Fp
African digital festival premiere

Live Q&A November 10, 8:30 p.m. EAT
No Box for Me. An Intersex Story by Floriane Devigne, 2018, 58m
Deborah, 25, and M, 27, are living in bodies that Western medicine – and often society – deems taboo to discuss publicly. Like an estimated 1.7 percent of people, they were born with variations in their sex characteristics that were different from classical understandings of male or female. This beautifully crafted, poetic documentary joins brave young people as they seek to reappropriate their bodies and explore their identities, revealing both the limits of binary visions of sex and gender, and the irreversible physical and psychological impact of nonconsensual surgery on intersex infants.
Fully subtitled in English.
Register for the Q&A here: https://bit.ly/2Hp4gsq
African digital festival premiere

Live Q&A November 11, 8:30 p.m. EAT
Maxima: by Claudia Sparrow, 2019, 88m
Maxima tells the story of the 2016 environmental Goldman Prize winner Máxima Acuña and her family, who own a small, remote plot in the Peruvian Highlands and rely solely on the environment for their livelihood. But their land sits directly in the path of a multi-billion-dollar project run by one of the world’s largest gold-mining corporations. Faced with intimidation, violence, and criminal prosecution, Máxima wages a tireless fight for justice. Máxima sings of her love of the land in the face of widespread oppression of Indigenous people, and relentless attempts to destroy environmental resources that the world relies on.
Partially subtitled in English.
Register for the Q&A here: https://bit.ly/34nracK
African digital festival premiere

Live Q&A November 12, 8:30 p.m. EAT
Imported for My Body: by Nyasha Kadandara and Peter Murimi, 2019, 52m

Imported for My Body is an investigation featuring Grace, a Kenyan woman who is one of many women trafficked to India from East and West Africa as part of a large sex-trafficking network. After responding to an advert for dancers abroad, Grace arrives in New Delhi, where her passport is confiscated, and she must pay a grossly inflated fee for her travel. She is then forced to earn her freedom by doing sex work. Grace goes undercover, wearing secret cameras to capture unprecedented footage exposing an underground ring entrapping women.
Partially subtitled in English.
Register for the Q&A here: https://bit.ly/3jnivLA
Digital festival premiere

Closing Night:

Live Q&A November 13, 8.30 pm EAT
Gather: by Sanjay Rawal, 2020, 74m
Gather celebrates the fruits of the indigenous food sovereignty movement, profiling innovative changemakers in Native American communities across North America reclaiming their identities after centuries of physical and cultural genocide. On the Apache reservation, a chef embarks on an ambitious project to reclaim his community’s ancient ingredients. In South Dakota, a gifted Lakota high school student, raised on a buffalo ranch, is using science to prove her community’s native wisdom about environmental sustainability. Gather beautifully shows how reclaiming and recovering ancient foodways provides a form of resistance and survival, collectively bringing back health and self-determination to their people.
Register for the Q&A here: https://bit.ly/3knTmBA
African digital festival premiere
Co-presented with FILMAID