The OMCT has been a close partner of the Geneva-based Film Festival on Human Rights (FIFDH) since its inception in 2003. Each year, we present an award worth 5,000 CHF to a filmmaker who has highlighted a particularly difficult situation that demonstrates the vital importance of the fight for human rights.
Coded Bias by Shalini Kantayya
In March 2021, the prize went to Coded Bias by Shalini Kantayya, a film that powerfully depicts the threats that artificial intelligence poses to our liberties, including racist and sexist biases hardwired into algorithms. The jury at the OMCT also chose the film because it shows that determined action can ensure that our future is better than our dystopian present.
The Festival is also known for its debates on burning human rights topics. OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock took part in one of the most high-profile events, entitled Belarus, a dying dictatorship?, alongside opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and celebrated human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, founder of human rights group Viasna (“Spring”). Four months later, Ales Bialiatski was arrested in Minsk on bogus charges and imprisoned, alongside most of Viasna’s leadership.
In Tunisia, a film festival goes behind bars
In Tunisia, the OMCT office continued bringing the Carthage Film Festival behind bars, as it has successfully done since 2015. Out of 13,235 prisoners who watched films and documentaries, 765 also attended debates with film directors and actors. After seeing Captains of Za'atari, the real story of two young Syrian refugees in Jordan who become professional footballers, a 38-year old inmate had this reaction, as quoted by Arts & Culture: "Just like the characters of the movie were able to realise their dream even though their country is at war, we also have our dreams that could come true when we get out."
During this edition, a crew of three inmates accompanied the film festival in prisons and produced a short documentary that was screened with much success at the closing ceremony of the Carthage Film Festival.