This weekend (20th – 23rd October) will welcome the International Human Rights Film Festival back to Glasgow, with an amazingly diverse program of events taking place all over the city. The leafy CCA, Platform in Easterhouse, Govanhill Baths, and The University of Glasgow will be the settings for showings of documentaries, masterclasses, artist/director discussions and opportunities to come face to face with conflicts, places and people from all over the world. The programme in all its carefully-curated glory can be viewed here, and we have picked out 5 showings that we are particularly intrigued by. Whether you’ve been every year, or you’ve never heard of it, the Document Festival can be relied upon to introduce a whole new way of thinking about and interpreting the human rights that many take for granted. Events are free, or very affordable, and there are several events that we’d loved to have promoted more, if only we weren’t limiting ourselves to just five! Go to the site, find out more, and we’ll see you there.

Chris Leslie: An Illustrated Talk

Image: Chris Leslie via Document Film Fest Website
Image: Chris Leslie via Document Film Fest Website

This precursor to the main body of events will take place on Wednesday 19th October at Platform. Many Glaswegians will have seen Leslie’s images, if not his name, all over as he is accepted as the most prolific recorder of Glasgow’s recent history – documented through photographs and videos of the degeneration of the city’s residential blocks. With 30% of the city’s high rise blocks having been knocked to the ground, his work invites us to think about the homes, possessions and people who may now have been left behind. The talk will involve a showing of several of his short films, and will be fascinating whether you’re a born and bred Glaswegian or an adopted one.

A Brilliant Genocide // Looking For Truth Forum

A Brilliant Genocide [Official Trailer] from Ebony Butler on Vimeo.

Remember being shocked by the Kony video of 2012? Forget to ask what happened next? A Brilliant Genocide uncovers some uncomfortable and shocking truths, that could only be made worse by a refusal to acknowledge them. This Scottish premiere screening is followed by a thought-provoking discussion panel asking about truth in the documentary, and whose responsibility it is to check facts and test the boundaries of this factual but inherently subjective medium.

Black is … Black Ain’t

In collaberation with BFI Blackstar, several events will involve the life and works of documentarian Marlon Riggs, a poet, educator, gay rights activist and multi-award winning filmmaker who died tragically young of AIDS in 1994. More of his shorts will be explored elsewhere in the program, and Black Is… Black Ain’t was his final work, filmed largely from hospital and following the formation of black identity of several individuals at a time when the rhetoric surrounding this issue was at its most polemic. It is a lively celebration and debate, culminating in the imagination of what acceptance of black identity as a paradox, and a community of both sameness and otherness, might look like.

La Commune (Paris 1971)

Image: La Commune via Document Film Festival site
Image: La Commune via Document Film Festival site

Feeling up to a challenge? This is an extremely rare screening of Peter Watkins’ mammoth 6 hour documentary – a historical reenactment of the events leading up to the formation of the commune. It was a radical few months in 1871 where the city was governed by a group of socialists and revolutionaries which, when filmed in 2000, posed some uncanny questions to the modern day film and TV industry and the ideological role it plays. Maybe best to bring a good cushion and some snacks – there will be an interval for a nap halfway through, if needed.

Closing Gala: Plaza De La Soledad

Image: Plaza De La Soledad via Documentary Festival Website
Image: Plaza De La Soledad via Documentary Festival Website

Another Scottish premiere, Maya Goded’s film was honored in the Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2016, following the lives of a group of women living in Mexico City, supporting each other through the hardships that life in prostitution burdens them with. Despite the violence and heartbreak of the subject matter, this film is described as possessing ‘great warmth’ and offering a ‘powerful case for female autonomy’ (quotes from Document’s Press Release). A fitting conclusion, indeed.