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We were heard: ‘Stalker’ Festival in Moscow

Film makers at the 16th International Human Rights Film Festival ‘Stalker’ in Moscow have been creating films and documentaries annually since 1995 to illustrate social injustices, promote and protect human rights, and work towards positive social change.

Russian Film maker Anna Fenchenko received the award for her drama ‘Missing’ © OHCHR PhotoTo acknowledge the achievements of these artists the UN Human Rights presence in Moscow has introduced a special award ‘For a Civil Action in the Field of Human Rights Protection’.

The ‘Stalker’ Festival, which explores controversial social issues, such as terrorism, conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS, has had a specific focus on human dignity, citizen’s fundamental rights and freedoms. The films are designed to enlighten, educate and engage an audience, young and old, through screening mostly non-commercial movies and documentaries made by Russian and international film-makers.

The UN Senior Human Rights Adviser in the Russian Federation, Dirk Hebecker, presented the first award to the well-known actress and film director Lyudmila Gurchenko for her film “Motley Twilight” portraying an episode from the life of a young blind musician. The movie is 75-year old Gurchenko’s debut as a director; she also wrote the movie’s soundtrack and staged some remarkable jazz and dance scenes.

Anna Fenchenko, film director of the socio-psychological drama ‘Missing’ and one of the three recipients of the newly introduced UN human rights special award, said: “The special award for us – film makers – is in the first place the moral support and the confirmation of the fact that we were heard”.

This 5-day festival, which was organized by the Guild of Russian Filmmakers and co-sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Culture, UN agencies and other international donors, offers a medium for film makers to speak out against discrimination at a time where, according to Fenchenko, “It becomes more and more complex to speak openly about the problems that have matured in society”.

The International Human Rights Film Festival ‘Stalker’ is held annually in Moscow during the month of December. The festival is named after the Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film and draws inspiration from the idea of getting into a forbidden site known as the ‘Zone’, which has the supposed potential to fulfill a person’s innermost desires.

15 March 2011