The 2017 Festival screened thirty five films in ten venues. The Youth Day at the BFI, 18 November, featured the world premiere in NFT2 of the 2016 #TweetAPitch winner You can’t do nothing, can you? directed by Mei Leng Yew. The film follows two refugees staying with British hosts as they continue to apply for permanent resident status. Cassius Rayner led a Master Class on how to make good films on a mobile phone and Lucrezia Pollice described her I-DENTITY project, working in film with refugees. The #TweetAPitch winner was Pascale Kann.
Films screened in 2017 include:
This film follows the life and experience of the people on board the Aquarius, a rescue ship in the Mediterranean sea, during the period between September 14 and October 6, 2016.
A story about an unexpected meeting between two cultures and civilizations, told with a melancholic humour.
After the international condemnation of the notorious anti-gay bill, commonly known as the "Kill the Gay bill", by a court ruling a sense of relief was given to the LGBTI community and its advocates. Unfortunately it also ignited the wrath of the public. IMPUNITY depicts the government's endeavours to disenfranchise the LGBTI community while the masses take the law into their own hands. Thus leaving the LGBTI community out-of-pocket in terms of food, housing and healthcare. Vulnerable and often losing their lives at the hands of the angry mob.
Every year, Rajae Sanduka finds he is being banished further and further from his hometown, despite his central role in the lives of the residents of city, firing the Ramadan cannon of the Jerusalem. He confronts the Israeli occupation's frustrations through a satirical play at the only remaining Palestinian theatre in the city.
Rohingya children, fleeing from Arakan in Myanmar, arrive in the Malaysian Rafflesia, that big flower they thought would treat them well and educate them. The film follows the children's realisation that the education and future they thought they were being offered is a deception.
Oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life. But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world. Sonic Sea is about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution because every day, whales, dolphins, fish and other marine life are threatened by a cacophony of industrial noise from shipping, seismic exploration for oil and gas and naval sonar used for routine training exercises. From the Atlantic to the Pacific to the wild Arctic, this endless barrage of noise impairs the ability of our planet’s vulnerable marine life to communicate, find food, navigate and breed. Ocean noise is harming and even killing whales, dolphins and other creatures in water bodies all around the world.
A young and ambitious journalist experiments, joining a camps in Syria that prepares terrorists of the Islamic state, so she could explore from the inside how does the radical Islam movement work. She is helped by Maija and Juris. But before they leave Europe, it gets complicated.
The drought destroyed all the crops of the Rock's family, living in South-East Haiti. Mr Rock's only hope to gain some money is that his rooster wins the fight.....so what happens?
Women are vastly under-represented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields, holding under 25% of STEM jobs. However, in the 1940s, six brilliant young women, 'The Computers', programmed the world's first all-electronic, programmable computer as part of a secret WWII project for the US Army. They learned to program without programming languages or tools (for none existed), and their program worked perfectly. Yet, when the ENIAC was unveiled to the press and public in 1946, they were never introduced; the ENIAS Programmers became invisible.
The story of a controversial group of Mormon feminists fighting for women's rights in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Abby Hansen, a stay-at-home mom turned vocal advocate for Ordain Women, navigates the repercussions of her unpopular activism against her church in her predominantly Mormon suburb. The film is not just for Mormons. It is not just for feminists. It is for anyone who has questioned what it means to believe and to belong.
What happens when prostitutes get older? The film follows the 'Munecas Bravas' living in Xochiquetzal's house in the heart of Mexico City which claims to be the only home in the world for elderly prostitutes who have nowhere else to go.
Youth Day 2017
* FILM-MAKING MASTERCLASSES
* #TWEETAPITCH COMPETITION for the £500 bursary to make your own film to be premiered here at the BFI Southbank in November 2017
* Watch the world premiere of the film made by the 2016 #Tweetapitch competition winner
* "Judge the Shorts" Your vote will influence who wins the We The Peoples Film Festival 'Best Short Film'
* Meet film industry people who can assist you
* and more.
It is 2039. Adele has been working for more than 3 years on ORBIT DEFENCE, a space station in charge of Earth security using drone pilots. Today, is her last routine mission,before she returns home to meet her family, especially her daughter. Without taking Murphy’s Law into account...
A young and ambitious journalist experiments, joining a camps in Syria that prepares terrorists of the Islamic state, so she could explore from the inside how does the radical Islam movement work. She is helped by Maija and Juris. But before they leave Europe, it gets complicated.
An intimate portrait of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov—once Deputy Prime Minister and “an heir of President Yeltsin”, later an uncompromising adversary of Putin—that was assassinated near the Kremlin in February 2015. Election campaigns and hotel beds, protest rallies and office routine, train compartments and courtrooms, night walks and police vans – you have never seen any politician so close. This is a story how a journalist assignment turns into a genuine friendship.
In Arizona, forensic anthropologists must analyze the remains of thousands of migrants who die each year in the desert trying to cross the border into the US. In this humanitarian crisis there are also vigilantes, armed citizens who patrol the border.
In Rupa's Boutique there are dreams on the hangers. Dreams that meant hope for the victims of acid attacks even in the worst times. All the girls there are back on their feet after their tragedy, becoming independent and visible. According to the activists of Stop Acid Attackshelping the victims, in India there are 3-5 attacks each week. Many victims do not report the crimes to the police because they are afraid of being socially stigmatised.
Caught between the increasing demands of a growing camp and the regular police raids, this documentary reveals the chains of relief networks that entirely sustained the residents of the Calais Jungle over 8 months leading up to its demolition.
Dupfing expected refugees. And Mayor Zepp is afraid - less prior to the asylum seekers themselves, but rather from the reactions of his community citizens. So he keeps it for himself. But his secret threatens to fly up as yard owner Otto someday showsup: He knows about Zepps situation and offers a solution: He wants to make him his more than questionable real estate palatable, which could equally well be out of town to accommodate the newcomers. On the tour of the farm to trailer tent the situation escalates between the two and Zepp is set back to itself. The next morning, in fact, the new church members standing on the street, but it is still short of just a brilliant idea: before the assembled congregation he explains it to his own family.
Lost in Lebanon gains access to unknown stories in a region that is on the fringes of hell. Spending over a year in Lebanon - in Beirut and on the borders of Syria, this film tells the story behind the news reports and reflects the strange chaotic lives of the people living in the shadow of the Syrian war.
Georgia and Sophia Scott will talk about their film following the screening
A multi award-winning short film following a Syrian woman and her daughter who, having fled to Istanbul, use a hand-held picture viewer to maintain memories of happier times. How will the daughter understand who are the people in the photos and will she ever meet them? Kilic uses a traditional Turkish song to reflect on their plight.
This musical documentary reflects the importance of culture and music in a country like Mali. Its populations and economy have been torn apart by a war that's not theirs to fight. How can a peaceful country with an incredible cultural heritage like Mali get destabilised in such a short time? What are the effect on the people and the long standing culture?
An unprecedented look into the workings of one of the only health clinics that serves America's untouchable class - undocumented immigrants. By law, illegal immigrants cannot obtain health insurance, and reeive no regular medical treatment. At Puentes, a team of volunteers attend to an evergrowing population of housekeepetrs , prep cooks and construction workers.
A short film from Iraq (fictional) about a young officer who losers his feet through a detonated IED. Back home, he sees his life as hopeless and sets out to commit suicide. At the last minute, he changes his mind, saving the lives of his Christian neighbour from ISIS. The film is one of new genre which seeks to encourage diversity and acceptance of other faiths.
The film follows four journeys from the Middle East to the UK, linking each to a single narrative. Leila stakes all to flee Afghanistan and join her husband in London, give birth and raise their child to read and write, live and think freely. To the family harbouring her in Tehran, these secrets pose a dangerous threat. In Greece, an Iranian mother struggles to maintain her dignity and protect her eight-year-old son. How does he make sense of the uncomfortable mix of fear and awe as he watches their trafficker berate and humiliate the adults? Laura entered the UK illegally before Poland was part of the EU. Now everything's as it should be, until her London-born daughter opens the door to immigration officers with a warrant for her North African partner’s deportation. Ramzi maintains the required distance from his Arab brothers and sisters in his role as courtroom interpreter. Then he witnesses a young boy reaching out to touch his mother – a face on the courtroom monitor – and is confronted by his own complicity in the institutional processes and procedures that determine the outcome of so many complex human stories.
Kyla Simone Bruce, co-director, will join the Q and A session following the screening.
This short film spends time with independent volunteers on the island of Lesbos, Greece and refugees that have made their way to Piraeus harbour, Athens, Greece from their home countries. Looking at a range of perspectives from local and foreign volunteers to the people who have been displaced from their home countries fleeing various different circumstances, you see and hear an observational portrait of place and people, it gives a snapshot of time in human history.
The Festival screened thirty eight films in thirteen venues.
The Youth Day at the BFI, 13 November, featured the world premiere in NFT2 of the 2015 #TweetAPitch winner The Swimming Club directed by Nick Finegan and Cecilia Golding before a large, enthusiastic young audience. The film follows members of a transgender swimming club who have managed to find a ‘safe space’, a municipal swimming pool where, free from the stares of the public, they can relax, talk and swim. The premiere was attended by members of Tag Support CIC and other members of the transgender community. “We are delighted to have kick-started this important film,” said David Wardrop, Chairman, UNA Westminster. “We will now inform our international contacts, within the United Nations family and beyond, that we all have a valuable asset that can greatly help to improve understanding of the special challenges of others.” Nick Finegan and Cecilia Golding will now embark on a crowdfunding project to raise the profile of the film and the issues it tackles.
Films screened in 2016 include:
When Elephants Fight (Director: Michael Ramsdell)
The fight for minerals in the Congo has brought poverty, war and corruption while corporations, nations and armed groups have made billions.(90 minutes)
Besieged Bread (Director: Soudade Kaadan)
Syria 2015, it's a long day of smuggling bread to the besieged area. There is no escape.
The Girls Of The Taliban (Director: Najibullah Quraishi)
With a new wave of privately run religious schools across Afghanistan, many feel basic rights and education for girls are again under threat.(58 minutes)
Gezoindelach (Director: Efrat Berger)
Yehuda, raised in a devout Hasidic family, decides to do away with the last remaining symbol still connecting him to his religious past.(28 minutes)
Nobody Dies Here (Director: Simon Panay)
In the Perma gold mine in Benin, some dream of finding gold, digging relentlessly. Others say that in this place, nobody dies. How?(23 minutes)
A Brilliant Genocide (Director: Ebony Butler)
Counterpoint to Kony 2012, the Ugandan government has used that crime to divert attention from its own.(82 minutes)
I Am Able (Director: Isaac Seigel-Boettner)
Left for dead, young Rwandan Frederick miraculously survives and now seeks to change people's preconceptions of what it means to be 'able'.(13 minutes)
The Harvest (Director: Ross Bolidai)
The Shona people live in the most densely mined area in the world and now nomadic mine clearers live and work along its path.(19 minutes)
K2 and the Invisible Footmen (Director: Iara Lee)
Shot in stunning northern Pakistan, it concentrates on the plight of the unsung heroes, the indigenous porters of majestic K2, the earth's second-highest peak.(54 minutes)
Generation Hope (Director: Charles Francis Kinane)
Filmed in Malawi, Haiti and India, this shows the extraordinary difference a daily meal in school can make to children in these poor communities.
Hotel 22 (Director: Elizabeth Lo)
In Silicon Valley, the Line 22 is the only bus that runs twenty-four hours. By night, it transforms into "Hotel 22", a mobile testament to the challenges of an increasingly unaffordable landscape.(9 minutes)
Dirty Wars (Director: Rick Rowley)
What begins as a report into a US night raid gone terribly wrong in remote Afghanistan quickly turns into a global investigation of the secretive and powerful Joint Special Operations Command.(86 minutes)
The Sky Queen (Director: Simon Maignan)
The cynical romance of two drone pilots in New York.(9 minutes)
Tides (Director: Alessandro Negrini)
The river Foyle runs through Derry/Londonderry. What has it seen, heard, witnessed in its long life, running towards the ocean? What is the Foyle whispering to us today?(40 minutes)
Regarding the Lambs in the City (Director: Zhao Xu)
Daily life in a Chinese city? A shepherd couple, a disco-playing bicycle repair man, a man keeps a lamb as his pet while another, dressed like a sheep, wanders around the city. Is it real?(40 minutes)
Ariel (Director: Macéo Bhardwaj)
Ariel, a homeless transwoman, meets her guardian angel who teaches her how to 'feel alive' again. How will their love manage Society's oppressive views?14 minutes)
Unforgiven: Rwanda (Director: Lukas Augustin)
20 years on, victim and perpetrators live in the same villages. What is a socially acceptable conversation when your family's killer sits down to dinner?(76 minutes)
When you hear the Bells (Director: Valentin LeBlanc)
In Afghanistan, young male prostitutes obliged to dance, dressed as girls, for a male audience. Saman feels threatened by the arrival of Bijane, a boy younger than him destined to take his place.(25 minutes)
Walls (Directors: Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina)
The intimate stories of lives affected by division on the borders of Spain and Morocco, Mexico and the United States, and South Africa and Zimbabwe.(82 minutes)
My Enemy, My Brother (Director: Ann Shin)
Former enemies from the Iran-Iraq War become blood brothers for life, 25 years after one saves the other’s life on the battlefield. How did they meet?(17 minutes)
Our Lives In Transit
A controversial law leaves 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent doubting their identity. Rosa Iris, a young and determined lawyer, fights for their rights.(30 minutes)
But They Can't Break Stones (Director: Elena Dirstaru)
Nepal’s civil war ended 10 years ago but women still fight for their rights. As well as activists, we see women training to be mountain guides at an all-female training centre. The film's director will provide an update after the screening.(50 minutes)
Fish and Crops (Director: Sara Bernardo)
In farming and fishing, everything is changing so fast, these professions are being strongly affected by climate changes, technology and also modern farming practices.(10 minutes)
Burden of Peace (Director: Joey Boink)
Guatemala’s first female Attorney General starts a frontal attack against corruption and organized crime, arresting a former dictator. Will she survive?(75 minutes)
Uninvited (Director: Julian Biba)
Albanian emigrants caught by Greek border patrol units receive a punishing treatment, for crossing illegally the border, looking for a better life.(20 minutes)
Before The Flood (Director: Fisher Stevens)
Leonardo DiCaprio, UN Messenger of Peace, meets those engaged in preventing the global catastrophes of climate change. Barack Obama and Pope Francis join farmers and islanders as they survey melting ice sheets and industrial pollution.(95 minutes)
Battle Scars (Director: Robbie Buckley)
Fighting a battle no one seems to win, Harry suffers from PTSD and struggles to contain his demons.(11 minutes)
Not a Pizza Order (Director: Cecile Ragot)
In New York City, more than 11 million 911 calls are received each year. This is one of them.(1 minute)
Drone (Director: Tonje Hessen)
Inside the covert CIA drone war, follow those living under drones in Pakistan and the drone pilots who struggle with the new warfare. Drones may just change wars and possibly our future.(78 minutes)
Remembering Srebrenica, 20 years on (Director: Tamanna Rahman)
Genocide survivors revisit Srebrenica where in 1995 they were left to die. They had sought protection in the UN base at Potočari, only to find that Ratko Mladić’s troops had arrived first.(22 minutes)
Pirates and Slaves (Director: Environmental Justice Foundation)
How overfishing and pirate fishing in Thailand fuels human trafficking and the plundering of our oceans.(9 minutes)
The Festival screened thirty films in ten venues. The highlight was the We the Peoples Film Festival Youth Day at the BFI, 21 November 2015.
The BFI Youth Day featured the 2014 #TweetAPitch winner Exploiting It? which received its World Premiere. Jade Jackman, the film’s director and who #TweetaPitched it in 2014 describes the film as an immersive, creative documentary. “As you descend into a house in England, you’ll find media devices coming alive with the real experiences of women whose identities have become constant source of intrigue and horror. The film explores the effects of Islamophobia on women and the fetishisation of the Muslim woman. Some of the liberal justification for the contemporary persecution of Muslims is the common perception that their faith oppresses women. However, through the perspective of our participants, one is able to see where their self-censorship comes from and where their freedom of expression is really curtailed.
With many of the participants expressing that they feel that there is one narrative afforded them by the mainstream media, the short film raises the question of who is really free to create and whether people have any choice but to accept the identities offered to them by hungry consumers. Furthermore, this short film offers an insight into how governmental legislation, such as Prevent and the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill, is seeping into intended areas of life and institutionalising racist stereotypes.”
The following Question & Answer session moderated by Iyare Igiehon featured Jade Jackman, producer Aleksandra Bilic and Director of Photography Nadira Amrani. They were joined by the artist Sarah Maple and the writer Ruqaiya Haris.
Masterclasses were led by Ludovica Fales and Isis Thompson who explained how they made the documentary The Real Social Network as a collaborative project and award-winning director, editor and cinematographer Esteban Uyuarra explained how he made a no-budget film in Iraq.
The #TweetAPitch final featured eight contestants whittled down from thirty eight original entrants. Each contestant made a two minute pitch to the judging panel which comprised John Glen, director of five James Bond films, Jade Jackman, #TweetAPitch winner in 2014 and noted film-maker Esteban Uyarra.
The winner was The Swimming Club, a 10 minute film , co-produced and co-directed by Nick Finegan and Cecilia Golding, which will follow London’s only ‘trans’ swimming club, TAGS (Trans And Gender-non-conforming Swimmers), an inspiring group of individuals who struggled against the tides of the status-quo to affect positive change for their community.
Nick and Cecilia will receive a £500 Bursary from the We The Peoples Film Festival and benefit through guidance from the British Film Institute. The Swimming Club will be premiered at the 2016 festival in November at the BFI South Bank.
Films screened in 2015
Leave to Stay (Director: Awat Osman Ali)London has a juxtaposition of cultures. People who live a million miles apart, in reality live next door to each other. Three Kurdish immigrants arrive in the UK, as illegal aliens to seek asylum and find that now they belong to London's underground. (64 minutes)
Emigrant (Director: Grant Taylor)Emigration is the act of leaving one’s native country with the intent to settle elsewhere. Mikel, an emigrant to the United Kingdom, has a passion for games. His observations of the world around him and his relationship with his father lead him to create a game that will change the world. He gains inspiration from finding a bottle cap and develops an inclusive game that will inspire all, eventually helping him and his father bond. (4 minutes)
Dance Up From The Street (Director: Peter Goldsmid)In this inspirational documentary we meet-up with a successful Canadian choreographer who spends months of every year working with the street kids of Rwanda, orphans of one of the bloodiest episodes of ethnic cleansing since World War II. “Dance up from the Street” is the intimate, moving story of an alternative to life on the streets in a country still struggling to heal the wounds of genocide. Eric Mgwaneza is a 15 year old who has hopes for a brighter future and is inspired by Rebecca during one of her visits to Rwanda. In this compelling story we learn that dance moves truly transcend barriers of language, race and age and that dance might just be a way for him to realise his dreams. The young Rwandans learn not only contemporary dance, but also to connect with their own country’s dance tradition. Dance becomes a language of community discourse and a tool for personal liberation. (28 minutes)
Microphone (Director: Kareem Ghafur)A child enters a mosque to urinate, but he is lost from his mother. The mother wants to go into the mosque to find her child, but she is not allowed. (9 minutes)
Elmando (Director: Anton Octavian)The story of a young Congolese child, born near the forest of Kivu. (3 minutes)
Nigeria, Edge of JoyThis UN-produced film tracks the situation in Nigeria which has the second highest number of maternal deaths in the world. More than thirty-six thousand women die here each year trying to have babies. But the country is beginning to fight back and slowly starting to see results. (3 minutes)
Kobani Under Siege (Director: Shirwan Ahmad)A gripping documentary covering the filmmaker's return to the city of Kobani located on the border between Turkey and Syria at the time controlled 70% by ISIS. Even entering the city was considered impossible. (24 minutes)
Growing Home (Director: Faisal Attrache)Amid Syria's refugee crisis that has displaced nine million people; a Syrian barber struggles to maintain normality in the Zaatari refugee camp. (22 minutes)
A Bird in A Cage (Project Manager: Amy Morris)An animated film about Margaret Mackworth, otherwise known as Lady Rhondda, the important women’s rights campaigner throughout the first half of the 20th century. She set up the Newport Women’s Social and Political Union and founded one of the most influential political magazines of her day. She was imprisoned for attempting to blow up a postbox in Newport for the cause of women’s suffrage. Her work had a lasting impact on the democratic landscape of South Wales. (19 minutes)
Repercussions (Director: Aren Devlin)In the aftermath of 2011’s London riots the story focuses on Jade a single mum, whose life unravels due to poor judgement and untimely events. She seeks redemption, but at what cost. (19 minutes)
The Piano (Director: Levon Minasian)Thirteen years after the Armenian city of Leninakan was destroyed in an earthquake, Loussiné, a 13 year old orphan lives with her grandfather in a "domik" – a prefabricated small house. She is dumb, but a talented pianist. To prepare for an international competition, the Ministry of Culture lends her a beautiful piano. But when the instrument is delivered, it’s clear that the trailer where they live is too small to hold a piano…(27 minutes)
Liberia: Women on the frontlineThis UN-produced film about Liberia, a country which has been engulfed in war with its women bearing the brunt of the conflict. When peace finally did come, the legacy of violence against women continues to haunt the country. But Liberia's women are now taking positions of power and filling roles usually dominated by men. And it's making a difference.
7 Days in Syria (Director: Robert Rippberger)The film gives a window into the lives of families struggling to survive on the frontlines of the Syria conflict. Their courage and resilience shines through in impossible circumstances. Newsweek Middle East editor, Janine di Giovanni, submitted a proposal to cover the war in Syria. The magazine denied the request, deeming the situation too dangerous. She decided to go anyway. Angelina Jolie said of the film, "7 Days in Syria gives a window into the lives of families struggling to survive on the frontlines of the Syria conflict. Their courage and resilience shines through in impossible circumstances." (75 minutes)
This UN film depicts a land torn apart by years of bitter conflict, the daily struggle to survive is an on-going battle. Feeding the family is a constant effort. But some inspirational women in the Occupied Palestinian territories are bring hope to thousands. (Running time: 4:16)
Palestine: Bread-winner, Bread-maker
When You Can’t see the film (Director Details -Yijun He)Largely due to censorship, many films, especially documentaries and independent films can't be released in China. But underground cinema clubs are making independent films accessible to Chinese audience despite the all the risks.
GastroNomads (Director: Annebel Huijboom)This film explores issues of migration, belonging and food preferences in the specific context of five migrant women from different parts of the world, now living in London. They all work for Mazí Mas, a roaming restaurant that creates employment opportunities for migrant and refugee women, inviting them to cook food from their own countries, as they were taught by their mothers and grandmothers. Is there a difference between cooking food at home and in this role as representatives from their home country? (20 minutes)
Libya, the Migrant Trap (Director: Veronique Mauduy)For African migrants Libya used to be a Mecca: a place to find work or get access to Europe. But now the workers who come here are trapped in the political, economic and social chaos engulfing the country. (26 mins)
Play Date (Director: Sepideh Borjinia) In the Middle East, some children mistake bombs with toys and take them out to play.
Bang! Bang! (Director: Alejandro Castro) A small boy learns how dangerous his imagination can really be in this quirky short.
The Red House (Director: Jiaqi Lin) The moving story of Fangfang, a prostitute, struggles to buy her freedom…her plans change when her child is sold to the house by her parent.
Bayberries have ripened (Director: Niranjan Rajbhetwal) Set during the Nepal Civil war, two brothers take their cow for fertilization. As the boys bring back the cow, worshiped as a mother and giver, they are faced with a new realization.
Horseface (Director: Marc Martínez Jordan) A self-described “Comedy-Horror-Science Fiction-Thriller Animal Drama” short from Spain starring the director and his grandma!
Sometimes I’m afraid, Sometimes I hit (Director: Yuval Auron)The people of Nabi Saleh, in the West Bank, have been holding weekly protests against the Israeli occupation for four years. Through a series of interviews with the village's children, we learn of their unique and personal perspective of the struggle: how they cope with the constant state of violence around them, as they see their parents being arrested and family members being killed, and if and when they see some hope in their situation. (14 minutes)
Hebron is Beautiful (Director: Yuvall Orr)On a hilltop in the city of Hebron, where the banality of everyday life clashes with the absurdity of occupation, fifteen-year old Awni Abu Shamsiya attempts to maintain a sense of normalcy as he goes about his daily routine. (9 minutes)
Across The Tracks (Director: Catherine Feltham)As the Clean India campaign gets underway, with its ambitious target of a toilet for every household by 2019, WaterAid explores how something as simple as a toilet can help transform lives by following the story of one ambitious mother in Uttar Pradesh. Radha Verma, determined to protect her daughter after she narrowly escapes a physical attack, builds one of the first toilets in Rakhi Mandi slum, home to 3,500 people in one of India’s largest cities – Kanpur. The film shows how Radha Verma has made this happen with the support of others in and around the community. We meet charismatic “super-gran” Kalavati and passionate community leader, Laddan. With support from WaterAid’s local partner, Shramik Bharti, they educate, inspire and motivate others to build. (18 minutes)
The Journey of Women's RightsA short film taking you through the evolution of the Women’s Rights movement from 1945 until now, shown as part of the United Nation’s 70th anniversary. (2 minutes)
I'm not here (Director: Ashvin Kumar)
Commissioned by the UN, this film documents the lives of female undocumented immigrants working in domestic slavery across the world. (28 mins)
The Roma: Road to inclusion (UN Media)
The Roma - known around the world as Gypsies. Theirs’ is a long and painful history of being excluded...often denied their rights. And that discrimination continues today, forcing many to live in poverty. Here is one extraordinary group of Roma fighting to ensure that painful legacy ends with them. Here's their story. (10 minutes)
Mount Gourougou (Director Bruno Rocchi)
A triple wire mesh, motion sensors and security cameras protect the city of Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory, against illegal entry. The documentary highlights the desperate conditions that hundreds of Sub-Saharan migrants experience in Gourougou mountain, near the city of Melilla. These people wait the chance to get a permit for Europe and cross the border, at the mercy of Moroccan police and its violence and oppression. (10 minutes)
Black Ulysses (Director: Federica D’lppolito)Hope fades when the migrants arrived in Italy, and specifically in Nardò, Lecce province, are having to submit to the harsh laws of illegal hiring, live in the reality of the territory. (4mins)
The Bound Free Spirit (Director: Ritika Jajodia)This film highlights the refugee community of Tibet in the national capital of India, Delhi, describing and presenting both sides of the coin in the bound and free Tibet. (3 mins)
The Silence of our friends (Director: Lina Lempianinen)Elise is on her way to school parent-teacher night. Her daughter’s been involved in a bullying incident. Elise arrives late to find that the others have already started. To everyone’s surprise, the teacher has found an unusual way to convey the children’s situation. (10 minutes)
Akhtar: The Story of an Afghan MigrantMigrating to another country in pursuit of safety and a better life has long been a way of coping with crisis; but for some, the quest can be tortuous and seemingly without end. For more than four years, the UN followed the story of one young Afghan migrant whose long journey has spanned continents...and shattered most of his dreams.
Three independent films focusing on issues of global conflict, displacement, forced migration, and complex issue of accessing basic human rights in ‘Fortress Europe’. After the final film there will be the chance for a short Q and A with a representative of the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants, a charity working with asylum seekers in London and whose patron is Juliet Stephenson.
Masterclasses at the We the Peoples Film Festival Youth Day at the BFI, 8 November 2014
What happened in 2014?
Film-making – Rob Brown
Using award nominated short film, 'Paper Hearts'', a 10 minute short film on relationships, Rob showed how the initial idea came about, from creation through to being premiered at the Rushes Soho shorts festival. There was even a photo of Rob with Kevin Spacey! How did it come about?
Movie Production – Jake Hume
London filmmaker Jake Hume pointed to the various routes for young people starting out in the film industry. Jake produced his first feature film ‘Sixteen’ in 2013 which had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. Since graduating from Bournemouth Screen Academy in 2009 at the age of 21, Jake has managed production on indie feature films such as ‘Lotus Eaters’ and produced an array of award-winning short films and music videos.
Animation - Helen Piercy (Helen Animate)
Helen Piercy showed how to make stop-motion videos like a real pro, using 2D and 3D techniques with character design, cut-out puppets, and speech bubbles. From storyboarding to the editing suite, she shared everything one needs to know, a real one-off opportunity to learn the fundamentals of animation. For more information, see www.helenanimate.com
“Take me to the Front”, Stefano Pietrocola’s film about a British photojournalist covering the Bosnian war in the ‘90s takes all three audience awards.
Youth Day at the BFI attracts young film makers keen to make documentaries on development and human rights who benefit through masterclasses and expert guidance during the day.
£500 #tweetapitch bursary won against tough competition by Jade Jackman whose film will show the work of a Kabul-based Afghan woman graffiti artist. The film will be screened at the 2015 Youth Day at the BFI.
Films were screened in several locations including universities, a pub and a restaurant. Most were followed by Question & Answer sessions featuring film makers or experts on the topics covered.
Audience and guest feedback was excellent with one guest commenting on a film with harrowing scenes “Working in this field you become very accustomed to images like these. Coming to events like these help you connect again.”
“Our event was excellently organised” was a common observation, reflecting on the hands-on involvement of students of Event Management at Ashdown Academy, a long-term supporter of the We the Peoples Film Festival.
Films screened in 2014 include:
80 minutes, Director, Rob Brown, UK; Producer, Jake Hume, UKJumah is about to turn 16 and is already in need of a fresh start. Burdened with the shameful legacy of a past as a child soldier in the Congo, he lives with his adoptive mother in west London, where he struggles to keep a lid on his history of violence.
see the trailer
Take Me To The Front
14 minutes, Director – Stefano Pietrocola, UKHector is a British photojournalist covering the Bosnian War. Where will he draw the line between documentation and intervention?
30 minutes, Director, Chieh Yang, TaiwanOn a not too distant planet called Lucky, each person is fated at birth with one particular person. The moment they lock eyes, they will tumble head over heels in love with each other and will henceforth live happily ever after.
Shame and Glasses
7 minutes, Director, Alessandro Riconda, ItalyMiko has to face his worst fears; wearing glasses. That is the only way to take his school test, but what would happen if the young girl he is secretly in love with sees him?
A Russian Fairytale
55 Minutes, Director: Jake Mobbs, UK, in association with Love’s BridgeThis powerful documentary follows the lives of ‘street kids’ from Perm, a once weapon-building Russian city. It provides a fascinating insight into the day to day lives of a group of children born during or just after the break-up of the Soviet Union; they are the generation of Russian kids who ended up on the streets as a result of the turmoil. Now on the brink of adulthood, time is running out to make a break from the group once and for all...
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Voices Across the Wall
37mins, Director: Sam Liebmann, UKVoices Across The Wall is a set of short stories and interviews exploring the Israel-Palestine conflict through the eyes of people on the ground – from an intifada veteran turned social worker to the leader of the Jewish National Front, from the father of a Palestinian suicide bomber to an Israeli survivor of an attack that killed her husband and children.
As we travel through the West Bank we see the ongoing colonisation of Palestinian land and hear from the occupied and the occupiers. Through a series of personal accounts of the day-to-day impact of conflict and occupation, the film reveals some of the complexities often unseen by the outside world that underlie this most intractable of political problems.
Happiness Wrapped in a Blanket
52mins, Director: Yosi Artzi, IsraelAfter a long night, Bashir returns home from work to find his Jewish girlfriend Karin with an unexpected baby in her arms. “We’re a family now,” she tells him, "and we'll never be apart". Bashir is torn between his will to devotionally support his girlfriend and doing the right thing by returning the baby to his mother, a foreign worker who left her child under the threat of being deported from Israel. A decision is made and the couple sets-out on a runaway journey with the baby wrapped in a blanket. In the background of social and political topics such as Arabs, Jews and foreign workers, a tender love story is revealed and a delicate family is formed...
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30 mins: Director Eamonn ClearyIn a small border‐town during the height of the "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland, Joe, a hardworking mechanic services cars for both sides. Both view his even handedness with suspicion and while restoring a car for his friend, the local RUC inspector, a young Republican sees this as the perfect opportunity to make a name for himself, forcing Joe into an impossible decision.
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Tharattu Pattu (Lullaby)
4 mins: Director, Sandeep RavindranathA film about Smarthavicharam, the one-time ritualistic trial of Namboothiri women in Kerala, India, accused of adultery. If found guilty, the woman is ostracized, similar to when there is a death in the family. Then on, from the family’s perspective, guilt exists no more.
A Journey of Discovery
33 mins: Director, Daniela Gross de Almedia, BrazilUbatuba, Brazil, best known for its beaches, conceived the Ubatuba Sat Project, the design and construction of a satellite by students who started aged 10. It took them to NASA, transcending all limitations of the classroom.
No Love Lost
15 mins: Director, Shekhar BassiA Jewish boy nurturing a secret romance with a Muslim girl, despite the realities of their backgrounds, is unaware he is being stalked. While the young lovers struggle to be open their relationship, the stalker’s obsession reveals a thought provoking turn culminating in the trio coming to face to face.
Kel Yaum Kel Yaum / Every Day, Every Day
15mins; Director, Reem KarssliRare and honest journey with a Syrian family as they go about their daily lives. Dealing with a sense of cabin fever after being pent up at home for months, the filmmaker captures heart breaking daily realities
4:35 mins: Director, Mitchell Rose, USAAn uplifting short film of dance produced by 50 filmmakers from 23 countries.
A Syrian Story
13:07 mins: Director, Samer Beyhum, CanadaA freelance photographer decides to leave Montreal to go to Syria and cover the conflict that has lasted for the last three years under the current regime.
Not Anymore, A Story of Revolution
14:29 mins: Director, Matthew Van Dyke, USAA film about the Syrian struggle for freedom as experienced by a 32 year old rebel commander.
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9:15 mins: Director, Yahya Ghobadi, IranAn animation about peace and war.
94 mins: Director: Mona Nicoara, USAThree Roma (“Gypsy”) children from a small Transylvanian town participate in a project to desegregate the local school, struggling against indifference, tradition and bigotry with humour, optimism and sass. OUR SCHOOL is a captivating, surprisingly funny, and ultimately infuriating story about hope and race.
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The Joy of Reading
12 mins: Director, Dominique Telemaque, Dominican RepublicLolo, a 7 year old boy who is passionate about learning to read, is on a mission to obtain a book needed for school. He reaches a crossroad where he reflects on his struggles and learns a valuable life lesson.
10 mins: Director, Daniela Wayllace, BelgiumThis film is inspired by human rights and the violence and rape against children. Every part of the film is articulated by a coherent musical composition structure in which the characters evolving in crescendo in space. Image and music work together to create an intensity of sensations and emotions.
Ghana: They Wanted Her to Marry at 10
3 mins: UNICEFThis film is part of a campaign against child marriage.
I Don't Think We Are Equal
1 min: Director, Dominique Telemaque, Dominican RepublicTwo shoeshine boys, one Haitian and the other Dominican. They talk about equality.
One Thousand and One Teardrops
17.07 mins: Director, Fateme AhmadiOn her first day of school, little Louly is faced with a question: what should she wear?
A Short Film About Fear
9.30 mins: Director, Keith O’Grady, IrelandA meditation on the nature of fear, cause and effect as seen through the eyes of a child.
La Última Escena (The Final Scene)
19 mins: Director, Iván NakouziHeine Mix Toro (78), an eminent former playwright and theater director, after his return from the exile of Pinochet's dictatorship, has been marginalized and now lives as a hermit in a humble shack.
Causa Vitae Curriculum Mortis
5.30 mins: Director, Lucas ScanduraThe Diagnosis of an entire life or of a life that is yet to come? Gods failure or evil's success? Sick or blessed? High-impact contrasts between good/evil, right/wrong and virtue/turpitude.
The We the Peoples film festival reached out to new venues. These included the Platform Restaurant and Bar in East London, the Water Poet pub near Liverpool Street station and some of London’s newer universities including Ravensbourne University and the BPP University. We were delighted to screen the European premiere of Through the Fire which was followed by a Q&A session with live link to New York.
The Young Film Makers Day at the BFI enabled those Interested to find out how films are made. Experts led master-classes in film-making, animation and movie production. The popular #tweetapitch competition for a £500 bursary was won by Mari Shibata.
Films shown include:
The Well: Water voices from Ethiopia
Directors: Paolo Barberi, Riccardo Russo. 56 minsCome the dry season, Borana herders gather with their livestock around their ancient wells. Huge hand-excavated craters, known as “singing wells,” allow them to survive during the long annual droughts, when thousands of people and animals move closer in search for survival. Young shepherds form human chains, reaching the depths of the well. Nobody can be denied to access water, neither the herders of an enemy tribe in need. Drinkable water is surely a fundamental human right.
Director: David Fedele 20 minsHave you ever wondered what happens to your electronics at the end of their life? Almost 50 million tonnes of e-waste (electronic waste) are generated worldwide every year. A large volume of second-hand and condemned electronic goods arrive in developing countries from the “developed” world, with a significant quantity arriving as e-waste, exported illegally as second hand goods. Without dialogue or narration, E-WASTELAND presents a visual portrait of unregulated e-waste recycling in Ghana, West Africa, where electronics are not seen for what they once were, but rather for what they have become. Winner of several Film Awards.
The Noise of Cairo
Director: Heiko Lange, 56 minsThe Noise of Cairo' is a cinematic adventure, following the interplay between art and the revolution in Egypt. Protest of any kind was punished violently in pre-revolutionary Egypt and artistic expression was considered nothing but a threat to the status quo. But since the fall of the Mubarak dictatorship, the art scene in Cairo is flourishing once again. How did the revolution of 2011 change Egyptian artists and their work? Twelve influencers from Cairo'™s cultural scene lead us on a journey to understand the unique role artists played during the revolution in Cairo. This documentary bears witness to Cairo'™s vibrant artistic underbelly, as it raises its voice once again. The artists of Cairo, who refused to quiet down, come together to be heard. These individuals create 'The Noise of Cairo'.
Sorry to Interrupt
Director: David Marius Lorenz, 13 minsAn experimental documentary about Nicole Y, a story of hope set on the Berlin Underground system "Ladies and Gentlemen, excuse me for interrupting......"
Through the Fire
Director: Eunice Lau'Through the Fire'™ shows a side of Somalia beyond the all-too-familiar news reports of piracy, war, and famine. It tells the stories of remarkable Somali women who risk their lives to run essential humanitarian projects that have sustained their communities through decades of conflict. By giving insights into the strength and resilience of these women, we see how they use their personal tragedies to compel themselves to work for the greater good rather than remaining helpless victims of circumstances.
The documentary gives an intimate portrait of the life and work of three exceptional women, who, in the midst of two decades of bitter civil war, have risen up to rebuild their shattered nation. They have each fought against seemingly insurmountable obstacles to spearhead efforts towards peace, laying foundations for social, health and educational infrastructure. The stories of these women and all that they have achieved are truly inspiring. When the world abandoned them and their communities, they refused to give up or walk away.
Avant que Tout Perdre
Director: Xavier Legrand, 29 mins, subtitlesAward-winning film which tells about Miriam who, with her two children, escapes her husband who she fears.
The Swing of the Coffin Maker
Director: Elmar Ivanov, 30 minsAzerbaijan. Yagub lives with his mentally disabled son Musa, whom he easily loses patience with, until a shattering piece of news from the doctor brings about a sudden change.
Director: Leyla Bouzid, 27 minsZak is living in a village in southern France. He has a quiet life, with his wife and his two kids. When he learns about his father’s death in Algeria, he decides to go there with his family. Sarah, his daughter, refuses to come with him.
Director: Walid Mattar, 15 minsGetting by with jobs on construction sites, squatting a flat with fellow illegral immigrants, Foued lives in fear of arrest and deportation. One day, he is offered a well-paid job where he is certain to remain invisible......
Director: Simona Feldman, 9 minutesJuri is growing up under deprived circumstances in a small village in the former Soviet Union. When his father moves to Germany to earn money for his family he hast to come to grips with a life without a father.
Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry
Director: Alison Klayman, 91minsCelebrated artist, expert provocateur and one of China'™s most outspoken domestic critics, Ai Wei Wei inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. This nuanced portrait of Ai reveals a man of unrelenting spirit whose passion and defiance continues.
Find out more about Ai Wei Wei and his work
Director: Navina Khatib, 60 minsThe documentary film "Casa Luz" gives an insight into the everyday life of Peruvian orphans. A life full of poverty, loss and grief '“ a path they did not choose '“ and yet they still manage to find their way
Wolf, are you there?
Director: Xavier Sirven, 28 minsA cow mysteriously dies in a village. Camille, aged 8, who discovered the dead body observes and tries to understand.
Barbara Johns, the making of an icon
Director: Fabrice Chiambretto, 47 minsDocumentary about Barbara Johns who led a revolt against her Jim Crow High School in 1951. It marked the beginning of the Civil Rights movement and became one of the five Brown v. Board of Education cases. Her memorial stands Capitol Square in Richmond,VA.
Allah is Great
Director: Andrea Iannetta, 8 minsFrank Asmas, a Danish Engineer, is leaving a Wind Farm located in a remote Indian village. He has to reach Nairobi, where he must attend an important conference. When he is ready to leave he learns the official car designated to him to the airport has not come due to political protests in the region
Director: Moritz Kramer, 15 minsOn the photoshoot, model Helen is unnerved. Back in the changing room she makes a surprising discovery, everything around her is edible - the chair the TV the walls'¦.Morris Kramer's strange approach to all things around us.
The London Film School presents People of a Feather
Featuring stunning footage from seven winters in the Arctic, People of a Feather takes you through time into the world of the Inuit on the Belcher Islands in Canada's Hudson Bay. Connecting past, present and future is a unique relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters.
Traditional life is juxtaposed with modern challenges as both Inuit and eiders confront changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydroelectric dams powering New York and eastern North America. Inspired by Inuit ingenuity and the technology of a simple feather, the film is a call to action to implement energy solutions that work with nature. (90 minutes)
The Festival screened films in SOAS, Kings College London and the Royal College of Music together with an evening of short films was screened at Cafe 1001 in Brick Lane. The Young Film Makers for Development Day once brought together young people and the #TweetAPitch competition for a £1000 grant kindly funded by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association which attracted nearly 200 entries. We were grateful to the British Universities Film & Video Council for general festival funding.
|Arna's Children||Ping Pong||Lucky|
The Festival screened films in several university campuses including London Metropolitan University, Regent’s College in association with The Elders; SOAS and at the LSE in association with the embassies of Slovenia and Serbia. At The Young Film Makers for Development Day young people, industry professionals and decision makers came together to debate big issues, vote for the best films and take part in workshops with experts of the craft. There was also a live video link-up with young people in Israel, as well as the opportunity to win a film making bursary and mentorship funded by The Commonwealth Broadcasting Association.
|Cyprus – Digging the past in Search of the Future||The Long Road through
In 2010 The Festival introduced awards for the first time, there would be a Best Film of the Festival category. The Youth Day at the BFI had cut new ground with Live relays which were made by young film makers from Soweto in Johannesburg and to a primary school in northern Ghana. A number of short films made by young filmmakers were screened and critiqued by the young audience.
by Alessandro Negrini
The Festival had settled on themes relating to the Three Pillars of Freedom. These had been set out by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his Millennium Report In Larger Freedom in which he drew on the opening words of the UN Charter pointing out that it, though an organisation of sovereign States, exists for and must ultimately serve the needs and hopes of peoples everywhere. The Riverside Studios screened The World of Tibet with its presenter, Dan Cruickshank. Screenings at campuses were held at University College London, London Metropolitan University and Kingston University and the Young Film Makers Day at the BFI was well-supported.
|Three Pillars of Freedom|
The third Festival, now named the We the Peoples film Festival, extended to include new venues. At the Frontline Club, Aaron Rockett screened his film The Fixer At the headquarters in Canary Wharf of Clifford Chance LLP, the leading law firm, the Festival screened the world premiere of Stories on Human Rights. At the BFI and in association with the Abingdon Film Unit, based at Abingdon School, Oxfordshire, the Festival launched the first ‘mini-festival’ screening films made by young people under the age of 21. The Festival successfully developed its Outreach Programme having successfully applied for support from The Big Lottery to create a DVD of some of the best films on MDG issues.
|'The Fixer' by Aaron Rockett|
The second Festival extended the screenings at the BFI to two days. The five sessions concentrated on the UN Millennium Development Goal challenges with four sessions addressing education, health, gender and the environment and a fifth providing an overview of all these issues. Each session featured a moderated Q&A session with field specialists and film producers.
The first Festival took its title from the Stories from the Field United Nations Film Festival based in NewYork. Twenty six films, chosen by the New York Festival organisers, were screened in a single day at the British Film Institute, South Bank (BFI).
What's on where?
BFI Youth Day 2018