First to Stand: The Cases and Causes of Irwin Cotler

Special Event
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  • a man with Justin Trudeau
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Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Sun, Feb 5, 2023 4:30 PM
Film Info
Country Listing:Canada
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Irene Lilienheim Angelico
Abbey Jack Neidik


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 activist in the protection of human rights.


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

Tickets: $15 (Members from $10)

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Presented in partnership with the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation.

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