Chilling Portrait of Women De-Valued by War takes Top Film Prize

Dearbhla Glynn

Irish documentary filmmaker Dearbhla Glynn (above) took the Grand Prize this evening (Thursday 20 June 2013) at the fifth annual Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Human Rights Film Awards, which was held in Dublin’s Light House Cinema.

Glynn won the accolade for her documentary The Value of Women in The Congo – an uncompromising, clear-headed and disturbing examination of the effects of the sexual violence perpetrated with impunity against women and girls in war-torn Eastern Congo.  The film explores the experience of the victims as well as the perspective of the perpetrators behind these appalling crimes – foot soldiers, warlords and high-ranking commandants. What emerges is an arresting and brutal account of how war ravages the land and its people and leaves few victors – least of all women, whose value is often rendered worthless.

Dearbhla Glynn is an accomplished documentary filmmaker, specializing in explorations of conflict and its effect on women and children. This is her second Grand Prize at the ICCL Human Rights Film Awards, having previously taken the honours in 2010 for her exposé of conditions in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Commenting on the winning film today, Jury member and Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter Kirsten Sheridan said:

“Dearbhla Glynn’s The Value of Women is a brave and delicately handled piece of war reportage. It is hard-hitting, while showing many sides of the story. It avoids sensationalism, while never shying away from the very difficult themes. It is an important, devastating piece of human rights documentary filmmaking, and a worthy winner in this year’s outstanding field of finalists”

The Gala Screening and Awards ceremony, which took place to a full house in Screen 1 of Dublin’s Light House Cinema, also saw second place prize go to Scottish filmmaker Martin Smith for his film Jimmy, a day-in-the-life portrait of disability rights activist Jimmy McIntosh. Third place prize went to Spanish director Paco Torres for The Rattle of Benghazi, a drama about war and childhood in Libya filmed in Dublin. The competition’s youth-focussed ‘Under a Minute Challenge’ was won this year by Grace Murphy of St Leo’s College Carlow for her stop motion animation piece The Truth About Poverty.

For further information, please contact:

Walter Jayawardene

Communications Manager

Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)

9-13 Blackhall Place

Dublin 7

Ireland 

 

Tel. + 353 1 799 4503

Mob: +353 87 9981574   

Fax. + 353 1 799 4512

 

E-mail  walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie

 

NOTES TO EDITOR

  • The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards is Ireland’s first and only short film competition dedicated to human rights, and is run by Ireland’s human rights watchdog the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
  • This year is the fifth annual instalment of the competition, and has produced an outstanding shortlist of human rights-themed films on a range of issues from war, to disability, to LGBT parenting (see below). The shortlist was recently the subject of a feature piece in the Irish Times’ Arts pages – see http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/breaking-hearts-winning-minds-1.1429011. Full details of the shortlist of films for 2013 can be found on the competition website below and at: http://www.humanrightsfilmawards.org/page.php?intPageID=32 
  • File photos of the winning filmmaker Dearbhla Glynn, the other shortlisted filmmakers, and stills from their films, can be found on the ICCL’s official FLICKR page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/63083264@N05/sets/72157634212202602  
  • The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards Gala screening took place in the Light House Cinema from 7pm on the evening of Thursday 20 June 2013, where the Jury announced the winning film, The Value of Women in The Congo, by Dearbhla Glynn. A photocall took place on the Light House Cinema Plaza and red carpet from 7.30pm. Awards Jury members attending included:  Kirsten Sheridan, Nicky Phelan and Sinéad Kennedy.
  • The Jury comprises acclaimed and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Kirsten Sheridan; directors Rebecca Miller and Ken Wardrop; Oscar-nominated animator Nicky Phelan, actors Brenda Fricker, Stephen Rea and Victoria Smurfit; Senator David Norris; Grainne Humphreys, director of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival; and John Kelleher, former Director of IFCO. 
  • The shortlist was chosen by a panel of experts in human rights and the Arts, including Alan Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Filmbase; Anthea McTiernan of the Irish Times; John Maguire, Film Critic with the Sunday Business Post; Alicia McGivern, Head of Education at the IFI; Marc O’Sullivan, Arts Editor of the Irish Examiner; Suzanne Egan of the UCD School of Law.
  • The Awards also has a young persons’ strand, the ‘Human Rights in Under a Minute Challenge’, the jury for which includes actors Robert Sheehan and Sarah Bolger, and TV presenter Sinéad Kennedy. The winning film in this category was ‘The Truth about Poverty’ by Grace Murphy , which can be viewed at http://www.humanrightsfilmawards.org/page.php?intPageID=21

The 2013 ICCL Human Rights Film Awards Shortlist – Details. Also view at

http://www.humanrightsfilmawards.org/page.php?intPageID=32    

Grand Prize winner: The Value of Women in the Congo

Director: Dearbhla Glynn

War has torn Eastern Congo apart for nearly two decades it is the deadliest war since World War 2. One of the more sinister repercussions of the war is that violence against women has reached epic proportions. In an effort to look at the root cause, 'The value of Women in The Congo' explores the experience of the victims of this violence as well as the perspective of the perpetrators, warlords and high-ranking commandants. What emerges is an arresting and brutal account of how war ravages the land and its people and leaves few victors – least of all women, whose value is often rendered worthless.

Second place Prize Winner: Jimmy

Director: Martin Smith

The 'a day in the life of' motif is not a new idea in filmmaking. Until you see Jimmy that is. Following the daily routine of disability rights campaigner Jimmy McIntosh, MBE, award-winning Scottish filmmaker Martin Smith dispenses with the conventional methods of observational documentary film making, where the subject is often objectified for and by the audience. Instead Smith adopts a truly unique style of directing that allows the viewer to see the world according to Jimmy. With a camera at eye level and another attached to his wheelchair, Jimmy is transformed from subject of the camera’s gaze to its master.  Jimmy thus becomes an innovative and intimate portrait of one man, as seen from the inside out.

Third Place Prize winner: The Rattle of Benghazi

Director: Paco Torres

Say Benghazi and Dublin in the same sentence and it would be a struggle to imagine any type of synergy. But that is exactly what Dublin-based, Spanish director Paco Torres has achieved in his acclaimed short film The Rattle of Benghazi. Our Dublin cityscape becomes transformed into the setting for the 2011 uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi. The geographical mash-up is not the only duality at play here as the film, told from the perspective of a brother and sister, juxtaposes the chaos of war with the innocence of childhood. While the film opens with a seemingly innocuous scene of the children at play, what unfolds becomes altogether more harrowing, as the realities of war intrude on and envelop the siblings’ lives.

 

Mums & Dad

Director: Dara deFaoite

A lesbian couple and gay man become the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy. This short documentary explores the roles and relationships that exist between a mother, Ruth, a father, Jer, and their six-year old son Stephen, reflecting a significant aspect of the diversity of family types in Ireland today. At its heart Mums and Dad is a story of love, loss, trust and respect, however this short documentary also contextualizes the challenges faced by LGBT parents and the right of every individual to make responsible family decisions regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.

No Enemies

Director: Trish McAdam

A campaign video for Front Line Defenders, No Enemies takes as its inspiration Chinese human rights defender Lui Xiaobo’s renowned I Have No Enemies speech of Christmas Day 2009, when he was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment. Set against spartan graphics, the film gives elegant shape to Liu's journey from arrest to conviction. His words – spoken by Salman Rushdie and Seamus Heaney among others – are a graceful and stoical declaration of love - love for his wife and for life, unencumbered by and transcending the oppression he faces.

 


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