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Movies that Matter Festival 2021 - No Matter What

A film can transport us to different countries, cultures and realities. It can invite us to look at the world in a different way, and make us understand the fears, hopes and dreams of people whose lives differ vastly from ours. The Movies that Matter Festival invites you to discover brand new movies and stories from dreamers and activists from every corner of the world.


Movies that Matter Festival – 16-25 April

The Movies that Matter Festival opens on Friday 16 April with the Dutch premiere of the Oscar nominated film The Man Who Sold His Skin, both a gripping love story and a smart and stunning depiction of the refugee crisis. Lead actor Yahya Mahayni and director Kaouther Ben Hania will be present at the online premiere. The festival features 30 more Dutch and world premieres. We welcome filmmakers, actors and human rights defenders from around the world for online debates and Q&As. Furthermore, we offer workshops and masterclasses, available for free.


In this newsletter, we present an overview of our competitions and special programmes. Please visit our website, and discover all the films and programmes our festival has to offer.

  Discover films and programmes  

More than ever, women take the main stage in our Activist programme. In eight documentaries, eight women play the leading role in their fight for human rights, often at the expense of their own security and freedom. We are therefore proud that, in collaboration with Amnesty International, we can welcome them online for in-depth programmess during the screenings of the documentaries.


The programme features four Dutch premieres, such as The Dissident, about the career and murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And The People vs. Agent Orange, portraying Tran To Nga’s immense persistence taking on those responsible for the defoliating chemical, fifty years after being exposed to it.


Activist Night – Tuesday 20 April

Together with Amnesty director Dagmar Oudshoorn, we present an evening dedicated to global activism. Jury chairman Cees Breederveld (vice-chairman of Amnesty International) will present the Activist Documentary Award to the director of the winning film. The award ceremony will be followed by a screening of the documentary Fly So Far, an inspiring portrait of Teodora del Carmen Vásquez from El Salvador.

  Activist programme  
Camera Justitia

The films in the Camera Justitia programme are about the fight for justice. The feature films and documentaries in this programme show the underdogs’ struggle against rulers and the seemingly impossible tasks they are faced with.


The story of the underdog is also that of Nelson Chamisa, as seen in the Sundance hit President, shown as a preview at our festival. This documentary follows the opposition candidate’s campaign in the bizarre 2018 Zimbabwean presidential election. Camera Justitia also features, among others, the Oscar nominated Quo Vadis, Aida?, an impressive and poignant film about the run-up to the tragedy in Srebrenica, and Dying to Divorce, a documentary about courageous Turkish activists fighting violence against women. Director Chloe Fairweather and Turkish Lawyer İpek Bozkurt will be present at the live screening of Dying to Divorce on Tuesday 20 April.


Camera Justitia Night – Thursday 22 April 20:00 hrs.

Jury president Kathryne Bomberger (Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons) will present the Camera Justitia Award to the director of the winning film. We will screen President, followed by a live Q&A, and the evening, dedicated to the protection of the rule of law, will be moderated by Bart Stapert, Judge and former president of Movies that Matter.


Camera Justitia Masterclass

In this Masterclass we honour the carreer of Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, the former President of the International Criminal Court who ended his term in March 2021. Judge Eboe-Osuji will speak about his work, his perspectives on international law, and his future plans. RSVP your ticket free of charge.

  Camera Justitia programme  
Dutch Movies Matter

Dutch Movies Matter features Dutch films that open eyes to human rights. The films tell stories that take place here, or extend far beyond our national borders.


Shadow Game gives us a unique glimpse of the hardships faced by young refugees in search of protection in Western Europe. The documentary will have its world premiere at our festival, in the presence of the directors on Saturday 17 April. Wednesday 21 April will see the world premiere of Desert Paradise, a smooth and observant documentary, portraying everyday life in a prosperous and happy diamond town in southern Namibia, forced to rethink its future now that the mines have been cleared.


Dutch Movies Matter Night – Friday 23 April 20:00 hrs.

Jury president Rada Šešić, filmmaker and teacher, presents the Dutch Movies Matter Award to the director of the winning film at the Dutch Movies Matter Night. This evening will also see another world premiere: I Don’t Wanna Dance, a poetic coming-of-age drama about a damaged mother son relationship. Director Flynn von Kleist and lead actors Yfendo van Praag and Romana Vrede will be present at the screening.


Dutch Movies Matter is made possible by VEVAM, the Dutch copyright organisation.

  Dutch Movies Matter programme  
Grand Jury Award

This year, we are launching two new competitions: Grand Jury Documentary, sponsored by BNNVARA, and the Grand Jury Fiction. Eight documentaries and eight fiction films have been selected from the festival programme. All films are compelling both in terms of cinematography and human rights substance. Two international juries will announce the winners.

  Read more  
Workshops & Masterclasses

This year we are organising a wide variety of workshops, panels, webinars and masterclasses, available for free to everyone around the world. Themes include making “green” films, views on international law, challenging the Western perspective on Africa, making films in Moria refugee camp and international solidarity with colleagues in Myanmar and Belarus.


We are proud to work with many organisations and to welcome many distinguished guests, including the Oscar nominated team of The Mole Agent, Julie Goldman and Maite Alberdi, and Debra Zimmermann. RSVP your tickets free of charge.

  Info & Tickets  
Sakharov Special

Every year, the European Parliament awards the Sakharov Prize to individuals and organisations that fight for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In 2020, the prize was awarded to the democratic opposition in Belarus. As a result, we screen the documentary Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus. This will be followed by a panel discussion with, among others, Belarusian politician and journalist Franak Viacorka, Veronica Tsepkalo, a political activist and one of the Sakharov Prize winners, and artist and activist Tasha Arlova.


You can watch the film and the talk on demand from Sunday 18 April 17:00 to Thursday 22 April 01:00 hrs. RSVP your ticket free of charge.

  Info & tickets  
Movies that Matter
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