Queens World Film Festival (QWFF) celebrates 70 years of the signage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its Article 19 that guarantees freedom of expression to every human being with the 8th QWFF’s block We the People
Seven Films Celebrate Freedom of Expression
In 1948, the majority of the countries in the world signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) guaranteeing everyone the right to freedom of expression, including receiving and circulating information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Exactly 70 years later, we are witnessing that this fundamental human right is frequently ignored through tactics such as censorship, restrictive legislation, and harassment of journalists, bloggers, artists and others who voice their descent.
QWFF will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the UDHR and its Article 19 by screening seven films that all celebrate freedom of expression, in the We the People block, followed by a Q&A. The program will take place in the Zuckor Screening Room of Kaufman Astoria Studios 34-12 36th Street, Astoria, Queens, on March 22, 2018, from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM.
We the People opens with a short documentary, Cycle that follows the infamous Critical Mass urban riders of New York City in their activist response to authority. The Spanish produced The Other Side takes the viewers to a park on the American-Mexican border which is the only place where relatives from both sides could lean against the fence and talk. Couples quietly whisper in each other’s ears while Border Patrol agents walk back and forth in what can be compared to a prison yard on visiting day. Shot as a document of the Women’s March in Seattle in 2017, We Will Not be Silenced reaffirms the idea that freedom of expression is something that needs to be protected and at times fought for. The feature documentary Fighting for Justice is a local Queens story that follows a family of a killed Muslim cleric in the aftermath of his death. The film uncovers the reluctance of the criminal justice system to charge anybody with ‘hate crime.’ A short feature from Iran, The Stage provides an unexpected take on the war in Syria, while another feature film, Forgive Me, produced in Kosovo, focusses on that country’s forbidden topic – a family in turmoil after one of its members decides to join ISIS. By following a story of a teacher from North Carolina who wanted to make a point about free speech by stepping on the American Flag, Flagged: An American Love Story brings the question of freedom of expression and the limits of the First Amendment back home.
We the People block is curated by Marija Sajkas who is an international consultant on media freedoms and a resident of Queens. After the screening, QWFF will honor journalist Katie Honan, formerly of DNA Info, for her journalistic integrity, curiosity and dedicated work in promoting the Borough of Queens.