From Bike Brigades to Rainforest Defenders: 3 Must-See Docs at Human Rights Watch Film Festival

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This year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival boasts a lineup of features on topics as diverse as LGBT rights, police militarization, and the refugee crisis. More importantly, over half of the films in the 2016 program are directed or co-directed by women — not something you can say about any festival celebrating cinema. We’ve singled out three that you should keep an eye out for, as they’re sure to be highlights of this always buzzy program.

With a title like Ovarian Psycos you know you’re in for an irreverent ride. In Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle’s you thankfully also have a great guide: the Eastside Los Angeles Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade. In their own words: “We are an all womxn of color bicycling brigade cycling for the purpose of healing our communities physically, emotionally and spiritually by addressing pertinent issues.” Join these kickass women as they ride and talk about what drives their need to create a community for the “runaway and the throwaway” of LA.

Tempestad, directed by Mexican-Salvadorian filmmaker Tatiana Huezo, is a stark and gripping look at corruption and injustice in Mexico. Pairing striking images of the highways connecting North to South with the voice-over testimonies of two women who’ve been at the receiving end of the “impunidad” of that country’s justice system, Huezo’s film looks to be an evocative document of the way many in our neighboring country down south live day to day knowing there’s a system of violence that fails them.

Journeying further south, Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel’s When Two Worlds Collide takes us to the Amazon forest. Winner of the World Cinema documentary prize for best first feature at Sundance Film Festival, this is a timely look at the devastating effect of sacrificing the Peruvian Amazon forest in the name of industrialization and globalization. With gorgeous vistas of this beautiful and increasingly endangered landscape, When Two Worlds Collide introduces us to Alberto Pizango, an activist fighting to make the voices of indigenous Peruvians heard.

Acknowledging that these projects are envisioned as conversation starters, every screening will be followed by in-depth Q&A discussions with filmmakers and Human Rights Watch experts, so be sure to come out to what promises to be some great debates on these contemporary issues.

Co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center the Human Rights Watch Film Festival runs June 10-19, 2016.