Human Rights Watch Film Fest at I-House

Lieutenant Elle Helmer at the Vietnam War Memorial, from THE INVISIBLE WAR.

Kirby Dick’s Oscar-nominated documentary feature, The Invisible War, offers a startling investigation of rampant and underreported incidents of rape in the United States military. It’s being screened Friday, March 22, as part of the ambitious Human Rights Watch Film Festival, under way this week and weekend at International House.

Prize-winning documentarian Dick’s film examines the systemic failure to address the crisis of women in the armed forces who have been victims of sexual violence. Women who entered the ranks of the Army, Navy and Air Force with high ideals and ambitious goals found themselves ignored and humiliated when they brought charges against the men who had sexually assaulted them. The film is a scathing indictment of a culture of cover-ups and denial within the military and the government.  The film screens Friday at 7 p.m. at International House.

Also on the Human Rights Watch Film Festival program:

Reportero, Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m. Director Bernardo Ruiz’s documentary about fearless investigative journalists working in Baja, Mexico, where covering the drug trade has made a newspaper reporter’s job a life-threatening endeavor.

Putin’s Kiss, Saturday, March 23, 5 p.m. Masha, a rising star in Russia’s political youth movement, faces disillusionment and dread as she becomes exposed to a pro-Putin campaign to squash free speech, investigative reporting and anyone who dares express a differing political view.

Brother Number One, Saturday, March 23, 8 p.m.. Director Annie Goldson follows New Zealander Rob Hamill’s search to explain his brother's death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge in 1970s Cambodia.

For information on the Human Rights Watch Film Festival at International House, call 215-387-5125 or go to