Every year, we select projects in two rounds (in April and September) that deserve financial support, often in countries where freedom of expression and open discussion about social problems are not self-evident.
FiSahara is an annual human rights film festival held in the camps in Algeria for Sahrawi refugees from Western Sahara. The festival is scheduled for April 2020 and will reach 5000 visitors, including youth, women and children. Every year the festival has a human rights theme and film screening are followed by discussions aiming to transform the passive audience into active participants. The impact grant is aimed at strengthening organisational skills and local capacities to carry out the festival activities. The overall objective of FiSahara is to use film as a tool for social transformation for the refugees from the Western Sahara.
Catapulta Festival is a new festival in Tucumán, in the north of Argentina. It is organised by Andhes, a non-profit working on social change based on human rights and democracy. The first edition was an intensive four day programme in November 2019 mainly focused on gender equality and rights of the LGBTI population. Eleven long and short films, mainly Argentinean productions, were screened at the Museum of the National University of Tucuman, the municipal theatre and cultural centres. Screenings were followed by Q&A’s and panel discussions, in cooperation with many public institutions and local groups. The festival attracted more than 1700 visitors and a lot of media attention.
In September 2019 the first edition of the Taturana Film Festival took place in six different venues of São Paulo. Screenings of fiction and documentary films took place in many different neighbourhoods. These screenings were followed by debates. After the festival in São Paulo, the festival travelled all over the country, with 38 screenings in 12 different states. Taturana created a very useful toolkit to help educators, mediators and others to discuss the themes approached by the films. The festival helped to inform and engaged students, teachers, experts, activists and social organisations around topics related to human rights and democracy.
How to integrate peace as an everyday attitude into the lives of Colombian people? Between July and December 2020, the organisation Cine Vagabundo will screen 22 films about peace in 12 towns across Colombia. In each town, screenings take place in jails, universities, churches, public squares and parks. Moreover, innovative approaches are being developed to discuss peace among bus passengers. An estimated number of 100.000 Colombians will be reached. Most important goal of the project is to accept differences and create reconciliation in Colombia.
Platforms for dialogue are essential in a new democracy like in the Gambia. Following the film screenings named Sofa Cinema, in 2020 the same team is now organising similar community screenings throughout the Gambia. With their screenings about migration, climate change, gender inequality and female genital mutilation, the project expects to reach more than 6000 people.
Between November 2019 and April 2020 the Indian non-profit Men Against Violence and Abuse organises this 2-day travelling festival at universities and colleges throughout India, in 12 cities and 4 district towns. The main aim of the project is to engage at least 4.500 Indian youth on a wide range of gender and related human rights issues and advocate for a gender-equal, healthy society. Screenings of the 17 films are preceded and followed by conversations with film-makers, protagonists, activists and experts.
In Kazakhstan a new film festival will start. The first edition of Qara Film Festival was scheduled to take place for four days in April. However, with cinemas being closed due to Covid-19, the festival will now take place in an online format, from 6 to 9 August 2020. Eight beautiful films about human rights, gender equality, environmental rights and freedom of expression will be screened for free at an online platform. The organisers aim to reach both Kazakh- and Russian-speaking audiences. Another goal is to stimulate the creative, human rights documentary culture. At least 1.200 visitors are expected in this first – online – festival edition.
In September 2019 the third edition of the Malawi Film Festival took place in Nsanje, in southern Malawi. Two films were screened in 8 communities, reaching a total of 11.500 visitors. The NGO Positivo Malawi uses arts to boost discussion around important social issues. Screenings and debates, about women’s rights and environmental challenges, took place indoors in schools and churches. In the end, many visitors committed themselves to end the use of plastic bags, to carry out clean-ups in and around the market and to advocate against the polluting sugar industry.
Chesnok, the first human rights documentary film festival in Transnistria, will have its 5th edition in 2020. The festival travels to several cities in Transnistria and in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. The main goal of the festival is engaging a large audience of Transnistrian region with relevant films about human rights, as well as creating local discussion platforms for raising contemporary global problems. The latest element in the 5th edition of Chesnok is the screening of 2 or 3 festival films at the Moldovan national television channel TV8, in order to make documentaries about human rights available for a larger audience.
The first edition of the new One Step Film Forum in Myanmar took place mid-October 2019 at the Goethe Institute in Yangon. Following this, screenings were organised in other cities in Myanmar. The programme included films about human rights, justice, peace and harmony made by independent film-makers from Myanmar and other South East Asian countries. Almost 1500 people were reached in this first edition. The audience consisted of human rights activists, film enthusiasts, grass-roots communities and university students.
The Aks International Minorities Festival aims to offer (online) film, art and dialogue events for minorities and marginalized communities in Pakistan. The 5th edition has been rescheduled due to covid-19. Because of the lockdown in Pakistan, the festival was cancelled, just two days before the official launch in March 2020. The festival will now take place in two different formats. First of all, there will be a digital festival where people can view the films online. To include audiences that do not have a stable electricity and internet connection, also small private screenings are scheduled. Between September and November 2020 the private screenings, for max 25 viewers, will be held in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
The Chalta Phirta Documentary Festival is expanding from 3 to 10 cities in Pakistan screening 11 documentaries. It is organised by the Documentary Association Pakistan (DAP), promoting the art of documentary films in Pakistan and the Interactive Resource Centre, a media organization striving for empowerment of marginalized members of Pakistani society. Film screenings take place between August 2019 and August 2020 reaching 2800 visitors including students, aspiring filmmakers and cultural workers. Film screenings are organised in academic institutions and community and cultural spaces followed by discussions with local experts and human rights defenders.
In Peru there are more than 2 million people with visual disabilities and more than 800 thousand with hearing disabilities, adding up to almost 10% of the total population. The main goal of the second edition of AcceCine is to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in cultural activities in Peru. From 26-31 January 2021, postponed and changed due to covid-19, AcceCine Festival will be taking place online. In total, 40 films will be screened, followed by online discussions. Organising an online festival is a great challenge, but also an opportunity to overcome geographical limitations and to reach other audiences.
To make visible and take action against human trafficking, the Peruvian film festivals Al Este Film Festival and Censurados Film Festival join forces to organise Las Tratan: a series of film screenings with films mainly from Latin America and Eastern and Central Europe. From April to June 2020, a total of 30 films will be screened during both festivals in Lima and in the regions which are part of the three main trafficking routes in Peru. All will be followed by debates with experts, activists and artistic representatives. Trying to attract 9.000 visitors, screening locations include not only cultural centres but also open air parks and squares.
Nation in Visions Film Festival is a multi-island festival on 12 locations in the Philippines. Its first edition, from 4 to 15 December 2019, consisted of about 40 screenings and debates about the issues at stake in the country. The festival reached more than 1500 visitors. The project also involved a three-day conference aiming to create a national alliance for small-scale alternative cinema distribution in the Philippines. The project was organised by Cinema Is Incomplete, an organisation of cultural workers and artists to bring socially relevant films to marginalized communities.
By screening films about LGBTI topics, Side by Side aims to promote tolerance and non-discrimination towards LGBTI persons, and empowerment of members of the LGBTI community. In the spring of 2020 the next Moscow edition of Side by Side Festival was supposed to take place. However, this four-day festival with more than 20 LGBTI films, was postponed due to Covid-19. The next festival edition in St Petersburg is scheduled for 14-21 November 2020. Screenings are followed by debates, discussions and Q&As with activists, directors and actors. Besides these festival, Side by Side also organises regional outreach and online film screenings throughout the year.
Sunshine Cinema is a South African solar powered cinema network. They use relevant documentary and feature films to spark dialogue, educate, and inspire social change on issues of land, gender equality and active citizenship. The Sunbox Ambassadorship Programme empowers young entrepreneurs from resource scarce communities, by giving them mobile mini cinema kits (Sunbox) to hold screenings in their own and surrounding communities. In the first six months of 2020, with screenings in South Africa and Zambia, the Sunbox ‘ambassadors’ aim to reach about 2200 people in their communities.
In January 2020, the 9th edition of Pink Life QueerFest takes place in Ankara and Istanbul. In March and April the festival will also travel to Denizli and Diyarbakır. The festival screens 57 LGBTI films in total and includes short films, documentaries and fiction films. Screenings are followed by panels and discussions aiming to attract the attention of the broader society and authorities to the issue of LGBTI rights. Besides the screenings, also events on for instance sex workers rights are organised and an online LGBTI films platform makes sure the films also reach people in other parts of Turkey that cannot attend the festival.
Sürdürülebilir Yasam Film Günleri (Sustainable Living Film Days) will organise the first edition of a touring programme through 10 Turkish cities. They will screen 12 films that were part of earlier editions of the affiliated Sustainable Living Film Festival. The festivals in each city consists of two days of screenings in universities and cultural centres followed by talks and panels aiming for 3.000 visitors. In each town local (human rights) NGO’s are involved to create awareness about human rights and common ground for collaboration.
In December 2019 the 10th edition of Which Human Rights? Film Festival takes place in Istanbul, Turkey. During the five day event around 35 films will be screened in three cultural venues in (European and Asian) parts of Istanbul. The main theme this year is forced disappearances, while other topics include women’s rights, refugees rights, LGBTI+ rights. The festival aims to reach 4.000 visitors and also includes several side events such as round table discussions, forums and talks on humanitarian issues featuring prominent human rights activists in Turkey.
A recent study by the UN showed that almost half of Ukrainian citizens claim that the rights of LGBTI individuals should be restricted. Meanwhile the LGBTI community faces many threats and attacks by far-right groups. By presenting 25 films related to sexuality, queerness and gender, the Kyiv International Short Film Festival (KISFF) tries to counter this situation and create a space for discussion about these topics. This programme is called Sexuality Matters. The 9th edition of the KISFF takes place mostly in an online form, from 5-9 August 2020.
The first edition of this human rights film event took place in November and December 2019. Screenings and debates in Caracas, Baruta and Chacao were put together by Gran Cine, a non-profit distributor of high-quality cinema in Venezuela. Besides screenings in a commercial cinema in Caracas, films were screened in various cultural centres in Caracas and other cities. The films deal with situations of human rights in non-democratic countries and will be followed by debates. A total of 3500 visitors attended the first Muestra de Cine de Derechos Humanos.
In 2019 the selection committee of the Movies that Matter Grant Programme consisted of