DITSHWANELO Human Rights Film Festival 2016

Discussion Panel - DITSHWANELO Human Rights Film Festival 2016

Good evening.  Thank you for the honor to be here again at the Ditshwanelo Human Rights Film Festival.  A special ke a leboga to Alice Mogwe for her principled advocacy for human rights in Botswana and around the world.  This festival is just one example of DITSHWANELO’s dedication to raising awareness of the human rights of marginalized populations and creating constructive forums to debate and discuss these important issues.  The United States Embassy is proud to once again support DITSHWANELO’s film festival, in addition to the Maitisong Festival, which kicks off in just a few days.

The film we are screening tonight, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, is courtesy of the American Films Showcase (AFS), a partnership between the U.S. State Department and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.  AFS is a touring film program bringing American documentaries, feature films and animated shorts to audiences worldwide.  I am delighted AFS chose Botswana as one of this year’s participating countries.

The AFS highlights the value of film in fostering understanding and cooperation, dialogue and debate.  The AFS provides opportunities for international audiences to be exposed to American viewpoints on social issues; spreads understanding on the role of filmmaking as a catalyst for dialogue and self-expression; and explores solutions to contemporary problems.  The AFS also allows American filmmakers and film scholars to learn about life and culture in participating host countries.

A very warm Botswana welcome to Mary Dore, the award-winning documentary producer and director of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.  Mary has produced feature documentaries and dozens of television documentaries for PBS, New York Times TV, A&E, and the Discovery Channel.  Her work has won Emmys, Cine Golden Eagles, and Cable Ace awards.  May lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two sons.

While in Botswana Mary will engage with film and media students from the University of Botswana, Limkokwing University, Oodi Film Institute and a number of high schools.  She will lead interactive workshops and participate in roundtable discussions with gender activists, community leaders, writers and poets, and artists in Gaborone and Maun.  Mary will also screen excerpts of her film to students at our recently launched American Corner at the Maun Public Library.  Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to Mary!

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry tells the story of the bold, brilliant, sometimes outrageous women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971.  The film takes us from the founding of NOW (National Organization of Women), with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of WITCH (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!).  It does not shy away from controversies over race, sexual preference and leadership that arose during the early days of the women’s movement.  The film captures the spirit of the time.  It is a fascinating, inspiring, entertaining, powerful work of art.  Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Mary.

And thank you, everyone, for joining us here tonight and for your support for the Ditshwanelo Film Festival.  I hope you enjoy the film and actively participate in the panel discussion afterwards.