The Human Rights Watch Film Festival, an invaluable compendium of documentaries centered on hot-button issues across the globe, exemplifies Roger Ebert's notion of movies as "machines of empathy."

The event, which runs from Thursday through June 21, offers an immersion into individuals far removed from the five boroughs, allowing you to experience life through their eyes.

Entries include a compelling exploration of both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border wars ("Cartel Land"), a look at the shooting death of a black teenager at a Florida gas station ("31/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets"), a film about Sudanese farmers ("The Dream of Shahrazad") and another about a solo female artist's attempt to stage a concert in Iran ("No Land's Song").

Joshua Oppenheimer, director of the masterful "The Act of Killing," in which the perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide were made to face their crimes, returns with a follow-up: "The Look of Silence."

"(T)error" examines the human costs of counterterrorism efforts on the homefront, as an FBI informant tries to befriend a terror suspect.