The Abominable Crime, Micah Fink's award-winning documentary about homophobia in Jamaica, received the Matter of ACT Special Mention for Best Film during the Movies that Matter Film Festival, which ran March 20-28 at the Hague, Netherlands. The festival is made possible through the Movies that Matter Foundation, an initiative of Amnesty International that organizes wide-ranging film programs where human rights take center stage.
The film was selected as part of the festival's Matter of ACT spotlight, which this year focused on 10 films dealing with human rights issues around the world. The festival hosted the main characters of each of the featured documentaries to participate in workshops and introduce them to leading human rights advocates in the Dutch government.
For The Abominable Crime, the festival gave the main characters, Maurice Tomlinson and Simone Edwards and her daughter Khayla, the chance met in person for the first time. They attended a roundtable discussion with other activists, filmmakers, and Michel Forst, the UN's special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Filmmaker Micah Fink also was on hand.
On Facebook, Tomlinson wrote of the experience: "When I came to The Hague for the Movies that Matter Film Festival, I actually thought that it would only involve a few screenings of The Abominable Crime Film. BOY was I wrong, and HAPPILY so. I have been allowed to interact with some of my heroes as part of the Amnesty International Matter of Act human rights award 'competition.' This is one time that I can honestly say that it was just an honour to be nominated, and I don't feel like I am in competition with any of these people, whose sacrifice and dedication far outstrips my own. All of these people have paid dearly in one way or another for their activism. Some have lost their parents, some have been imprisoned, some have been tortured and lost limbs, and some are in permanent exile. Sometimes doing human rights work can become depressing and draining. And then there are those moments when you realize that people actually do appreciate the personal and professional sacrifices made by human rights defenders. And this adds to your desire to press on."
"Khayla informed me that she now wants to be a human rights lawyer, and I was very glad to meet very dedicated group of filmmakers who have devoted their time and energy to making "movies that matter" about human rights issues around the world," Fink said, reflecting on the festival. "These aren't necessarily easy films to make, or highly profitable, but they do help us to understand the world and find hope where others might just find darkness."
The Abominable Crime focuses on Jamaica's gay community, living under constant threat of harassment and violence. The documentary comes out of the Pulitzer Center-supported project, "Glass Closet: Sex, Stigma and HIV/AIDS in Jamaica," by Fink, documentary filmmaker Gabrielle Weiss and multimedia journalist Lisa Biagiotti, which is an exploration of the impact of homophobia in Jamaica.
In 2014, the film won Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival's inaugural Amnesty International Human Rights Prize for a Caribbean film that best highlights a human rights issue.