Moscow's International Human Rights Film Festival
Moscow hosts “Stalker,” an international human rights film festival that marks each year the International Human Rights Day.
[Igor Stepanov, Producer, "Stalker" Film Festival]:
“Ours is not a happy festival. Fortunately, Russian producers are not indifferent to what's happening in our country. By using film, they are fighting for human rights, and they have succeeded.”
More than 80 films are featured. Among them is “August.Tshinval”, a documentary on the Russian-Georgian war of 2008 made by a Russian film maker, Akim Sabliev.
[Akim Salbiev, Film Maker, “August. Tshinval”]:
"I entered the torn city the day the war was over. I met a boy who was 11 years old. And this is what he told me: ‘I used to see the war in movies, now I've seen it in real life’. It’s through his eyes that we see this ruined city, through his stories, and through his silence. The war of the 21st century."
The music composer for “August. Tshinval” is a native of the war-torn city. Her sadness can be felt in the opening music, sang by herself.
[Zhanna Pliyeva, Music Composer, “August. Tshinval”]:
“It had to be done this way. But there is a lot of light in this kind of music too. I wanted to give people hope.”
But Salbiev himself has no hope for his film to be shown on prime-time television.
[Akim Salbiev, Film Maker]:
“I saw so many interesting films and I realized that not a single one of them will make it to television, because every one of these films is a window into Russia. And Russian authorities are not looking into that window.”
However, the festival audience is very happy to have the opportunity to see such real movies.
[Vasily Pechutin, Film Festival Audience]:
“Television...a lot of it is made up sometimes, not real. Here however, things are exact. What's really going on in the world, and the facts are not hidden. I really like that, because things are called by their real names and are presented to people, in an unfiltered way.”
This year’s festival coincides with the abolishment of the death penalty in Russia, a subject that was largely shown in previous seasons.
And so, the film makers hope their exposure of other human rights issues will also bear fruit.
NTD, Moscow, Russia