The highly anticipated fifth annual Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival (MCHRFF) today announced 20 films spanning five categories that have been nominated for its annual awards, including Documentary Short, Narrative Short, Documentary Feature, Narrative Feature, and Student Film. Dedicated to promoting understanding of global issues and artistic expression, the MCHRFF will take place from September 19-23, 2023 on the campus of Morehouse College. To purchase badges as well as view a complete list of early selections, official selections, and nominated films, visit morehousehumanrightsfilmfestival.com.
Kara Walker, the executive director of the MCHRFF, shared her thoughts for this year’s festival, stating, “This year, we continue the tradition of celebrating filmmakers who, through the medium of film, challenge societal norms, question power structures, and advocate for marginalized communities. By bringing these films to the forefront, we hope to inspire others to use art as a means of activism and to foster a more socially conscious society.”
As the festival grows in scope and influence, the nominated films – and other official selections – promise to captivate audiences with their thought-provoking narratives and compelling cinematography. Each film has been carefully chosen to highlight a wide range of pressing human rights issues and to ignite meaningful conversations about the challenges faced by communities across the globe.
This year’s nominated films include the following submissions:
Butterfly, Butterfly | Directed by Len Morris
This deeply personal film surveys 30 years of filming children worldwide and measures the changes that have occurred for better or worse in children’s human rights.
ifine | Directed by Adisa Septuri, Ebony Gilbert
Set in the Kono district of Sierra Leone, this docu-choreopoem captures the beauty of Blackness through the lens of the youth coming of age amid a skin bleaching epidemic.
In Her Absence | Directed by Clarke Phillips
When a federal agent who worked on stopping the opioid epidemic loses his wife to an overdose, he and his family must learn to live in her absence.
Inclusion: The Story of the Americans with Disabilities Act | Directed by Shelly Simmons
Inclusion presents the point of view of disabled activists and professionals, shining a spotlight on the work that remains — and the shift in social consciousness that is needed — for their full immersion in all activities.
Elephant! | Directed by Chinwe Okorie
A young Black girl befriends a wealthy but troubled classmate. Problems ensue.
Hello, Muscles | Directed by Marnie Baxter
A young girl develops muscles, but finds a different kind of strength.
She’s The Protagonist | Directed by Sarah Carlot Jaber
The Protagonist, by her given name, is presented to us in her natural environment: a jungle, sadly, often lacking in density. But today, enough is enough! Being the mother, the secretary, the lover, the nanny, the baby bottle, and the side piece of the main male character is no longer enough for our dear Protagonist!
Speak Up Brotha! | Directed by Wes Andre Goodrich
After a brief connection with an enigmatic woman in his car, a rideshare driver must learn to communicate in ways beyond his understanding to win her heart.
Us | Directed by David F. Fortune
A devoted father experiences the highs and lows of teaching his son with Down syndrome the sweet science of baseball.
Wokman | Directed by Jeremy Thao
Wokman shares an immigrant Chinese family’s pursuit of the American Dream inside their restaurant, China Wok. Based in 1998 in rural Georgia, Wokman is a slice-of-life story of the only Chinese family in town, the Lis, as they navigate through their little corner of America.
Kiss the Babies | Directed by Byron M Goggin
In America, gun violence is now the number one killer of children under eighteen. This raw, emotional documentary takes an uncomfortable look at how we got to this unacceptable place.
Razing Liberty Square | Directed by Katja Esson
Miami is ground-zero for sea-level-rise. When residents of the Liberty Square public-housing community learn about a $300 million revitalization project in 2015, they know that this sudden interest comes from their neighborhood being located on the city’s highest-and-driest ground. Now they must prepare to fight a new form of racial injustice – Climate Gentrification.
Teacher | Directed by Adam Gacka
There are 3.1 million public school teachers in the United States education system. Most are underpaid, underappreciated, and misunderstood. As a result, a mass exodus from the profession has created a shortage with dire consequences.
The Right to Read | Directed by Jenny Mackenzie
The Right to Read shares the stories of an NAACP activist, a teacher, and two American families who fight to provide our youngest generation with the most foundational indicator of life-long success: the ability to read.
Honor Student | Directed by Tamika Miller
Jeremy Chue is a picture-perfect teenager. He is talented, has the perfect grades, a well-off family, and attends a prestigious Washington, D.C. private school. At least that is how he appears. After losing his twin brother in a mass shooting, Jeremy takes matters into his own hands, holds a teacher hostage, and gives America a lesson it will never forget.
The Son Rises | Directed by Alexander G. Seyum
Manny, a rebellious biker, must fight for justice when his younger brother is killed in a senseless police shooting.
Born Again | Directed by Will Henderson III
A boy confronts his religious mother with his questions and concerns about God and the church on the day of his baptism.
Palm Sunday | Directed by Wes Andre Goodrich
Inspired by true events, Palm Sunday is a southern gothic drama about a young Black Caribbean Immigrant who attempts to assimilate into an all-white church in 1970s Raleigh, North Carolina.
Sammy, Without Strings | Directed by Ralph Parker, III
When a Black puppet named Sammy, performing at the hands of his malevolent Puppeteer, falls in love with a woman in his audience, he sets his sights on freedom from his strings to live a life of dignity and humanity with her.
Wilderness Therapy | Directed by Nate Wiggins
Venturing into the controversial world of wilderness therapy programs, this documentary explores the delicate balance between the beneficial power of nature and the negative encounters experienced by participants during their time in camp, ultimately questioning the worth of enduring such hardships for the potential benefits nature can provide.
For more information about the Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival, visit morehousehumanrightsfilmfestival.com.