Latino Films to Watch at This Year’s Digital Human Rights Watch Film Festival NYC

Lead Photo: 'From Here.' Courtesy of Human Rights Watch Film Festival.
'From Here.' Courtesy of Human Rights Watch Film Festival.
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Committed to its mission of raising awareness of human rights issues and generate public action, the annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival NYC is still going forward this year with a wholly virtual edition. Among its selection, this year’s program includes three powerful films tackling pressing issues pertinent to Latino audiences, all of which will be screened alongside Q&As with the filmmakers.

Juliana Fanjul’s Silencio radio (Radio Silence) follows Carmen Aristegui, regarded as the trusted alternative voice to official government spin, fighting daily against deliberate disinformation spread through news sources, government corruption, and the related drugs trade. Fanjul’s documentary chronicles her story following the moment when she was fired by a radio station in 2015 after revealing a scandal involving then-President Enrique Peña Nieto. Facing threats of violence in the wake of a prominent journalist’s vicious murder, Carmen and her colleagues must overcome fear for their personal well-being to continue in a shared fight for democracy and justice.

From Here is a hopeful story of Tania, Sonny, Miman, and Akim — artists and activists based in Berlin and New York whose lives and futures hang in the balance of immigration and integration debates. As the U.S. and Germany grapple with racism, nationalism and a fight against diversity, our protagonists move from their 20s into their 30s and face major turning points in their lives: fighting for citizenship, starting families and finding room for creative expression. Spanning a decade in two of the world’s largest centers of immigration, this sensitive and nuanced documentary captures their journeys to define what it means to “belong” in societies that are increasingly hostile to their existence.

Maxima tells the incredible story of 2016 environmental Goldman Prize winner Máxima Acuña and her family, who own a small, remote plot in the Peruvian Highlands. The Acuñas rely solely on the environment for their livelihood, but their land sits directly in the path of a multi-billion dollar project run by one of the world’s largest gold-mining corporations. Faced with intimidation, violence, and criminal prosecution, we follow Máxima’s tireless fight for justice, taking her from the Peruvian Supreme Court to the doors of the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Standing ever mighty, Máxima sings of her love of the land in the face of widespread oppression of indigenous people, and relentless attempts to destroy environmental resources that the world relies on.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival NYC 2020 runs June 11-20, 2020.