When I think of human rights film festivals, I usually brace myself for a series of depressing documentaries that leave me feeling rather hopeless and in need of chocolate cake. However, this was not the case for the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival. I attended this year's festival and was relieved to find something quite empowering and inspiring.
The films were skillfully crafted and covered a wide range of pertinent human rights issues, but what impressed me most was the container which held them. There were facilitated discussions following the screenings, which helped the audience metabolize the factual and emotional content of each film. Directors and producers were present via Skype, local experts, activists, leaders from faith communities and local non-profit human rights groups helped make the post-screening discussions rich and engaging. Rather than walking away from the films with a heavy heart, I came away feeling able and inspired to be part of solutions.
I encourage you to attend next year's 15th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival. It is certainly worth the free admission.
- Matia Jones of Bellingham, via Letters to the Editor
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