MPI Masterclass Takes Over Austin

 L to R: Lana Link, Hawk Jensen, Aziz Alhamza, Jim Warnock

L to R: Lana Link, Hawk Jensen, Aziz Alhamza, Jim Warnock

RECAP: AMPLIFYING HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM THROUGH FILM

Last night, the Moving Picture Institute hosted a human-rights based screening and masterclass near the SXSW film festival in Austin. The sold-out event featured an incredible panel of filmmakers and human rights activists and an exclusive screening of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation's “Witness Project” mini-documentary series.

The Human Rights Foundation asserts that half the world’s population lives under authoritarianism. During this masterclass, our panelists—which included Jim Warnock from the Human Rights Foundation; Aziz Alhamza, co-founder of the citizen journalist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently; Hawk Jensen, founder of Smock Media and the filmmaker behind the “Witness Project”; and MPI’s own vice president of talent development, Lana Link—tackled one key question: What can artists do to push back against oppression, amplify the work of activists, and create positive change in the world?

A camera is more powerful than a weapon. . . . Once you share an image with the world, it cannot be taken away
— Jim Harnock

Attendees walked away from the masterclass with a stronger appreciation for the role of film in amplifying human rights activism. One attendee shared, "I'm starting to really understand the importance of documenting stories, especially now that I’ve gotten the whole view of witnesses to communism and oppression and seen the value in amplifying their voices." Another attendee agreed, noting, "There is definitely a need to shed light onto these issues for a greater public to see. If people are not aware of the problem, nothing can be done to mend it." 

For more on the Moving Picture Institute’s masterclass series, visit our Masterclasses page. Also, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for updates and invitations to our 2018 masterclasses!