The legacy of lawyer Raphael Lemkin, who became a tireless human rights advocate and introduced the word ‘genocide’ to describe mass slaughter as a crime against humanity in 1944, is featured in Academy Award nominated filmmaker and Director Edet Belzberg’s Sundance award winning film, “Watchers of the Sky” (www.watchersofthesky.com). The film will be shown on Saturday, April 12 at the Colonial Theatre in Keene, NH during the second annual Monadnock International Film Festival. Belzberg and producer Amelia Green-Dove will be presented with the Jonathan Daniels award after the screening, a unique recognition presented annually to a socially conscious filmmaker of great artistic merit that echoes Daniels’ courage, purpose and spirit by using film in a powerful, transformative way.
Using present day and rare archival footage combined with beautiful animation, the film intermixes Lemkin’s struggle with the first-hand experiences of four 21st century activists who honor Lemkin’s legacy: Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC); Samantha Power, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (who also narrates Lemkin’s story in the film); Rwandan Emmanuel Uwurukundo, who oversees refugee camps on the border of Chad and Western Sudan for the UN; and Ben Ferencz, a former prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials who knew Lemkin. They carry on Lemkin’s legacy through their firsthand experiences with 20th and 21st century mass killings of minority groups in Armenia, WW 2, Bosnia, Rwanda, and the Darfur region of Sudan.
“Watchers of the Sky” has been called “an impressive and artful cinematic thesis of palpable substance.” The film was inspired by U.N. Ambassador Power’s book, A Problem From Hell and serves to provide a framework for activists who “seek to bring protection, justice, memory and healing to the victims of mass slaughter, and persist against all odds in an attempt to decrease the horrors of the future.”
The Monadnock International Film Festival boasts five feature narrative films, three feature documentaries, a short film program, and several panels. The faculty and staff of the Keene State College Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies will collaborate with MONIFF on special programming for students and community members during the festival.
Tickets are $12 per screening, $75 Film Pass (all films and panels), $125 VIP Pass (all films, panels, opening reception, after-parties, hospitality tent and Swag Bag). Tickets purchased at www.moniff.orgbuy-film-festival-tickets or through the Colonial Theatre box office (www.thecolonial.org, 603.352.2033).
The Monadnock International Film Festival is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring world-class film and filmmakers to New England’s Monadnock Region. Browse the MONIFF website for more information, call Laina Barakat at 603-757-3929 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.