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Amnesty International-DOEN Award at Rotterdam

33rd International Film Festival Rotterdam
Jan 21 - Feb 1, 2004

At the upcoming edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) opening next January 21, the second Amnesty International-DOEN Award will be awarded. This yearly prize given to a film about human rights and human dignity is presented by Amnesty International and Foundation DOEN and consists of a stipendium prize of Euro 5,000 and a modest distribution in the Netherlands. The international jury that chooses a winner out of a selection of ten nominated films, is led by Hülya Uçansu, director of the Istanbul International Film Festival. A number of the nominated films received prizes at other international film festivals last year. Examples of these are FUSE, OSAMA, SILENT WATER and UNIFORM.

At the International Documentary Film festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and the CPH: DOX film festival in Copenhagen the best film about human rights is also yearly rewarded with an Amnesty International Film Award.

The following festival films have been nominated for the Amnesty International-DOEN Award:

THE AGRONOMIST by Jonathan Demme (USA 2003, 90 min)
CRIMSON GOLD by Jafar Panahi (Iran 2003, 97 min)
DAYS OF SANTIAGO by Josue Mendez (Peru 2004, 83 min.)
FUSE by Pjer Zalica (Bosnië/Oostenrijk/Turkije/Frankrijk 2003, 105 min.) LAST TRAIN by Alexej German jr. (Rusland 2003, 82 min) OSAMA by Barmak Siddiq (Afhanistan/Japan/Ierland 2003) 82mm THE SILENCE BETWEEN TWO THOUGHTS by Babak Payami (Iran 2003, 95 min.) SILENT WATERS by Sabiha Sumar (Pakistan/Frankrijk/Duitsland 2003, 99 min.) SUMMER IN THE GOLDEN VALLEY by Srdjan Vuletic (Bosnië/Frankrijk/Verenigd Koninkrijk, 2003, 104min.) UNIFORM by Diao Yinan (China/Japan 2003, 94 min.)

Besides the chairwoman Uçansu, the jury consists of three engaged filmmakers and a journalist/publicist who is an expert on the Yugoslavian tribunal. Murali Nair (1966) grew up in Kerala, India. A Long Journey was nominated in 1996 for the short filmcompetition in Cannes, three years later Throne of Death (1999) won the Camera d'Or for best debut film. Since then Nair has been responsible for two other projects that have been screened in Cannes: A Dog's Day (2001) en A Story that Begins at the End (2003). Recently Nair has developed an engaged series for the British Channel 5.

Hülya Uçansu (1950, Bandirma, Turkey), grew up in Istanbul. In 1977 she gained her degree in English philology at the University of Istanbul. In 1983 she was appointed director of the International Film festival in Istanbul, where Uçansu still works. In 1996 the Turkish woman was responsible, as the film director of Europalia '96, for the retrospective of the Turkish Cinema in the Centre George Pompidou in Paris.

In 1980 Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Abéché, Chad, 1961) left his native country because of the raging civil war. In Paris he studied both film and journalism. In 1994 Haroun made Maral Tanie, the first of six short films that he directed. Bye Bye Africa, Haroun's first full-length feature film won, among others, the CinemAvvenire Award for best début film in Venice. Last year Haroun's second feature film Abouna was screened at the IFFR.

Garin Nugroho (Yogyakarta, 1961) completed both a law degree and the film academy of Jakarta. Before his debut feature film Love is a slice of bread (1991) he made two short films and fifteen documentaries. He teaches at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts. The 1999 Rotterdam Film festival was opened with his award-winning film Leaf on a Pillow. In 2001 the Amnesty International Film festival screened A Poet about the 1965 massacre in Indonesia.

Heikelina Verrijn Stuart (1950) studied law and philosophy in Amsterdam. Verrijn Stuart is a member of the advisory body International Issues and co-founder of the Clara Wichmann Institute, the scholarly institute for women and law. As a reporter for radio and television, she keeps a close track on the Yugoslavian Tribunal in The Hague. She has publications on themes such as cruelty, revenge and forgiveness. Her essay An Ordinary Man- Cruelty and betrayal before the Yugoslavian Tribunal was published in Nexus 18.

The Amnesty International-DOEN Award Ceremony at the IFFR 2004 will take place on Wednesday evening 28 January at 8 pm in the Rotterdam Schouwburg. Following this the winning film will be screened.

Amnesty International-DOEN Film day
As of this edition of the IFFR, the collaboration between Amnesty, foundation DOEN and the festival will be expanded with a special Amnesty International-DOEN Film day. On Wednesday 28 January 2004 the IFFR will successively screen FUSE, OSAMA and SILENT WATERS, three extraordinary films taken from the Amnesty selection. Every one of these films has received awards at well known film festivals. All three films came about partly due to a contribution from the IFFR Hubert Hals Fund.

Amnesty International is a worldwide organization that campaigns for the observance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since 1995 the Dutch Amnesty department organizes the Amnesty International Film Festival. The 6th edition of this film event which will be held from 31 March tot 4 April 2004 will present the highlights of the Amnesty International-DOEN selections from the IDFA and the IFFR, supplemented with a number of other interesting films about human rights and human dignity. In addition this year's festival will screen a retrospective of the work of Constatin Costa-Gavras; From Amen to Z. Foundation DOEN campaigns for a livable world by funding initiatives in the sphere of humans and nature, culture, welfare and sport. The fund does this with money received from the National Postcode Lottery and the Sponsor Lottery.

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