JAYU Canada has announced its 12th annual Human Rights Film Festival+ 2023 (HRFF+). This year, HRFF+ will present 4 feature length documentaries and 4 short films.
HRFF+ is an initiative of JAYU, a charity that shares human rights stories through the arts. The Human Rights Film Festival is committed to values of inclusivity and accessibility for all guests, staff, volunteers and artists.
I have attended JAYU’s events and the film festival over the years. The film festival always offers up thought provoking films from various parts of the world with varying points of view. They always generate good discussion. Below is the list of films screening at the HRFF+ this year.
December 7, 2023
A Bullet Pulling Thread | Toronto Premiere
In January 2020, the RCMP killed homelessness activist Barry Shantz at his home in Lytton, B.C during a mental health crisis. In response to this tragedy, his sister Marilyn creates a series of art quilts called Kairos – a Greek word which means ‘an opportune time for action’. The film will be followed by a Q&A with director Ian Daffern and Marilyn Shantz.
December 8, 2023
Coming Around | Toronto Premiere
The film follows 28-year-old Eman as she weighs the decision to come out to her devout Muslim mother. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Eman Abdelhadi and Sandra Itäinen.
December 9, 2023
The Space Race | Toronto Premiere
This film weaves together the stories of Black astronauts seeking to break the bonds of social injustice to reach for the stars, including Guion Bluford, Ed Dwight and Charles Bolden, among many others.
December 10, 2023
Hong Kong Mixtape
Using her own voice to guide us through this time, filmmaker San San F Young pieces together works by underground artists, musicians, dancers, illustrators and performance artists, showcasing how art can provide some of the most powerful forms of activism. The film will be followed by a Q&A with San San F Young and Nikki Parrott.
All HRFF+ films will screen at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema alongside a moving gallery installation of We Grow Together, in partnership with the White Owl Native Ancestry Association and Wisahkotewinowak.
This exhibition features the work of six Indigenous youth who have completed a painting program led by iAM Program Alum Aneel Vyas with creative writing exercises led by JAYU’s Desiree Mckenzie to explore how their personal growth is tied to land. The 5-day workshop intensive also included a session on mental well-being and expression led by Meghan Yuri Young of the Sad Collective.
HRFF+ will close on International Human Rights Day with the 4th annual JAYU Slams Poetry Competition at the Toronto Ace Hotel. Headlined by acclaimed poet Eddie Lartey, this competition consists of Toronto’s best spoken word poets going head to head for a $350 prize and title of JAYU Slams champion.
For more information about the films, events, accessibility, as well as ticketing information, please visit jayu.ca.
A Note: I appreciate JAYU team’s efforts to have an Active Listener be present at all events given its festival comes at a time of blatant acts of terror and violence. Please note that Active Listeners are not therapists, but they will be provided with resources to share with festival attendees should they need additional support.
All images courtesy of JAYU Canada.