Human Rights Law Centre

Human Rights Film Series

The Human Rights Film Series is a hugely popular, student-led initiative which shows engaging and provocative films that bring challenging human rights issues to life. 

The context of each film is briefly introduced by a relevant expert while an optional discussion is held after the film. Screenings are organised by a student committee with the support of the Human Rights Law Centre and are free and open to the community.


The Human Rights Film Series will return in 2023/24.


How it works

The Film Series is a student-led initiative started in 2006 by two LLM students. Now a popular and regular campus event, the Film Series shows engaging and provocative films which bring challenging human rights issues to life. 

Films which articulate human rights issues in an engaging and provocative way are selected for screening – we aim to show a wide variety of genres and styles, sometimes including big-budget blockbusters (The Constant Gardener, Shooting Dogs), but more often independently produced films (Fuse, Das Leben der Anderen, In This World) controversial and harrowing documentaries (Taxi to the Dark Side, Darwin's Nightmare, Leaving Fear Behind) and animated features (Persepolis).

The series allows audiences to engage with contemporary human rights issues through a powerful creative medium, one which brings to life the realities of human struggle, exploitation, despair and hope across the world.


Each film is introduced by someone with direct experience of the issues it tackles - including academics, experts and activists. After the film, an optional discussion creates a space to engage more closely with the issues raised in the screening.

Where and when

It's rare to see many of these films on the big screen in the UK, so make sure you don't miss out! The Film Series runs during semester time, showing an average of one film every two weeks in an appropriate lecture theatre - usually in Room B63 Law and Social Sciences Building - please check the HRLC website Events page for details of upcoming films, timings and screening location.

To find out more about the film series, or make suggestions for future screenings, email


Human Rights Film Series 2018/19

In 2018/19 the HRFS is testing out a new approach - there were two screenings in the autumn term - The Man Who Mends Women on 12 October and He Called me Malala on 5 December, which gave us time to prepare a full programme for the Spring term with a film every Friday!

Here is the full schedule for 2019:

  • 25 January: The Pianist
  • 1 February: Even the Rain
  • 8 February: Nanette
  • 15 February: Hidden Figures
  • 1 March: Seeing Allred
  • 8 March: Battle of the Sexes

All screenings are planned for 4-6pm in B63 LASS.



Spring 2018

Whose Streets?

When an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by police and left lying on the streets in Missouri, it marked a breaking point and sparked the Ferguson uprising. Whose Streets? is a documentary that follows the arc as it unfolds, from the demonstrations, heavy-handed policing, violence and, eventually, national outcry. These young
community members become the torchbearers of a new wave of resistance as they demand justice.

Watch the trailer


Selma is based on a campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965 to secure voting rights through an epic march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. Despite being desegregated, the Southern State still had deeply entrenched racist policies. Protesters were confronted with deadly violence from white vigilante groups and local authorities.

The historic march raised awareness of the difficulties faced by black voters. Their efforts culminated in the Voting Rights Act, one of the most expansive pieces of civil rights legislation in American history. It greatly reduced the disparity between black and white voters and paved the way for a greater number of African Americans to participate in politics and government.

Watch the trailer

Zero Silence

Zero Silence is a documentary film about the young people in the Arab world who became irate over the authoritarian regimes they live(d) in. Through social media platforms and whistle-blowing sites, they campaigned, among others, to stop the heavy censorship and control from the State over free speech. Shot between November 2009 and June 2011, Zero Silence portrays an intimate account of the lives of young Arabs in Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon. We journey through their fear, hope and desire as they struggle to shape a new narrative for themselves and their countries.

Watch the trailer

Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda is a true story set in 1994 during the Rwandan Genocide and memorialises one of the most ghastly and unfathomable episodes of recent human history. In the face of these unspeakable actions, inspired by his love for his family, an ordinary man Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of the Sabena owned Hôtel des Mille Collines, summons extraordinary courage to save the lives of over a thousand helpless refugees, by granting them shelter in the hotel he manages.

Watch the trailer



Autumn 2017

Red Ant Dream

Red Ant Dream is a documentary on the ongoing conflict in the 'Red Corridor' of India. It follows the tale of the relentless struggle of indigenous Indian tribes and lower caste people resisting oppression and rising against corporations seizing their resources. In particular, it focuses on the Maoists in the Bastar District in the state of Chhattisgarh, tribals fighting against industrialists in Niyamgiri in Odisha, and protestors acting in memory of the Leftist revolutionary Bhagat Singh in Punjab. This is a chronicle of those who live the revolutionary ideal in India, a rare encounter with the invisible domain of those whose every day is a fight for another ideal of the world. Red Ant Dream is the third in a cycle of films that interrogate the workings of Indian democracy, and follows Jashn-e-Azadi (2007) about the idea of freedom for Kashmir, and Words on Water (2002) about the people's movement against large dams in the Narmada valley.

Watch the trailer

The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground tackles the disturbing epidemic of sexual assault in college campuses in America. It exposes the systemic reasons why colleges and universities often fail to act and cover up the crimes, even when rape victims come forward demanding justice. The documentary follows the lives of several assault survivors as they face retaliation as they attempt to fight for justice. They rally to form an organisation of student activists who learn how to file civil complaints while their schools ignore their claims and turns their backs on them.

Watch the trailer

Spring 2017

Winter Butterfly

Winter Butterfly is a truthful account of daily life in North Korea. Directed by Kim Gyu-min, the film follows a mother and her 11-year-old son who live on the society’s edge, barely scraping by and having enough to eat. One day the boy went to the mountains by himself to gather wood after having an argument with his mother. However, he got lost and it took him days to find his way home. He thought of his loving mother who would be waiting for him, yet little did he know that everything that had happened was just the beginning of unhappiness.

Watch the trailer

West of Memphis

On 6 May 1993, the naked and mutilated bodies of three eight-year-old boys were found in a ditch in the town of West Memphis, Arkansas. A trio of teenagers were soon arrested, charged and convicted of the crimes: one received the death penalty while the other two were imprisoned for life without parole. However, it later emerged that none of them had committed the crimes. West of Memphis documents the 18-year history of the case and sheds light into one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice in modern US history. It was a concoction of manipulated perceptions, coached witnesses, class prejudices and politically ambitious lawyers. In the investigation and prosecution, the presumption of innocence took a back seat to convicting the teenagers at all costs.

Watch the trailer

Eye in the Sky

Eye in the Sky is a 2015 British thriller film. Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from "capture" to "kill." But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.

Watch the trailer

Queen of Katwe

Queen of Katwe is a Disney movie based on a true story of a young girl growing up selling corn on the streets of the largest slums in Uganda. Her world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. The importance of education and opportunity for enabling girls to pursue their dreams permeates the narrative.

Watch the trailer


Based on a true story, the film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners' strike in 1984, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. The alliance was unlike any seen before and was ultimately successful.

Watch the trailer

Sepideh: Reaching for the stars

Sepideh is a 2013 Persian-language Danish documentary which follows the journey of sixteen year old Sepideh, an Iranian girl with aspirations to become an astronaut. Against the best wishes of her family, she spends her nights stargazing and exploring the secrets of the universe.  Sepideh's ambitions differ wildly from dominant norms attributed to women in Iran, making her dreams and plans to go to university seem impossible to realise. With the help of the world's first female space tourist, Anouseh Ansari, Sepideh perseveres and takes up the challenge of a lifetime.

Watch the trailer

Arekti Premer Golpo

An exploration of gender and sexuality, and the interconnectivity of the two, Arekti Premer Golpo follows a documentary filmmaker who comes to terms with their trans identity, only for that revelation to then make them and their partner question their sexuality. Juxtaposed by an exploration of queerness in Indian classical dance, it is a powerful portrait of self-acceptance and self-love.



Autumn 2016

Born into Brothels

Born Into Brothels is an Oscar-winning documentary about the lives of eight children born in Sonagchi, Kolkata’s notorious red light district. They are the children of sex workers and it was brutally inevitable that without help, they would be trapped in the vicious circle of poverty, prostitution and drug addition that seemed to be a settled way of life there. The children’s hope for a better future, however, was lit when they met Zana Briski, a British photographer, who went to Kolkata in an attempt to document prostitution in Sonagchi. She gave them cameras, taught them photography and inspired them to change their lives. Briski was determined to ensure that these intellectually curious and optimistic children received the education that they were entitled to.

Watch the trailer

Fire at Sea

Filmed during the 2015 European migrant crisis, Fire At Sea is a portrait of the treacherous Mediterranean crossing undertaken by hundreds of thousands of migrants every year. The documentary focuses, in particular, on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, whose geographical proximity to Libya makes it an ideal gateway to Europe for desperate African and Middle-Eastern migrants fleeing from wars, unrest, poverty and starvation. Yet not all of those who attempted the crossing made it to Lampedusa: 400,000 migrants, 15,000 deaths.

Watch the trailer

Slavery: a global investigation

Slavery: A Global Investigation is an eye-opening documentary that challenges popular beliefs about modern-day slavery: it is not a problem of the past; neither is it a problem in developing countries alone. The film-makers’ cross-continental journey from the Ivory Coast’s cocoa industry to the UK’s and the US’ domestic slavery emphasises the global presence of modern-day slavery and the fact that it is much more common than we think it is. The documentary is not all bad news, however. Kate Blewett and Brian Woods also explore how slavery can be fought and how we can ensure that the next time we buy a bar of chocolate, we are not buying into slavery.

La Grande Illusion

During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts ensue until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress with little means of escape. The movie has been consistently critically praised since its original release in 1937 and is regarded by many as timeless humanitarian cinema. Franklin d. Roosevelt once said "every democratic person should see this film". This claim can be exemplified in contemporary terms by contrasting the seemingly fair treatment afforded to the two officers in the movie and the generally harsher conditions suffered by more recent P.O.Ws  in the former Yugoslavia, Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

Watch the trailer


Over a century ago, 1.5 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were massacred at the instigation of the Young Turk government. This atrocity would now be called a genocide, that is, a systemic and premeditated extermination of an entire people. The Turkish government, however, has persistently denied labelling it so since the First World War. Aghet: Ein Völkermord (Aghet: A Genocide, with ‘aghet’ being Armenian for catastrophe) is a German director’s response to this denial. Using the actual words of foreign diplomats, engineers and missionaries who were there and witnessed the atrocities, the documentary exposes the brutality of the killings and explores the wider impact of the Turkish government’s persistent denial on international foreign policy.

Spring 2016

Five Broken Cameras

Five Broken Cameras is a documentary filmed by the Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who was born inside the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. Emad uses his five cameras to document Palestinian life under the occupation and to demonstrate his civil engagement.
This deeply personal account of life and of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a village surrounded by Israeli settlements, invites us to reflect on how the construction of the wall by Israel and the occupation affect the daily life of many Palestinians. In addition, since Burnat uses filming as a way to participate in the demonstrations against the wall, the documentary introduces the topic of non-violent resistance in the occupied territories.

Watch the trailer


Circumstance is a film about the fight for sexual freedom of an Iranian teenager, whose attempt to define and express her sexual orientation is opposed by a wealthy and traditional family and by Iran's laws, which criminalise same-sex relationships. 
This film invites us to reflect upon the state of the rights of LGBTI people around the world: in approximately 70 states (mainly in Africa, South-East Asia and Middle East) homosexuality is illegal, whereas in 10 countries, including Iran, people who engage in homosexual acts face the death penalty, because of the threats to public health and welfare allegedly posed by homosexuality.
Criminalisation and discrimination of LGBTI people violate several human rights protected by international law, of which the most important are the freedom from driscrimination and right to privacy, as affirmed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For this reason, a commitment from the international community is fundamental, to ensure that human rights are respected and to put an end to the violence and discrimination to which LGBTI individuals are exposed. Similarly, it is increasingly important to combat prejudice and promote a change at the domestic level: civil engagement could be one successful way of applying pressure on governments.

Watch the trailer

The Soloist

In 2005, The Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez is in pressing need of story ideas. That is when he discovers Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent, even though he only has a half-broken instrument. Inspired by his story, Lopez writes an acclaimed series of articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help both him and the rest of the homeless of LA have a better life. However, Lopez's good intentions run headlong into the harsh realities of the strength of Ayers' personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless. 
The right to an adequate standard of living, including housing, is a human right. However, homelessness is a real issue in our society. The number of people struggling to find a place to sleep every night has been increasing in the past years, in Nottingham as well as in the rest of the UK, in the wake of austerity policies.
Homeless people often feel isolated from society. This film is about friendship and really invites us to reconsider our behaviour towards them. 
The film will be introduced by Sam Ward, who works for Framework, a charity and specialist housing association dedicated to helping homeless people, preventing homelessness, and promoting opportunities for vulnerable and excluded people to change the direction of their lives.

Watch the trailer

Cartel Land

Cartel Land tells the story of vigilante groups fighting the Mexican drug cartels. The film focuses on Tim Foley, the leader of the Arizona Border Recon, and Dr. Jose Mireles, a Michoacan-based physician who leads the Autodefensas in Mexico. They both lead citizens uprisings against the drug cartels in their region. 
When your government cannot provide basic safety from murderous organised criminals, is it acceptable to take the law into your own hands to protect your family, your land, and your country? That is the question at the heart of Cartel Land, a powerfully visceral journey of two modern-day vigilante movements. In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as "El Doctor," shepherds a citizen uprising against the Knights Templar, the violent drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Meanwhile, in Arizona's Altar Valley—a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley—Tim "Nailer" Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to halt Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across the US border.
This documentary is about the struggle of civilians during conflict, who take the matters in their own hands when their government fails to protect their basic human rights. It also raises queries of accountability for human rights violations by non-state actors, i.e. of both the cartels and the autodefensas.

Watch the trailer

Chicago Girl

From her childhood bedroom in the Chicago suburbs, Ala'a, an American teenage girl, uses social media to coordinate the revolution in Syria. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and cameraphones, she helps her social network "on the ground" in Syria where there are brave snipers and shelling in the streets in order to show the world the human rights atrocities of a dictator. But just because the world can see the violence doesn't mean that the world can help. As the revolution rages on, everyone in Ala'a's network must decide what is the most effective way to fight a dictator: social media or AK-47s?
This film invites reflections not just on the Syria crisis and its terrible impact on many civilians' lives, but also on the question as to how new technology can play a role in contributing to human rights activism. The film will be introduced by Auriane Botte , a PhD student who works on accountability of States for international crimes. She, together with Mrs. Rachel Miller, a local fundraiser from Nottingham who has successfully raised more than £20,000 to aid refugees in Syria will be here to answer any relevant questions.

Watch the trailer


This is a special screening in anticipation of our Student Conference 'The UN Human Rights Council: 10 Years On' on Saturday 5 March.
Peace and security, development and human rights are the three pillars of the United Nations' work. The Conference will look at the work of the main body responsible for human rights, the UN Human Rights Council. Before that, we want to take a step back with this film and look at the United Nation as a whole.
Since the creation of the UN in 1946, the world has gone through many significant changes. Inter-state wars have become  less frequent, and yet, internal conflicts have proliferated and violence of new kind has emerged. What is the role of the UN in this scenario?
U.N. Me is a documentary which examines critically the role the United Nations play today in the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as the promotion of development and human rights. Can we still say that the UN is able to live up to its original ambitions, spelled out in its constitutive document, the Charter, or is the organisation now unable to fulfil its responsibilities?
Since the lack of prompt reaction of the Security Council in the face of the Rwandan genocide, has the main UN political organ become more active in responding to major world crises, such as terrorism, nuclear weapons threats, and other challenges?
The documentary tries to respond to these questions, focusing on some particular areas of involvement of the organisation, such as peacekeeping operations and the response to terrorism.
Q and A with Professor Nigel White, Head of School and expert on UN law.

Watch the trailer

The Man Who Mends Women

Winner of the Sakharov Prize 2014, Doctor Mukwege is  known internationally as the man who mends thousands of women who have been raped during the 20 years of conflicts in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the poorest countries on the planet, despite its extremely rich sub-soil. His endless struggle to put an end to these atrocities and denounce the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators is not welcome. At the end of 2012, the doctor was the target of another attempt on his life, which he miraculously survived. Threatened with death, this doctor with an exceptional destiny now lives cloistered in his hospital in Bukavu under the protection of United Nations peacekeepers. He is, however, no longer alone in his struggle. The women to whom he has restored physical integrity and dignity, stand beside him, true activists for peace, hungry for justice.
Sexual violence against women has been used as a weapon of war in many regions of the world. This film seeks to raise global awareness of the issue by showing us the true life stories of the women in DRC. Despite the continued efforts by individuals like Dr. Mukwege, what actions have been taken by the national and local governments? What has the international community done?
The film will be introduced by Professor Olympia Bekou, Head of HRLC's International Criminal Justice Unit, who has recently returned from her fifth trip to the DRC where she presented a report on Prioritising International Sex Crimes in the DRC.  

Watch the trailer

Taxi Teheran

For the very last film of this year, the Human Rights Film Series Committee has chosen a provocative and brilliant documentary about Iran, which taxes place almost entirely within a taxi. 

Taxi Teheran is the true story of Jafar Panhavi, one of the most influential film-makers in Iran, who was banned by the government from making films for 20 years in his home country. But this hasn't stopped the Iranian director from pursuing his mission to tell stories, and so he defies censorship and camouflages himself as a taxi driver, transforming his car into a stage for crimes, confessions and a goldfish-related tragedy. By doing that, his aim is to portray daily life in the capital  and to reflect on the social challenges his country faces. 

Among the issues emerging from the conversations of the passengers, are the controversial ones of capital punishment, the relationship between Iranians and the authorities, the public and private sphere, and the influence of religion in society. The documentary is a spontaneous reflection of a multi-faceted Iranian society, and at the same time a testament to the fact that in the twenty-first century cinema is truly elsewhere. 

Guest Speaker: Ali Samet, LLM Student from Iran 

Watch the trailer



Autumn 2015

God Grew Tired of Us

The film follows three of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”, a group of some 25,000 young men who have fled the wars in Sudan since the 1980s, and their experiences as they move to the United States.

The film explores many of the difficulties surrounding integration as well as the struggles of having to completely leave your previous life behind and start anew. These three boys have uprooted their lives and must now learn to adapt to the shock of being thrust into the economically intense culture of the United States, learning new customs, adapting to new and strange foods, coping with the ordeal of getting, and keeping a job, while never forgetting the life they left behind in Africa. They dedicate themselves to doing whatever they can to help those they left behind in the refugee camps in Africa, and to discovering the fate of their parents and family.

The film gives insight into the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers in Western countries including the United Kingdom.

Watch the trailer


“A defiant song of a nation in peril" The Guardian  Timbuktu is a drama film which depicts the hypocrisy and absurdity of the extreme interpretation of religious laws imposed by militants on the embattled residents of this austerely beautiful Malian city on the edge of the Sahara desert. The city is silent. No music. No tea. No footballs. No cigarettes. No laughs. Nearly everything is prohibited by the religious fundamentalists in the region. In the dunes, away from the chaos, Kidane who once enjoyed a quiet life with his wife and daughter, must face the law of the new rulers after he accidentally shoots the fisherman who killed his favourite cow.  The film tells the story of the struggles of ordinary people of Kidne, but also of the woman sentenced to 40 lashes for singing, and another 40 for being in the same room with a man who is not part of her family; of a couple who are buried up to their necks in sand and stoned to death for adultery and the stories of many more. 

Dr Louise Kettle, Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations, will give a short introductory talk to the film.

Watch the trailer

The Whistleblower 

The true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a police officer from Lincoln, Nebraska, who accepted an offer given by the American private security firm DynCorp to join the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. While there, she uncovered direct evidence of a sex trafficking operation. When she presented her evidence to her superiors, it was ignored. When she persisted, she was fired. The U.N. officials did more than turn a blind eye. They were aware - or even deeply involved.  This film explores a truth that most would find hard to believe: the scandal and cover-up of corruption, violations of human rights and allegations of sexual misconduct from UN personnel, mandated to protect the rights of the vulnerable people they failed. So, 15 years on, has the UN learned to deal with scandals amongst its own? Has it changed its attitude to whistleblowers? 

Watch the trailer

On the Way to School

Four children from four different countries, connected by a common aspiration: to study and achieve an education in order to realise their dreams for the future. ‘On the Way to School’ is a documentary which follows Jackson, Zahira, Carlos and Samuel on their long and challenging daily journey to school.  This documentary represents a powerful reflection on the right to education. Despite having been included in the Millennium Development Goals as one of the main goals of the international community, has universal primary education really been achieved?  In the Western world, education is mostly accessible to everyone, hence we may forget its value. By following these brave and ambitious children through the Kenyan savannah, the Moroccan Heights, the Patagonian wilderness and Bengala, we come to realise how, for many children in the world, the access to school remains almost impossible and knowledge has to be acquired  at a high price. 

Watch the trailer

Refugee: The Eritrean Exodus 

Follow Chris Cotter, an American world traveller, as he searches for answers about this mysterious country’s little-reported refugee crisis. Eritrea is a narrow strip of African land that borders the Red Sea and its people are leaving en masse to escape the brutality of Isaias Afwerki, the Eritrean president, who has retained power for over 20 years. The film brings the viewer on a common migration path that many Eritreans desperately undertake for the slim hope of freedom and security.

Chris and his crew tour never-before-seen refugee camps in Ethiopia including the desolate and dangerous Afar region. Hear the stories of Eritreans as they depict deplorable treatment in their homeland, the struggle to leave, and a vanishing hope for a better life. Back in Eritrea, they face indefinite military service that serves as slave labour, harsh imprisonment for speaking out, arbitrary killings, and an uncertain future. Some have been ripped from their homes in the middle of the night without cause and have never been heard of again. 

Chris also speaks to many experts on the ground, including Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Assistant Secretary of State, Anne Richard. Richard confidently claims that, “Eritrea has one of the most oppressive governments in the world.” 

Despite the potential dangers of speaking ill of the regime, the surviving refugees bravely reveal the profound hardships they have endured. As the refugees explain, once they choose to leave, they face being shot at the border, kidnapped for ransom, and even having their organs harvested. Their stories are unimaginable and heartbreaking, yet told with a profound dignity. 

The dire situation shocks Chris and his team as their search leads them to Israel where they interview many urban refugees and experts from leading NGOs. Searching to find a reason to hope, they are confronted by angry Israelis who are unsympathetic to the cause, labelling the Eritreans  “job-stealing infiltrators.” The Israeli government has cast off the refugees to remote prisons near the Egyptian border. 

Refugee challenges the audience to consider how such a large-scale injustice can exist in the 21st century, while the rest of the world remains either unaware or seemingly impotent. As depicted in the film, many Americans have not even heard of the country, let alone the atrocities committed there. Witnessing the refugees’ bare humanity makes their sub-human treatment at the hands of Afwerki that much harder to stomach. But stomach it we must, the film demands it. The stakes are too high. We must watch, listen, question, and act. Only then will the plight of the Eritrean people end. Only then will they attain hope. Only then, will they finally have a place to call “home”.

Watch the trailer

The True Cost

 'The True Cost' is a powerful documentary about the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry. In particular, it focuses on the outsourcing of clothes' production to low cost economies, especially Bangladesh and Cambodia, where wages are kept very low. The governments of developing countries, desperate for the business that multinational retailers bring, and constantly threatened by the possible relocation of production to other low-cost countries, are compelled to hold down wages, routinely avoiding enforcement of local labour laws. This disregard for safety measures has become accepted in the fashion business, as illustrated by the ‘Rama Plaza’ factory collapse, which caused 1129 deaths of garment workers.  The question arises, therefore, of whether and how it is possible to produce clothes whilst generating economic growth and development. At the moment, the fashion industry, based on careless production and endless consumption, is damaging the environment, preventing sustainable development, and also violating essential human rights.

Guest speaker: Dr. Annamaria La Chimia, Associate Professor in Law, whose particular expertise lies within the area of International Development, International Trade Law and European Law.  

Watch the trailer 

Spring 2015


This powerful documentary – which has sparked debate throughout Europe – tackles this sensitive issue by narrating the events as well as presenting the Turkish authorities’ current policy on those crimes.  

Beginning in 1915, the Armenian people – one of the Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire – were systematically exterminated. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, some 1.5 million Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. The man who invented the word “genocide” – Raphael Lemkin – was moved to investigate the  mass killings. He did not, however, coin the term until 1943, developing the concept of the crime based on those events and applying it to acts by Nazi Germany during WWII.   

As of November 2014, 22 States have officially recognised the historical events as genocide. Upon Turkey’s entry into discussion with the European Union about accession, there were a number of calls for recognition of the events as genocide, though it never became a precondition. 

The film was presented by Naira Meliksetyan, an Armenian student completing her LLM in Human Rights Law at the University of Nottingham.

Watch the trailer

Climate Refugees

Filmmaker Michael Nash explores  the  climate change debate in this documentary, filmed over the course of two years. The film examines the causes of climate change, nations that are suffering most from its effects, and the political, economic and environmental issues behind moving the people are becoming the first victims of this crisis.

Climate Refugees was an official selection at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. 

As the impact of global climate change grows, in many parts of the world the key question is no longer how to prevent the consequences of this threat to the environment, but what to do as people struggle to deal with the effects of mankind's carelessness. Parts of the world that were once habitable are slowly but dramatically changing, and the people that once lived on islands slowly submerging under rising oceans and plains that are turning to deserts have to find somewhere else to go. What is do be done with the people who have been displaced by climate change, and which nations should take them in? 

Watch the trailer   

It's A Girl

This film documents the practice of killing, aborting and abandoning baby girls in South Asia. Through personal accounts and official statistics the film exposes the shocking reality of ‘Gendercide’. The UN reports that approximately 200 million girls in the world today are ‘missing’ and elimination of female infants in India and China outnumbers that of girls born in the US each year.

Gendercide in South Asia takes many forms: baby girls are killed or abandoned, if not aborted as foetuses. Girls that are not killed often suffer malnutrition and medical neglect as sons are favoured when shelter, medicine and food are scarce. The film explores the brutal irony that this act is often perpetrated against girls by women.

The film uses global experts and grassroots activists to put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.

Aoife Nolan, Professor of International Human Rights and expert advisor for the UN and Council of Europe on children’s rights, introduced the film.

Watch the trailer

The Golden Dream

This is a harrowing account of young migrants making the perilous trek from Guatemala to the US, which is the 'Golden Dream'. The film depicts the perils of attempting an illegal crossing as well as the uphill struggle to build a life on the other side.

The film also highlights an important legal question: is there such a thing as an 'economic refugee'? A range of emerging refugee claims and interlinked human rights issues are beginning to challenge the boundaries of the Refugee Convention's requirement of 'persecution' and question traditional distinctions between 'economic migrants' and 'political refugees'.  As the number of international migrants continues to rise to above 232 million in 2013 (UNDESA), these issues are of increasing importance.  

Watch the trailer

Black Power Mixtape

Black Power Mixtapeis a 2011 Swedish documentary that examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in the US from 1967 to 1975. This fascinating documentary brings together material shot by Swedish documentarists and TV journalists, including appearances from leading figures including Angela Davis, Bobby Seale and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

Black Power Mixtapetells a story of defiance and pride, but also a story of defeat, frustration and terrible destruction. It not only offers insight into the many challenges faced by activists, but also leads the audience to wonder how did we get from the America of the African-American Civil Rights Movement to the America of Barack Obama? To what extent has the situation really changed when a 2012 US Census report states that 26.6% of Black people live in poverty compared with 9.8% of White (not Hispanic) people?

Introduced by Dr Christopher Phelps, a historian of modern American political and intellectual life, University of Nottingham.

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Taxi to the Dark Side

This Oscar-wining film examines the legality and morality of the USA’s post-9/11 policy on torture and interrogation, in particular the CIA’s use of torture and their research into sensory deprivation.

This harrowing film follows the abduction of Afghan taxi driver, Dilawar. Dilawar was detained in Afghanistan in 2002 and died in American custody at Bragram prison a few months later. He was never charged with any crime, and was never shown to have any connection with Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Army coroners ruled Dilawar’s death a homicide.

The film does not simply focus on this single anecdote of the use of harsh interrogation techniques, but rather scrutinises the widespread policy on interrogation techniques as well as tracing the  wide-reaching chain of responsibility for these actions. It brings to light many of the abuses that were confirmed by the US Senate report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program in 2014. Finally, the film reveals how practices seemingly outlawed by the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights principles were undermined by the USA at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and more broadly as part of the ‘Global War on Terror’.

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Human Rights Law Centre

School of Law
University of Nottingham
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