ICCL Human Rights Film Awards

#Event: Shortlist announced for 8th Annual ICCL Human Rights Film Awards

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) will host a Gala Screening and Awards Ceremony of the 8th Annual ICCL Human Rights Film Awards at the Light House Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin 7 on Thursday June 30th.

The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards honours original short films focusing on a particular human rights issue. The competition has produced shortlisted films of outstanding quality which cast light on a range of human rights issues in new and creative ways.

Spanning a range of styles, and a mix of documentary and drama, previous entrants have dealt with a range of pressing human rights issues in Ireland and internationally, including transgender recognition, victims of crime, racism, the plight of Mediterranean migrants and threats facing frontline human rights defenders. Its aim has been to link up creative people with human rights activists, and to encourage the application of the filmmaker’s craft to the cause of human rights. Previous entrants have demonstrated the remarkable power of film in treating complex issues in a compelling and accessible way.


The 2016 ICCL Human Rights Film Awards shortlist is the cream of entries to this year’s competition. The shortlist makes for captivating viewing, and gives creative life to urgent human rights issues facing the world today.

Backlash: The War on Human Rights

Backlash: The War on Human Rights

Directors: Nuala Cunningham & Ciaran O’Connor

Violence against human rights defenders is not new, but this documentary looks beyond individual attacks to highlight the alarmingly concerted attack by the powerful on the very idea of human rights. All around the world, Governments increasingly attempt to suppress critical voices and repress and discredit the work of NGOs and human rights defenders. To capture and convey the true extent of this complex issue, Director Ciaran O’Connor tells the stories of the people and organisations who are in the direct firing line, revealing the personal impact on those working on the ground all around the world.



Director: James Doherty

Located in the heart of the Travelling community, Breathe tells the story of a father struggling to  come to terms with his son’s emerging gender identity. Breathe explores the themes of acceptance as we follow a father’s transformation from being a resistant force succumbing to the expectations of a patriarchal society and the memory of his own violent father to accepting his son for who he is. Working with Traveller actors, Traveller’s Right groups and filming in Ireland, Director James Doherty has brought a raw aesthetic to the story, capturing the Travelling community in an accurate and respectful portrayal.

Sumud: Everyday Resistance

Directors: Emmet Sheerin & Bryan Duffy

Sumud: Everyday Resistance examines life under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank through the stories of Palestinian women. While the documentary does examine human rights abuses, it also focuses on non-violent resistance by Palestinian communities. Seeing women as drivers of change, the film highlights aspect of Palestinian life in a way that presents its subjects not as victims, but as proactive, engaged, and dignified.  The documentary takes its title from the Palestinian concept ‘sumud’ (literally translated as ‘steadfastness’), which speaks to the Palestinians’ steadfast commitment to their homeland, and their determination to vindicate their rights.

The Border

Director: Caoimhe Butterly

Filmed at the Idomeni border crossing in Northern Greece in April 2016, Caoimhe Butterly’s documentary starkly highlights the dislocation and uncertainty of the over 12,000 women, men and children who were stranded there. The Border shows us the real impact of European border closures, and brings us the voices of those most directly affected. In the context of continuing tragedy in the Agean and Medeterranean seas, where smuggling networks continue to ply their deplorable trade, The Border is a clear and considered portrayal of people who are so often “Other-ed” by media representations that homogenise – and delegitimize – a multitude of human narratives and lived experiences.


Directors: Masood Eslami & Qafar Azad

Swap, directed by Kabul based writer and director Masood Eslami tells the story of an Afghan family with two daughters who are managing their family’s wellbeing in a country where conflict is never far from the surface. Highlighting the issue of violence against women, Swap tells the story of a child bride married to an old man to secure the safety and security of her family. The relationship between violence against women and war is explored in this intense short film.

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