Social Institute of Film
Let’s establish a platform for creative meeting of European documentary filmmakers, looking for topics of films, and human rights NGOs, from their practice knowing not only crucial socio-political problems, but also powerful human stories behind them, that can inspire ideas for new influential docs.
Warsaw, Poland, whole Europe
Watchdogs often take reportage or commissioned videos for documentaries. On the other hand many documentary makers succumb to a cliché of socially engaged docs belonging rather to journalism than art. Hence the idea of bridging the gap between the two groups. Though a few big NGOs co-finance docs and some NGOs participate in pitching mechanisms of funding docs production, it concerns already existing film projects. There is no joint platform for NGOs and film directors, where film artists could get inspired, find ideas for films or partners with expertise. Such expertise is often missing in European docs, where e.g. refugees are commonly confused with economic migrants. We will strive to continue our project and it can be easily multiplied, e.g. by other festivals of the HR Film Network.
Tangible results of our initiative will consist of several projects of documentary films in development, including the one awarded by the jury. In the future they should result in documentaries of high artistic value and social impact, tackling human rights issues that are important for Europe but often underrepresented on screen. The project will also raise potential for innovative advocacy campaigns built around cinematic documentaries rather than canvassing videos. The project's outcome may even embrace a concrete scenario for such a campaign. On more general level, our initiative should facilitate bridging the gap between docs makers and NGOs, initiating change in the way of thinking of both groups. Newly established unusual contacts and partnerships may be fruitful also in the future.
The project is planned for June 2015—July 2016. NGOs and filmmakers will be partly invited and partly selected by jury of experts reviewing submissions. NGOs will be tutored in preparing presentations on themes they chose and personal stories illustrating them. Some filmmakers will be nominated by film schools. A workshop for both groups will consist of introductory modules explaining their respective specifics, NGOs presentations, 1 on 1 meetings, as well as meetings with practitioners and experts on advocacy and documentaries. Follow-up will consist in monitoring development of new connections and potential film projects, providing expertise, assisting in fundraising, audience building and advocacy planning. In June 2016 the jury will award the most developed and promising film project.
Any ideas for important human rights issues in contemporary Europe underrepresented on screen, as well as for activists who could contribute to the project taking part in it, are very much welcome.