By Margaretta wa Gacheru (23 October 2018)
This year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival will present four timely, provocative and sobering documentary film from this coming Tuesday, 30th October until 2nd November.
Only one will be screened at Alliance Francaise. The rest will be shown by the Festival’s other partners, including Amnesty International Kenya, Rift Valley Forum, and the Alchemist in Westlands.
It’s at The Alchemist on Tuesday that the award-winning Fred Peabody film, ‘All Governments Lie’ will open the Festival. This is a film that anybody keen on truth (rather than ‘fake news’) must go see. It features four of the finest and most independent investigative journalists working today. They are Jeremy Scahill and Glen Greenwald who co-founded ‘The Intercept’, Amy Goodman, co-founder and anchor of ‘Democracy Now’, and Matt Taibbi who first made his name writing for ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine.
On Wednesday at Alliance Francaise, the Kenya film, ‘Watatu’, directed by Nick Reding will be shown. ‘Watatu’ traces the experiences of three Kenyan men whose lives intersect in ways that reveal some of the factors that can compel someone to become a violent extremist.
Yusuf is frustrated by the dearth of opportunities open to him. This drives him away from family and friends and propels him towards extremism. The film is billed as a documentary, but Reding actually wrote the script in collaboration with Coastal folk, after which he dramatized his film in a documentary style.
On Thursday, ‘This is Congo’ by Daniel McCabe reveals the tragic history of the longest-running war in Africa which, in its current phase, has gone in for the last 20 years. But the truth is that ever since the 1884 ‘Scramble For Africa’ got underway with European powers each grabbing a piece of the African pie, there have been human vultures out to grab the natural and mineral resources that resides within Congo’s borders.
Finally, on Friday at the Amnesty International Kenya offices, the documentary film, ‘Scarred: Anatomy of a Massacre’ by the award-winning Kenyan filmmaker and founder of DocuBox, Judy Kibinge will be shown.
Retrieving a tragic slice of Kenya’s inglorious history, Kibinge finds and interviews the survivors of the 1984 Wagalla Massacre. The Degodia survivors claim at least 5000 men were picked up, tortured, maimed and then murdered at Wagalla by soldiers from the Kenyan military.
After each film, there will be an opportunity to discuss the public’s reactions including questions that come to mind.