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South Africa participates at FiSahara human rights film festival
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Mon, 12 May 2014 11:18
 Algeria, Refugees, Sahrawi, camps
Screen grab from the FiSahara trailer

The Western Sahara International Film Festival (FiSahara), which took place from 29 April to 4 May 2014 in the Sahrawi refugee camps in South Western Algeria, included a special tribute to Nelson Mandela as well as film screenings, workshops and a performance by South African musician Jonas Mosa Gwangwa.

Anti-apartheid fighter Andrew Mlangeni attended the festival and compared the plight of 30, 000 refugees, who were exiled from Western Sahara almost four decades ago due to unlawful occupation, with South Africa’s liberation struggle. Mlangeni said: “As in South Africa, cultural activities are an important way of letting the world know about what is happening in Western Sahara.”

The festival hosted over 300 international participants as well as over 30 films from around the world.

This year the first prize, known as a White Camel, was awarded to Legna (Poetry Speaks), a documentary by Juan Ignacio Robles, Bahia Mahmud Awah and Juan Carlos Gimeno. The second prize was awarded to Clint Eastwood’s Invictus and the third prize was awarded to Dirty Wars, a documentary written by David Riker.
In a separate national competition, which judged short films made by Saharawi refugees participating in a newly established refugee camp film school, the first prize was awarded to Arifa, the second prize was awarded to Tears of Hope and the third prize was awarded to My Malady is in my Cure.

Maria Carrion, Executive Director of FiSahara concluded: “FiSahara is a miraculous and magical event and this edition has been a tremendous success. But it is ironic that on the same day that this human rights film festival began here the desert, the human rights of Saharawi’s have once again been ignored by the UN Security Council in New York. This news failed to dampen the spirit. Instead it increased people’s determination and demonstrated just how important events like FiSahara are in raising awareness of this forgotten conflict and the international community’s abject failure to hold Morocco to account for the ongoing human rights abuses occurring in Western Sahara.”

Watch the FiSahara trailer on YouTube.

Visit the FiSahara website for more information.

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