Gianluca Costantini
Political Comics / Human rights

Gianluca Costantini draws for HRW Film Festival in San Diego 2023

Feb. 2 – 9: San Diego Human Rights Watch Film Festival to Shine Spotlight on Changemakers Tackling Global Social Issues

  • Museum of Photographic Arts invites audiences in San Diego and beyond to celebrate individuals bravely taking action to protect their rights, their communities and the climate.
  • Live Q&A panels with filmmakers to address topics including climate issues, women’s rights and more

The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) is hosting its 13th annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival from Feb. 2 to 9. The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will feature critically acclaimed films on topics including child care and education, environmental protection, gender equity, trans and Indigenous rights, women’s rights and more.

The festival will kick off on Feb. 2 with an in-person-only screening and opening night reception of Clarissa’s Battle, followed by a live panel discussion with Clarissa Doutherd and executive director of Parent Voices Oakland, and Director Tamara Perkins. Three of the five films streaming digitally will be followed by a live Q&A with the award-winning filmmakers, film participants and human rights advocates to highlight key social issues impacting the global community today.

Since MOPA’s founding in 1983, the museum has endeavored to consistently amplify and address cultural, historical and social issues through its exhibitions, educational programs and annual events. This year’s hybrid in-person and virtual Human Rights Watch Film Festival will serve as a vehicle to empower, educate and mobilize an audience throughout the country. The direct storytelling that brings to life current human rights situations across the globe will challenge the audience to empathize and promote justice for everyone. Audiences who feel personally connected to these films will be provided with resources and information so they can take action around the issues presented in each film.

The five digital films in the Human Rights Watch Film Festival San Diego lineup are available to audience members across the United States to stream at their own pace from Feb. 3 through 11:59 p.m. PST on Feb. 9. Film enthusiasts are invited to purchase tickets to the online cinematic experience. Tickets are limited and may sell out, so audience members are encouraged to book in advance.

Tickets to the in-person opening night event at MOPA for Clarissa’s Battle can be found here.

Accessibility: Our opening night in-person event for Clarissa’s Battle will include Spanish language subtitles and live interpretation of Q&A in Spanish and Audio Description. Please find other details about wheelchair accessibility for the in-person event at MOPA here. Online titles including Delikado and Category: Woman are available for purchase with Audio Description for audience members who are Blind or have low-vision and closed captions for audience members who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. Q&A discussions will include live captions.


“Every day in our communities, people are coming together – taking action to protect their rights, and to protect the rights of future generations. We think the public should hear more about these stories, of activists who are dedicating their lives to building a more equitable future.” said Jennifer Nedbalsky, deputy director of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. “This year’s films profile stories of Afghan women and female athletes demanding to be treated equally, of climate defenders in the Philippines and trans/Indigenous artists in Brazil using creativity, and putting their lives on the line to protect critical natural resources. The festival, taking place in San Diego, home to a large military community, is also providing a platform to service members who are working to end sexual assault in the military. We hope that by watching the films in this year’s festival, audience members will find links that might help them to take action in their own communities.”

“For the 14th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival San Diego, we wanted to hold a space where filmmakers can bring awareness to social issues that have been in jeopardy this year, such as women’s rights and the importance of affordable child care for families across the country,” said Deborah Klochko, executive director and chief curator of MOPA. “Through the power of film and meaningful conversations around issues that affect millions, we hope to bring people together while inspiring others to speak out and fight for justice in their communities.”

“A person’s story has the power to spur change within the masses. That’s why we’ve been bringing the Human Rights Watch Film Festival to San Diego for more than a decade,” said Kevin Linde, manager of digital and curatorial engagement of MOPA. “The festival is our opportunity to invite our community to look at the world through a different lens and celebrate the courageous filmmakers and their dedication to human rights.”

The following are the films being shown and the panelists that will be at the films’ virtual post-screening Q&A:

Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. PST (Opening Night – in-person only screening and reception at MOPA)

  • Clarissa’s Battle (2022) by Tamara Perkins – watch trailer – Single mother and organizer Clarissa Doutherd is building a powerful coalition of parents. They’re fighting for childcare and early education funds, desperately needed by low and middle-income parents and children across the United States.
  • Featuring director Tamara Perkins, and film participant Clarissa Doutherd, the executive director of Parent Voices Oakland.

Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. PST

  • And Still I Sing (2022) by Fazila Amiri – watch trailerAfghan Star, a popular national televised singing contest has never had a female winner. But that is about to change. The feminist Afghan pop icon Aryana Sayeed takes two female singers under her wing and with each episode they defy the odds – winning the hearts and minds of the public, and pushing the national conversation on women’s rights along the way. When the Taliban suddenly take power – these brave artists must decide whether to stay and fight for their rights or to escape abroad to safety.
  • Featuring Fazila Amiri, the director, and Fereshta Abbasi, researcher in the Asia division at Human Rights Watch and film participants.

Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. PST

  • #IAmVanessaGuillen (2022) by Andrea Patiño – watch trailer – In 2018, a US soldier, Karina Lopez, survived a sexual assault at Fort Hood military base. When Vanessa Guillen, another Latina service member, disappears and is then murdered, Karina steps forward to share her story, creating the #IAmVanessaGuillen hashtag. Hundreds of service members chime in, exposing the cycle of abuse occurring on military bases and demanding justice.
  • Featuring Andrea Patiño Contreras, the director, and the film participant Karina Lopez.

Thursday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m.

  • Uýra: The Rising Forest (2022) by Juliana Curi – watch trailer – Uýra, a transgender Indigenous artist, travels through the Amazon on a journey of self-discovery using performance art to teach Indigenous youth that they are the guardians of ancestral messages of the Amazon Forest. In a country that kills an incredibly high number of transgender, Indigenous and environmentalist youth of any country , Uýra leads a rising movement while fostering unity and providing inspiration for the LGBTQIA+ and environmental movements in the heart of the Amazon Forest.
  • Featuring Juliana Curi, the director, and Martina Sönksen, the producer and special guests.

Ticket holders can watch anytime

  • Category: Woman (2022) by Phyllis Ellis – watch trailer – Who is a woman, and who gets to decide? Category: Woman focuses on four athletes from the Global South who are required by sporting institution World Athletics to medically alter their healthy bodies if they want to continue to compete in their sport. A recorded Q&A will be featured following the film available to all digital ticket holders for this title.
  • Delikado (2022) by Karl Malakunas– watch trailer – In Delikado, three environmental defenders are tested like never before in their battle to save their home, Palawan, an island paradise in the Philippines from the illegal destruction of its forests, fisheries, and mountains.

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival team does not want the cost of watching these films to be a barrier for participation. If the price of a ticket to any film screening would prevent you from participating, please email, and they will send you a free ticket code. Human Rights Watch has set aside a set number of tickets per film on a first-come, first-served basis.

Your ticket purchase enables the team to make tickets free for those who might otherwise be unable to watch. This also allows the festival to support the filmmakers for sharing their work inthe festival and for the festival to cover the cost of hosting the films online.

Opening Night screening + reception – $10

  • Standard ticket price – $9
  • Standard pass price for all films – $35
  • MOPA /HRW member ticket – $6
  • MOPA/HRW member pass – $20
  • Student/Senior/Active Military ticket – $8
  • Student/Senior/Active Military pass – $35


About MOPA:

Located in beautiful Balboa Park, the Museum of Photographic Arts is a vibrant center for visual learning. Since its founding in 1983, the museum has endeavored to consistently address cultural, historical and social issues through its exhibitions and educational programs. MOPA is one of three independent photography museums in the United States and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. As a 501(c)(3) organization, MOPA is generously supported by members, individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies.

The mission of the Museum of Photographic Arts is to inspire, educate and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film and video.

About the Human Rights Watch Film Festival:
For more than 40 years, Human Rights Watch has defended people at risk of abuse by investigating abuses scrupulously, exposing the facts widely, and relentlessly pressing those in power for change that respects rights. Our researchers examine situations in some 90 countries around the world functioning as investigators, journalists, and advocates. Recently marking our 30th Anniversary and currently screening films in over 20 cities around the world, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival (HRWFF) bears witness to human rights violations in direct storytelling and exposé form, and creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. In 30 years, we have showcased over 720 films at our global festivals.

United States / HRWFFSD

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