The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival – Sydney

Human Rights Film Fest

The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival is returning to Sydney from Tuesday 24 May and bringing with it a powerful programme that will move and engage audiences with human stories from around the world.

The Festival will open with the ambitious, moving and confronting documentary Chasing Asylum, from Academy Award winning Australian director, Eva Orner. The film reveals the conditions asylum seekers are living in through never-before-seen footage of offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. Essential viewing at anytime, right? But especially in the current climate.

Another must see is the music documentary They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile (picutred, top). This follows various musicians in Mali, in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music in the region. The film features Damon Albarn, Brian Eno and Nick Zinner and Songhoy Blues. The screening will be followed by a post-film Q&A with director Johanna Schwartz via Skype.

HRAFF will once again bring one of its International Shorts sessions to Sydney with a selection of remarkable films showcasing world-class cinema from across the globe, which harness human emotion and the issues of our time.

Other HRAFF highlights that form part of the Sydney program include Prison Songs, Australia’s first-ever musical documentary, where inmates of the notorious Berrimah Prison in Northern Territory share their stories, experiences and feelings through songs they helped create. The film will be screened on National Sorry Day, and will be followed by a post-film panel discussion which includes director Kelrick Martin.

Also part of the Sydney film line-up is Land Grabbing, a documentary exploring the effects of the 2008 GFC on farmland across the world.

The Festival will close with 2016 Sundance award-winner The Bad Kids. Rich in its use of intimate, verité camerawork and poetic, stylized sequences, The Bad Kids is an immersive, moving experience that gives information and insight into America’s most pressing education problem: poverty.

To book tickets and to find out more about the festival, head to

human rights film fest dates