Welcome to the 2021 Digital Edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival San Diego, Presented in partnership with Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego February 2- 8, 2021

The films in our San Diego festival lineup are available exclusively to audience members located in the United States between February 2, 2021 at 12pm PST/9am EST - February 8 at 11:59pm PST/ February 9 2:59am EST.

We hope you will join us for the live (and globally available) Q&A events with filmmakers and human rights advocates after every film. See our festival Q&A page for more information.


Subtitles and closed captions must be manually turned on when playing a film. Select the “CC” logo at the bottom of your play window in order to turn on english subtitles or captions.

The films I AM SAMUEL and TALKING ABOUT TREES are fully subtitled in English and THROUGH THE NIGHT, MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY and A RECKONING IN BOSTON have an optional caption track that must be manually turned on. Please be sure to turn on subtitles when viewing by selecting the “CC” logo on the screen.

Please note: All live Q&As on Zoom will have live transcribing (CART) provided in English.

Ticketing/ Rentals How-To

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival is offering our 2021 lineup through this secure online platform. You can rent individual films or purchase a festival pass.

Similar to the way our in-person film festivals would work, we do expect that some films in our festival will sell-out. There are only 600 tickets available for each film. If you would like to enjoy the full catalog of films, we suggest that you reserve your tickets to each film as soon as possible, or purchase the film festival pass to see them all. Once a film sells out, it will no longer be possible for audience members to rent the title on our platform and the ability to purchase will be turned off.

Here’s how to reserve a film ticket + view a film festival title:

  1. Find the film that you want to purchase a ticket for (or rent) on our homepage.
  2. Select the button to “Book Now” for the title.
  3. Follow steps to check out and submit payment through our secure platform, Stripe. If you have a promo code, be sure to select the checkbox that reads “I have a promo code” and enter the code into the text box before checking out.
  4. Once a ticket for the film has been purchased it will sit in your “library” on the website. To find your library, sign in on the website using the orange button in the top left. Once signed in, you will see a pink button in the top right of your screen. Select this pink button and then select “My Library” from the drop-down menu that appears. Your films will be there waiting for you.
  5. When the festival goes live to the public February 2-8, 2021, the films you have reserved a “ticket” for will become available to view. The films will be available to complete viewing until February 8 at 11:59pm PST / 2:59am EST on February 9. Please note: you must fully complete your viewing before February 8 at 11:59pm PST/ 2:59 am EST Feb 9, as films will simply stop playing at that time on our player, and we will no longer have a license to show the film. Once you begin to play a title, you must complete viewing within 48 hours from the first time you pressed “Play”.
  6. To view the films you have reserved a ticket for, you can go to the top right corner of the homepage to find “My library” on hrwfilmfestivalstream.org to select the title that you wish to view and press PLAY.
  7. View Window Timing: The way this festival works is a bit like an on-demand video “rental” service. Once you begin playback on any title you must fully complete viewing of the title within 48 hours. The film will stop playing mid-stream if you hit that 48 hour mark. 48 hours after you first click “play” the film will no longer be available for you to view (even if you are-midway through the film).

Note on re-renting a title: There is a technical glitch on the site that will not allow users to rent the same title again and play. We don’t suggest renting a title twice at this time until this issue is resolved. With any issues please email filmfestival@hrw.org and use the chat box on the homepage of our website and our customer support team will help you to complete your viewing._

Q&A How-To

We hope that you will join us for one of the 5 exciting Q&As taking place for each film in this year’s program. This year, the Human Rights Watch staff, filmmakers + researchers will be bringing dynamic conversations to you - live from their homes.

Please note: All live Q&As will have live transcribing (CART) in English.

Click this page to see the full lineup of Q&A times/dates and the links to join. This information will also be listed on the description of each individual film page of this streaming website. You must RSVP separately via Zoom to gain access to the live Q&A. Please note: Q&As are free to join and watch from across the globe, but you must have a ticket to view each film on this site.

Frequently asked questions:

Does my ticket purchase support Human Rights Watch?

Ticket sales support the festival, and the work that we do at Human Rights Watch, as well as our cinema partners at the Museum of Photographic Arts, however ticket purchases are not considered tax-deductible. As part of a non-profit organization, our festival does not break even after the cost of ticket sales when factoring in the costs of paying filmmakers for their work, running the event, and Human Rights Watch does not earn any “profit” from the festival. The Covid-19 crisis has had a dramatic impact on small businesses, films and arts organizations around the world. This year, as always the film festival is splitting our ticket income with our cinema partners, to help support them through this challenging year.

OK, but how can I support Human Rights Watch work?

We would be grateful if you would also consider making a tax-deductible donation to Human Rights Watch to support our work. Donations will go a long way to ensure that the Festival endures and comes back strong in 2021.

Can I watch these films on a TV?

Yes! You can watch:

You can cast from the browser on your device (from Chrome on Android, or Safari on iOS).

We hope that you will follow us on @hrwfilmfestival on Twitter + Instagram to hear of upcoming digital screenings worldwide.