WATCHERS OF THE SKY
A PASSIONATE DOCUMENTARY ILLUMINATING THE POWERS OF GLOBAL ACTIVISM AND LOBBYING EFFORTS TO END TO GENOCIDE
FOUR STARS “An intricate and immensely powerful documentary…urgent and humane.” – Shelia O’Malley, ROGEREBERT.COM
“This smartly and conscientiously crafted film is a powerful wake-up call.” – Duane Byrge, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“Fiery…Essential. An impassioned call to conscience.” – Chris Nashawaty, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“Why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of an individual?” With that provocative question, Raphael Lemkin changed the course of history. Directed by Edet Belzberg, WATCHERS OF THE SKY looks back on impassioned visionary Lemkin as he confronts world apathy in a tireless battle for justice, setting the stage for the creation of the International Criminal Court. As Belzberg examines historical events from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Bosnia to Darfur, and from apathy to action, WATCHERS OF THE SKY is a significant step in humanity’s journey toward being able to declare never again.
A remarkable testament to one man’s humanity and perseverance, the documentary WATCHERS OF THE SKY examines the life and legacy of human rights pioneer Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer and linguist who coined the term genocide, which he defined as “the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group.” Before Lemkin, the notion of accountability for war crimes was virtually non-existent. After experiencing the barbarity of the Holocaust firsthand, he devoted his life to convincing the international community that there must be legal retribution for mass atrocities targeted at minorities.
Inspired by Samantha Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “A Problem From Hell”, WATCHERS OF THE SKY interweaves Lemkin’s struggle with the courageous efforts of four individuals keeping his legacy alive: Luis Moreno Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC; Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Ben Ferencz, a former Nuremberg prosecutor still tenaciously lobbying the UN for peace; and Rwandan Emmanuel Uwurukundo, UN Refugee Agency Field Director in Chad.
Alternating live interviews with rare archival footage and striking animation, WATCHERS OF THE SKY illuminates the compassion and bravery of the humanitarians who continue to stand up to the greatest evil of our age—and powerfully demonstrates the ability of global activism to give a voice to the silent victims of genocide.
An official selection at the Sydney, Nantucket, Milwaukee, Denver, Cork and Mar del Plata Film Festivals, WATCHERS OF THE SKY won both a Special Jury Prize and an Editing Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It also picked up the Ostrovsky Award for Best Documentary at the 2014 Jerusalem Film Festival, as well as the Jonathan Daniels Award at the Monadnock International Film Festival.