BAHRAIN's first Human Rights International Film Festival opens today with free screenings at various venues across the country. The films cover topics such as Middle East conflicts, torture, Aids and other human rights issues. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the film screenings until Sunday.
The festival is the first event of its kind in the region and the fourth in Asia. It is organised by the Bahrain Society for Public Freedom and Democracy Watch and held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad.
The main aim of the festival is to raise public awareness, especially among young people, about regional and international human rights issues.
Twenty-seven feature films and documentaries from India, Japan, Pakistan, Cameroon, Canada, Palestine, Jordan, France, the UK, Iraq, Iran, the US and Lebanon will be screened.
The festival is being held in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Labour Day today and the World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
It also marks the 60th anniversary of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the assassination of India's spiritual and political leader Mahatma Gandhi.
An opening ceremony, with a short documentary about Gandhi entitled 'Mahatma - A Great Soul of the 20th Century', was held at the Mšvenpick Hotel in Muharraq last night.
Festival films are being screened at Seef Cinema, Dana Cinema, Bahrain Training Institute and other cultural theatres and universities.
A prize for best film will be awarded by Movies That Matter, while an audience selection award will go to the best film chosen by viewers.
The films will be judged by a panel of five and headed by Bahrain director Bassam Al Dhawadi.
Winners will be announced at a private ceremony at the Mšvenpick Hotel on Sunday.
The main sponsors are Social Development Ministry, which donated BD7,000, and Movies that Matter, which gave 5,000 euros (BD2,820).
Other sponsors include DHL, Batelco, Bahrain Cinema Company and Alba.
The festival is also supported by Information, Foreign Affairs and Social Development ministries.
Admission to all films is free on a first come, first served basis. For more information, visit www.bhriff.com.
May 1: It's a Free World - 1pm; Ahlam - 4pm; Under Bomb - 7pm; Rana's Wedding - 10pm.
May 2: Khamosh Pani - 1pm; Iraq in Fragments - 4pm; Turtles Can Fly - 7pm; Redacted - 10pm.
May 3: Sisters-in-Law - 1pm; Sari's Mother - 4pm; Earth and Ashes - 7pm; Paradise Now - 10pm.
May 1: Rachel, An American Conscience - 10am; A Certain Kind of Beauty - 11.45am.
May 2: Lebanon: Youth Suspended and Palestine: Starting Over - 10am; Palestine 1948 Nakba - 11.45am.
May 3: Taizo - 10am; and Unquiet Peace - 11.45am.
Bahrain Training Institute
May 4: 123? - 9am; Targets: Reporters in Iraq - 10.45am; Three Dots - 11.30am; the Refugees are All Stars - 1pm; Letter from the Cell and To Palestine Take Me with You - 2.15; To Make an Example of - 2.45pm