Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

22nd Annual

An amazing two-decade collaboration of the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival with the Pickford Film Center resumes in April, after a pandemic pause, with co-presentation of several remarkable films. “Inhabitants” (Thursday, April 14, 5:30pm) explores the deep knowledge that five Native American nations direct towards land and watershed management practices, in order to address critical environmental challenges facing deserts, forests, mountains, coasts, and prairies in what today is known as the United States. “First Time Home” (Saturday, April 16, 11am) is a stirring documentary depicting young people of Trique (Oaxacan) heritage as they make their first visit to the traditional homeland of their parents. This becomes a powerful time for deepening understandings of familia as well as indigenous identity. The following week (Thursday, April 21, 5:30pm), and in commemoration of Earth Day, we are excited to join a dozen local environmental organizations in co-presenting “Youth v Gov.” This film highlights young people from across the United States who work together to sue the federal government for violating, through policies that accelerate climate catastrophe, their human rights to a healthy future. Attendance to all films is by donation. This continues our commitment to encouraging access as well as awareness of the fundamental human rights we ought not take for granted.

Through an annual film festival BHRFF supports independent filmmakers, fosters dialogue and promotes action. For over twenty years, volunteer committee members have selected scores of insightful and moving films they hope will encourage the community to explore and engage with critical issues. Films are followed by facilitated discussion, some led by the filmmakers themselves.

In the past, we have acquired most of our festival films for continuous availability in the community. They are now in the Bellingham Public Library (BPL), Wilson Library at Western Washington University (WWU), or Whatcom Community College Library (WCC), accessible with a Bellingham Public Library card. Click on the "Film Archive" tab above to find a full list of films and which library they are in, as well as organizations you can contact to take action on the issues presented in the films. 

The Bellingham Public Library has finally accepted our 2020 festival film donations. Check our “FILM ARCHIVE” tab for the films we have been able to place there, and which you can now check out for viewing.

Mayor's Arts Award
BHRFF was one of 2015's recipients of the annual Mayor's Arts Awards.  The award recognizes "the film festival and the outlet it provides to filmmakers in addressing challenging issues".

BHRFF Recognition
Our festival has been listed in an article on the Audience Awards website as one of nine "Film Festivals That Are Making A Difference" in the U.S. 

We were honored by the community as shown in the 2019 October issue of “Bellingham Alive!” Magazine’s annual “Best of the Northwest” readers’ poll. We received third place for “Best Festival”.