NEWS   •  PRESS RELEASES   ·  January 16, 2024

Feb. 2–10: San Diego Human Rights Watch Film Festival to Shine Spotlight on Changemakers Tackling Global Social Issues

The Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park celebrates individuals bravely taking action to protect their rights, their communities and the climate




The Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA) is hosting its 14th annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival from Feb. 2 to 10, 2024. The San Diego Human Rights Watch Film Festival will feature critically acclaimed films on topics including the rights of LGBTQ+ teens, family separation, refugee rights, disability rights and the right to free and independent press in Native American tribes. Each in-person screening will be accompanied by a question-and-answer session with filmmakers and human rights leaders.

The festival will kick off on Feb. 2 with an in-person-only screening and opening night reception and celebration of queer joy with the life-affirming film, Summer Qamp, followed by a live panel discussion with the film team and local LGBTQ+ rights advocates. Summer Qamp follows a group of queer youth as they attend a camp like no other: a judgment-free zone where they explore their authentic selves while building community, finding joy and making memories that will last a lifetime. Uplifting, funny and moving, this film invites audiences to experience the innocence and joy of a summer away with friends while never losing sight of the bravery of these young protagonists.

Following the opening night celebration, the festival will continue on Saturday, Feb. 3, with three San Diego film premieres, including Bad Press, the Sundance award winner for “U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Freedom of Expression.” The landmark film follows the story of what happens when the elected leaders of the Muscogee Nation, the fourth largest Native American tribe, curb press freedom by giving officials the authority to edit all news stories before they reach the public, and a rogue Mvskoke Media reporter fights to expose her government’s corruption in a historic battle that will have far-reaching ramifications for Native American communities.

Next up at the festival is the California premiere of Si Pudiera Quedarme (If I Could Stay), a film by California-based filmmakers Florencia Krochik and Theo Rigby. The film chronicles the story of two undocumented mothers, Jeanette and Ingrid. As they face deportation and separation from their young children, they and their communities rally support to keep them safe despite the risks. A story of courage and allyship, Si Pudiera Quedarme is a timely look at the transformative power of communities uniting for justice.

The final film in the in-person lineup is Waad al-Kateab’s film, We Dare to Dream. The film shares the story of athletes from Iran, Syria, South Sudan and Cameroon—all refugees who swim, run and fight their way to opportunity and safety in host nations across the world. Spanning a breadth of backgrounds, personal stories and Olympic sports, the film reveals their lives and hopes as they train to compete on the world stage, showing the fire and the drive of young people forced to leave their families, homes and countries of birth to build new lives.

Following the in-person screenings at MOPA@SDMA on Feb. 2 and 3, the festival will continue online, streaming to homes across the US from Feb. 4–10 with five films, including two online exclusives: Ella Glending’s Is Anybody Out There? and Seven Winters in Tehran. In Is Anybody Out There?, filmmaker Ella Glendining asks the question: “What does it take to love yourself fiercely as a disabled person in a non-disabled world?” The multiple award-winning Seven Winters in Tehran chronicles the life of 19-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari, who became a symbol of resistance and women’s rights in Iran and worldwide.

The films Bad Press, Si Pudiera Quedarme (If I Could Stay) and We Dare to Dream will also be included in the digital lineup. Digital festival passes are available to US viewers at to watch the festival films anytime from Feb. 4 at 9am PST through 11:59 p.m. PST on Feb. 10.

“The world needs to hear more stories of the passion, hard work and commitment of everyday people to make a positive difference in the world and in the lives of people around them,” said Jennifer Nedbalsky, Deputy Director of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. “Even as our world is facing enormous challenges, I have been able to find many rays of hope in the stories being presented this year in San Diego. From the celebration of Queer joy found in Summer Qamp, to the strength of the support found between two undocumented mothers and the faith community who support their fight to stay in sanctuary with their children in Si Pudiera Quedarme, (If I Could Stay), we can see the power of human connection, and how small things we can all do can have a tremendous impact.”

“For the 15th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival San Diego, we are honored to host filmmakers and changemakers who are pushing for human rights in the US and across the globe,” said Deidre Guevara, Director of Community Engagement at The San Diego Museum of Art. “This year, we shine a light on important topics like US immigration, while also celebrating queer joy, the power of allyship and communities working together for change. Through the power of film and meaningful conversations around issues that affect millions, we hope to bring people together while inspiring others to speak out and fight for justice in their communities.”

“One person’s story has the power to change the way we think, and inspire others to take action, and that’s why we’ve been bringing the Human Rights Watch Film Festival to San Diego for more than a decade,” said Melissa Pfeiffer, Senior Manager of Events and Community Partnerships at The San Diego Museum of Art. “The festival is our opportunity to invite our community to take part in important conversations around issues impacting us here in San Diego and around the world. We are proud to celebrate the courageous filmmakers and their dedication to human rights.”

Since its founding in 1983, the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA), now the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA), has endeavored to amplify and address cultural, historical and social issues through its exhibitions, educational programs and annual events. This year’s hybrid in-person and virtual Human Rights Watch Film Festival will serve as a vehicle to empower, educate and mobilize an audience throughout the country. The direct storytelling that brings to life current human rights situations across the globe will challenge the audience to empathize and promote justice for everyone. Audiences who feel personally connected to these films will be provided with resources and information so they can take action around the issues presented in each film.



Friday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. PST (Opening Night – in-person-only screening and reception at MOPA@SDMA)

  • Summer Qamp (2023) by Jennifer Markowitz

Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. PST

  • Bad Press (2023) by Rebecca Landsberry-Baker (Muscogee Creek) and Joe Peeler – watch trailer

Saturday, Feb. 3 at 4 p.m. PST

  • Si Pudiera Quedarme (If I Could Stay) (2024) by Florencia Krochik and Theo Rigby

Saturday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. PST

Festivalgoers across the U.S. can watch online anytime – Feb. 4–10

  • Bad Press (2023)
  • Si Pudiera Quedarme (If I Could Stay) (2023)
  • We Dare to Dream (2023)

Online exclusives:

  • Is Anybody Out There? (2023) by Ella Glendining
  • Seven Winters in Tehran (2023) by Steffi Neiderzoll



In-Person Screenings:

  • Individual tickets: $6 members | $8 seniors, military, and students (with ID) | $10 nonmembers
  • In-person festival pass to see all four films: $20 members | $30 nonmembers

Digital Tickets:

  • Digital-only festival pass provides access to five films online, including two films not available in person: $20 members | $35 nonmembers
  • Individual film digital tickets: $6 members | $9 nonmembers

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival team does not want the cost of watching these films to be a barrier to participation. If the price of a ticket to any film screening would prevent anyone  from participating, they can  email, to  receive a free ticket code. Human Rights Watch has set aside a set number of tickets for each  film on a first-come, first-served basis.






About The Museum of Photographic Arts/Becky Moores Center for Visual Learning:

Located in beautiful Balboa Park, the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA) is a vibrant center for visual learning. Since its founding in 1983, the Museum has endeavored to consistently address cultural, historical, and social issues through its exhibitions and educational programs. Located in the Casa de Balboa on El Prado, MOPA@SDMA has 33,000 square feet on two levels of multi-use space that holds offices, the Edmund and Nancy Dubois library, classroom and collection storage. This includes 6,500 square feet of gallery space; a museum shop, the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater, a destination for film festivals: Asian Film Festival, Arab Film Festival, FilmOUT, Pac Arts, San Diego International Film Festival, KPBS’ GI Film Festival, Human Right Watch Film Festival, Italian Film Festival, and more. The Museum of Photographic Arts and The San Diego Museum of Art merged, becoming one unified institution, on July 1, 2023.


About The San Diego Museum of Art

Providing a rich and diverse cultural experience, The San Diego Museum of Art houses some of the world’s finest art. Located in the heart of Balboa Park, the Museum’s internationally renowned collection of more than 32,000 works—dating from 3000 BC to present day—includes Spanish and Italian old masters, the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of South Asian paintings, East Asian art, art from the Americas, Modern and Contemporary art, and the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA). The Museum regularly features major exhibitions of art from around the world, as well as extensive cultural and community engagement programs for all ages. The San Diego Museum of Art hosts experiences that invite visitors to explore art through music, dance, film, food, and so much more. At The San Diego Museum of Art, exhibition text is always in English and Spanish.


About the Human Rights Watch Film Festival:

For more than 40 years, Human Rights Watch has defended people at risk of abuse by investigating abuses scrupulously, exposing the facts widely, and relentlessly pressing those in power for change that respects rights. Human Rights Watch researchers examine situations in  90 countries around the world functioning as investigators, journalists, and advocates.

Recently marking its 30th Anniversary and currently screening films in over 20 cities around the world, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival (HRWFF) bears witness to human rights violations in direct storytelling and exposé form, and creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. In 30 years, the Film Festival has showcased over 720 films at its global festivals.




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MOPA is now MOPA@SDMA!Learn More


Welcome to the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art!

As of July 1, 2023, the Museum of Photographic Arts and The San Diego Museum of Art have merged to become one unified institution. The Museum of Photographic Arts is now the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA).

MOPA@SDMA remains a pay-what-you wish museum open Thursdays through Sundays 11:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you soon!