PRESS RELEASES   ·  January 14, 2016

Annual Festival Demonstrates Power of Film to Make a Difference

Museum of Photographic Arts Presents 2016 Human Rights Watch Film Festival


SAN DIEGO – For the sixth year, the Museum of Photographic Arts presents a weekend of dynamic films and inspiring conversations at the annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival from Jan. 21 – Jan. 24, 2016.

Hosted in MOPA’s state-of-the-art Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater, the festival will include five films and a special presentation that focus on the power of film to make a difference. A discussion and question-and-answer session will follow each event, featuring filmmakers, human rights experts and audience participation.

“The films and discussions presented at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival connect with MOPA’s goals of creating social awareness through visual media,” said MOPA Executive Director Deborah Klochko. “This festival demonstrates the importance of understanding visual literacy and highlights the impact of images in our lives.”

The opening night film, I Am Sun Mu, follows North Korean artist Sun Mu as he prepares for an unlikely solo exhibition in China that risks his own freedom and safety. In its West Coast premiere, I Am Sun Mu captures the power of art and visual media to expose the truth. This theme continues throughout the festival films and in the newly added special presentation – A Right to the Image.

Replacing the usual Saturday matinee, A Right to the Image is a discussion featuring photographer Matt Black and Andrea Holley, Strategic Director of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. The audience will learn about the aesthetic, political and ethical choices around representations of human suffering and injustice.

The remaining festival films showcase a range of political subjects from a counterterrorism informant in (T)error to the life story of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke in The Diplomat. Saturday night’s film documents the history of the Black Panther Party in Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution before the festival comes to a close Sunday with the story of a surprising national threat – 18 cows on a Palestinian collective farm.

“This year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival at MOPA seeks to engage the San Diego community in dialogue around issues that are affecting us both on the local and global level, including civil liberties, racism, censorship, terrorism and international diplomacy,” said Jennifer Nedbalsky, Associate Director of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. “We are thrilled that each screening this year will include a discussion with a filmmaker or human rights advocate.”

TICKETS: Festival passes are available for purchase and cover admission to all festival events. Festival passes are $15 for MOPA Members, $25 for students, seniors and military service members, and $35 for the public. Single-screening tickets are $4 for MOPA Members, $6 for students, seniors and military service members, and $8 for the public. Passes and single-screening tickets are available online and at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit



I Am Sun Mu – West Coast premiere

After fleeing his native North Korea to defect to the south, the artist Sun Mu works under a defiant alias meaning “no boundaries” to criticize the repressive regime of Kim Jong-un.

Opening reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by the film screening at 7 p.m. and a dessert reception after the Q&A with filmmaker Adam Sjoberg and John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch.

Friday, January 22, 7 p.m.

(T)error– San Diego premiere

Saeed “Shariff” Torres, a counterterrorism informant for more than two decades, takes on what he swears is his last job for the FBI and invites filmmakers to follow his covert efforts to befriend a suspected jihadist – without informing his superiors.

Followed by Q&A with Andrea Prasow, Deputy Washington Director, Human Rights Watch.

Saturday, January 23, 3 p.m.

A Right to the Image: Special Presentation

In our hyper-mediatized world, victims of human rights violations are often depicted in terms of bodies rather than individuals. Visual representations of human suffering and injustice are not only aesthetic choices; they are also political and ethical choices.

Discussion featuring photographer Matt Black and Andrea Holley, Strategic Director, Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Saturday, January 23, 7 p.m.*

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

In the 1960s, change was coming to America, ready or not. A revolutionary culture emerged, and those seeking to drastically transform the system believed radical change was not only feasible but imminent.

Followed by a Q&A with producer Laurens Grant and Michael McCarty, a former member of the Black Panther Party

*Screening for Title I Schoolson Monday, Jan. 25, at 10 a.m. Free for Title I Schools. For more information or interested in attending, please contact, or call 619.238.7559 x229.

Sunday, January 24, 3 p.m.

The Diplomat– San Diego premiere

The remarkable story of the life and legacy of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, whose singular career spans fifty years of American foreign policy from Vietnam to Afghanistan. Told through the perspective of his son David, the gripping documentary takes you behind the scenes of high stakes diplomacy where peace is waged and wars are ended.

Followed by a Q&A with director and film subject David Holbrooke via Skype

Sunday, January 24, 7 p.m.

The Wanted 18

Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, The Wanted 18 recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared “a threat to the national security of the state of Israel.”

Followed by a Q&A with Suhad Babaa, Executive Director, Just Vision


Press Opportunities:To request high-resolution images, screeners, additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact MOPA Marketing & Communications Manager Raya Greenbaum at 619.238.7559 x203 or via email (

The Museum of Photographic Arts is a center for visual learning located in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Its mission is to “inspire, educate and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film and video.” As a 501(c)(3) organization, MOPA is generously supported by members, individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies. Learn more at

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and retired military with ID, $6 for students, and free for MOPA Members, active military with ID and children 12 & under. Pay What You Wish admission days are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. San Diego City and County residents with ID are free the second Tuesday of every month.

About Human Rights Watch: Human Rights Watchis one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world. To learn more about our work or to make a donation, visit


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