April 4, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
After winning the award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Gala du cinéma québécois and receiving a warm welcome from audiences and critics alike, Patricio Henríquez’s feature documentary Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd will be available as of Tuesday, April 5, in download-to-own (DTO) and video-on-demand (VOD) formats at NFB.ca and the iTunes store. It can also be purchased on DVD via NFB.ca or by calling 1-800-267-7710. The film was co-produced by Macumba Media (Patricio Henríquez and Michelle Shephard) and the NFB (Colette Loumède) with the collaboration of Radio-Canada and RDI.
In Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd, Henríquez charts the incredible odyssey of a group of men from China’s persecuted Uyghur minority of Turkic-speaking Muslims, sold to the United States as terrorists and detained in Guantánamo Bay. Exposing the cold logic of post–September 11 geopolitics, this documentary is part human drama, part political thriller, and both thought-provoking and indignant.
Following its world premiere at the 43rd Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) in Montreal and a well-received screening in official competition at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd continued to make the rounds of the international circuit, with screenings at the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague and the London Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, in addition to taking part in the 2015 Japan Prize International Educational Contest, organized by Japanese public broadcaster NHK. In 2016, it was screened at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois and won the Best Feature-Length Documentary award at the Gala du cinéma québécois.
“An incredible story.”
‒ Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette
“The film weaves a harrowing tale of trauma, dashed hopes, crushing betrayals.”
‒ The Platform (UK)
“Guantanamo’s most Kafkaesque case.”
‒ Chris Bilton, Vice
About the director
Chilean-born Patricio Henríquez settled in Montreal in 1974 following the fall of the Allende government. After making his first film, Yasser Arafat et les Palestiniens, in 1980, he produced feature reports for Quebec public television. In 1996, he co-founded the production company Macumba International, for which he has directed several multiple-award-winning films: September 11, 1973: The Last Stand of Salvador Allende; Images of a Dictatorship (Jutra for Best Documentary, 2000); The Dark Side of the White Lady; Under the Hood: A Voyage into the World of Torture (Jutra for Best Documentary, 2009); and You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantanamo. His latest effort, Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd, explores the tragic abuses of the so-called war on terror.
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca