Human Rights films bow

Lebanese 'Civilized' to open fest, 1957 'Edge' to screen

Thirty features and documentaries, most in their New York premieres, will unspool at the 11th annual Human Rights Watch International Film Festival June 14-29 at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theatre.

Preceding the fest on June 12 will be a benefit gala featuring a screening of “Twilight Los Angeles,” directed by Marc Levin and scripted and toplined by Anna Deavere Smith. Barbara Kopple will present the Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award to Frederick Wiseman at the ceremony, which will be co-chaired by Sid Sheinberg, Hannah Pakula and Tony Elliott.

Lebanese war drama opens

Opening the fest will be Randa Chahal Sabbag’s Lebanese civil war drama, “A Civilized People,” winner of this year’s Nestor Almendros Award for courage and commitment in human rights filmmaking.

Festival slate includes the Gotham bow of Italo-Argentine director Marco Bechis’ political drama “Garage Olimpo,” a Cannes Certain Regard selection that won the Phoenix Prize at the 2000 Santa Barbara Film Fest and a Donatello Award (Italy’s top film honors) for best producer.

‘900 Women’ bows

Among other pics screening: the world premiere of Laleh Khadivi’s prison portrait “900 Women,” produced by Oscar-nommed Jonathan Stack (“The Farm”); the U.S. preem of Iranian helmer Dariush Mehrjui’s previously banned 1992 drama “Banoo;” and the Gotham bows of Kevin McKiernan’s “Good Kurds, Bad Kurds: No Friends but the Mountains,” Goran Rebic’s Belgrade-meditation “The Punishment,” and David Blaustein’s Argentine dictator docu “Spoils of War” (Berlin Film Fest Ecumenical Jury prize-winner).

Also planned is a special showing of Martin Ritt’s 1957 classic “Edge of the City,” starring Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes.

According to organizers, the mission of the fest, co-presented by Human Rights Watch and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is to showcase films with human rights viewpoints and themes.

For more details, call (212) 875-5600 or visit http://www.filmlinc.com.

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