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Malalai Joya to attend 2007 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival

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Suspended from Parliament for 'insult,' Joya will attend festival For the NY premiere of ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS

Reel Voices, June 14, 2007

Documentry film on Malalai Joya
Enemies of Happiness winner of "The world cinema jury prize for documentary" in Sundance and Silver Wolf Award at the 2006 International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

Afghanistan's leading female parliamentarian, Malalai Joya, will attend the screenings of ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival on June 16, 17 & 18 at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

An inspiring film about personal courage and conviction, ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS spotlights Joya and her life's work. Joya, became one of Afghanistan's most recognized leaders in 2003 when she challenged the power of warlords in the country's new government. Two years later, this remarkable 28-year-old, a survivor of repeated assassination attempts, was elected to the legislature in her country's first democratic parliamentary election in more than 30 years.

In a country where a majority of the people are illiterate, votes are for sale, warlords use threats and bribes to control the ballots and many women cannot leave their children to vote, Joya is a courageous voice for change. The documentary's Danish director, Eva Mulvad, winner of the HRWIFF's annual Nestor Almendros Prize for courage in filmmaking, will be joining Malalai Joya to present the film.

Until this week, it seemed unlikely that Malalai Joya would be able to travel to the U.S. to attend the festival. On May 21, 2007, the Lower House of the Afghan parliament voted to suspend her for critical comments she made during a television interview. Since her election, Joya has continued her outspoken defense of the rights of Afghan women and children. She has also continued to publicly call for accountability for war crimes, even those perpetrated by fellow parliamentarians.

Screenings of ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS Will Be Preceded By:
Sari's Mother
James Longley, USA, 2006, 21m, 35mm, doc
In Sari's Mother, filmed in Iraq over a period of one year, is the latest work of James Longley (Gaza Strip; Iraq in Fragments) follows a courageous mother as she struggles to get proper medical help for her 10-year-old son, Sari, who is dying of AIDS.
*Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2006

Sat June 16: 3:30
Sun June 17: 6:15
Mon June 18: 4

Running from June 15 to 28 at the Walter Reade Theater, the 18th edition of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival features 21 films and three shorts from 17 countries and includes 16 New York premieres.