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Thank you!
Movies that Matter Festival 2023
Thank you!

With a big smile and full of pride, we look back on a successful Movies that Matter Festival 2023! Audiences found their way to the festival again: with almost 23,500 visitors (50 per cent more than last year!), the theatres were richly filled with a diverse audience. This would not have been possible without your support. We would like to thank you very much for your contribution to the 15th edition of our festival in The Hague!


Our festival would not have been possible without the support of our main partner the Nationale Postcode Loterij and partners like the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amnesty International, and Gemeente Den Haag, media partners like Dagblad Trouw, and numerous funds and other cooperation partners.


We hope to see you at one of our film events in the coming months and of course we would like to welcome you to the 16th Movies that Matter Festival next year, which will take place from Friday 22 till Saturday 30 March 2024.  


Warm regards,

The Movies that Matter team


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. 


Seven international juries watched the nominated films. These were this year’s winners: 


Grand Jury Documentary Award
Theatre of Violence (Lukasz Konopa, Emil Langballe)


Grand Jury Fiction Award
Dalva (Emmanuelle Nicot)


Activist Documentary Award
Seven Winters in Tehran (Steffi Niederzoll)


Camera Justitia Award
Twice Colonized (Lin Alluna)


Dutch Movies Matter Award
Mijn grote broer (Mercedes Stalenhoef)


Shorts Award
Haulout (Evgenia Arbugaeva en Maxim Arbugaev)


Students’ Choice Award
The Kings of the World (Laura Mora Ortega)


The audience also voted: the documentary Aurora’s Sunrise (Inna Sahakyan) won the Audience Award 

  Read the jury reports  
Missed any films at the festival?

With Movies that Matter On Tour we bring our festival favourites throughout The Netherlands. Theatre of Violence, a fascinating, complex examination of the essence of justice and the winner of the Grand Documentary Award, will be shown in April. In May, we screen The Mind Game, the follow-up documentary to the award-winning Shadow Game. 

  Read more  

The Movies that Matter Festival 2023 was made possible by main partner Nationale Postcode Loterij and partners Amnesty International, ASN Bank, CFAP, Creative Europe Media, Dioraphte, Gemeente Den Haag, European Cultural Foundation, Fonds 1818, Fonds 21, Janivo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nederlands Filmfonds, Oak Foundation, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, dagblad Trouw, de Versterking, vfonds, VEVAM and VSBfonds. 


Movies that Matter
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