From 5-10 December 2015 the third edition of the bi-annual Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival was held. It took place at ten different places which included some restaurant, the US embassy and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. The festival was organised by BASA Film (Afghanistan Cinema Club) to promote film and cultural development in Afghanistan. Despite security problems, they were determined to give a space to the artistic community to discuss human rights. During 6 days 40 films were screened, and a side-programme with debates and Q&A’s was set up. About 2,500 visitors attended the festival consisting of university students, human rights activists, artists, members of civil society interested in art, culture and human rights. Read more
The Afghan arts & culture organisation Mardumak Media will organise human rights film screenings at 8 schools in and around Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, between April and June 2016. The project is not only meant for school-going children. Also street children and children from the city’s orphanages will be invited to take part in the film screenings and discussions. Mardumak Media will select 16 child-friendly human rights films from Afghan and international filmmakers about children’s rights (access to education, health, security). Human rights experts will attend the screening and interact with the children about the issues addressed in the films. Around 1,000 teenagers are expected to be reached by this project.
Near the city of Tindouf, tucked away in South West Algeria, approximately 180,000 Saharawi people from Western Sahara live in isolated refugee camps. Since forty years the people from Western Sahara are forced to live in these camps, where they have little access to culture, leisure and entertainment. A joint project of FiSahara (International Film Festival in the Sahara), Abidin Kaid Saleh Audiovisual School and Solar World Cinema will bring year-round access to quality cinema in these refugee camps. A team of Saharawi refugees will be trained to set up and operate solar-powered mobile cinema themselves, making this project fully self-sufficient. A steadily growing human rights film library is available. Starting in October 2016, the organisers expect to show around four films every month during a period of two years.
In September and October 2015 the Travelling Queer Film Festival DOTYK took place. Nine LGBTQ related films were screened in Vitebsk, Grodno and Minsk during this travelling festival. A total of around 1,800 visitors were welcomed. In all three cities, three days of film screenings are combined with debates, exhibitions and workshops about LGBT rights, a topic that is still a large taboo in the country. Not all films were screened: one of the selected films was considered ‘too gay’ by the authorities. The events organised by DOTYK aim at empowering the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community to speak openly about tolerance and discrimination. Read more
The 6th edition of the Mis Me Binga International Women's Film Festival took place from 24 to 27 June 2015 in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. To increase the number of visitors this edition took place not only in cultural centres, but also in townships and colleges. As a result, more than 7500 visitors attended the festival, which screened 16 films about women’s rights. All screenings were followed by debates with human rights activists and female filmmakers from Cameroon. To encourage filmmakers a short film competition “BINGA Talent” was held, in cooperation with the Goethe Institute. Compared to previous festival editions that Movies that Matter also supported, the number of men in the audience of this women’s film festival is increasing. This is a positive sign and a reflection of the “He For She” concept adopted by Mis Me Binga. Read more
Women face discrimination in many areas in Chinese society and gender-based violence remains prevalent. The first China Women’s Film Festival was organised in 2013 by several organisations and individuals aspiring to use film to raise awareness on this issue. The 3rd edition of this film festival on women’s rights took place in Beijing in September 2015, followed by an ten month tour in theatres, cinemas, museums, universities, art galleries, NGO spaces and cafés in fourtheen other Chinese cities. The Crossroads Centre, the main organiser of this festival, reached almost 7,000 visitors between September 2015 and July 2016. Read more
The 3rd edition of the Colombian human rights film festival in Bogotá, Festival Internacional De Cine Por Los Derechos Humanos, was held in May 2016. The organisers presented and discussed the important work of filmmakers and human rights activists also in Cartagena, Medellín and Soacha. During six days, this festival gave space to 192 film projections, eleven panel discussions and two music concerts in 56 different venues. Despite financial difficulties, the festival welcomed more than 3700 visitors, a 200% increase compared to last year. This successful 2016 edition, which had a special focus on the Colombian peace process, also received lots of attention in the Colombian media. Read more
The 3rd edition of CinéDOC Tbilisi was a great success. Around 4,500 visitors attended this international documentary festival, which showed 42 films related to human rights and social issues, all followed by a Q&A. The festival also consisted of masterclasses, workshops and presentations. With its special section on the Caucasus region the festival has managed to become a platform for films and filmmakers dealing with social issues in the Caucasus region. In addition, one section was dedicated to women rights. This year’s guest country was Israel. A number of Israeli features were shown and a platform between Israeli and Georgian filmmakers was created. The involvement of students was also a highlight Tbilisi 2015. Read more
The Guatemalan Street Cinema Collective presented its 4th Street Cinema Festival in rural Nebaj area in the Guatemalan highlands, in February and March 2016. Five different villages – Acul, Tzalbal, La Pista and Salquil Grande and Neba – hosted their own little street cinema festival. The 27 films on the programme included feature films, shorts and documentaries about issues relevant for the local population: migration, youth, employment, historical memory and the environment. Film screenings that were followed by debates took place at public squares football pitches and indoor venues due to the weather conditions. The organisers reached over 2000 visitors that came out to watch the films. Facebook: CCC Colectivo de Cine en La Calle
In November 2015 the 6th edition of the Guatemalan Memoria Verdad Justica festival took place. With 5,400 visitors the festival created a platform for freedom of speech, tolerance, respect for human rights and social justice. It took place in the midst of significant turbulence in the Central American country. A corruption scandal has led to unparalleled popular protest and the resignation and arrests of the president and vice-president of Guatemala. Building on this, the festival presented films related to political movements and introduced 19 open public debates. Read more
From July 2015 to October 2016 the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival travelled to 12 university campuses in 8 different Indian cities. The events consisted of 12 film screenings and discussions about topics related to LGBT rights. In India sexual identity is not only a social taboo, homosexuality has recently even been criminalized under national law. Despite all this, KASHISH Forward attracted almost 1,300 visitors, mainly university students. Supported by Movies that Matter and aiming at queer-friendlier campuses in India, the organisers passionately continue with these campus screenings in 2017. Read more
From 4-10 December 2015, the activist group Partisipasi Indonesia organised a small thematic film festival, screening 15 films, about the killings of thousands of Indonesian Communist Party members in 1965. The festival was held in a temporarily created museum called “Temporary Museum Recollecting Memories”, which through various art forms such as film, photography and music created debate on the massacre of 1965. During the film festival 20 debates and discussions were held on human rights and cinema, human rights and art and revealing the truth about Indonesia’s history. The festival received more than 4,000 visitors. The organisation hopes to create a permanent Human Rights Museum. Read more
From July to October 2015 Rural Women Peace Link, a women’s rights NGO, set up a project in which 11 community screenings with almost 500 visitors, were organised on gender based violence in Uasin Gishu County. In this area, badly effected by post-election violence in 2008, a large number of families are now female headed households. All screenings were followed by debates about gender based violence, issues that affect daily lives of the girls and women in this area. There was an extraordinarily large turn-out of men at many of the screenings which was unexpected but very positive in creating awareness and discussion. The audience response was incredibly positive and the majority felt the screenings were very educational. If funds allow it, Rural Women Peace Link would like to organise a second round of screenings. Read more
The 1st Karama Beirut Human Rights Film Festival was held in July 2016 at the Metropolis Empire Cinema in Beirut. The three-day festival emerged from a collective initiative taken by human rights activists and committed artists, to respond to the need for a platform for human rights dialogue in Lebanon. The theme of this first edition was “The Others”. It aimed at contributing to the respect of the rights of the refugees and the minorities in Lebanon and the Arab World. The screenings of 16 films were followed by Q&A’s, debates and theatre workshops for refugees. Almost 2,400 people attended the festival, which received a lot of national and international media attention. In addition, screenings and debates were held at universities in Lebanon. The 2nd edition is scheduled for July 2017. Read more
In May 2016, the legal centre A Priori organised a five-day traveling human rights film festival in eastern Moldova. The festival is named Chesnok, which means ‘garlic’ in Russian and sounds like ‘chestno’, meaning ‘honesty’. The festival visited five Moldovan cities: Tiraspol, Bendery, Rybnitsa, Dubossary and Chișinău. In the poorest region of Europe, where access to free press and cultural engagement is very limited, the organisers offered an alternative view on global affairs by presenting human rights cinema and debate. Despite the lack of media attention, the travelling festival welcomed more than 400 visitors. Read more
The 6th edition of of the Fast Forward Human Rights Film Festival was held in the city of Podgorica in December 2015. The festival attracted 3,500 visitors and managed to broadcast 5 of the selected films on national TV generating 200,000 viewers. The main activities took place in Podgorica, though the festival stretched to other regions too. The overall film selection was very strong with internationally acclaimed titles such as CITIZENFOUR and Mustang. This year’s themes included transitional justice, gender equality and human rights violations in the region. After a successful 6th edition, the organisers plan to continue in 2016 with the 7th edition of Fast Forward Human Rights Film Festival. Read more
From 13 to 15 November, the 2nd edition of a LGBT film festival will take place in Yangon. The NGO Colours Rainbow, representing 18 groups of LGBT people across the country, leads the organisation of the festival. They are planning to screen 35 to 40 (mainly Asian) films and arrange 4 debates at the French Institute in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. The festival also includes a photo exhibition and film making workshop. Main target groups of Proud Yangon LGBT Film Festival are individuals identifying as LGBTs in and outside Yangon. Approximately 2,000 visitors are expected. The partner organisations throughout Myanmar will also arrange screenings in the various provinces of the country. Read more
The enthusiastic team of Movimiento Puente, a youth rights organisation from Managua, will launch the 2nd edition of its ten-day traveling human rights film festival in August 2016. Besides Managua, the festival will come to Matagalpa, Masaya, Granada, León and Chinandega. 20 film screenings take place in universities, cultural centres and public spaces and are followed by open discussions led by human rights experts. Movimiento Puente expects around 1,000 young visitors to join the activities. Read more
The Nigerian Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development organised a small-scale mobile cinema project in the Niger Delta in January and February 2016. Film screenings, debates and a theatre performance took place in the open air hosted by local communities. The project was severely affected by the break out of communal clashes out in February 2016; locations and themes had to be reconsidered. Films and debates were mainly about women rights. A total of around 500 people participated. Read more
In April 2016, the 2nd edition of a film, art and dialogue festival about sexual minorities took place. It mainly focused on the rights of transgenders. Traditionally transwomen (also called Hijra in Pakistan) used to have a special, respected role in society. These days, however, they find themselves more and more marginalised and discriminated. The screenings of 27 films took place in safe and private settings in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. The programme further consisted of art exhibitions, performance art, workshops and storytelling with local transgender communities. Especially in the large city of Karachi, which has a very diverse population, the festival atmosphere was great and there was much media attention. Around 1,600 visitors attended the festival. Read more
The 2nd edition of the Palestine Red Carpet Human Rights Film Festival took place from 12 to 16 May 2016. The initial plan was to also organise the festival at the West Bank but this caused too much trouble. Despite all the difficulties faced by the organising Lama Film Group they managed to pull it off and create an inspiring event, which stimulated Palestinian cinema and sparked discussions about cinema and human rights. The festival, which mainly took place at the Rashad Alshawa Cultural Center, attracted a lot of (international) media attention. The total number of more than 12,000 visitors exceeded everyone's expectations. Read more
The documentary film Daughter of the Lake by director Ernesto Cabellos is a feature length film on the abuses of the extractive industries on communities in the Andes. It had its world premiere at the official completion of Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in 2015. The film portrays stories of indigenous women in Peru and Bolivia standing up for their rights in front of some the biggest gold corporations of the world. Between October and December 2015 Peruvian production company Guarango brought the film ‘back to the people’, by organising 11 large screenings of the film in different communities in the Andes and generating public debate about environmental and social issues as well as defending their rights against the powerful extractive industry. Furthermore, 30,000 video kits, containing a DVD and educational materials were distributed for free by the Peruvian newspaper La Republica in December 2015.
By presenting films that address core human rights messages, Active Vista stirs critical thinking among its audience. Besides screenings in February 2016, in Manila, Dumaguete, Davao, Iloilo and Cebu, the Active Vista Center organised a travelling film festival in schools and communities throughout the country. Topics included women’s rights, LGBT, freedom of expression, extrajudicial killings and martial law. One of the films that was most appreciated by the audience was Barbers’ Tales by Jun Lana. Through these screenings and forums Active Vista reached over 35,000 visitors. The festival’s most significant contribution lies in sparking the national conversation on human rights issues and concerns at a time when human rights in the Philippines are threatened by the state itself. Many school administrations asked Active Vista to continue organising these screenings in their respective schools in 2017 and beyond. Read more
The activist Philippine organisation Liga ng Kabataang Propagandista wants to advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples living in the Philippines. From January to July 2016 Kabataang Propagandista will run an ambitious project. Together with indigenous communities they will produce and show films about the current political and environmental struggles of indigenous peoples. Film production, film screenings and debates take place in indigenous villages, adjacent urban centres and in the capital city Manilla. The organisers expect 5,000 visitors. Read more
The Side by Side Festival is one of the very few LGBT festivals in Russia. In Russia LGBT people and activists are severely stigmatised and harassed. Going against the stream, Side by Side wants to provide an open space for discussing LGBT issues and to empower the Russian LGBT community. The festival faced many challenges but successfully organised two separate events (January and March 2016) online films screenings and a multi-day festival in April 2016 of film screenings, panel discussions, Q&A sessions and lectures. The activities took place in cinemas, art spaces, offices of human rights organisations and online. The organisation Side by Side also prepared a booklet about the social impact of cinema for LGBT acceptance. A total of 3380 visitors either visited the film screenings of viewed the online films. Read more
Incorruptible is a documentary film about the Senegalese youth movement Y’en a Marre (“We had enough”) that managed to mobilise citizen opposition against authoritarian president Wade in 2012. A new president, Macky Sall, was elected democratically. This inspired other social movements throughout Africa. MobiCINE organises a mobile outreach project around this film, using scooters equipped with technical kits and bucket seats. Between September 2015 and May 2016 screenings are scheduled in Dakar and its suburbs, in many Senegalese rural areas as well as in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast. The screenings are expected to attract an average of 300 viewers. The film will be subtitled in Wolof, the language spoken most widely in Senegal. In rural areas, where the majority population is illiterate, local translators are hired. Debates are scheduled after every screening, some of which are moderated by activists, journalists and filmmakers. Read more
The 4th edition of the African Bamba Human Rights Film and Arts Festival in Dakar decided to devote a two-day section to LGBT themed screenings, called Unity in Diversity. Senegal still criminalises homosexuality and prosecutes LGBT people. However, positive signs in society are present, as is shown by this initiative. The programme includes film and documentary screenings, campaigns, debates and music. The project mainly targets the local (LGBT) community in Thiaroye, in particular women and young people, but also authorities and the media. In total the festival expects around 5,000 visitors, with an audience of around 1,000 people for the LGBT section. Read more
An ambitious Sudanese organisation plans to run a mobile cinema project in different Sudanese provinces in a ten month period. Film screenings take place in private houses and will not be publicly announced. Especially women will be encouraged to visit the screenings and dialogues. The festival expects to reach between 1,000 and 2,000 people.
The Asociación Civil Sin Fines de Lucro Derechos Humanos y Cine in Venezuela has organised a series of human rights film screenings in schools in Aragua province from January until March 2016. Venezuelan school curricula offer little space for human rights education and cultural activities. This project filled that gap, highlighting and promoting film as a tool of entertainment. The organisers selected 16 films and hosted 31 screening and discussion. In addition, 90 students attended a shorts film-making workshop. At the end of the project 3370 students (8 to 18 years) watched child-friendly human rights films. Facebook: DerechosHumanosyCineVenezuela
In 2015 the selection committee of the Movies that Matter Support Programme consisted of Isabel Arrate (coordinator IDFA Bertha Fund), Leon Willems (director Free Press Unlimited), Jannie Langbroek (consultant at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), Dorien Marres (former coordinator Growth & Mobilisation Fund, Amnesty International Netherlands) and Taco Ruighaver (director Movies that Matter).