An intense ten-day summer school at NUI Galway to filmmakers engage with pressing human rights issues has been running in the city all week. The Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy (CHRA ) Summer School which concludes on Saturday is funded by Open Society Foundations.
The Foundation, backed by investor and philanthropist George Soros, has this year doubled its funding to CHRA projects through its Open Society Media Programme and Youth Initiative.
Now in its seventh year, the CHRA Summer School is organised by the NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media and the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Students and talented young filmmakers will attend from Burkina Faso, India, Myanmar, Jordan, Palestine, Hong Kong, Australia, Ethiopia and several European countries.
Rod Stoneman is Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media: “Film is a key tool in communicating across borders and cultures, and it can be a very powerful tool for highlighting the struggles people face on a daily basis. Because of this, it can play a critical role in highlighting key human rights issues and promoting basic freedom around the world.”
In the last six months, CHRA has travelled to Burkina Faso, London and Hong Kong to deliver seminars and workshops in collaboration with local universities, film schools and human rights film festivals.
“Thanks to support from Open Society Foundations, the summer school plans to extend its training activities in the future to new regions where human rights are crucial and urgent,” explains Rod Stoneman. “For example, our recent workshops in Hong Kong proved relevant for participants from mainland China, where universities have recently been instructed not to discuss press freedom, human rights or ‘previous mistakes of the Communist Party’.”
The Summer School will coincide with Films That Matter , a three-day human rights film event organised in Galway by Amnesty Ireland and One World Centre in order to give participants the chance to assist human rights films which forms a basis for critical discussion.