Tuesday, November 01, 2005

SIGNIS-WACC Award for a Programme Promoting Human Rights

SIGNIS-WACC Award for a Programme Promoting Human Rights A SIGNIS-WACC Award for a Programme Promoting Human Rights will be handed to "FACES OF CHANGE" by Michèle Stephenson , Saturday November 5 at 20h30 in the Valpré Amphithéâtre, Lyon. The Award ceremony which takes place during the SIGNIS World Congress will be followed by the screening of the film. Michèle Stephenson is a well known film director and human rights activist from Haiti.

SIGNIS-WACC Award for a Programme Promoting Human Rights
Ivan Ivanov, a Bulgarian Roma, or Gypsy, struggled against poverty and racism to become a doctor. But when a patient refused to be treated by a Roma doctor, Ivanov felt compelled to change careers. He returned to school to become a human rights lawyer, fighting prejudice against the Roma in Bulgaria. At the beginning of FACES OF CHANGE, he travels to New York for video camera training that will allow him to record the stories of the Roma people and the conditions in which they live. With Ivan is Kathir Raj, a Dalit or "untouchable" from India; Mohamed Ould Borbosse, an abolitionist from Mauritania; Nara dos Anjos Rodrigues, a teen mother from Brazil; and Elodia Blanco, an environmental justice advocate from Louisiana. The activists return to their communities, armed with cameras, to document examples of racism as it affects them and their neighbors over the course of three years.

The astonishing results are woven together by filmmaker Michele Stephenson, from strikingly similar vistas of broken down homes, dust and threadbare clothing to demonstrations of profound social inequity in each of their countries. The videos are exceptional because they are recorded from within the communities. They capture hopes and dreams that echo each other across the five countries. At the UN World Conference Against Racism and Xenophobia in South Africa, the five activists meet again to learn from others who share their concerns. Through their filmmaking process and collaboration, they generate ideas and gain energy to shape an alternative future.