"No frame is wasted in first-time feature filmmaker Marta Cunningham's 'Valentine Road', a powerful documentary about the 2008 murder of openly [gay] eighth-grader Lawrence ('Larry') King by his classmate and crush, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney. Set in California, this wonderfully crafted film is one of eight featured in the 11th Human Rights Watch Film Festival, co-presented by the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Feb. 27 to March 6 ". "Daniel Junge and Shameen Obaid-Chinoy's Academy Award-winning 'Saving Face' and Harry Freeland's 'In the Shadow of the Sun' are two other luminous and cinematically beautiful films that deserve to be seen. 'Saving Face' is not for the faint of heart -- it addresses the vicious acid attacks on hundreds of Pakistani women by spurned husbands, suitors and other family members". "Harry Freeland's 'In the Shadow of the Sun', set in scenic Victoria Lake, Tanzania, is a gripping and tender documentary about the plight of children, men and women with albinism. It documents the horrific killings of albinos who are hunted, dismembered and killed in Tanzania because of superstitious beliefs that their limbs will bring luck and wealth". "Closer to home, Canadian director Matthew Smiley's 'Highway of Tears' documents the decades-long disappearances and murders of indigenous women along B.C.'s notorious Highway 16". "Other films addressed rights in Egypt, Cambodia and Palestine".
The author considers "the over 600 missing and murdered indigenous women -- women who died because of their vulnerability to violence, women whose deaths seem neither to be mourned nor even noticed by the government of Canada and the majority of the Canadian public. There are close to one and a half million indigenous people in Canada, slightly more than the population of Ottawa. Imagine if 600 women from Ottawa were to disappear in a similar fashion. Would the government -- or anyone -- tolerate their disappearance ? Wouldn't we work urgently and tirelessly until every woman was accounted for, until all women were safe ?" "We are sadly, witnesses of such hideous evil -- certainly, in the growing worldwide poverty, which so disproportionately impacts women and children, but just as really and dramatically in the indigenous women whose tragic lives have been denied justice".
Author is "national indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada".