Listen wins Irish Council for Civil Liberties film award

Short film depicts a foreign woman trying to communicate with police in Copenhagen

Listen, a short film about a foreign woman, wearing a burqa, who has been beaten by her husband and is struggling to make herself understood to Danish police, has been announced as the winner of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Human Rights Film Awards 2015.

Inspired by real events, the film shows the woman bringing her young son to a Copenhagen police station to file a complaint against her abusive husband. However, her assigned translator does not convey the true meaning of her words.

Directors Hamy Ramezan, a Finnish-Iranian, and British- Zambian Rungano Nyoni said they worked with a cast and crew whose first languages were Danish and Arabic, despite neither director speaking the languages.

This helped them to understand their chosen theme of communication, they said.


“We learned how to communicate, sometimes without even speaking the same language. It was fascinating.”

High heels

The film was co-produced by

Valeria Richter

, who was famously turned away from the red carpet at Cannes this year because she was not wearing high heels.

Ms Richter said at the time that she “couldn’t keep her balance” in heels, after having her big toe and part of her left foot amputated.

She was later allowed into festival screenings without heels, but she noted that other women were not.

Last night Ms Richter had no problem gaining entry to Dublin’s Light House cinema to collect the award for Listen.

The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards, which is in its seventh year, was judged by directors Kirsten Sheridan and Rebecca Miller; actors Brian Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Jack Reynor and Brenda Fricker; and Senator David Norris, among others.

Barcalone ba Barsakh, a film about Demba, an illegal Senegalese immigrant who makes a dangerous journey from Senegal to Europe, took second place.

Let The Devil Sleep, the story of four people in post-genocide Rwanda, took third place.

The ICCL awards provide a platform for human-rights filmmaking and draw entrants from around the world.

This year's shortlist included films from Kosovo, Rwanda, Spain, Denmark as well as Ireland.

Anthea McTeirnan

Anthea McTeirnan

Anthea McTeirnan is an Irish Times journalist