Activist Outreach Programme

Movies that Matter supports the protagonists from the Activist documentaries during their stay at the festival with a networking and impact programme. We also offer them a stage at screenings and in the media. Even after returning from the festival, we continue to support the activists. With our Activist outreach and impact funding, we facilitate screenings in their home countries and create more awareness for the film and the activists’ work.

Projects 2023


A Story of Bones

by director Joseph Curran and Dominic Aubrey de Vere, with activist Annina van Neel

Working for the constructor of an airport on Saint Helena, Namibian Annina Van Neel hears about the discovery of mass graves of formerly enslaved people on the island. When she starts fighting for an honourable resting place, she has to take on resistance, indifference and the persistent legacy of colonialism. Screenings of the films will be organized in as many African regions as possible and with communities of descendants of enslaved Africans globally, especially those engaged in the campaign for cultural heritage restitution. The screenings will be followed by Q&A segments, roundtable discussions or other special events to facilitate substantive conversations. The goal of the campaign is to energize and inspire African descendant communities and the diaspora to express individual and collective agency as the legitimate authorities to their heritage.

Category Woman

by director Phyllis Ellis, met activist Payoshni Mitra

Who decides when a human body is ‘normal’? The athletics federation bans women with higher natural testosterone levels from competing unless they medically alter their bodies. Examples of athletes from Asia and Africa show that this can have devastating consequences. Phyllis Ellis (Toxic Beauty) exposes an industry controlled by men putting women’s lives at risk. The plan is to organize two high profile screenings in Geneva at Sporting Chance Forum, presented by The Centre for Human Rights and Sport and the Office of the United Nation High Commissioner of Human Rights. The screenings will be followed up with talkbacks featuring the work and activism of Payoshni Mitra and Annet Negesa. These screenings will be attended by international stakeholders at the highest level of many areas of world sport as well as the influencers, decision makers, and defenders of human rights violations in sport. The goal is to use this opportunity, with so many international sport influencers in one room, to impact and influence action against discriminatory regulations in sport and to create pressure on International sport to remove the regulations from all women’s sports.

Mama Bears

by director Daresha Kyi, with activist Sara Cunningham

What happens when your child is gay or transgender, while you believe with your whole heart that that’s a sin? Evangelical Christians Kimberly and Sara make a brave transition into loving ‘Mama Bears’. Meanwhile, young Tammi struggles with self-acceptance and with her own mother. Heart-warming documentary about love’s victory over hatred. Through a curated series of church screenings, the plan is to bring film to the most conservative parts of the country with pending legislation. Mama bears, their children, other LGBTQ people, and affirming pastors and theologians will be invited to engage with audiences in “compassionate conversations” to jumpstart and keep these vital conversations going. Additionally, screening guides will be created that allow audiences to hold their own discussions around the film. The goal is to galvanize parents of LGBTQ+ people not only to love and accept their children unconditionally but to show their love through their votes against harmful legislators and legislation.

The Flag

by director Joseph Paris, with activist Yasser Louati

Following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France declared the state of emergency. This set in motion an exit from the rule of law, with Muslims as the first, but not the only victims. Urgent, philosophical and visually interesting plea in defence of civil liberties and equality. The plan is to screen the film in working-class neighborhoods, cinemas, social centers and media libraries and specifically to the population targeted by state-sponsored violence. The screenings will be attended by activist Yasser Louati, director Joseph Paris, the researchers who contributed to the film, and activists from partner associations. The aim is to inform, explain and raise awareness on state racism and police violence as well as to provide intellectual tools for political resistance.

Previous Projects

  • 2022

    Eternal Spring (長春)

    by director Jason Loftus, with activist Daxiong

    The thrilling and emotional story of a group of Falun Gong practitioners who managed to shortly take over Chinese state TV. A story of immense bravery and life under totalitarian rule. Screening of the film will be organised in areas with large Chinese diaspora populations (including displaced Falun Gong communities) and with human rights organizations. In different regions of the world they will work together with community groups, Chines activists, non-profit organizations, and well-networked individuals. Most screenings will be followed by Q&A’s involving these groups, local Falun Gong practitioners, government representatives and also Daxiong himself. The goals of the larger impact and outreach campaign include humanizing the Falun Gong practitioners impacted by the persecution and spark a conversation on the importance of freedom of expression and religion in society.

    On These Grounds

    by director Garrett Zevgetis, with activist Vivian Anderson

    After a classroom video of police violence against a black girl goes viral, a heated national debate erupts. Whose fault is it? Was it racist? And why are police officers patrolling US schools anyway? Activist Vivian Anderson uproots her life to help the girl, and also confronts the officer. With the outreach screenings they plan to screen the film in schools and on Capitol Hill. The goal is to train educators and policymakers to advocate for reducing police presence in schools. Conversations following the film will be organized around community solutions and include film protagonists, filmmakers, experts and community members. In total 50 screenings will be organised aiming to reach 10.000 people. 

    Bigger Than Us

    by director Flore Vasseur, with activist Memory Banda

    Dutch-Indonesian environmental activist Melati (20) goes on a road trip, meeting young people who work for a better future. From Malawi to Brazil to Lebanon, young activists rise up for free speech, the environment, food security , climate change, racism refugees and girls’ rights, and the right to education. With the outreach screenings they plan to back to each country from the film to share the film with the protagonists and their community. In each country working together with the activist in the film the film will be screened in universities, schools, and with local NGOs and authorities and the community of each protagonist. The protagonists will be involved with the post screening Q&A’s also inviting local activists on the ground. The main target group is youth.

    The Territory

    by director Alex Pritz, with activist Neidinha

    The small and shrinking indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people in the Amazon are threatened by land grabbers. They choose 18-year-old Bitaté as their leader, and together with activist Neidinha he is determined not to roll over. But when Jair Bolsonaro becomes president, the forces attacking them get free reign. The outreach project involves a traveling film series, screening the documentary in indigenous villages and cities in 4 different regions of the Amazon in Brazil. Local indigenous activists, filmmakers, producers and teachers will be invited to join for Q&A’s and panel discussions. Amplifying indigenous voices and protecting indigenous land are two of the main goals of the screenings which are part of a larger international impact campaign.

  • 2021

    A La Calle

    by director Maxx Caicedo and Nelson G. Navarrette
    with activist Lilian Tintori

    Insightful documentary chronicling the massive Venezuelan protests of 2017 and the contested presidential elections two years later. With a wide range of voices, from medical workers and a barber to opposition leaders and supporters of president Maduro. Telling a story playing out throughout the world today: that of authoritarianism versus democracy. The goals of the outreach project is to raise awareness, inspire people to take action and to do advocacy for the humanitarian and political situation in Venezuela. By organising virtual screenings, high level panels and a strong social media campaign international attention will be created between August and December 2021.

    Fly So Far

    by director Celina Escher
    with activist Teodora del Carmen Vásquez

    Inspiring portrait of Teodora del Carmen Vásquez from El Salvador. After her baby was born dead, she was convicted to thirty years imprisonment for aggravated homicide. In prison she finds out that she is not the only one. Together, the women decide to take a stand. The women called themselves ‘The 17’, and Vásquez became their spokesperson. With the impact campaign the film team together with Teodora will organise screenings in the capital San Salvador followed by screenings in several communities in El Salvador. The screenings will be followed by conversations with ‘the 17’, local communities and organisations. A booklet with information about reproductive rights & health will be made and handed out to the audience.


    by director Jeff Kaufman
    with activist Nasrin Sotoudeh

    Secretly filmed personal portrait of Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. The fact that she is currently in prison for standing up for human and women’s rights, makes this documentary all the more urgent. The outreach projects focuses on creating even more awareness for Nasrin’s case and freedom and to spark awareness, concern, and action on behalf of human rights and at-risk activists around the globe. The activities will take place between August 2020 and March 2021 and include screenings of the film in multiple countries, online panels, a social media campaign and the first in-persons screening of the film in the USA.

  • 2020


    by director Claudia Sparrow
    with activist Máxima Acuña

    Peruvian shepherdess Máxima Acuña takes on a gold-mining giant wanting to remove her from her land. The odds are against her: the company has police backing, and very deep pockets indeed. The outreach project consists of (online) screenings in the US and Peru followed by Q&As with Máxima, her lawyer and director Claudia Sparrow. It will give audiences the possibility to learn more about the (environmental) impact of gold mining and helps to make well informed decisions. The screenings will take place in the fall of 2020 and are linked to an interactive website with all kinds of possibilities to (financially) support Máxima and her family.


    by director Molly Stuart
    with activist Atalya Ben-Abba

    Atalya is a 19-year-old faced with the biggest dilemma of her life: should she follow the order to enlist in the Israeli army? With the help of the outreach project, screenings of the film in Israel and the Palestinian Territories will be organised from October 2020 – October 2021. They will be followed by Q&As with Atalya, her brother and director, to promote dialogue, and show young people there is an alternative path outside military service. They will also develop the Objector Dicussion Guide including facts and figures about the theme of the film and an Action Guide highlighting various campaigns and organisations.


    by director Sam Soko
    with activist Boniface Mwangi

    Sick and tired of the corruption and tribal hatred in Kenyan politics, news photographer Boniface Mwangi decides to run for a seat in parliament. The outreach project consists of (online) screenings of the film in Kenya followed by Q&A’s with Boniface linked to an interactive Citizen’s Handbook on a website as an impact tool for stakeholders, changemakers and the audience. The project also involves the Kenian national premiere and TV broadcast and aims to inspire the ‘movable middle’ in Kenya to become more active citizens. This will all take place between September 2020 and April 2021.

    Mrs F.

    by director Chris van der Vorm
    with activist Ifeoma Fafunwa

    Nigerian theatre director Ifeoma Fafunwa descends on the floating slum of Makoko to stage her play about female oppression. Starring brave local women who slowly but surely work up the courage to speak the truth in front of their whole community. With the outreach project the film will be screened on the main community square in Makoko and followed by discussions with chiefs and kings of the community, the protagonists, religious leaders, the local “performers” and of course the audience. The goal of the screenings is to create more awareness about an equal society for all and discuss the current of male dominance and inequality. Additional screenings at cultural institutions and universities are planned, taking place in the first half of 2021.

  • 2019


    by director Cynthia Wade
    with activist Dian Maharani

    Fifteen Indonesian villages are buried under a thick layer of grit, creating an ominous moon landscape. The villages were devastated by a huge mudslide as a result of gas drilling operations. After narrowly escaping the churning mudflow as a child, Dian Maharani now claims justice. Together with her mother, she stands up against exploration company Lapindo, that declines all responsibility. The film is used to bring together various communities, each of which are struggling to defend their right to a healthy environment. The screenings will be held in at least six communities that have support groups/NGO’s. Film screenings are followed by a Q&A with a local activist and local academic or NGO representative.

    Unpaved Road to Peace

    by director Jaap van ‘t Kruis
    with activist Farid Julicué

    As teenagers, they decided to fight for FARC. Now that a peace agreement has been signed in Colombia, the children of Caldono return to their bombed village. The question is how the villagers will welcome them: with forgiveness or retaliation? The documentary will be screened in six rural villages in the Cauca department of Colombia that are among the most attacked villages during the war between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels. After the film a Q&A is organised with the protagonist of the film Farid, a victim and an ex FARC rebel to find common ground and ways for reconcillations.