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[VIRTUAL] Human Rights Watch Film Festival: “Coded Bias”

Coded Bias film iamge

This film will be screened as part of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Film Festival, which is digital this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. PEN America is a presenting partner of the HRW Film Festival.

Filmmaker(s): Shalini Kantayya
Country of Production: USA/UK/China/South Africa
Year: 2020
Duration: 85 minutes
Language(s): English
Genre: Documentary

When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial recognition software misidentifies women and darker-skinned faces, as a woman of color working in a field dominated by white males, she is compelled to investigate further. What she discovers drives her to push the U.S. government to create legislation to counter the far-reaching dangers of bias in a technology that is steadily encroaching on our lives. Centering the voices of women leading the charge to ensure our civil rights are protected, Coded Bias asks two key questions: What is the impact of artificial intelligence’s increasing role in governing our liberties? And what are the consequences for people stuck in the crosshairs due to their race, color, and gender?


U.S. audiences can tune in to watch the film on the HRW Film Festival’s streaming site.


About the Filmmaker

Shalini KantayyaFilmmaker Shalini Kantayya’s (director/producer) feature documentary, Coded Bias, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She directed the season finale episode for the National Geographic television series Breakthrough, a series profiling trailblazing scientists transforming the future. Her debut feature film, Catching the Sun, about the race for a clean energy future, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Catching the Sun, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, was released globally on Netflix on Earth Day 2016, and was nominated for the Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary. Kantayya is a TED Fellow, a William J. Fulbright Scholar, and a finalist for the ABC Disney DGA Directing Program. She is an associate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

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