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31st Toronto Jewish Film Festival June 1 - 11, 2023

First to Stand: The Cases and Causes of Irwin Cotler


Screening Information

Ontario Premiere
February 5, 4:30 pm
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
February 6 – February 7
TJFF Virtual Cinema

Film Details

Country Canada
Year 2022
Running Time 75 MIN

Tagged In The Following Film Lists


Filmmakers Irene Angelico and Abbey Neidik (Dark Lullabies) follow Irwin Cotler and his team of young activists at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre as they take on the cases of political prisoners and human rights activists battling against the world’s most repressive regimes.

In the landmark case of Russian refusenik Natan Sharansky, Cotler devised a “mobilization of shame” against the human rights violator—essentially, a PR blitz against a superpower to convince them that holding a political prisoner is bad for their image. Tyrants aren’t amused by someone embarrassing their regime in front of the rest of the world — especially Vladimir Putin. Like others who crossed Putin’s path, Cotler was poisoned in Moscow. But the attempt on his life hasn’t dampened his commitment. He is today one of the world’s most effective activists in the protection of human rights.

Join the Honourable Irwin Cotler (via Zoom), directors Irene Lilienheim Angelico & Abbey Jack Neidik, and activist Shaparak Shajarizadeh in-person for a post-screening Q&A.

Featuring an introduction from Payam Akhavan, recipient of the prestigious 2021 Law Society of Ontario Human Rights Award.

Moderated by Jay Rosenzweig, Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre For Human Rights.

Virtual Screening only available in Ontario.

Presentation Details

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