The First Gate

Karama Beirut Human Rights Film Festival (KBHRFF) will open in October in its 6th edition. Under the label “The First Gate ”, this year’s edition will focus on conciliation with the past as a gate for a better future. With the current state of the world, it has become necessary to address the generation of young people who are still stuck with unanswered questions about their past and constantly inquiring about their destinies, in countries beset by violence.
Today’s world constantly reminds us that – beyond ideologies and economic theories, that it has become essential for humanity to adopt a new, more humane formula in order to establish viable, sustainable and peaceful societies. Conciliation is key to manage different visions and diversity, and to move towards building a modern state that fosters equal citizenship, where individuals secure their rights and fulfil their existence. Conciliation is the pre-condition, the first agreement in the social contract to build communities capable of understanding themselves, and able to drastically remove aggression and violence from gowatchseries.
Conciliation is the first gate to make people, especially the youth, able to hope for positive control over their destinies.
The festival will take place at the Sunflower theatre, Tayouneh. As in every year, debates and Q&As will be organised after almost every screening with filmmakers from all over the world.
Once again, we are collaborating with the UN Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC Beirut), and this year, in the run-up to the United Nations Day, which is the day when the organization celebrates its establishment when the UN Charter entered into force on the 24 October 1945. The causes and values that Karama Beirut film festival upholds are aligned with the main principles of the UN Charter, mainly maintaining international peace and security and preventing situations which might lead to a breach of peace.
The third day, (October 4) will be organised and hosted in collaboration with UMAM Documentation and Research (UMAM D&R) and its initiative MENA Prison Forum. It will include film screenings and a panel discussion under the title “Fourth Perspective: Narrating MENA Prisons from Beirut.” Simultaneous translation from Arabic to English will be available for the panel.

Reference Websites

From 2 to 4 October 

At Sunflower Theater Tayouneh Beirut

Free Entrance


Young Plato

English with Arabic subtitles. Doc, NI/BEL/IRL/FR, 102 min-2021

Directors Declan McGrath, Neasa Ní Chianáin

It’s all about school boys and their inner world – what is the boy’s role when social roles
are negotiated anew, and how are they reacting to their changing place in society? The
central character is an ambitious philosophy teacher, who brings Plato and Nietzsche to
an all-boys Catholic primary school. Teaching the boys to connect with their feelings, to
a class of children who grew up in Belfast, an environment where violence keeps
interrupting their daily life. 

About the Directors
Neasa Ní Chianáin
Neasa Ní Chianáín, director, is one of Ireland’s most established documentary talents.
Neasa trained at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, and worked as a
freelance Art Director on Irish feature film and television projects, before switching to
docs in 2001. She has directed 9 single docs (4 feature length) and one tv series.

Declan McGrath
He has taught film in Queens University Belfast, Dundalk Institute of Technology and
University College Dublin and has written two books on the craft of cinema (Screencraft:
Editing & Post-Production and Screencraft: Scriptwriting) for Focal
Press/Butterworth Heinnman (each book was translated into five languages). Declan also
regularly contributes to the fmovies journal Cineaste.

One Second Forever

Czech with English & Arabic subtitles. Doc, CZ, 84mn-2021

Director Vít Klusák

One second is all it takes to completely turn a life upside down – ONE SECOND
FOREVER explores excessive speeding by telling the stories of five motorists who have
caused serious and deadly car accidents. A feeling that one cannot even begin to imagine,
yet many drivers casually admit to speeding on a regular basis. By recreating the
accidents, director Vít Klusák takes the drivers on a journey to confront their guilt and
turn it into a message of prevention.

About the Director
Vít Klusák
Czech Republic, Director and producer Vít Klusák, graduated from the Department of
Documentary Film at FAMU (Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing
Arts) in Prague, since 2005 he has been teaching in the same department. In 2004 he co-
directed with Filip Remunda successful film CZECH DREAM broadcasted by more than
30 international TV channels.
He runs the independent production company Hypermarket Film Ltd. which is one of the
leading production companies in Central and Eastern Europe, founded in 2003.
Hypermarket Film has produced feature documentaries for cinemas, TV series and
recently co-produced a multi-platform project Farewell, Comrades! made in broader
European co-production.

Only ocean between us

Arabic/English subtitles. Doc, Jor/Peru, 87mn-2021
Directors: Khaldiya Ali, Marah Alkhateeb, Karoli Pizarro

Christy Silvano

Two Syrian directors in Za’atari Refugee Camp, Jordan and two Indigenous Shipibo-
Konibo directors in Lima, Peru correspond through film diaries in a cross-border project
from Another Kind of Girl Collective. ONLY THE OCEAN BETWEEN US tells four
profoundly personal stories of motherhood, displacement, and the power of both personal
and communal resistance.

Your Neighbor’s Son – the making of torturer

Greek with English subtitles. Doc, DEN, 55mn-1976)
Directors Jørgen Flindt Pedersen, Erik Stephensen

The documentary dramatizes the recruiting and training of a young men into the Greek
police during the 1967-1974 military junta rule. Seemingly decent young men are
selected based on traits viewed as exploitable by the recruiters : illiterate, anti-
communist, young and male. The film interviews Michailis Petrou, one of the Greek
policeman involved in the tortures who agreed to testify against his peers in exchange for
a reduced sentence. Petrou’s testimony reveals that the training methods themselves were
brutal and often torturous and was viewed as a necessity to ensure the robotic and brutal
obedience of the trainees. During the dramatic reenactments of the training camps, the
directors draw parallels to modern military boot camps and the methods used in the
training of soldiers.

The Jailer and the Prisoner

Arabic with English subtitles. Fic, LYB, 15mn-2019

Director Muhannad Lamin

“Prisoner and Jailer” tells the story of two contrasting Libyans: a key official in
the former regime and one of the most prominent figures of the post-revolutionary
period in Libya. Through these two characters, we discover the circumstances
surrounding one of the most influential events in modern Libyan history: The Abu
Salim Prison Massacre.

About the Director
Muhannad Lamin studied directing and scriptwriting at Tripoli’s Arts Institute. 
 He has been involved in producing a number of public-awareness campaign
projects for clients including the Electoral High Authority, the Ministry of Justice,
the Warriors’ Affairs Commission, BBC Media Action and several NGOs. He has
also been involved in several documentary projects such as ‘Poet of the Sea’
(2012), ‘Between the Ropes’ (2013), ‘Freedom Fields’ (2018), and ‘After a
Revolution’ (2018).

Angles of Sinjar

Arabic and English subtitles. Doc, POL/GER, 109mn-2022

Director Hanna Polak

Hanifa and Saeed barely survived the hell that ISIS inflicted on them and their people.
Hanifa escaped kidnapping, but her younger sisters were enslaved by the Islamic State.
Hanifa embarks on a mission to find them and bring them home.

About the Director
Hanna Polak
*1967 in Katowice/Poland
Auteur-director Hanna Polak has an Oscar and Emmy nominations under her belt for
“Children of Leningradsky” and the Producer Guild of America nomination for
“Something Better To Come”, amongst many other awards and accolades. Her emotional
bond with her protagonists allows her to deliver visceral, poetic films that celebrate the
power of human spirit and that portray the beauty of humanity in the most adverse

Parallel Activities

الأنشطة الموازية

Panel Discussion – MENA Prison Forum

The Fourth Perspective: Narrating MENA Prisons from Beirut.

Moderator: Mina Ibrahim (MPF Coordinator)
Alaa Rachidi, Hanna Jaber, Marwan Abi Samra, Muhannad Alamin,
Jad Yateem.

The panel will shed light on the importance of merging art, academia, and
advocacy work while debating cultures and histories of incarceration in the
MENA region – Live interpretation, English/Arabic.

Festival Team

Haytham Chamass – Festival Director

Najwa Kondakji – Program Manager

Najib Nseir – Content Coordinator

Nourhan Hussein – Coordinator

Claude Younan – Coordinator

Carine Zahabi – Graphic Designer

Zeinab Rahal – Financial Officer

Rami Kassabieh – Videographer/Promo

Chirine Barakat – Social Media

Bassel Saade – Web Developer

فريق المهرجان

هيثم شمص – مدير المهرجان

نجوى قندقجي – مديرة البرامج

نجيب نصير- منسق المحتوى

نورهان حسين – منسقة

كلود يونان – منسقة

كارين ذهبي – مصممة غرافيك

زينب رحال – مسؤول مالي

رامي كسابية – أشغال فيديو

شيرين بركات – مسؤولة التواصل الاجتماعي

باسل سعادة – موقع الكتروني

Festival Guests

Declan McGrath: Director – Young Plato – Irland

Hanna Polak: Director – Angles of sinjar – Poland

Hanifa khalaf: Protagonist – Angles of sinjar – Iraq

Muhannad Lamin: DirectorPrisoner & Jailor – Libya

Sawsan Darwaza: Festival Director – Karama Human Rights Film Festival, Jordan

Ehab Khatib: Artistic Director – Karama Human Rights Film Festival, Jordan

Alaa Rachidi: Writer – Syria

Mina Ibrahim: MPF Coordinator

Hanna Jaber: Director of Lokman Slim Foundation – Lebanon

Marwan Abi Samra: Researcher & Expert in Development Issues – Lebanon

Jad Yatim: Strategic Communication Consultant – Lebanon