Thank you for inviting the Human Rights Watch Film Festival into your home! The 10 films in our program cover a wide range of themes. In order to help you make an informed choice about what you’d like to watch, we’ve published content advisories which can be found on each film’s page on our site: ff.hrw.org/newyork
If you have selected a film you know might be challenging, we have provided techniques below that our own Human Rights Watch researchers use when viewing sensitive and distressing content.
Set up your environment
Try to be in a place where you won’t be disturbed, ideally not where you go to relax, like your bedroom. Consider who else is in your home and whether they can see your screen. To focus on the film and stay present, turn off your emails and phone if possible. Have a plan for what you’ll do after viewing the film. Try not to watch just before bed.
During the film
If you experience any physical or emotional reactions, take a moment away from the film, mute the sound or pause the film, and try to shift focus from what you are seeing. Perhaps instead think about the purpose of the film and what can potentially be done to address the issues highlighted. Take a few breaths and come back to the film when you feel ready. Others find grounding techniques helpful, for instance putting both your feet on the ground. If you feel shocked, cover the screen, mute the sound, or skip sections of the video.
After the film
Process the themes of the film in a way that suits you. That can include talking with family and friends about the film and/or doing further research into the issues explored in the film you would like to know more about. Or, plan activities after the film that you find relaxing like taking a walk, watching something lighter, reading a favorite book, exercise, cooking, or connecting with family and friends.
You can also direct your energy to our Take Action Toolkit, which is a collection of resources and suggested support actions for each film in the program. Visit the film’s page at ff.hrw.org/newyork to engage more with the communities and issues represented in the films.