This year, we were once again fully present in the city of Peace and Justice. In our festival centre at Filmhuis Den Haag, Theater aan het Spui and Pathé Buitenhof, of course, but also at guest locations such as De Nieuwe Regentes, Theater en Filmhuis Dakota, Nieuwspoort and Sound & Vision. Audiences across the rest of the country could also enjoy Movies that Matter, as this year there were no less than eight satellite locations: Alkmaar, Amersfoort, Arnhem, Den Bosch, Leeuwarden, Maastricht, Vlissingen and Utrecht. We also offered a selection of films online via Picl.
The festival opened with an impressive dance performance by Iranian-Kurdish Sarina Panahideh, followed by a wonderful speech by State Secretary for Culture & Media, Gunay Uslu. The opening film Kleinkinderen van de Oost (Waves of War) by Daan van Citters with Joenoes Polnaya sold out every screening.
From 24 March to 1 April, we presented more than 80 films and numerous in-depth programmes with activists, experts and filmmakers from around the world. We welcomed emerging organisers of international human rights film festivals for our five-day workshop programme Cinema Without Borders. A large delegation from the Human Rights Film Network was also present during the festival. More than 7,500 schoolchildren and mbo students participated in the extensive education programme in The Hague and Amsterdam. Industry panels and workshops for film professionals, NGOs and funds focused on creating impact with human rights films.
This year, the festival’s focus was on Iran, with three Iranian filmmakers as guests of honour: Nafiss Nia, Maryam Ebrahimi and Ali Asgari. An Industry Masterclass took place: Take on Iran, we screened three audience-chosen classics of Iranian cinema and, of course, films by the honorary guests.
Of course, Ukraine also played an important role at the festival, with films like Iron Butterflies (Roman Lubiy) and Butterfly Vision (Maksim Nakonechnyi). The Sakharov evening opened with a performance by Sofiia Dorosh (Ukrainian pianist, 14) from the Davidsbündler Music Academy. After the screening of Ukrainian documentary Plai, a Mountain Path (Eva Dzhyshyashvili) followed by a panel discussion, the United Ukrainian Ballet (dancers in exile united by the tragedy of war) closed the evening with an impressive dance performance.