Filmmakers, rights advocates set to gather tonight to launch new ‘human rights films’

Independent filmmakers, rights advocates and relatives of victims of human rights violations are set to gather at 6:00 PM tonight at the Ishmael Bernal Gallery in UP Diliman, to formally launch two new human rights film projects – “RIGHTS 3” and “43.”

Among the producers of the films, independent multimedia group Southern Tagalog Exposure (ST eXposure) said in a statement that the new films will depict the continuing injustice and grim human rights situation in the country.

Organized by ST eXposure along with the Free Jonas Burgos Movement (FJBM), Artists’ Arrest and human rights group KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog, RIGHTS 3 is a compilation of 1 minuter films and public service ads by independent filmmakers.

According to ST eXposure founding-member RJ Mabilin, RIGHTS was organized to encourage filmmakers and other artists to be part of a continuing effort to advance the cause of human rights in the country.

“We believe that everyone, including filmmakers, have a responsibility to uphold human rights. Film and the mass media are very important in shaping the consciousness of a society. This role is especially important right now, when there is a continuing threat against human rights.”

Among the filmmakers who participated in RIGHTS 3 are artist-filmmaker JL Burgos, who is also the brother of missing activist Jonas Burgos;  renowned independent director and screenwriter Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez; and “Sa ngalan ng Tubo” producer Tudla Productions.

According to Burgos, who also helped organize RIGHTS 3, through their films, they want to challenge the Aquino administration to prioritize human rights.

“If he wants ‘tuwid na daan,’ then he should do something to surface Jonas and all the other victims of enforced disappearances. As artists, we will continue to pursue justice until we see a real change in our society.”

The first RIGHTS compilation was organized by FJBM and ST eXposure in 2007 in the wake of Jonas’ abduction. It became a part of the campaign against enforced disappearances and other human rights violations.

The other film to be screened tonight is “43,” a short video combining documentary and shadow animation to dramatize the plight of the detained 43 health workers who were arrested in Morong, Rizal last February 6, 2010.

Produced by ST eXposure, Anino Shadowplay Collective and Defend Southern Tagalog, it features the voices of distinguished actors Bibeth Orteza and Soliman Cruz, as well as acclaimed director Joel Lamangan.

According to Mabilin, they produced “43” to help in the campaign for the release of the detained health workers.

“We make this kinds of films because we believe there is no room for complacency in art and media in a country or society where injustice is still widespread. Since the new administration took office, there are already 26 victims of extrajudicial killings. Aquino’s promise of change is a sham. There is no sign that he will veer away from the bloody trail left to him by Mrs. Arroyo. That is why we will continue to make such films.”

*Watch the RIGHTS 3 videos here



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