Every year PFF nominates the most influential and horizons opening freedom films.
This year’s nominated films are thoughtfully chosen and represent stories from 24 countries world-wide. The spectrum of freedom is vast and shows the range of topics from censorship, blasphemy, dictatorship through girls and female situation in various countries, education, sexual harassment, to the most up-to-date events such as the rise of ISIS and assaults on freedom of expression generally, and freedom of speech particularly, in Western societies.
That is why this year’s film selection panel could not avoid but highlight the events which took place in France and Denmark. By nominating Cartoonists – Footsoldiers of Democracy, PFF bows down to all cartoonists using the international language of image to provoke discussion and check the status of freedom. By acknowledging their vital and catharsis-bringing role in every healthy society, Passion for Freedom can’t help but agree with the theme statement of the document: “Cartoon is a visual metaphor; it is not just news, it is warning”.
Passion for Freedom joins that warning and promises to remain a litmus paper of the condition of freedom in our western societies.
Often involuntarily, independently thinking people become heroes just by exercising their constitutional and human rights. A hero can be anyone; an artist, activist, journalist, cartoonist, or someone who disagrees with the society they have to live in. Be it far away countries or Europe, there are many things to disagree with, there is also a lot of censorship – open or hidden. The later is the worst; it seems there is not one and you won’t ever realise that until you start encountering hidden barriers of the limits to the freedom of speech and expression. Our heroes fight or fought in the name of freedom of speech and in some cases paid the highest price for it – their lives. By recognising heroes, Passion for Freedom pays the highest tribute to their courage.
Every year journalists, bloggers and people who wish to share the truth despite of adverse political or social situation, loose their health and lives, are forced to go into hiding or in the best case scenario – exhale. As freedom of speech is the most important value for them, very often they stand against ruling establishments no matter the costs. Passion for Freedom as every year recognises work and courage of these independent journalists. Sadly enough, some of these nominations are being granted posthumously.
1. Mona Eltahawy, Egypt, USA
2. Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia
3. Masoumeh Alinejad, Iran/UK
4. Washiqur Rahman, Bangladesh
5. Avijit Roy, Bangladesh
6. Zvi Yehezkeli, Israeli
“What is the difference between men and women? In Afghanistan, it’s freedom”, Jenny Nordberg, author.
In the Freedom Books Section, PFF recognises the work of courageous and inquisitive authors and journalists, who show the way the world order is established.
By blatantly disagreeing with it and giving the examples of brave people (women especially), be it in Afghanistan, Russia, India or Turkey, the authors make a firm stance on freedom of expression and freedom to be a woman.
Their characters by not knowing their rights, living in cultures where women are less worth than men or simply by speaking up, trying to find ways to survive (The Underground Girls of Kabul), challenge establishment (Words Will Break Cement), learn that rape is a crime which is not committed by them (Priya Shakti), or that their rights should be equal to that of men’s (Uprising).
This year PFF nominates:
1. Uprising: A New Age Is Dawning for Every Mother’s Daughter, Sally Armstrong
2. Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, Masha Gessen
3. The Underground Girls of Kabul: The Hidden Lives of Afghan Girls Disguised as Boys, Jenny Nordberg
4. Priya’s Shakti, Ram Devineni
5. They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else: A History of the Armenian Genocide, Ronald Grigor Suny
6. Islam and Free Speech, Andrew C. McCarthy