The Human Rights Watch Film Festival has announced the lineup for its 29th New York edition, showcasing 15 timely and provocative documentary and narrative works, screening June 14-21 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center. This year's lineup includes three Latino titles in their New York premiere, all of directed by women: Women of the Venezuelan Caos by Margarita Cadenas, Voices of the Sea by Kim Hopkins, and closing night film The Unafraid by Anayansi Prado and Heather Courtney.
Embodying strength and stoicism, in Women of the Venezuelan Caos, five Venezuelan women from diverse backgrounds each draw a portrait of their country as it suffers under the worst crisis in its history amid extreme food and medicine shortages, a broken justice system, and widespread fear.
The women share what life is really like for them and their families as the truth of the country’s difficulties are repeatedly denied by the government. Featuring stunning visuals and creative soundscapes, Margarita Cadenas documentary film presents a uniquely beautiful country and people, who remain resilient and resourceful despite the immense challenges they face.
Set in a tiny, remote Cuban fishing village, Voices of the Sea follows Mariela, a mother of four young children whi longs for a better life. The families in her village are utterly dependent on the day’s catch, which changes with the tide. The shops are empty, school is repeatedly shut down due to a lack of resources, and basic transportation is non-existent.
With the relationship between the US and Cuba in flux, Mariela, like many Cubans, is afraid that her only chance to escape to the US will soon close. Her husband, Pita, loves his community, cherishes his friendships, and is loyal to his craft as a fisherman. The tension between husband and wife—one desperate to leave, the other content to stay—builds further after her brother and neighbors flee the country, risking their lives to chase the American Dream.
The Unafraid tells the story of high School seniors Alejandro, Silvia and Aldo, who like most of their friends, are eager to go to college and pursue their education. However, their home state of Georgia not only bans them from attending the top five public universities, but also deems them ineligible for in-state tuition at public colleges due to their immigration status as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. In response, these three ambitious and dream-filled students divert their passions toward the fight for education in the undocumented community.
As President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric against immigrants gains momentum, and with the three students under constant threat of losing their DACA status and being deported, The Unafraid follows these inspirational members of the generation of “undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid” young people who are determined to overcome and dismantle oppressive policies and mindsets.