Human Rights Arts & Film Festival reveals full 2016 program

The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival yesterday announced its full 2016 festival program including film, arts, music and forums. 

HRAFF will open with the Australian premiere of Academy Award winning Australian director Eva Orner’s documentary Chasing Asylum.

Chasing Asylum features never-before-seen footage of detention centers on Naru and Manus Island, revealing the conditions of asylum seekers on Australian shores.

Michael Graversen will offer a European perspective on asylum with his film Dreaming of Denmark, which follows 15-year-old Wasiullah who has spent his adolescent years in Denmark, nervously awaiting acceptance for permanent residency, after fleeing his native country of Afghanistan. Graversen’s film investigates what happens to the many refugee children who disappear from asylum seeker centres year after year.

The Festival will close with the Australian Premiere of the 2016 Sundance award-winner The Bad Kids. The Festival describes the film as an immersive, emotional experience documenting America’s most pressing education problem: poverty.

Other highlights of HRAFF’s diverse calendar include They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile,  following various musicians in Mali, in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music in the region; Prison Songs, Australia’s first-ever musical documentary, featuring inmates from the notorious Berrimah Prison in Northern Territory; Hooligan Sparrow (Sundance 2016), following human-rights activist Ye Haiyan as she seeks justice on behalf of six elementary school girls sexually abused by their principal and psychological thriller The Stanford Prison Experiment (winner of 2015 Sundance Film Festival Best Screenplay award) exploring abusive behavior in the prison system through experiments conducted in a simulated jail.

In turn, post-film Q&A’s with directors and casts will feature heavily in the Festival’s program.

Local filmmaking talent will also make an appearance, with the Australian Short sessions alongside a showcase of emerging international talent in International Shorts.

For the pint-sized humanitarian, the CineSeeds program is designed to engage audiences from 5-18 years with human rights issues through film screenings and live performances. The program includes Girl Rising (recommended for ages 12+), a documentary, narrated by the likes of Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Selena Gomez, that calls for everyone to stand for girls’ education.

The Melbourne leg of the festival  will also feature a diverse program of exhibitions, performances and speakers.


 MELBOURNE 5 May – 19 May
Film Venue: ACMI
Art Venues:  Footscray Community Arts Centre, Dark Horse Experiment, No Vacancy (The Atrium), Koorie Heritage Trust, The Ownership Project, The Substation, Neon Parlour and Long Play

SYDNEY 24 May – 28 May
Venue: Dendy Cinema Newtown

Venue: Brisbane Powerhouse

CANBERRA 3 – 5 June
Venue: Palace Electric Cinema

PERTH 30 May – 1 June
Venue: Luna on Essex Cinema

 ALICE SPRINGS 30 May – May 31
Venue: Alice Springs Cinema

DARWIN 6 June – June 8
Venue: Deckchair Cinema

The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival returns for its ninth year,   touring nationally from May 5 – June 8. For full program details and to purchase tickets check out


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