A documentary made by a senior lecturer from Coventry University is to have its film festival premiere at the 2012 West Midlands Human Rights Film Festival in Birmingham next week.
Ken Fero, who lectures in media production, enlisted the help of several Coventry University students to work on the documentary – entitled Who Polices the Police? – helping them to gain valuable experience working as graphics artists, production assistants and operators of the second camera unit.
It is the second time that the region has hosted the Human Rights Film Festival, whose aim is to screen a range of films that investigate the notion of human rights in the twenty-first century – as measured against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Who Polices the Police? is a powerful 52-minute documentary which explores the controversy surrounding the death of Sean Rigg whilst in police custody in South London in 2008, and looks at the ensuing investigation into his death by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The inquest found that police officers had used ‘unsuitable force’ while restraining Mr Rigg – who suffered from schizophrenia – in the custody area of Brixton Police Station.
Fero’s documentary will be screened on Wednesday 3rd October at 8.15pm in the Birmingham Library Theatre, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham. It will be followed by a panel discussion with contributions from both Fero and the family of Sean Rigg.
As well as films, the festival will also have a wide selection of specially invited guest speakers ranging from film-makers and commentators to academics and campaigners.
Mr Fero said:
“It’s entirely appropriate that this new documentary should be having its premiere at a film festival dedicated to cinema which explores current and contemporary human rights issues from around the world.
“We filmed the documentary over four years, combining interviews with an experimental poetic approach. It’s a highly critical piece targeting the police self-investigation and elements of the state, as well as popular media. The film moves from highly-emotional vérité-style cinematography to comments by Chairman Mao and George Orwell. It also contains some disturbing CCTV footage of Sean Rigg’s death.”
Fero previously won international acclaim for his 2001 documentary film Injustice, which investigates the period from 1969 to 1999 when, it claims, more than 1,000 people died in police custody in England. The Guardian newspaper described Injustice as “one of the most powerful films ever made in this country”.
The West Midlands Human Rights Film Festival is taking place between Tuesday 18th September and Thursday 18th October. For more details, please visit www.birmingham-film.org/human-rights-film-festival, and to learn more about the BA (Hons) Media Production degree at Coventry University, click here.