Journalist / filmmaker Assia Boundaoui is US-based and of Algerian-American background. She joins us to discuss her directorial debut on government surveillance, “The Feeling of Being Watched” which is screened for the HRWFF at the stunning Regent Street Cinema this week. Boundaoui has reported for BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, VICE, and CNN and was the recipient of a first place Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting in Yemen.
Human Rights Watch (HRWFF) Film Festival, 14th-22nd March, 2019 showcases 15 award-winning films from, amongst others, Venezuela, South Africa, Palestine and Thailand. Filmmakers, protagonists, HRW researchers and activists take part in in-depth post-screening Q and A’s and panel discussions at the Barbican, BFI, Southbank and Regent Street Cinema.
“It is in the act of looking back and talking out loud that we become less alienated, less petrified by our paranoia. Perhaps the only way to disrupt surveillance is make sure that those who do the watching are also being watched.”-
Assia Boundaoui, director
Residents of Assia Boundaoui’s entire neighbourhood outside of Chicago, Illinois, have felt under government surveillance for over a decade. Returning home and recounting memories of her childhood suspicions, she visits her neighbours one by one, and a mass of personal accounts begin to pile up. Assia decides it’s time to set up her own investigation. Her inquiries soon yield tens of thousands of FBI documents proving that her Arab-American hometown was indeed the subject of one of the largest counter-terrorism investigations ever conducted in the US pre-9/11. Creatively weaving the personal and political, The Feeling of Being Watched is Assia’s story, as she grapples with the enduring impact government surveillance has had on her country, community, and her own sense of identity.
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