In 2013 a total of 26 projects have been supported through the Movies that Matter Support Programme:
The Western Sahara International Film Festival (FiSahara) is an annual event that uses film to entertain and empower Sahrawi refugees and to raise international awareness about a forgotten crisis. From 7 to 13 October 2013, the 10th edition of the festival took place in Dakhla, the most remote of the refugee camps in Southwestern Algeria. In close cooperation with the local NGO Polisario, FiSahara organized 40 film screenings, as well as workshops, roundtables, cultural activities and spectacular camel races. Besides 5,000 inhabitants of the refugee camp, about 200 international visitors attended the festival. This year, the festival initiated a special human rights section.
The award winning documentary Are You Listening in Bangladesh follows Bangladeshi people who are impacted by floods, but fighting back to reclaim their livelihoods and dignity. The film has been screened at festivals worldwide, but the average Bangladeshi has not yet had an opportunity to see it. From December 2013 to November 2014, the film had 52 screenings across the country. Each of these screenings, organised in close cooperation with local film societies, was followed by Q&A’s about the impact of climate change on society. Almost 10,000 people were reached. The film was even screened in the village it was shot in and was received overwhelmingly positive by the local community.
In the short film festival Cinema Perpetuum Mobile film screenings, discussions and workshops were organised about various human rights related themes. The screenings took place in the first half of 2014 in an art place, cinemas and underground venues in Minsk. Films and debates were about the rights of disabled people, the rights of migrants and refugees, and gender equality in Belarusian society. The organisers faced some serious challenges, including the closing of venues and the difficult cooperation with the government. Nevertheless, discussions after the films were open and free. The project raised awareness, enhanced active participation and connected visitors with local human rights institutions. Read more
The 9th edition of Ciné Droit Libre presented for the very first time the “Festival Village”, an open-air venue in the middle of a popular neighborhood to bring the festival closer to the population and the “non-intellectual, ordinary” people. From 22-26 June, 2013, the site turned into an area of freedom of expression and promotion of Human Rights, with 12 film screenings, lots of debates, stand-up comedy, radio shows and live performances of popular reggae, rap and wôyô artists. This innovative concept was a great success and reached huge crowds, almost twice as many people as the organisers had expected: 15,500.
Movies that Matter supported the organisation of a travelling human rights film festival in Burma. After the 1st human rights film festival in Yangon, which took place from 15 to 19 June 2013, a selection of the festival films were screened in 13 cities in Myanmar/Burma, with about 80 screenings and 26 discussions in the entire country. The programme focused on land grabbing, freedom of religion and discrimination against women. With this travelling festival, which took place in the second half of 2013, the organisation attracted over 13,000 Burmese visitors, lots of full houses, and huge media attention. According to former political prisoner and human rights defender San Zaw Htwe this film festival has the power to give people courage to protect their rights, and to speak up when they’re suffering abuse.”
The 3rd edition of the Bamenda Human Rights Travelling Film and Arts Festival runs from 15-22 July 2013. The festival reaches audiences in seven urban communities in Bamenda, located in the northwest of Cameroon. A total of 30 film screenings will be held in community halls, school campuses and cafes all over the city. In addition to watching film, the 10,000 visitors can participate in 15 debates and enjoy a drawing exhibition on human rights. The 7-day festival, set up by the organisation A Common Future, will focus on various themes, including violence against women, children rights and the rights of minorities and indigenous people.
Mis Me Binga is an important international film festival about women rights in Cameroon. Early March 2014, the 5th edition of Mis Me Binga took place in Yaoundé, the country’s capital. Fifteen long and short fiction and documentary films were screened. This year, in addition to the screenings at the Goethe Institute, the University of Yaoundé and the Institut Francais, the festival took films to three townships. To encourage filmmakers to use their cameras to document struggles against discrimination, injustice and violence, a short film competition about women’s rights and tradition was held. The festival attracted 8,300 visitors.
In 2014 Derecho a Ver offered people in various parts of Colombia the chance to watch one or more human rights documentaries. The travelling documentary festival had its 3rd edition between March and November 2014, with more than 200 screenings and debates in Cali, Bogotá, and 20 other Colombian cities and towns, including Usme, Popayán, Pasto, Medellín, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Palmira and Suba. The programme included 29 films with great relevance to the country. The festival had the Colombian premiere of The Act of Killing, a film that has special relevance in the country characterised by numerous (former) paramilitary groups. The mobile cinema festival, with screenings in cultural centres, schools, universities, theatres and on the streets, attracted almost 6,500 visitors. In addition, a five day cinema workshop was organised, to teach young people about documentary filmmaking.
In the southern Colombian cities Pasto, Ipiales and Tumaco, the NGO Fundepaz organized film screenings to raise awareness on forced disappearances. Next to 15 film screenings, short training workshops, a competition of amateur videos with smart phones and 15 debates were organised. The programme consists of five films, including Rosario (Mexico, 2012), Postcards of Leningrad (Venezuela, 2007), and Golazo en los Descuentos (Chile, 2007). About 1,500 visitors attended the events, which took place between December 2013 and April 2014.
The documentary film Off Line, about the lack of internet access in Cuba, focuses on the right to information and the need for information and communication technologies. Between December 2013 and May 2014, director Yaima Pardo La Red screened her film in the eastern provinces of Cuba. Five screenings were followed by public discussions. and all screenings a hiphop concert, reaching an estimated 1,500 people. DVDs of the film will also be distributed.
To raise attention about the rights of the inhabitants of the Ecuadorian Amazon, a travelling film festival was organized in Guayaquil, Cuenca, Quito, Puyo, Manta and Macas. Eleven documentaries and 2 animation films were selected. In the midst of the festival, in December 2013, the organiser, Fundación Pachamama, was suddenly illegally dissolved by the Ecuadorian government. This occurred without previous notice and without granting the organisation the right to defend. Due to this unfortunate situation, the festival was cancelled in Manta and limited to the minimum in Guayaquil. With some delay, the dedicated organisers and volunteers found ways to continue the festival in Quito and Cuenca. In the end, attended by around 2,400 visitors, a total of 17 film screenings, 13 debates and a cartoon exhibition were held about human rights violations in the Amazon and the survival of its indigenous peoples. The first edition of Ciné Amazonico took place in February 2012 and was also supported by Movies that Matter.
The documentary film Little Heaven addresses the enormous problem of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. Through the screening of the film in 30 small villages in rural parts of the country, filmmaker Lieven Corthouts hopes that people with HIV will start to demand the drugs they need. Between January and August 2014 the small NGO Cinema Genet will hold open-air screenings and screenings at schools and universities, for an estimated 9,000 people. Besides the screenings there will be debates and discussions about the topic of the film, such as how to have a normal life when living with HIV.
The second edition of CinéDOC Tbilisi took place from 14-19 October 2014.The documentary film festival succeeded to present a high quality film selection comprising award-winning films, local and regional productions, and a youth selection. Compared to last year, this edition had more time and space for Q&A’s, master classes and talk shows, which increased the impact of the festival. The section with films from the Caucasus helped audiences to realise that people living in neighbouring countries are not that different from them. The festival reached 5,000 visitors, many students, young professionals and journalists. Before the preparations for the next festival start, CinéDOC travels with a selection of the films to many Georgian cities and towns.
Violence against women is still very common in Central America. The documentary Justice for my Sister shows the determination of a Guatemalan lady to find the assassin of her sister, and bring him to justice despite prejudices, opposition and corruption. Movies that Matter supported 26 screenings of the film in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, as part of a training about women’s rights. The organisations 'Aquí Entre Hombres' and 'Colectivo Justicia para mi Hermana' organised the screenings in Guatemala, for almost 1,300 audience members, including representatives of police, public prosecutors and unions. The project included dubbing the film in the Quiche language and developing educational materials about addressing violence against women.
Between January and April 2014 the Colectivo Cine en la Calle put together three festivals in urban and rural Guatemala. In Nebaj (El Quiché region), Ciudad Peronia and Península Bethania (Guatemala City region), 25 open air film screenings and debates were held in public spaces, such as bus terminals, squares, football pitches and parks. About 3,500 visitors faced up to the dangers of the streets to attend this Street Cinema Festival. Mainly Guatemalan films were screened, inciting debates about the problems currently existing in the country, including migration and historical memory. The festival celebrated the world premiere of the Ixil version of the film Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, by Pamela Yates, attended by almost 500 people.
Between January and August 2014, Eliane Raheb organised the distribution of her award-winning documentary Sleepless Nights, about the enforced disappearances during the war of 1975-1990 in Lebanon, aiming to encourage a dialogue about the country’s violent past and trying to start a process of truth and reconciliation in Lebanon: “The screenings allowed the audience to see for the first time an ex-torturer confessing in details his war acts. He was present at many screenings accepting the audience's criticism. Together with other ex-fighters, he now advocates for peace, aiming to influence young people who are diving more and more into the political crisis of Lebanon.” The screenings reached a total of 1,240 viewers. Due to the political situation, many screenings were cancelled, especially in the refugee camps. Instead, DVD copies were distributed and a TV broadcast reached another 20,000 viewers. Read more
The Half The Sky Film and Arts Festival took place in Nepal between 25 November and 10 December 2013. The festival in Patan and Kathmandu reached 11,800 visitors. Screenings were held at more than 100 schools, a cinema, the British Council and various other locations for community audiences. The main focus were the rights of women and girls, e.g. child marriages, rape and sexual trafficking.
Early 2014, theatre organisation ASHTAR organised the first human rights film festival in the occupied Palestinian territories. The festival advocates for human rights through screenings of 19 films, three public debates and several music concerts all across the West Bank and in Gaza. Around 2,200 visitors attended the festival, which was postponed to 14 – 19 January after the region was hit by a snowstorm one month earlier. This new festival is organised in close cooperation with the Karama Human Rights Film Festival in Jordan, which started in 2010 with support from Movies that Matter. The 2nd edition of the festival in Palestine is scheduled for October 2014.
The 2nd edition of Truth Cinema (November 2013 – March 2014) is a mobile grassroots film screening program of human rights films travelling schools, communities and workplaces in the National Capital Region and the rest of Luzon. The 32 screenings and debates reached 17,556 visitors: school youth, urban poor, farmers and fisher folk. Due to the group’s work in the areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), screenings were also held in the Eastern Visayas region, reaching large crowds, especially victims of the typhoon. The films focused on demolition, disappearances and environmental issues within the Philippines.
Trying to engage participation from the community, AfricanBamba uses films as a medium to start discussion on themes that require urgent attention in the banlieue – from youth unemployment to women’s emancipation. The 2nd edition of the African Bamba Human Rights Film & Arts Festival took place from 16-20 January 2014. In addition to 16 film screenings with a focus on the rights of women and youth, this festival edition included 3 debates and music concerts. The main venue was a central location in Thiaroye, a historic town located in the suburbs of Dakar. The festival attracted over 5,000 visitors.
The Merlinka festival in Belgrade, dedicated to the rights of LGBT and queer, celebrated its 5th edition in December 2013. By screening optimistic and cheerful films about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, the Merlinka festival is one of the very few public LGBT events in Serbia. The organisers of the festival, which attracted almost 1,500 visitors in Belgrade, are also working hard to organize similar festivals in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Sarajevo) and Montenegro (Podgorica).
The 3rd edition of the Open Yu Yi Human Rights Film Festival was held in March 2014 and took place at cinemas, outdoor locations, slums and a prison in Freetown and surrounding areas. The programme consisted of 30 films, Q&A’s and panel discussions about press freedom in Sierra Leone and the political responsibilities of African filmmakers. The opening film Call Me Kuchu dealt with a highly sensitive issue, LGBT rights in Uganda, and led to mixed responses. Backed by the authority of local LGBT activists, the festival felt it important to show such a topical and timely fil in order to make a powerful statement of solidarity with LGBT Africans. Another success this festival was the launch of SWIF, the Sierra Leone, Women in Film Network to build the capacity of female filmmakers in Sierra Leone. Opin Yu Yi, which means ‘Open Your Eyes’ in the local Krio language, aimed to empower and inspire Sierra Leoneans to support and defend human rights. The festival welcomed a record number of 4,800 visitors.
Pink Life QueerFest, the LGBT film festival in Turkey, took place between 16-23 January 2014 in Ankara. About 40 film screenings, 3 panel discussions and various workshops, including the “Queer Gezi Park Stories” about the LGBT resistance at Gezi Park, and exhibitions were set up about the lives and problems of LGBTQ individuals and communities in Turkey and around the world. The week-long international festival attracted more than 3,000 visitors and successfully increased the LGBT visibility by social networking and its press strategy.
In Kampala, the 4th edition of the Manya Human Rights International Film Festival was held in December 2013. The 5-day festival screened over 60 films in the National Theatre and more than 40 other locations in and around the Ugandan capital, including video halls and outdoor locations. This year’s programme focused on the role of social media in promoting the rule of law, good governance, democracy and transparency. Like last year, the festival attracted more than 6,000 visitors. Manya Cultural Foundation is planning the 5th festival edition in December 2014, and also plans to set up a forum with organisers of human rights film festivals in East Africa.
The 10th Travelling Festival Docudays UA was held from October to December 2013 in 231 cities and towns of Ukraine. The programme included winning films from the 10th edition of the Docudays UA Film Festival, which took place in Kiev in March 2013. The travelling festival attracted 134,000 visitors. The screenings and debates were not only held in cinemas and cultural centers, but also in cafes, schools, universities, libraries, military units and penitentiary institutions.
This years’ theme was “There is a Choice!” According to the organisers: “Docudays UA is a non-political festival. It is about human rights and about the fact that each of us has a choice: to accept the dictatorial regime, or to fight for the victory of democracy. Today the future of Ukraine depends on everybody’s choice. Therefore Docudays UA is together with the EuroMaidan [name of the 2013 demonstrations in Ukraine].”
The travelling festival faced opposition from local authorities who pressured venue owners to withdraw. But the State Film Agency of Ukraine showed their support by two letters of support to the regional administration and culture management.
The festival aims to unite dozens of human rights organisations. This collaboration promotes the development and strengthening of a network of human rights defenders, able to counteract the power to infringe on rights and freedom.
The International Images Film Festival for Women took place in August and September. During 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, between 25 November and 10 December, the festival films were also screened in different venues in Harare, such as the book café, various high schools, and a community hall and the Christian College of Southern Africa. This outreach project aimed at 3,500 visitors. The film programme included One Day After Peace (South Africa/ Israel, 2012), Cultures of Resistance (USA 2012) and The Suffering Grasses (USA, 2012).
In 2013, the selection committee consisted of Isabel Arrate (coordinator IDFA Fund), Leon Willems (director Free Press Unlimited), Jannie Langbroek (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), Dorien Marres (Growth & Mobilisation Fund, Amnesty International) and Taco Ruighaver (director Movies that Matter).