Ma3amal 612 Think Factory / Festivals and Networks
ANHAR, The Arab Network for Human Rights Film Festivals is a regional project that creates a pool of information and film database for human rights film festivals and screenings in the Arab region.
During the last 5 years, the Arab region has been witnessing many changes on political, economic and social levels, manifested initially by the Arab Spring and its repercussions, as well as in the movements and the events that followed immediately the Arab upheavals. Consequently, we found ourselves amidst a new awareness that resulted in creating new media platforms and varied types of reporting, and documentation.
In order to make use of the various platforms and the diverse media and film output in the Arab countries. And in order to establish a connection that drives all these sources of information to enrich a bigger and comprehensive source, Ma3mal 612 felt the need to capitalize on its knowledge in organizing human rights film festivals, outreach screenings and related cultural events that could serve as a model for cultural and artistic activities in the Arab countries
ANHAR is a regional program by Ma3mal 612-Think Factory. It aims at establishing a number of affiliates, activists, members, HR festivals and spaces for screening Human Rights films in the region, in collaboration with a number of organizations and individuals who intersect with Karama Human Rights Festival’s vision and goals. It aims to bring together film festival directors, filmmakers and activists who work in the fields of human rights and film.
Considering the status of human rights in the Arab world, and the dynamic relation between humans representing their social and political spheres by art, especially film, comes the importance of this network, which attempts to promote human rights and advocate for have human rights as a main component of artistic productions and projects in the region.
The Arab Network for Human Rights Film Festivals is abbreviated in (ANHAR), the Arabic pronunciation of the word is [anhar], which is the plural of [nahr] in Arabic, meaning “river.” These rivers flow towards an ocean that collects all their essence. Here comes the concept of ANHAR, as a hub that connects countries in the region and revitalizes its resources, creating a fertile environment for human rights films and advocacy.
It is important to note that Ma3mal 612 and during Karama Human Rights Film festival 5th edition, has organized in partnership with Movies that Matter festival from the Hague: the head of the International Human Rights Films Network “HRFN”, a program entitled “Cinema without Borders” where 12 participants from the region were trained on how to create human rights film festivals and screenings in their source countries, resulted in three new HRF festivals in 2015-2016, Karama Gaza Human Rights Film festival, the Human Rights Film Festival- Beirut and Karama Mauritania.
The network is a platform for activists and HR bodies to reach out for the people as a higher goal. We are observing the political struggles that are having large repercussion on the Arab societies, and resulting in the displacement of millions of people; we believe that this status quo will change the face of the globe soon and will result in new dynamics in geo and sociopolitical relations. We also need to mention the frustrating results of the failed revolutions in the “Arab Spring” the spring that was a dream to every Arab citizen. However, its backlash did not hinder us from sustaining the strong drive and will to change the world.
We feel like it is necessary to create a human rights lobby/platform as a tool to combat the injustices, violence and the now seemingly justified and normalized terrorism. This movement ANHAR is a peaceful resistance to the dark cloud of ignorance and injustice that is taking over our region as an Arab World and the globe as a whole.
Our affiliates in the same field in the region are supporting this human rights movement, therefore we decided to join and unite forces as a strong weight of resistance in the face of this catastrophe -rather than having dismembered small forces who are doing the same work in a bubble. We as a team regard ourselves as cultural and human right activists, using the medium of film and visual arts as a tool to propagate awareness, critical thinking, discussion, analysis and information. Using this medium we aim to reach larger target groups, since the wide array of spectators are attracted to the film genre in the last years. ANHAR will be the rivers that flow towards a better world of justice and dialogue. It will be based on the synergy within each project/river in the region. These rivers will intersect to create a stronger flow in communication and close coordination towards priority issues.
EXCELLENCE IN THE UTILIZATION OF FILM AS A MEDIUM TO ADVOCATE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE ARAB REGION
By including film makers, writers, academics, policy makers and all relevant actors in the discussions and intensive debates, the quality of the analysis of the major human rights challenges facing the Arab countries as well as the policy recommendations emanating from these discussions will emphatically improve not only the quality of human-rights documentaries, films, advocacy materials but also a digital data that need to be collected and streamlined to strengthen the policy debates.
Creating an institutionalized network specializing in human rights issues will provide participants an opportunity to delve into an in-depth level of analysis and will open the floor for a wider debate and constructive feedback. Currently the process has been for individual film screening that are reviewed by a few. Lessons learned and gained expertise is not maintained nor spread to a wider audience. The proposed network will be the crux of cutting-edge knowledge and analysis not only of human rights but also of major socioeconomic and political underpinnings leading to human rights violations in the region.
EXCELLENCE IN POLICY IMPACT
The debate, outreach and advocacy activities within the network will promote the concept of human rights within the general public and with policy makers. The involvement of the various actors and the specialized discussions with the general public will highlight policy recommendations and mechanisms for actualizing them.
EXCELLENCE IN PARTICIPATORY AND INCLUSIVE PROCESS AND DEEPENING NATIONAL OWNERSHIP
The incorporation of the pertinent film producers and activists from NGOs and other civil society organizations in the process through meetings, film screening, film productions, and debate forums on the web-site will provide the most inclusive participatory process that highlights divergent points of view and enrich the discussions on human rights concepts and challenges facing the region. The network and its support activities will be the forum not only to create a deeper ownership of the process but also enable all parties to define the most critical policy issues that need to be addressed.