The Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park will present a weekend of thought-provoking films at the sixth annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival from Jan. 21 to 24.

Hosted in the state-of-the-art Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater, the festival will include five films and a special presentation that focus on the power of film to make a difference. A discussion and question-and-answer session will follow each event, featuring filmmakers, human rights experts and audience participation.

“This year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival at MOPA seeks to engage the San Diego community in dialogue around issues that are affecting us both on the local and global level, including civil liberties, racism, censorship, terrorism and international diplomacy,” said Jennifer Nedbalsky, associate director of the festival.

Here’s a complete list of the films and presentations scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21, through Sunday, Jan. 24:

  • Opening night on Thursday — I Am Sun Mu – After fleeing his native North Korea to defect to the south, the artist Sun Mu works under a defiant alias meaning “no boundaries” to criticize the repressive regime of Kim Jong-un.
  • Friday evening(T)error – Saeed “Shariff” Torres, a counterterrorism informant for more than two decades, takes on what he swears is his last job for the FBI and invites filmmakers to follow his covert efforts to befriend a suspected jihadist — without informing his superiors.
  • Saturday afternoon — Special presentation of A Right to the Image: Special Presentation — In our hyper-mediatized world, victims of human rights violations are often depicted in terms of bodies rather than individuals. Visual representations of human suffering and injustice are not only aesthetic choices; they are also political and ethical choices.
  • Saturday evening — The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — In the 1960s, change was coming to America, ready or not. A revolutionary culture emerged, and those seeking to drastically transform the system believed radical change was not only feasible but imminent.
  • Sunday afternoon — The Diplomat –The story of the life and legacy of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, whose singular career spans fifty years of American foreign policy from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
  • Sunday evening — The Wanted 18 — Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, “The Wanted 18” recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared “a threat to the national security of the state of Israel.”

“The films and discussions presented at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival connect with MOPA’s goals of creating social awareness through visual media,” said MOPA Executive Director Deborah Klochko. “This festival demonstrates the importance of understanding visual literacy and highlights the impact of images in our lives.”

Festival passes are $15 for MOPA Members, $25 for students, seniors and military service members, and $35 for the public. Single-screening tickets are $4 for MOPA Members, $6 for students, seniors and military service members, and $8 for the public.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.