Angelina Jolie organized a film festival featuring films about war-zone rape

St Michael St George sevice

The older I get, the less time I have for TV shows and movies which use rape as a plot device or a shorthand way to bring about some character development. Downton Abbey used rape as a plot device, and while the story was well-acted and probably true to the era, it still felt cheap. The show Shetland also used rape as a plot device, only the rape of a popular character barely had anything to do with the actual plot of the show. There are lots of other examples, and suffice to say, very few shows or films should go down the “eh, let’s just have this character be a rape victim” plot. I was thinking about this when I read People Mag’s story about a new film festival which Angelina Jolie has put together – a two-day film festival which focuses on films about rape, sexual abuse, assault and war crimes.

Angelina Jolie is bringing her humanitarian efforts to a new film festival. The 43-year-old actress is taking part in the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict’s film festival, Fighting Stigma Through Film, which will focus on helping fight discrimination and social stigma that survivors of war zone rape face, according to a press release from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the U.K. Jolie is the co-founder of Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict which is hosting Fighting Stigma Through Film later in November.

The mother of six is leading a Q&A session with Dr. Denis Mukege, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and City of Joy Centre Director Christine Schuler Deschryver.

“Artists and human rights defenders often taking significant risks, to tell the truth about crimes committed against defenseless women, children, and men during war,” Jolie said in a statement. “The perpetrators of war crimes often go to extreme lengths to keep the truth from being told. So I am proud to support the filmmakers taking part in the festival. Stigma compounds the suffering of survivors of war zone rape. It is an unbearable injustice on a human level, and it is a major obstacle to achieving justice for victims of these sickening acts of violence. We need to examine and change the entrenched social attitudes that treat sexual violence as an inevitable consequence of war or lesser crime — including harmful attitudes to women,” Jolie added.

The festival will take place on Nov. 23 and 24 at the British Film Institute in London.

[From People]

I 100% understand the need to draw attention to these stories and I completely agree with what Jolie says about de-stigmatizing these stories and these subjects. But also: good lord, this film festival sounds like such a downer. It would be one thing if every film being shown is a documentary – that I would understand, and I would applaud. These are victims using their voices, telling their stories on camera. But I fear that some of the films in this festival will be fictionalized accounts that don’t really educate or inform, and instead use “rape” as a plot device, or some easy way to make a character sympathetic. So… bless Angelina for trying, but even a stan like me would avoid this film festival like the plague.

St Michael St George sevice

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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44 Responses to “Angelina Jolie organized a film festival featuring films about war-zone rape”

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  1. ROSEY says:


    • elo320 says:

      Yep. It’s infuriating to see the hate she gets from women (for being threateningly beautiful) despite the fact that she’s spend the last decade or so doing pretty much nothing but trying to fight violence against women and girls in war zones, aka advocating for probably the most vulnerable females out there.

      • ROSEY says:

        Exactly the amount of hate she gets especially from women is quite disgraceful

      • Otaku fairy... says:

        This. Just bringing up that issue puts many on the defensive- you are Not Ever supposed to acknowledge others feeling threatened as a possibility when people are having their fun consistently demonizing certain Ones (Angelina definitely being one of those Ones). But a lot of times there’s truth to it. As far as I’m concerned, the good outweighs the bad with her.

      • Flan says:

        I don’t know any women who hate her, though. They either don’t know a lot about celebrities in general or like Angelina Jolie for her humanitarian work.

      • ..... says:

        Agree flan…..seems the “hate” for her is just stuff put out by his pr and only in the tabloids he works with.

        And likewise its obvious the “everyone loves Br ad” narrative is also put out by his pr…….in real life no one I know takes him seriously.

      • Flan says:

        …. (like your username ;) )

        I agree. Most people I know don’t even know that they have a custody battle and I have never met anyone saying they hated her.

      • Hmmm says:

        Some of them “fear” that she’s promoting movies about a important topic. She is at the end an actress so movies = a good way to get the message heard

  2. anp says:

    Thank you Angelina for all you do for women rights!

  3. cee says:

    She continue to work at making a difference. Agree or disagree with the festival, never doubt the desire to bring attention to a much needed discussion. I am glad that Angie is continuing her work and as ususal Angie has worked out her schedule with the children in mind. Most countries involved do not celebrate Thanksgiving .

  4. Zee says:

    I don’t think Angelina would show films that depict rape as a cheap plot device. She has been an advocate for years and spent time talking to actual survivors. She knows what she’s doing.

  5. Razor says:

    She’s a subpar director. Her first one bombed. I don’t see this doing any better but good on her for trying.

  6. Chaine says:

    I agree her intention is good, but even calling it a film “festival” seems like the wrong word for an event that is bound to leave everyone who attends depressed if not downright traumatized.

    • Erinn says:

      Yeah, that’s how I feel. I mean – if it’s all well done, and like Kaiser said more of a documentary and learning experience rather than plot devices that’s amazing. But the word festival really counters the kind of feelings this is supposed to invoke.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree with this too. I’m not sure the right way to market it, but hopefully they figure it out. It’s going to be a tough sell to get an audience no matter what.

  7. Aang says:

    Well that seems like a barrel of fun.

  8. Darla says:

    I can’t sit through things like this. One time I went to see a film, it was during the bush years, and I cannot remember the name. It was about a young Iraqi girl (it was a true story, it happened, we all read about it) who was stalked,raped, and murdered by a US soldier, and then they murdered her whole family too. And the aftermath was about the soldiers, and the guilt one in particular felt because he did not participate but he did not do a thing to stop it.

    And i was with a group of friends, and two were vets, and they were crying. And I knew in this moment they were crying for the solider. And I flipped and it was not a good night. I just cannot see these kind of films. I’ve seen my last one. I actively avoid all films with rape scenes.

    • Otaku fairy... says:

      Crying for the soldier? It’s completely understandable why you flipped over that. I never saw any film about it, but I remember reading about the case you’re talking about years after it had happened.

    • Traderbynight says:

      I agree with you, Darla. I think people like Nadia Murad coming out and doing interviews to tell their experience in sort of plain (as in not dramatised) ways is very powerful without the sort of risk of voyeurism (can’t think of a better term for what I’m trying to say) in these kinds of things. I applaud the intention behind this film festival but I couldn’t sit through it as I assume the films are “realistic.” I would be interested in reading the interviews if it were panels of survivors sharing their stories though. I remember the CNN anchor Lara Logan’s interviews about her horrifying experience and she said partly why she did lots of interviews about it was because she wanted to help take away the stigma of rape survivors.

  9. Valerie says:

    Re rape as a plot point…it all depends on how you use it. Simply sweeping it off the page is the same as sweeping it under the rug. Showing women (and men) responding to the reality of it–in war or otherwise–and then dealing with it in a way that de-stigmatizes and empowers can have a hugely positive impact. Given AJ’s history, I assume that’s what she’s trying to do. Unfortunately, I don’t see a whole lot of rapists going to the festival.

  10. Keaton says:

    I’m ashamed to say when I read the title I said “Ugh” Just like Kaiser, I’d avoid this film festival like the plague. But damn I can’t help but admire Angelina even more. It’s very easy for most of us in the west to ignore what other people in war torn countries deal with. If nothing else she’s putting this terrible cruelty & injustice in our faces. Perhaps some good will come from that. Hopefully.

  11. anp says:

    Angelina keep doing what you are doing to make change in this crazy world. You are going to have your haters.

  12. Sophie says:

    The festival does feature lots of documentaries & Q&A’s. It’s more about talking about rape in war zones. The doctor fixes women’s genitalia after they are severely cut by their rapists in war zones. It’s an issue that needs to be put in the spotlight. Good for Angelina to put this together.

    • Carrie says:

      Yep. I couldn’t attend but actively support by donation, reading, keeping up with UNHCR. I can’t see this stuff too much or read much because it’s traumatic. It’s horrific. Grateful to Angelina for keeping up with all her work and it has to be said, to be in this work is incredibly draining and painful at times. She’s incredible.

  13. milky way says:

    The original atrocity isn’t the war zone rape but the war itself. War zone rape happens in wars only.

    So do something about those wars.

  14. AD says:

    Awareness is a must, children, women & men in war zones who are a victim of rape are helpless & is often ignored & their ordeal brush under the carpet. It is good to have people like AJ & many others who are raising awareness & taking action to combat the cruelty of many evil people who are committing these crimes. The pain they go through is unimaginable.

  15. ..... says:

    Well, it’s better Than hanging with l.en.a du,name and discussing the Gallagher brothers from oasis.

    He looked like he was very inebriated as well in those pics.

    Glad Angie’s kids have her for a role model. She’s really doing great and I’m happy for her and her family.

  16. Chef Grace says:

    If it makes you uncomfortable ask yourself why.
    Being a victim of rape and child sexual abuse it makes me uncomfortable but by Goddess I will advocate for these films to get the word out. Go Angie!

  17. U.S and them says:

    More people should know about what took place after the fall of Berlin.

  18. Sidewithkids says:

    Y’all, looks like a settlement is coming. His team already trying to spin it. I think she got sole physical custody. His team is so dumb, these lies they keep putting out. they put he reached out to her for a plea deal for the kids to not be in the public last week (which is such a false narrative, the trial was gonna be behind closed doors) and she agreed. His team of liars are saying she tried to give him minimum amount of custody (which is another lie) but he was able to get a substainal amount. Which means he didn’t get 50/50 custody. Lol. Yes, Angie. His story always changed but hers stayed the same. Now, this is from the Blast tho so we have to hear it from her and/or her lawyer.

    Angie gonna be w/ the kids enjoying London for the holidays and the Film Festival. They may already be there.

    • Felicia says:

      Having a hard time following the logic in your post.

      She asked for sole physical custody, which is indeed the “minimum amount” aka 0%. That was in the divorce papers she filed, there isn’t much arguing with that.

      You think she got “sole physical custody” but he got a “substantial amount”… how does that work?

      • Sidewithkids says:

        She would get sole physical custody while they both get legal custody (50/50). But we have to wait and see. I think his team is reporting it so don’t know how true it is actually. We’ll know more after the holidays.

  19. Kara says:

    I think Angelina is the best, she looks more regal than actual royalty here I think…

  20. Hmmm says:

    She’s doing this with the two women the nutty Brange/Brad fans hate. They think these women are the reason Angie dumped his sorry ass and they think they taking her $$. I love when Angelina does things that bugs her ex fans

    • Sidewithkids says:

      They just jealous b/c he couldn’t keep up w/ her intelligence and status. This woman is doing amazing things and people have their heads in the sand. If she were a man, they would praise and bow at his feet. Angie deserves credit for all that she’s done. But she asks for none. Why can’t she learn and do the things close to her heart? When a Queen and a Pope want to meet you, that means you must be doing something right. Keep doing you Angie. You’re great. Find somebody who will be great w/ you.

    • AD says:

      @Hmmm, I do have doubts about the so called British friends, what exactly do they do for the foundation it seems it’s only AJ pouring funds & they don’t apart from acting as researcher for her that’s why they are paid. I feel she is too trusting, too generous. I feel she has to be careful, I think it’s them who organised these trips, interviews etc. for her, they should also find ways how to financially fund their joint effort foundation & don’t take advantage of her.