Platforms for dialogue are essential in a new democracy like in the Gambia. The 2nd edition of mobile film festival SofaCinema consisted of 42 screenings and lively debates across the country, reaching 7800 people. The festival mainly targets hard-to-reach communities and youth, sometimes by combining cultural events and sports activities. The programme contains films about migration, child marriage, climate change and gender equality. Discussions about female genital mutilation with women leaders led many of them to realise the laws and dangers related to this practice.
8th Pink Life QueerFest
Pink Life QueerFest screened films in Istanbul, Denizli and Mersin between January and June 2019. Despite the LGBT ban in Ankara, screenings were hosted during the Labor Film Festival in May out of solidarity. Besides screenings in cultural venues, in all cities talks, panel discussions and workshops were organised. A new element this year is the online LGBTI film platform where films can be seen by an audience that otherwise doesn’t have the opportunity to watch LGBTI films. In total 6201 people were reached.
Ethio-fest in the field
The Ethiopian International Film Festival travelled to remote places, where access to cinema is limited and information about human rights is relatively scarce. This mobile film festival took place in March 2019 in the districts Adama, Hawasa, Bahir Dar and Dire Dawa. Next to screenings of films, including the documentary Tickling Giants, the festival included several panel discussions. Most of the audiences were youth between 20 and 35 years old.
VI Censurados Film Festival
The 6th edition, organised by La Combi - Arte Rodante, screened several films on human rights and environmental rights. This edition was dedicated to the struggle of Latin American environmental defenders. With the slogan (In)visible Voices, Censurados Film Festival screened 55 films in ten different places in Peru, Colombia and Mexico in cultural centres, cinema halls and public squares and parks with open-air screenings. The educational programme had a great impact and the online video library and educational sheets are still available to the teachers. The festival took place between March and June 2019 and attracted 9.600 visitors.
The Festival Internacional de Cine Ambiental de Cali (FINCALI) focuses on environmental rights. Under the slogan "Rolling the Message!", more than 80 films from all parts of the world were screened this year. Between 23 and 27 April 2019, a total of 5100 visitors attended. The success of the festival partly depended on the energy and enthusiasm of these audience members; this was particularly true for the bicycle-powered film screenings. All films, including Anote’s Ark, Silas, Earthkeepers and Food Coop, focused on environmental issues and their relationship with society. Besides organising the festival in urban areas, FINCALI continues to present films in rural areas around Cali.
Borneo Eco Film Festival
This series of film events on the Malaysian part of Borneo raises awareness on ecological and cultural issues. The project involves a film festival in September plus 10 screenings in different venues throughout the year in Kota Kinabalu and rural areas in the state of Sabah. Events include film screenings, debates, workshops and art exhibitions. A total number of at least 4000 visitors is expected. Borneo Eco Film Festival connects rural with urban communities and environmentalists with local businesses.
Cinema Al Fouad
From 24-29 June 2019 the festival Cinema Al Fouad was held at the French Institute in Lebanon. The main focus of this festival, which attracted 1700 visitors, is to showcase films that give insight into the day-to-day realities of people who refuse to accept the rules and norms imposed by society. Stories of individuals and communities, who fight for their existence in societies that still suffer from cultural, social and legal obstacles to freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity. The festival presented eight Arab films, including shorts, four Latin American films and two European productions, followed by Q&A's and debates.
International Film Fest with Gender Perspective
This international film festival, also known as MIC Género, seeks to present films with a gender perspective and human rights in Mexico and to encourage discussion on these subjects in different Mexican cities. The festival's 8th edition took place in 2019, from early August until mid-October, in Mexico City and eleven Mexican provinces. More than 80% of the films screened were directed (or co-directed) by women. In addition to the film screenings, a masterclass, forums, and a discussion panel with female Mexican filmmakers were organised. The festival attracted more than 17,000 people.
For security reasons, Movies that Matter does not disclose its support to this socially engaged film festival.
Malawi Film Festival 2018
Using the arts to boost discussion around important social issues, is what Positivo Malawi stands for. Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world, where most people do not have access to watching films on large screen. This is why Positivo initiated the Malawi Film Festival 2018, a participatory event where film screenings go hand in hand with debate. The 2018 edition, in August and September, focused on child labour and inclusion of marginalized groups, such as people with albinism. Films include The Pearl of Africa and the Malawian production The Last Fishing Boat (see image). The festival travelled to four regions in the North, Centre and South of Malawi, reaching up to 9800 people, mostly rural Malawians, where films served as a real eye opener.
14th Free Zone Belgrade Film Festival
The 14th Free Zone Film Festival screened 25 feature-length fiction films and documentaries on issues of human rights in Europe and worldwide. Founded in 2005, the festival has been aiming to draw audience’s attention to burning social issues. The 2018 edition, from 7 to 12 November, took place in Belgrade, with some simultaneous screenings in cinemas in Nis and Novi Sad. A total of 25.000 visitors attended, which showed an increase in ticket sales with 21% compared to the previous year. The primary focus was on addressing day-to day discrimination between majority and minority groups in society. The festival included some discussions, e.g. a debate about nationalism and identity based on the documentary film Srbenka by Nebojsa Sliejepcevic.
Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia
MobiKino Mobile Cinema for Human Rights
The second edition of Mobile Cinema for Human Rights has been organised from mid-July to mid-August 2018 in Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia. In a mobile cinema van, MobiKino visited five different towns in the region to screen four human rights documentaries in an open air setting. The films, all produced in the region and addressing local circumstances, were accompanied by debates on several human rights issues. The festival attracted over 1.200 visitors. Many local youth were involved in MobiKino as volunteers to set up the film screenings. The festival had a significant impact; especially women and girls in patriarchal regions were very inspired.
Bajo Nuestra Piel
The 4th edition of Bajo Nuestra Piel took place from 1-10 December 2018 and touched upon Bolivia’s most pressing and topical human rights issues, like domestic violence, rights of indigenous people, access to health care and access to justice. For the first time they introduced a film competition. A total number of 120 Q&A’s and debates were organised, in collaboration with many human rights and UN partners. In total 26.101 visitors were reached with the festivals main programme in La Paz and additional (outdoor) screenings in Santa Cruz and Tarija in March and May 2019.
International Human Rights Film Festival Bogotá
Cinema Nos Une (Cinema Unites Us) was the theme of the fifth edition of the International Human Rights Film Festival Bogota that took place in August 2018. Peacebuilding was the core focus of this Colombian festival, which also screened various films on LGBT individuals and indigenous communities. In the past five years the festival has grown significantly in terms of the number of films, venues and visitors. This fifth edition was attended by about 20.000 audience members in cities like Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena and Barranquilla, as well as in more remote areas.
Karama Yemen Human Rights Film Festival
After several postponements, the organisers of Karama Yemen eventually managed to organise Yemen’s first-ever human rights film festival in the cities of Taiz, Aden and Sana’a. Despite many challenges, organisers managed to screen 38 films and organise multiple debates around themes such as gender relations and democracy. The festival was set up by the organisation Yemen Will Triumph, which managed to attract around 660 visitors. In addition, screenings around the theme “Bring It to Light!” were organised in South-Korea, Germany, Turkey and the USA.
Sama-Bhav Traveling Film Festival
The second edition of the traveling festival Sama-Bhav Festival, focused on gender and sexuality, targeted audiences in colleges and universities. Through this festival, the organisation Men Against Violence and Abuse, aims to bring together people from all genders. The festival visited nine cities that represent key geographical areas in India, and four district locations in the Maharashtra State from August 2018 to February 2019. At each location the two-day festival presented 17 films, with the explicit aim to engage the audience in healthy discussions on gender, sexuality and human rights. Around 220 screenings and 90 discussions took place.
Malaysia’s international human rights documentary film festival, Freedom FilmFest, is organised by the Freedom Film Network, a network of social filmmakers and human rights activists. The 2018 edition started with a nine-day festival in Petaling Jaya, in September / October 2018. More than 50 local and international human rights documentaries were screened, in addition to many masterclasses, talks and workshops about filmmaking and human rights. From October to December 2018, the festival visited key cities nationwide. Its theme, 'Mend the Gap', focused on the urgent need to reduce inequality and increase dialogue and mutual understanding between different groups and communities. The festival attracted a total number of 8000 people.
In the second half of 2018, Fundación Nativo will organise FICMA Venezuela, in order to inform and sensitize the indigenous communities about environmental and human rights issues. The film selection was made in cooperation with FICMA Barcelona, including some of the awarded films. These environmental and human rights films will be screened at universities in Caracas and will travel to twelve indigenous communities in the Bolivár state. Organisers expect to attract a total of 4.000 visitors.
In 2018 the selection committee of the Movies that Matter Grant Programme consisted of Jannie Langbroek (documentary film consultant), Sophie Leferink (senior advisor Freedom of Expression at Hivos), Raúl Nino Zambrano (senior programmer IDFA), Leon Willems (director Free Press Unlimited) and Dirk van der Straaten (artistic director Movies that Matter).