The first international human rights film festival of Afghanistan was successfully held from 1-7 October 2011. At least 3000 visitors attended the film screenings, debates and musical performances in 4 different venues in Kabul. Throughout the festival, 50 films have been screened (32 Afghan films and 18 international films) on issues ranging from religion and democracy to sexual abuse and opium trade. To encourage filmmakers to use their cameras to document struggles against discrimination, injustice and violence, workshops have been held on on different themes such as script writing and editing. The Autumn Human Rights Film Festival has been organised by the Afghanistan Cinema Club with the support of various Afghan and international organizations.
Based on two editions of LGBT film festival "Same Love" in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, a touring festival takes place in the cities of Cotoca, Montero, El Torno, Camiri, San Jose de Chiquitos and Puerto Suarez from September 2010 until April 2011. The project includes conferences on homosexuality, education and law and aims to inform and raise awareness about sexual diversity. The festival expects 1.200 visitors.
From 28 November till 4 December, the 3rd edition of Ciné Droit Libre took place in different venues in Abidjan. The festival showcased twenty films, organised a forum about the involvement of youths in politics, and a 2-day masterclass on documentary filmmaking. Following the political developments in the region, the festival focused on democracy, violence and reconciliation in an African context. The festival reached more than 1.500 visitors, including the Minister of Human Rights. During the festival ‘Journalistes Reporters d’Images’ (JRI) was established, a group of journalists from West Africa working for the online TV programme on human rights ‘Droit Libre TV’. The festival was to take place in November 2010. However, due to the violence and civil unrest, the festival had been postponed. The first edition of the festival in 2008 was also supported by Movies that Matter.
Building on the success of its 1st edition, the II Muestra de Cine Internacional Memoria Verdad Justicia was organised in Guatemala City from March 31st - April 9th 2011. Except for the screenings in the capital, a selection of the film programme was also presented in Quetzaltenango. The films, mostly regional productions, focused on the themes: memory, truth, justice and human rights. All the screenings were completely full. After each screening a discussion was organised with international and national guests. According to the organiser: 'Panels were very emotional, very political and passionate. Public spaces we opened in this festival are not frequent in Guatemala. People saw that and used the space to speak - a great step in Guatemala'. Altogether, the festival reached about 5.500 people.
Gay, lesbian and transgender people in India are still stigmatised, discriminated and victimised because of the prevailing taboos against these sexual minorities. To provide a space where queer and mainstream audiences mingle and interact with no bias, prejudice or stigma, Solaris Pictures has organised “Kashish, the 2nd Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.” The festival, which took place from 25 to 29 May 2011, presented 98 shorts, 7 documentary and 18 feature films. Over 6200 tickets were issued. The festival was supported by various Bollywood celebrities, queer activists and media professionals and received extensive media coverage, which helped spreading information about LGBT and Queer rights. As Pooja Bhatt, one of the chief guests at the opening ceremony, said: “Why should you ask for equal rights? Demand it, grab it! Let’s have more forums like Kashish!”
In New Delhi, the 10th edition of the Open Frame International Film Festival took place from 10 – 16 September 2010. The festival screens Indian and international productions. Ridhima, curator at PSBT, this year, stated that the festival “explored the theme human rights in depth, while looking at some of the specific contexts in which rights of people are compromised, by way of politics, sexuality, religion, class, caste, state and other markers of identity”. It puts an emphasis on dialogue and discussion.. According to the organisers “the informal nature of many of the discussions allowed the audience to freely share their opinion and ask questions”. These ranged from issues such as freedom of expression, the role of women in conflict-torn societies, disability issues, GLBT issues, etc. With fourteen Indian filmmakers present at the festival, this edition also included workshops and seminars on documentary filmmaking in the field of human rights and social justice. Throughout the years, the Open Frame Festival has evolved as a pioneering and powerful space to bring together filmmakers, journalists, students, activists and film lovers. An estimated 4.900 people were in attendance, 423 being registered students.
In India, the National Youth Foundation (NYF) presented the first edition of the 10-day Youth Festival of India from 26 January - 4 February 2011. This festival has a special focus on students and youth in Lucknow, the capital city of the Northern state Uttar Pradesh. During this ten day long festival, twenty films, with a focus on human rights issues in India, such as human trafficking, the Kashmir issue, homosexuality, religious violence and widows, were screened. Also debates, on-spot writing competitions and interactive sessions about the human rights issues addressed in the screened movies were organised. According to the organiser the festival was a more than expected success: “the response of people was more than we expected, one can easily spot hundreds of people standing in a long queue outside Fun Cinemas for registrations.” The organsier further stated that “the people of Lucknow welcomed the Movie Festival with great inquisitiveness and enthusiasm. As this movie festival was first-ever happened in Northern India, there was great demand from people to organize such event in future.” The festival reached 3.222 students and youths, which was the maximum capacity the auditorium could accommodate.
Moving Forward Indonesia is a project that includes mini-festivals in eight different cities in Indonesia and a film festival in Yogyakarta. The project will be held from May to October 2011. Mini-festivals take place in Jakarta, Mataram (West Nusa Tenggara), Banda Aceh, Bekasi and Indramayu (West Java), Pontianak (West Borneo), Ambon (Maluku) and Yogyakarta. Each mini-festival includes film screenings, debates and workshops on human rights in five schools, a university and a public place. Aside from this touring programme, a film festival will be held in Yogyakarta as a focal point including eight screenings and a seminar. The films focus on themes such as minority rights, children rights, ‘truth, justice and reconciliation’, societies in transition, rights of indigenous communities, women rights and migration. The project is organised by Komunitas Dokumenter, which also organises the Yogyakarta Documentary Film Festival since 2002. The applicant also took part in the Cinema Without Borders workshop in 2010.
The 1st human rights film festival in Jordan was organised in Amman in December 2010. The five-day festival took place at the Royal Cultural Centre and screened 27 films related to various human rights themes, and also included some Jordanian shorts. Side programmes at the festival included discussions, lectures, workshops, a photo exhibition, and various cultural performances. The festival also organised an outreach programme, including educational screenings at universities and a cultural and community centre downtown for youths. The festival received a lot of media attention, including a long video report by Al-Jazeera. The total number of visitors was over 10.000.
Building on the successes of the first festival in October 2009, the 2011 Rolling Film Festival (RFF) once again highlighted films by and about Roma in the Balkans, Europe and around the world. From 2-5 March 2011 the festival took place in Prishtina and from 21-30 March it toured throughout Kosovo with a school programme and community screenings. RFF showcased more than 30 films; 17 international submissions and 14 Kosovo youth shorts which were produced during a workshop filmmaking with mobile phones aiming to encourage Roma youth creativity. One of the participants won a 500 euro prize at another festival. The event was very successful, with close to 3.300 spectators, of which many from the Roma community and the international community. RFF organised transport to facilitate the attendance of Roma youth. For many of them it was the first time in cinema, or even attending an event in Prishina. The school programme visited eight secondary schools around Kosovo. After the screenings, using methods like games, theater, and other interactive activities, the participants discussed the problems of Roma minorities, human rights, and racism in general. The group discussions contributed to raising awareness of the presence of stereotypes and prejudices among themselves and their environment. 80,8% valued the school programme with ‘positive’ or ‘interesting’. Their teachers appreciated the programme as it was innovative and suggested to have more space for discussion next time. RFF looks back upon dynamic and festive events, with action-packed programmes and screenings, live performances, music, poetry and two exhibitions. The first edition was also supported by Movies that Matter.
Between 16-20 March 2011, the organisation Sesotho Media and Development (SM&D) hosted a series of screenings using its mobile cinema in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. SM&D held a total of 10 screenings at Limkokwing University and the Pioneer Mall Cinema.
The programme consisted of some films from the by now well-known Why Democracy? film series, a selection of the TriContinental Film Festival programme from South Africa, and locally produced film projects. Especially Please Vote for Me, a film set in China, was well received. This is interesting, considering that Lesotho has a large Chinese immigrant community and the relationship between the local and immigrant population is not always amicable. Also, the screenings of local films were highly popular, like Mapule’s Choice dealing with domestic abuse, and Moferefere focusing on village justice. The festival reached 800 people. According to the organiser, film screenings on topics such as human rights and democracy are rare in Lesotho and do encounter some scepticism. However, after the festival, additional screenings were organised at the National University upon request by one of its lecturers. Furthermore, the organisers have received numerous requests from the audience, filmmakers, stakeholders and the local cinema to make the Lesotho Film Festival an annual event and plans are currently made for next year’s festival.
In Malawi, the first human rights film festival took place from 11 – 16 October 2010. Taking place at the capital city of Blantyre and surroundings, screenings followed by discussions were organised for female prisoners, slum youth and people in positions of power. The initiator Advocacy Inter-Action Trust aimed to address human rights themes which are particularly relevant for Malawi, such as employment, inheritance, shelter and children’s rights. In total 15.300 people attended the festival and the corresponding mobile cinema. The majority of the audience consisted of secondary or high school students. According to the organiser: “The films had a great impact on the population. In some of the venues we received many requests for extra screenings.” The film programme included films of renowned filmmaker Kim Longinotto, like Sisters in Law and Rough Aunties, and other films from the Africa continent such as Pray the Devil Back to Hell and Fighting the Silence.
From June to September 2010, the Legal Assistance Centre in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, organised 15 film screenings with a focus on children rights for students, teachers and community actors in the education sector. Through the screening of the film A Betta Way, the organisers sought to address the problems of violent punishment of children and aim to promote a change of attitude towards children and their dignity. At all screenings, lunch was provided for the audience, which explains the title of the project. The project included a film screening at the National Theatre of Namibia in Windhoek and screenings in educational institutions in Rundu and Katima-Mulilo.
The screenings reached a total of 1.446 people. Discussions (and Q&A’s)with the actors from the film were organised alongside the screening. The discussions evoked intense discussions on the use of corporal punishment in schools. The reactions varied from requests for action plans to stop this practice, expressions that beating was part of the African tradition, discussions about the implementation of alternatives to corporal punishment in the future, and promises to use these alternatives.
The questionnaire indicated that 92% of the students were beaten at school in the past. Furthermore, a training was organised for 18 participants who received a copy of the DVD, a discussion guide, training blueprint, copies of the comics and a poster on alternatives to corporal punishment. During the project, the national television broadcaster Namibian Broadcasting Corporation screened the film twice.
To increase awareness on gender based violence and reproductive health (GBV-RH), Al-Asar Development Organisation facilitated 15 open-air film screenings on these themes. The screenings of these Indian and Pakistani films took place between March and May 2011 in the rural areas of Southern Punjab, Pakistan. The movie screenings, followed by discussions, brought together 3,800 people, including local leaders, activists, teachers, government representatives and landlords. Two of the 15 screenings were organised exclusively for women. The project uniquely raised awareness among local men and women about the importance of meeting women’s rights.
In the past, Al-Asar Development Organisation coordinated a variety of other awareness raising activities, e.g. through street theatre and other cultural activities. In 2010 the applicant took part in the Cinema Without Borders workshop and organised its first film festival with the support of Movies that Matter.
At the An-Najah University in Nablus, the first Palestinian human rights film festival was launched from 26-30 September 2010. The event is organised by the university and its UNESCO Chair. The 5-day festival highlighted each day a central human rights topic. This year’s themes were the Gaza Strip; peaceful resistance; women's rights; economic, social and cultural rights; naqba and refugees. All screenings were followed by a discussion through a panel or video conference. The screenings were attended by overy 1.000 visitors: university staff and students, as well as the wider Palestinian population, local refugee camps and cultural organisations. In their feedback the visitors expressed how they experienced the festival as a tool to view things from new perspectives. They were pleased to be introduced to new facts and situations they hadn't been confronted with before.
In the period before the national elections in Peru, December 2010, Grupo Chaski organised a series of film screenings with a focus on elections and democracy. The screenings took place through a network of micro-cinemas in seven regions of Peru (Lima, Puno, Apurimac, Ayacucho, Piura and La Libertad). Screenings were organised especially in poor communities, which normally have no access to film screenings, and reached an audience of an estimated 10.800. The audience participated in discussions about fraud, democracy, the misuse of power and the right to vote. After their participation in the screenings, the audience said they were satisfied and enriched with new knowledge and continued by stating that they recognized situations that were portrayed in the films. The screenings also received extensive media attention in the forms of television, radio, newspapers and internet (at least on 23 websites). This was the 3rd edition of this project. Movies that Matter also supported the 1st edition of the festival in 2008.
From December 2010 to September 2011, various film festivals and film events were held in the Russian cities of Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Tomsk and Archangel, to promote tolerance and broader acceptance of sexual minority groups in Russian society. Despite growing opposition and a new law banning any advertisement for public LGBT events, almost one hundred film screenings and debates were held, as well as photo exhibitions and a workshop. These regional film festivals are based on the 2nd edition of the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in St. Petersburg. Screenings took place in local cinema halls, multiplexes and clubs. In Tomsk local authorities forced venue owners to close their doors. This attempt to stop the film festival gained the attention of the local TV channel TV 2 whom delivered 5 separate reports on their news programme Chas pik which has in the region of 80,000 – 100,000 viewers. Nevertheless, the events attracted almost 1.200 visitors, and new events are scheduled again for 2012.
The Alliance Internationale pour les Droits Fondamentaux de l'Homme celebrated the International Human Rights Day 2010 with film screenings at schools and universities in various locations around Lomé, from 1 – 10 December 2010. Along with the film screenings, debates, statements on human rights, animation of local radio shows, readings and explanations of different articles of universal declaration of human rights, meetings with journalists and monitoring of the situation of human rights in the civil jail of Lomé were also organised. With a total of 14 film screenings the organisers reached more than 3.000 students.
In concert with Amnesty International in Togo, a training was organised on the human rights situation in Togo and perspectives for the future, which, according to the organisers, attracted ‘many young men’. On December 10th, a caravan was brought to the centre of Lomé with music and performances, including a public presentation of the declaration on human rights. The crowd was particiularly young and composed of students ranging from elementary to high school. According to the organiser, students and young male students are so enthusiastic that they expressed their wish for the creation of associations and clubs for human rights and the projection of at least one movie per month on human rights in every school.
From October till December 2010, the seventh edition of Docudays UA has made its tour around the country, visiting 25 regions (102 cities). The travelling festival screened the winning films of the annual Docudays UA International Festival hosted by Kyiv as well as other award winning documentaries.
The travelling festival reached around 153.000 people of which most were within the age range of 14-35 years old. The screenings took place at 70 cinemas and culture houses, 323 schools and universities, and 14 prisons. A total of 38 debates and round tables were organised in which more than 8.500 people participated. Among this year’s themes were: xenophobia and tolerance. A large section of the programme was dedicated to children’s rights (“Young Heroes programme”), and the trafficking of women and girls and sexual exploitation in Europe. Docudays UA closely cooperates with local human rights and youth groups and cultural centres.
From 4 – 7 December 2010, The Organisation for Youth Advancement (OYA) Zimbabwe organised a 4-day film festival in and around the city of Mutare. The festival screened two films from the Why Democracy series: Iron Ladies of Liberia and Egypt: We Are Watching You. The films were screened at four locations in the city and townships of Mutare including a high school, a theatre, a community hall and a youth centre. The festival reached an audience of 1.050 in total. Each screening was followed by a discussion session on the films subject matter, in cooperation with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe. The discussions were “very lively and inspiring showing that the viewers were indeed observing and learning.”
According to the organiser “the festival was a highly collaborative event which saw organisations such as the Mutare-Haarlem city link, Youth Dialogue Zimbabwe, Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe, City of Mutare Teen HIV Project and Concerned Youth Zimbabwe come together”.
The selection committee 2010 consists of Isabel Arrate (coordinator Jan Vrijman Fund), Sebastian Dinjens (FreeVoice, from October 2010), Nancy Jouwe (Kosmopolis), Dorien Marres (Growth & Mobilisation Fund, Amnesty International, from October 2010), Taco Ruighaver (director Movies that Matter). Advisor is Paul van Paaschen (programme manager art and culture, HIVOS).