Cinema without borders

Cinema without Borders

Are you into screening films on human rights in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe or the Middle East?

  • Learn how to organise a human rights film festival.
  • Gain inspiration to make a strong film selection and setting up a good side programme. 
  • Discover new ideas for attracting an audience - and funding partners.
  • And meet like-minded film professionals to share ideas and information. 

“Cinema without Borders is an exemplary initiative that has helped many fledging film festivals kick start and develop. (...) I benefited immensely in understanding how to organize a film festival not only successfully, but also effectively.” 
(Sridhar Rangayan, Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, India) 


Movies that Matter organises annual multi-day workshop programmes on how to develop and optimise a human rights film festival. This programme is called Cinema without Borders. It brings together starting and more experienced participants.

Participants usually have a background in activism, cultural events or the film industry. During the workshop programme participants get practical knowledge on event organisation, gain inspiration for films and programmes, new insights and ideas for income and audience, and strengthen their network. Through this programme, participants are inspired and assisted to further develop their own festival.

In March 2017, Cinema without Borders will be held in The Hague, during the Movies that Matter Festival.


Participants also get to meet other interesting international festival guests. To actively encourage participants to expand their international network and pursue international alliances, the programme includes one or two special network meetings. These can take the form of a ‘speed dating’ session or an informal drink with relevant people. In addition, participants get the chance to discuss their own festival’s problems and opportunities with professionals in one-on-one sessions.


Dates:       24 -29 March 2017
Location:  The Hague, The Netherlands

Costs:       Scholarships are available for 10 participants and include travel, meals, accommodation and participation fee. Not included are other costs like visa, insurances and per diems. Without scholarship the participation fee is € 500.

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The workshops are led by international festival directors, experts on film education and members of the Human Rights Film Network addressing various aspects of organising a human rights film festival, such as:

  • Content: Film selection / Programming / Debates
  • Building: New audiences / Publicity
  • Management: Festival organization / Fundraising / Service & Network
  • Education
  • Mobile Cinema
  • Strategic partnerships / Connections & Coalitions
  • Impact strategies & Evaluation 

Guest lectures are combined with individual or group assignments in which the participants share their experience and knowledge and apply the topics to their own festival plans. As such participants help each other overcome challenges in organisational matters and to maximise the impact of their festivals. Attending the Movies that Matter Festival gives participants the opportunity to watch human rights films and attend side programmes to get inspiration for their own events.


“Cinema without Borders is an exemplary initiative that has helped many fledging film festivals kick start and develop. Our festival started off with a grant from Movies that Matter which supported it for two years. I benefited immensely in understanding how to organize a film festival not only successfully, but also effectively. The festival is now India’s biggest queer film festival and is a path breaking effort in mainstreaming gay, lesbian and transgender visibility in India. Without Cinema without Borders’s support the festival would not have been able to be flagged off.” (Sridhar Rangayan, Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, India)

“Learning from people who organise film festivals is amazing. We made a lot of connections and learned many small details of the organisation. Your festival was a nice way to see how it all should fit together." (Mohamed Ben Halim, Tripoli Human Rights Film Festival, Libya)

"The Mobile Cinema Workshop opened a whole world of possibilities and fuelled so much inspiration in our work with Active Vista. I really empathized with the experiences of other festivals and how they are able to face their challenges. We have integrated vital learning from my experience in the workshop into our new strategy. Thus, we are truly grateful for this valuable contribution." (Leni Valesco, Active Vista, Philippines)

2006-2016: Previous editions

Between 2006 and 2016, eight editions of Cinema without Borders were held. Most workshop programme took place during the Movies that Matter Festival. Other editions were held in Burkina Faso, Jordan and during the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). These earlier editions were attended by over 90 participants from more than 50 different countries, from Burma, Bahrain and Bangladesh to the Pakistan, the Philippines and Peru. Read more about the previous editions here.