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Often different disciplines work separately although they have similar motivations and strong connections. The Summer School in Cinema Human Rights and Advocacy brings together experts and young professionals from all over the world to analyse the connections between human rights, films, digital media and advocacy, to foster participatory and critical thinking on urgent human rights issues, build storytelling skills debate with filmmakers during the 76th Venice international Film Festival and learn how to use films as a tool for social and cultural change.
Askold Kurov is director and producer. Born in Uzbekistan in 1974, he has lived in Russia since 1991. After studying philology, theatre, and theology and working for eight years as a package designer, he earned a degree in documentary filmmaking at the Marina Razbezhkina Film School in Moscow.
In 2012, he was one of the directors of the award-winning documentary Winter, Go Away! His work focuses on human rights issues and social conflicts in contemporary Russia: Leninland and Children 404 also won critical acclaim and were screened at numerous festivals.
The Trial - The State of Russia vs. Oleg Sentsov is his 2017 documentary about Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for terrorism and arms trafficking after a trial denounced as “Stalinist”.
Lecturers and Experts
Photographer and filmmaker, chra Executive Director
Inspired by a taste for adventure and by the comic strip reporter Tintin, Nick Danziger took off alone on his first trip to Paris in 1971 aged 13. Subsequent journeys took Nick further afield; to South and Central America, the Middle and Far East, as well as Africa.
Nick's initial ambition was to be an artist. He graduated with an MA and taught art school and was represented by a gallery. But his desire to travel remained, becoming more and more interested in people’s daily lives, often living and working side by side with people living in the margins of society be it in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mongolia, Kosovo, Ethiopia and Great Britain.
He has worked amongst traumatized populations living in war zones and in neighbourhoods undermined by social conflicts. For Danziger photography, writing and documentary filmmaking are all means for capturing and recording what he sees. His first documentary film, War, Lives and Videotape, based on children abandoned in the Marstoon mental asylum on the outskirts of Kabul won the Prix Italia for best television documentary film and he is a winner of a World Press Award in the single best portrait category for his ‘mirror image’ of Tony Blair and George Bush as they went to war in Iraq in April 2003.
Claudia Modonesi is a human rights expert and media trainer with a background in Film studies and an MA in human rights studies.
Her expertise in human rights is built on the professional experiences gained at the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights [UNHCR] in Geneva, the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the European Commission in Brussels.
For the last 15 years, Claudia has combined her two great passions, film and human rights by running projects in Europe, Asia and Africa and supporting aspiring filmmakers and activists to expose abuses and injustices in their films.
She co-founded Cinema Human Rights and Advocacy (CHRA) with Nick and Rod Stoneman in 2010 and since then she has helped lead the organisation in a journey of ongoing learning and evolution. Today Claudia leads the overall strategy, operations and financial management of the organisation and continues to facilitate projects in the field.
Chair Of International Law, University of Antwerp Belgium
Koen De Feyter
Koen de Feyter is Professor of International Law at the University of Antwerp and part-time Professor at PILC and the University of Maastricht.
He was previously attached to the Human Rights Centre of the University of Maastricht, the Institute of Development Policy and Management of the University of Antwerp, and served as the Academic Coordinator of the European Master in Human Rights and Democratisation (Venice, Italy). He is a former Chair of Amnesty International Belgium (1998-1999) and an internationally recognized authority on human rights and development law.
Dartmouth Films Founder and Managing Director
Christopher Hird is a leading figure in UK independent documentary making. He is a former chair of the Sheffield International Documentary Foundation and was the founding chair of the Channel Four BRITDOC Foundation.
He is currently a trustee of the Grierson Trust (www.griersontrust.org) the Wincott Foundation (www.wincott.co.uk) and the Centre for Investigative Journalism (www.tcij.org/)
Christopher is also the Managing Editor at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (www.thebureauinvestigates.com).
Christo's most recent projects include: Utopia, The End of the Line, The Shadows of War, Fire in the Blood, The War You Don't See.
WITNESS Programme Manager
Kelly Matheson is a human rights attorney and award-winning filmmaker who leads WITNESS' Video as Evidence program.
She has worked with grassroots organizations around the world on a myriad of human rights issues ranging from Ebola prevention to climate change to the trafficking of children and war crimes.
Currently, she supports lawyers and human rights activists to ensure the video that activists risk their personal safety to collect can be used to secure justice.
She received her JD for the University of Oregon School of Law and her MFA in Filmmaking from Montana State University.
Global Campus of Human Rights Secretary General
Prof. Manfred Nowak
Manfred Nowak has been Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice since January 2016.
In addition, he is Professor for International Human Rights at the University of Vienna, where he is the scientific director of the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights and co-director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights. In October 2016, he was appointed as independent expert leading the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.
Aside from Vienna University, Manfred Nowak was Professor of International Law and Human Rights at various prestigious universities, such as Utrecht, Lund, Stanford and the Graduate Institute in Geneva, and has published more than 600 books and articles in this field, including various language editions of the CCPR-Commentary, a CAT-Commentary and an introduction to the International Human Rights Regime. He has carried out various expert functions for the UN, the Council of Europe, the EU and other inter-governmental organizations.
Most importantly, he served for many years in various functions as UN Expert on Enforced Disappearances (1993 to 2006), as one of eight international judges in the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo (1996 to 2003), and as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2004 to 2010).
Senior Lecturer in Film and Television, Birkbeck University of London
Emma Sandon is a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research publications are on British television history, British colonial film and South African film history.
She was on the core management team of the Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire project, and is on the steering group of the AHRC Women's Film and Television History Network.
She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Archive and Public Culture Initiative at the University of Cape Town, and a Research Associate to the Chair of the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg.
Professor of International Law, Middlesex University London
Professor William A. Schabas is professor of international law at Middlesex University in London.
He also has appointments at the National University of Ireland Galway, where he is professor of human rights law and chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in Beijing, as honorary professor, Kellogg College of the University of Oxford, where he is a visiting fellow, and at the Université du Québec à Montréal, as professeur associé. Prof. Schabas is a 'door tenant' at the chambers of 9 Bedford Row, in London.
Professor Schabas is editor-in-chief of Criminal Law Forum, the quarterly journal of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law. He is President of the Irish Branch of the International Law Association and chair of the International Institute for Criminal Investigation.
From 2002 to 2004 he served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Professor Schabas has worked as a consultant on capital punishment for the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and drafted the 2010 report of the Secretary-General on the status of the death penalty (UN Doc. E/2010/10).
Professor Schabas was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2007 and in 2011 he received its Gold Medal in the Social Sciences. He has been awarded the Vespasian V. Pella Medal for International Criminal Justice of the Association internationale de droit pénal.