Asser - Movies that Matter Workshop on Film and International Law

27 - 28 March 2019
  • Starts at: 10:00h
  • Fee: €100,-/€75,- (regular/student)
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut & Festival location
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut & Movies that Matter
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
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International law has been subject of many documentary films. Court proceedings, prosecutors, victims, defence teams, defendants—they all have made their appearance on screen. The 2019 Movies that Matter Festival in the Hague is no exception, with documentary films such as The Trial of Ratko Mladić  and a separate Camera Justitia award for films on law and justice. But what do we see when we watch documentary film on law and justice? How is justice, how is law portrayed on screen? How do editing, narrative, and music affect how we feel and think about the law? Which ethical dilemmas arise when films portray victims and perpetrators?

The Asser Institute and Movies that Matter are co-organising a workshop on documentary film and international law. It uniquely combines lectures in critical theoretical analysis of human rights documentary film at the Asser Institute with a practical experience at the Movies that Matter Festival, one of the largest human rights film festivals in Europe. The workshop equips the participants to critically review and discuss the portrayal of international law in documentary film.

The workshop is linked to the festival competition programme Camera Justitia on law and justice. More information about Camera Justitia can be found here.

2-Day interactive programme
On the first day, Prof. Werner and Dr Stolk familiarise the participants with the general concepts common to film theory, human rights and international law. Their lectures address the historical relation between the field of film making and human rights/international law and their mutual interest in e.g. objectivity, truth, authenticity, evidence, authority and responsibility. In the afternoon, we will explore how documentary films construct narratives and arguments about international law. The lecturers will discuss different styles, storytelling devices and formal techniques. In the evening, participants can directly apply what they have learned during a screening of the documentary The Trial of Ratko Mladić by Henry Singer and Rob Miller at the Movies that Matter festival. 

On the second day, we will analyse and discuss the film watched on the previous day. Rob Miller, one of the directors of The Trial of Ratko Mladić will join to explain the film making process and answer questions. In the afternoon, participants join the Camera Justitia Masterclass at the festival. In this Masterclass, prominent international lawyer Colleen Rohan will talk about her work as defence counsel before the international criminal tribunals, illustrated by film excerpts. In the evening, participants are invited to the Camera Justitia Night, a thematic evening programme on law and justice. This night is visited by many filmmakers as well as professionals from the international institutions in The Hague. 

Eligible participants
This workshop is open for everyone who has interest in either film or international law and justice or both. No previous expertise required to attend. The lectures and topics discussed are meant to cater to both legal and creative audiences.

About the teachers
The workshop is taught by Dr Sofia Stolk (Asser Institute/Movies that Matter) and Professor Wouter Werner (VU Amsterdam). Dr Stolk has been the coordinator of the Camera Justitia programme of Movies that Matter in the past years. In addition, she has published on the relationship between film, art and international law. Professor Werner was member of the jury of the Camera Justitia Award in 2017 and has published several articles on the relation between documentary film and international criminal law. Both share experience in teaching film and international law.

Wednesday 27 March – Lectures and Film Screening
10:00-16:00: Lectures at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut (including lunch) by Prof. Wouter Werner and Dr Sofia Stolk
17:30: Dinner at Festival location
19:00: Screening documentary The Trial of Ratko Mladić at the Movies that Matter festival

Thursday 28 March – Film Review and Masterclass
10:00-13:00: Evaluation The Trial of Ratko Mladić and meet & greet with director Rob Miller
13:00: Lunch
16:00: Camera Justitia Masterclass by Colleen Rohan about ‘defending international criminal cases’
18:00: Dinner at Festival location
20:00: Camera Justitia Night, including Award ceremony of the Camera Justitia competition programme and screening of the film Smuggling Hendrix 


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