UNA-NY Screening the Issues
Please join us for this special screening
followed by a Q+A with
Award-winning Investigative Reporter, Director and Producer
Senior Counsel, U.S. Program, Human Rights Watch
Friday | January 13, 2017
5:45 p.m. | Registration
6:00 p.m. | Screening
7:30 p.m. | Q+A
Note: screening begins promptly at 6 p.m.
Dolby 88 Screening Room
1350 Avenue of the Americas (at West 55th Street)
New York, NY 10019
UNA Members: $10
UNA Student Members: FREE
Guests and Non-Members: $15
"We wanted justice — not revenge." Witness JJ
In THE UNCONDEMNED, four women speak about the difficulty and power of being witnesses. Godeliève Mukasarasi, Serafina Mukakinani, Victoire Mukambanda and Cecile Mukarugwiza are the women who speak in this searing yet uplifting film by award-winning journalist Michele Mitchell and co-director Nick Louvel.
Their documentary recounts the trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu, the first person to be convicted of genocide and using rape as a weapon of war during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, set up to prosecute humanitarian law crimes in the aftermath of the genocide, determined the case of Akayesu, who was the mayor of a small town in Rwanda when ethnic Hutu soldiers incited a genocide, killing as many as 1 million people — mostly ethnic minority Tutsis — and raping up to 250,000 women throughout the country.
Four years later, Akayesu, who commanded some of the aggressors, became the first person to ever be convicted of genocide in an international court, and the first to be convicted of rape as a crime against humanity.
That misogyny of the most heinous kind exists in the world is irrefutably evidenced by the fact that, although rape has been listed as an international war crime since 1919, it had never been prosecuted as such — until this trial.
Mitchell and Louvel round-up an impressive set of witnesses and survivors to tell this horrific tale, which they do with intelligence and heartbreaking emotion. Pierre-Richard Prosper and Sara Darehshori, the valiant lawyers involved, were challenged by both meager resources and the reluctance of victims to come forward, whose trust was particularly hard-won, but nevertheless gained with some additional legal help from attorney Patricia Sellers, and Lisa Pruitt, who devised an instruction manual on how to communicate with the women.
These were some of the leads whose paths intersected, making their uncertain way through the first genocide trial in history, since there was no one else to do it. Although they would go on to make judicial history, no one was sure they could successfully incorporate sexual violence into the charges. The case at hand was a small-potatoes mayor who hadn't raped anyone himself.
But then, three women came forward… and the world of criminal justice changed forever.
Please join us for this special screening of THE UNCONDEMNED, which received a sold-out, official premiere unveiling at the UN last fall. Our guest this evening will be the director, Michele Mitchell, who will discuss the film.
Senior Counsel, U.S. Program, HRW
Sara Darehshori, senior counsel in the U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch, researches and advocates on issues relating to the handling of sexual assault cases in the United States. Her most recent work in Washington, DC, where she documented DC police's failure to properly investigate scores of sexual assault cases, helped lead to the Sexual Assault Victims Rights Amendment Act of 2014, landmark legislation improving police response to sexual assault in the District of Columbia.
Prior to joining the U.S. program, Darehshori was senior counsel in Human Rights Watch's International Justice program, where she worked on international justice issues relating to Darfur, Serbia, and the International Criminal Court.
During her time at Human Rights Watch, Darehshori has written reports, news releases, and briefing papers on topics including Sudan's special courts for Darfur, Serbia's War Crimes Chamber, the Slobodan Milosevic trial, the Iraqi High Tribunal, and the long-term relationship between peace and justice.
Before joining Human Rights Watch, Darehshori worked as a prosecutor in the first trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and as a corporate litigator in New York. Darehshori has also worked in South Africa and for the International Rescue Committee in Croatia, Sudan, and Sierra Leone.
She is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School.
Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel were a highly collaborative team with complimentary skills and similar artistic sensibilities. Their first film "Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?" (PBS) won the 2013 national Edward R. Murrow Award for Best TV Documentary as well as the Gracie Award for Best Investigative Feature and CINE Special Jury Award for Best Investigative Documentary, among many others. They loved working together, despite misadventures with banana leaf ants, and only fought once—over thank-you notes. THE UNCONDEMNED is their first feature documentary.
Co-Director, Producer, Writer
An award-winning investigative reporter on "NOW with Bill Moyers" (PBS), Mitchell began her broadcasting career as political anchor at CNN Headline News, where she specialized in US politics. At PBS, she developed a reputation for discovering overlooked social justice stories before leaving to start her own company. She was the director/producer/writer/co-executive producer of the groundbreaking "Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?" A graduate of Northwestern University, Michele wrote sports for the Chicago Tribune while in college, and then began her career on Capitol Hill. She is the author of three books.
Co-Director, Director of Photography, Editor
Nick's filmmaking career began as a student at Harvard University, where he directed his first narrative feature "Domino One" starring Natalie Portman before he graduated in 2003. He was creative assistant to screenwriter Eric Warren Singer ("American Hustle") and directed short-form content for corporate clients while developing his second directorial feature, a literary documentary. He was the editor on "Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?" He died in a car accident on September 24, 2015, just hours after dropping off THE UNCONDEMNED at the Hamptons International Film Festival, where it would make its award-winning world premiere two weeks later.
FROM THE REVIEWS
"A courtroom thriller, crackling with suspense." The Guardian
"If you want to understand how these ordinary rural women who lived without electricity or running water changed international law, THE UNCONDEMNED gives you the best seat in the house. Its conclusion, and its well-earned message, are more positive and hopeful than even its participants likely ever imagined they would be." Los Angeles Times
"A taut legal drama." Toronto Globe and Mail
"Even the filmmakers admit that few will want to see a movie about mass rape and genocide. But what they've made here is a great real-life legal thriller about bringing justice in the horrifying wake of the Rwandan genocide… searing and uplifting." Film Journal
"The film is a riveting feat of editing… and a master class in demonstrating how people can change the world." Village Voice
"Arguably the best film at this year's Human Rights Watch Film Festival… an engaging, compelling, and truly inspiring film." POV Magazine
"The film will stay with its audience long after the closing credits — and inspire a deep hope that a film of its kind never has to be made again." New York Daily News
Note for New and Renewing UNA Members:
As processing time may vary for new memberships, new or renewing UNA members signing up for events should be sure to bring a payment transaction receipt when attending for validation.
DISCLAIMER: All ticket sales for events are final. Please remember that your purchase represents your commitment to attend an event — there will be NO refunds issued.
Only UNA-NY Members have guaranteed admission to all our Screening the Issues film events, and attend for free or pay the discounted Members' admission, while Student Members attend most events for free. Our events are often sold-out, so we strongly encourage membership with UNA-NY to guarantee your seats! Why not take advantage?