On 9 December 2023, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) in partnership with SEA Junction was launched the inaugural Southeast Asia Human Rights Film Festival at the Auditorium on the 5th floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC).

Since 2021, RWI has been giving the RWI Asia Pacific Awards to honour short films produced in Asia Pacific focusing on human rights, gender equality, and climate change as part of the International Minikino Film Week in Bali. Now, these awarded films are presented in Bangkok to raise awareness of the interconnectedness of human rights and development issues in the region.

ธhe festival showcased seven short films by directors from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, and Malaysia in three screening rounds. Each screening round was followed by a Q&A session with selected film directors. At 5:30-6:30 pm, following the last round of screening, a panel discussion was taken place featuring Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation, and Phil Robertson, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division. The discussion on Film and Human Rights, which will include all directors who are present, will serve as the closing event for the festival.

In addition to screenings and discussions, the festival incorporated music performances by the Co-culture Ensemble, with connections to the human rights and democratic movement, during intervals between the screening programs.

Photo credit: Panuwat Krongpanya