From 22 - 28 March 2012 the fourth edition of the Movies that Matter Festival took place in The Hague, international city of peace and justice. Apart from expositions and musical performances, the festival highlighted 76 documentaries, movies and shorts by inspired filmmakers.
Among the nearly 180 national and international guests that attended this year’s festival, more than ever before, were Margaret Sekkagya - United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, who also presided the Camera Justitia Masterclass -, Gina Belafonte, who directed a documentary portrait about her father, singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte –, as well as numerous directors and activists from the Middle East who received an invitation as part of the Arab programme.
One of this year’s highlights was Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry about renowned artist and activist Ai Weiwei, the thorn in the side of the Chinese government. This documentary attracted a large audience, and the hype surrounding this artist also explains the successful exhibitions that Museum de Pont in Tilburg and GEMAK arts centre in The Hague dedicated to his work.
Besides the main programmes A Matter of ACT and Camera Justitia, various theme-based and ‘the best of’ programmes, this year’s college programme Young Amnesty Film Days featured three debates for secondary vocational educational pupils. The education programme reached an unprecedented number of pupils and students.
Furthermore, the festival hosted the fourth edition of its international programme Cinema without Borders as well as an entirely new initiative: The Good Pitch² The Hague; this international project, which brings inspired filmmakers in touch with parties that can enhance the social impact of their films, had its premiere on the European mainland.
On Wednesday 28 March, the festival was brought to a festive end with the Award Ceremony and the screening of Heddy Honigmann’s short movie En op een goede dag. After a word of welcome by deputy mayor Marjolein de Jong, who emphasized that Movies that Matter is a perfect ambassador for the city of The Hague, the different juries announced the prize-winning films of this year’s festival.
Six films received a prize that night, including Give Up Tomorrow, a documentary directed by Marty Syjuco and Michael Collins about the struggle for the release of Philippinian native Paco Larrañaga, who has been unjustly imprisoned for fifteen years, won the VARA Audience Award, worth € 5,000. among the other laureates of the Movies that Matter Festival was 5 Broken Cameras, a big hit at IDFA 2011.