The FIFDH is a foundation steered by a Board comprising a minimum five members tasked with shaping the Festival’s strategy and overseeing its ongoing growth. Two advisory circles and a thematic committee also play integral roles in sustaining the Festival’s existence.

Soprano and activist

Barbara Hendricks has performed on has graced the world’s most prestigious opera stages, performing under the direction of leading conductors of our time. After almost 20 years of tireless service to the cause of refugees in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she received the title of Honorary Life Ambassador of the UNHCR. Barbara Hendricks has been a frequent participant in the FIFDH and has served as a patron of the festival for numerous years.

García Bernal
Actor and director

Mexican actor and director, Gael García Bernal has worked with renowned directors such as Pedro Almodóvar, Michel Gondry, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu. As an activist, he is committed to safeguarding democracy and human rights by defending the cause of migrants and indigenous peoples.

He is also the founder of the festival Ambulante Gira de documentales. Gael García Bernal has participated twice in the FIFDH: in 2016, he spoke at an accomodation centre for migrant people in Geneva. In 2018, alongside Mexican activists, he denounced impunity in Mexico on the Festival stage.

Filmmaker, producer, philanthropist and activist

Filmmaker, producer, philanthropist and passionate activist, Abigail Disney has devoted her life to social justice, peace processes and women’s empowerment. In 2009, she founded Fork Films, and produced the series Women, War and Peace, Citizen Koch, critiquing the Tea Party, The Invisible War, which denounced sexual abuse in the army, and Cameraperson, awarded the Oscar for the Best Documentary. She has publicly criticized the tax cuts she will benefit from in the United States, as well as the misogyny and racism of her great uncle, Walt Disney. In 2018, Abigail Disney she served as President of the FIFDH Documentary Jury.

Director, producer, screenwriter and editor

Cambodian filmmaker, Rithy Panh is renowned for his films Les gens de la rizièreLa Terre des âmes errantesS21Le papier ne peut pas envelopper la braise and L’Image manquante.

A survivor of the Khmer Rouge labour camps, he went into exile in 1979 in Thailand and arrived in France in 1980 where he graduated from IDHEC in 1985. His work is imbued with the memory and pain of genocide survivors. A frequent guest at the FIFDH, Rithy Panh presented on numerous occasions : Exile in 2017 and Les Tombeaux sans noms in 2019.

“Parti socialiste” member and former federal councillor

Ruth Dreifuss was the first woman elected President of the Swiss Confederation in 1999. From 1993 to 2002, she served as the Federal Councillor and head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs.

Ruth Dreifuss remains active in several non-governmental and international organisations, including the World Commission on Drug Policy and the International Commission against the Death Penalty. A loyal guest of FIFDH g, Ruth Dreifuss has participated in the festival on numerous occasions.

Feu Sérgio
Vieira de Mello
Brazilian international civil servant

Brazilian diplomat, Sérgio Vieira de Mello was appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2002. Sérgio Vieira de Mello was tragically killed by a suicide attack in August 2003 in Baghdad. Prior to his untimely death, he served as the first patron of the FIFDH in March 2003 and stated: “I am delighted with this initiative to create the first Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva, just as I encourage every effort to promote respect for human rights in all circumstances and in all societies. May this Festival bring this message to Geneva, one of the cradles of human rights, and beyond.”