Young and old, tall and short, men and women, children and youth, they all came together form as far as Kuantan, Penang, Johor, Sarawak, and even from abroad Burma, Indonesia, Japan and other countries. Two days of fun-packed, exciting, stimulating activities, all spelling out the message clearly and loudly of “DEMOCRACY – WE ARE THE BOSS!

This was the theme adopted by the “FREEDOM ARTS FESTIVAL 2012”, a human rights arts festival organised by NGO Pusat KOMAS. This year besides the usual screening of the 30 international and local films, the event carried spectacular multi-arts workshops all revolving around the theme of human rights.

The areas of focus were social photography, dance and movement, music, video and visual arts (mural), all conducted by professional and seasoned human rights activists trainers. “This is a truly exciting event for both human rights advocates and activists as well the general public because it offers them valuable insights and practical multi-arts skills on how to project a social issue or a situation”, explained Anna Har, Festival Director and social activist with 20 years of film and activism experience.
“This is also the first time we have addressed children’s rights by allocating a special session for this subject in our festival. In the future, we will explore giving platforms for other specific topics as well, maybe for highlighting campaigns as well,” she added.

“The whole point of our festival is to provide a platform for art activism and also using creative means to promote human rights messages, so it is great that our friends from other NGOS are here to celebrate with us today,” said Lena Hendry, FAF steering committee member.

On the whole the FAF earned high marks for being a significant and relevant human rights activity. But the important point is how was the impact of this event in the advancement of human rights in Malaysia. “I am so happy that this event is held because it gives Malaysian a chance to learn about human rights and also the fight for their basic rights! I hope this event will continue every year,” said Mr Wong, a retired person.

“This kind of activity is very important to educate Malaysian people on the importance of human rights for the ordinary persons on the street and the Festival helps us do this creatively,” said Evelyn, a sales and service personnel from Sarawak.

Pusat KOMAS has been organizing the FreedomFilmFest (FFF) for the past 10 years and this year is the culmination of the past decade of holding the film festival on human rights. The FFF will make its way to Penang, Johor, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore until end of October. “We hope the people who have come and shared with us their time, energy and experiences in the festival will take home with them the important message of human rights. More than that, we hope they would also take actions towards these concerns,” said KOMAS Executive Director Tan Jo Hann.

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