BIFF 2020: 23. september - 1. oktober

Human rights programme: Checkpoints

Menneskerettigheter checkpoints

The human rights film programme Checkpoints is a collaboration between BIFF and the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights.

Checkpoints also have a competition section, where the special feature of the award is that the 25.000 NOK prize will go to the people and/or the issue the film is about. A selection of the films in the programme compete for this prize.

The nominated filmes for the Checkpoints Award are:

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FOR SAMA - Opening film for the Checkpoints programme

Students Waad and Hamzi meet, fall in love, get married, and Waad becomes pregnant with her daughter Sama. All of this happens in Aleppo, Syria, from the time of the uprising through the catastrophic siege. The thought of bringing a child into war transforms FOR SAMA from a war documentary to an intimate, brutal, painful and touching letter from a mother to her daughter.

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In 2016 Colten Boushie, a young Cree man from the Canadian prairies, was shot and killed on Gerald Stanley’s farm in Saskatchewan. His family are left in grief, but ready to fight for justice. NIPAWISTAMASOWIN is a shocking reminder that colonial prejudices are still very much a part of Canadian society.

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After Hassan Fazili’s documentary PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN was shown on Afghan TV in 2015, the Taliban killed the film’s main subject and put a bounty on the director’s head. After being denied asylum in Tajikistan, Fazili and his family decide to seek safety in Europe, setting out on a perilous journey through Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and Serbia.

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High up in the French Alps, the valleys of Roya and Durance are part of a dangerous trail for refugees seeking asylum in Northern Europe. The locals help by offering food, shelter and legal assistance, and when the authorities ramp up the deportation of undocumented migrants, the locals respond by becoming more organized and more overtly political.

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Kenyan-born Beryl Magoko was pressured into female genital mutilation as a child, thinking it a rite of passage. As an adult living in Germany she learns that the procedure can be surgically reversed but is unable to decide whether she wants to or not. IN SEARCH… documents her quest to make up her mind, as she consults a group of mutilated women in Africa and Europe about their experiences.

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Violent crime runs rampant in Mexico and is usually portrayed as a result of the authorities’ inability to control the drug cartels. THE GUARDIAN OF MEMORY, however, posits that the large-scale killings and disappearances of civilians, aid workers and journalists are actually an unofficial state policy.



Bellingcat is a collective of open source investigators who work to find and verify information behind headline stories like the MH17 plane crash in Ukraine or the poisoning of a Russian spy in the UK. BELLINGCAT documents how the group works to find, corroborate and collate information, and is a captivating documentary about citizen journalists working together to combat fake news in the age of alternative facts.

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The women of Argentina continue fighting for the right to self-determined abortion. An estimated 350,000 illegal abortions are carried out in the country every year, which results in many women dying from what should be a routine procedure. LET IT BE LAW is a heartfelt documentary on the heated abortion debate in Argentina, which continues to gain global relevance.

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China’s One Child Policy was introduced in 1979 to limit population growth and further the nation’s economic development. The policy was strictly enforced and is estimated to have prevented 400 million births. After having her first child, director Nanfu Wang decides to look into her own family’s experiences with the policy. ONE CHILD NATION is full of shocking stories from journalists, parents and activists which create a dark but nuanced image of the policy’s immediate and long-term consequences.



From award-winning filmmaker Lauren Greenfield comes a complex and captivating portrait of the former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos. She and her husband Ferdinand ruled the country with an iron fist from 1965 to 1986. This was a time of political turmoil, violence and decadence and Imelda emerged as a kind of modern-day Marie Antoinette, infamous for her vast collection of expensive shoes.


Leila Rossow, head of Papillon and co-founder of Support not Protect
Sveinung Arnesen, Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen
Anders Waage Nilsen, member of the board of the Rafto Foundation

More human rights documentaries in the Checkpoints programme: