Human Rights Watch Film Festival, London

Barbican Cinema On Demand
Human Rights Watch Film Festival, London image
Covid 19 Information
This event is entirely online

Thursday 18th of March 2021 to Friday 26th of March 2021

Event Times



To purchase tickets online


Please note: as you will no doubt be aware COVID-19 is leading to many events being cancelled or postponed. Please check with the organisers of any event listed here to confirm it is going ahead as planned.

The 2021 Human Rights Watch Film Festival celebrates 25 years with a full digital edition available to stream across the UK, in partnership with Barbican Cinema, and generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Featuring 10 powerful and uplifting new documentaries -- each accompanied by a live, online discussion (free and live-captioned in English) with filmmakers, film participants, and Human Rights Watch researchers from around the world -- the festival is presented exclusively on Barbican Cinema On Demand from 18-26 March.

Celebrating campaigners, individuals and journalists who shine a light on disruptive forces, this year’s empowering programme highlights trailblazing women, activists’ resilience and resistance, education as an essential tool for change and a special spotlight on Latin America. With films from Ireland, Germany, Kenya, Philippines, the United States and Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela, eight of this year’s line-up are directed or co-directed by women.

The Opening Night film, The 8th shows a country forging a new path at a time when reproductive rights are threatened around the world. Shot over a three-year period, co-directors Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy and Maeve O’Boyle follow campaigners of Ireland’s reproductive rights movement Ailbhe Smyth and Andrea Horan, leading up to the historic 2018 referendum. Co-director Lucy Kennedy, film participants Ailbhe Smyth and Andrea Horan and senior researcher in the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch Hillary Margolis, will join the live virtual discussion on Thursday 18 March, 8.30pm.

The Closing Night film strikes an equally determined note from young Black, queer women in the US. Unapologetic director Ashley O’Shay introduces Janaé Bonsu and Bella BAHHS, two fierce activist leaders in the US seeking justice for the deaths of two Black Chicagoans at the hands of the police. Their journey illuminates the love underpinning their anger and frustration, and elevates those who are most often leading the way while being denied the spotlight. Director Ashley O’Shay and film participants Bella Bahhs and Janaé Bonsu will join the live virtual discussion on Friday 26 March, 8.30pm.

To celebrate this 25th edition, audiences also have an opportunity to watch 10 selected festival highlights from previous editions thanks to the continuing partnership with MUBI

All festival films are available to stream throughout the festival dates. Free, live-captioned discussions will take place on Zoom, at times detailed below. Three caption screenings for Deaf or hard of hearing will take place throughout the festival, detailed below. Tickets on-sale 18th February purchased via Human Rights Watch Film Festival or Barbican Cinema On Demand.

Festival Programme:


User Reviews

There are no user reviews
Have your say

Add a review or useful tip for this event

Add a review Add a useful tip
Sign up for the latest
Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from London!
By entering your email address you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receive email updates and newsletters from All In London. You can unsubscribe at any time.