The FIFDH unveils its 2019 programme

The 17th edition of the FIFDH will host artists, activists and celebrities from around the world to meet the general public in the heart of Geneva.


An iconic event held in parallel to the main session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Festival offers a selection of films and debates, readings, conferences, photography, a hackathon, illustrations and theatre, as well as activities for our younger audiences, in 62 locations in Greater Geneva and French-speaking Switzerland.


"In a troubled and turbulent world, where human rights seem to be in decline, this 17th edition of the FIFDH honours powerful agents of change. Worldwide, in the face of unacceptable situations, they dare to raise their voices. Through these voices, we will question new forms of artistic, political and collective resistance, always bearing in mind openness, desire, and freedom of tone.”

- Isabelle Gattiker, director of the FIFDH


This edition will open on March 8th on the occasion of International Women's Day, with a film dedicated to Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize 2018, in the presence of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Swiss Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Pascale Baeriswyl. Three human rights defenders, Hajer Sharief (Libya), Tatiana Pechonchyk (Ukraine) and Sareta Ashraph (Iraq), will highlight the obstacles encountered in their daily struggles.

Among the 300 expected guests, actors Forest Whitaker and Aïssa Maïga, artist Ai Weiwei, writers Roberto Saviano, Leïla Slimani, Laurent Gaudé and Uzodinma Iweala, filmmakers Rithy Panh, Petra Costa, Amos Gitaï and Fernando Perez Valdes, web creator Tim Berners-Lee, sociologist Saskia Sassen, activist and Syrian refugee Sara Mardini, jurist and feminist activist Ratna Kapur, journalists Lyse Doucet (BBC), Nadia Daam ( and ARTE) and Lenaïg Bredoux (Mediapart), former President of the Swiss Confederation Ruth Dreifuss, Sundance Festival Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy and Pat Mitchell, the first woman president of CBS will attend this edition. The Festival’s will be closed by French author Édouard Louis.


International celebrities at the film festival


Actor Forest Whitaker (Bird, Ghost Dog, Black Panther) is a dedicated artist and activist. As the founder of the Forest Whitaker Peace Initiative (FWPI), he will discuss peacebuilding in South Sudan alongside young activist Magdalena Nandege at an evening event co-hosted by Interpeace. Oscar-winning Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh will present Graves Without a Name, a new installment of his cinematographic fresco dedicated to the Khmer Rouge genocide. Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa will show The Edge of Democracy, which focuses on the rise and fall of Dilma Rousseff. Two other stunning films, awarded at the Venice Film Festival, feature in our selection, including the documentary Still Recording by Saaed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub, shot in the hell of war in eastern Ghouta, and Manta Ray, Thai Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s debut fiction film. Actress Aïssa Maïga will present another first feature: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, directed by British director Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave). Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitaï will present A Tramway in Jerusalem, with Mathieu Amalric and Pippo Delbono, in partnership with the Cinémathèque suisse. The edition will be closed by Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased, starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Xavier Dolan.