NEWS   ·  December 30, 2019

Renowned human rights leaders will attend screenings around LGBT and immigration issues at MOPA

  • January 30 – February 1: San Diego Human Rights Watch Film Festival Celebrates One Decade of Highlighting Changemakers– GET TICKETS NOW
  • Tribeca Audience Award winner “Gay Chorus Deep South” to screen Opening Night

This January, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) for its tenth run in San Diego. Renowned filmmakers and human rights leaders will attend film screenings at MOPA to generate dialogue and action around pressing social issues facing our society today. The Museum invites audiences to participate in post-screening forums and Q&A sessions with filmmakers and film subjects, as well as subject experts.


“Each year when MOPA hosts the Human Rights Film Festival, we have the opportunity to educate ourselves and our community on the issues facing today’s society, as well as learn how we can get involved,” said Deborah Klochko, executive director of MOPA. “It is hard to believe we are coming up on the tenth year but foresee a long future with this film festival that fits in so well to MOPA’s vision.”

The festival will open with Tribeca Audience Award winner Gay Chorus Deep South. Another movie on must-watchlists this festival season is Slay the Dragon, which was co-directed by the Academy Award-nominated director Barak Goodman. Variety magazine calls it “the most important political film of the year.”

At MOPA, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival empowers San Diego audiences with the  knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. The audience will see films that use direct storytelling and exposés that showcase human rights issues they hadn’t previously been exposed to.

This year, financial support for the San Diego series is provided by the City of San Diego, Larry Friedman and Future Holidays.

The following panelists will be at the films’ post-screening Q&A:

Gay Chorus Deep South,
Thursday, January 30 at 7 p.m.

  • Neela Ghoshal, Senior Researcher, LGBT Rights, Human Right Watch 
  • Bud Johnston, Producer, Gay Chorus Deep South
  • Ashlé Blow, Featured member, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
  • Jim White, Featured member, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus

Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World, WATCH TRAILER
Friday, January 31 at 7 p.m.

  • Brian Root, Senior Quantitative Analyst, Human Rights Watch
  • Lorie Hearn, Founder and Executive Director of iNewsource

Slay the Dragon, WATCH TRAILER
Saturday, February 1 at 12 p.m. (image above courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

  • Dreisen Heath, US Advocacy Officer, Human Rights Watch
  • Katie Fahey, film subject and Executive Director, The People
  • Chris Wilson, Associate Director, Alliance San Diego

Saturday, February 1 at 3 p.m. (image above courtesy of Esben Grage)

  • Eva Mulvad, Filmmaker, Love Child (via Skype)

True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality
Saturday, February 1 at 7 p.m.

  • Dreisen Heath, US Advocacy Officer, Human Rights Watch
  • Chris Wilson, Associate Director, Alliance San Diego

To learn more about sponsorship or underwriting opportunities for MOPA film programs, please contact a member of the Development Team at or 619-238-7559 x300.

“We are excited to open this year’s festival with Gay Chorus Deep South, a film that reflects the optimism and hope that Human Rights Watch feels when we think about the state of today’s human rights movement,” said Jennfier Nedbalsky, deputy director of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. “Though our country and world are facing mounting human rights challenges from what feels like every direction, we at Human Rights Watch are deeply inspired by the actions being taken by individuals on every continent who are standing up, and risking it all to protect their communities. We are honored to continue our partnership with MOPA to provide a platform for celebrating individuals creating change both here in San Diego, and around the world.”

Human Rights Watch thanks the David D. Dodge Foundation for its support

About the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. They work tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep rooted change and fight to bring greater justice and security to people around the world. Through Human Rights Watch Film Festival, they bear witness to human rights violations and create a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. The film festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people.

The HRW Film Festival currently screens in over 20 cities around the world throughout the year. The festival’s programming committee operates out of the New York office to screen more than 500 films each year. Through a rigorous vetting process, that includes review by Human Rights Watch’s programmatic staff, the festival chooses approximately 40 films each year to participate in our various festivals. It is then up to the particular city and its programming committee to choose films from this final selection for their specific festival.

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