In November 2013, Movies that Matter organised a workshop programme for five ambitious film festival organisers. The programme focused on mobile cinema. The participants - from Burma, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Colombia and Guatemala - shared experiences and ideas to professionalise and further develop their travelling film festivals. Also, they benefited from the expertise of several invited speakers.The programme took place during the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) to enable participants to connect with relevant people from the film industry, including members of the Human Rights Film Network. During the workshop programme, the participants developed a short video with a few globally accepted 'basic rules' on how to set up a travelling human rights film festival.
In the course of the four days, a variety of topics was discussed, such as developing strategic partnerships, the complex issue of film selection, professionalising the management of a festival, security issues and getting permission from the authorities, publicity and fundraising Also, on the basis of a case study, participants made inventories of practical and logistical matters in the planning of a mobile cinema project. Experts involved in these sessions included Elena Fortes, director of the travelling film festival Ambulante in Mexico, and Kumjana Novakova, representing the Pravo Ljudski festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In addition, various experts from all over the world gave presentations about their projects, illustrating how cinema can lead to social change. Filmmaker Ilse van Velzen gave a presentation about the impact of her mobile cinema project in the DR Congo, and she shared valuable practical suggestions about setting up mobile film screenings. Artchil Khetagouri and Ileana Staculescu presented their experiences with mobile cinema in the Southern Caucasus, where they screen films to create more understanding between people in the different countries. On behalf of the organisation Solar Cinema, Maureen Prins showed how solar power provides excellent opportunities for mobile cinema projects. Ehsan Fardjadniya of the Pirate Cinema platform gave a demonstration of how films can be screened using electricity produced by pedalling on a bike. Maria Carríon, of the Western Sahara Film Festival, explained how she and her team are able to put together a film festival in a refugee camp in the middle of the desert.
Both participants and experts greatly enjoyed the workshops and found them inspiring and educational. Participants were impressed by the courage and strength of other professionals who manage organise these projects despite of all the risks and troubles. As a final product, participants developed a short video with a few globally accepted 'basic rules' on how to set up a travelling human rights film festival, named 'Mobile Cinema for Human Rights' (above).
Besides taking part in these plenary workshops , participants were encouraged to have individual meetings with staff of Movies that Matter and other relevant organisations and individuals, including members of the Human Rights Film Network (HRFN). The network brunch of the HRFN was a valuable moment to get into touch with festival organisers, filmmakers and distributors. Participants made good use of being at IDFA, which enabled them to watch the latest documentaries and attend side programmes.