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.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
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.
We are very happy with the results of the first edition of FUTURE DOCS - eight very interesting film projects has been developed since first FUTURE DOCS workshop in Warsaw in December 2015. The jury: Barak Heymann, Sirkka Moeller, Dorota Roszkowska, Rada Šešiċ, and Maarten Stoltz decided to award the project of Marco de Stefanis and Ofelya Zalyan The Winning Generation with the FUTURE DOCS bursary of 7000 Euro: http://www.watchdocs.pl/futuredocs/results_of_the_first_edition_of_future_docs,19.html
Since FUTURE DOCS received a lot of positive feedback from the participants and the results of the first edition are very promising we would like to open a call for entries for the second edition of FUTURE DOCS in autumn 2016. We are open to collaborations!
The first success we achieved at the early stage of our project was the number of applications from filmmakers. Secondly, the workshop in Warsaw received positive feedback from the participants and quite a few collaborations between activists and filmmakers have been launched. Another positive result of the workshop was a collaboration of FUTURE DOCS with the One World festival in Praque. As a result the follow-up meeting of FUTURE DOCS participants was organized, which helped significantly in the development of the film projects.
Moreover, we received an interest in the idea from other festivals and FUTURE DOCS was an inspiration to organize similar initiatives. For example One World Bucharest organized Civil Society Pitch in collaboration with FUTURE DOCS.
The biggest success we see at the moment is a number of film projects that emerged after Warsaw workshop, as well as empowering feedback we received.
We found extremely interesting and inspiring activists that took part in the project. Some of them - Olga Djurovic, Ofelya Zalyan and Maryna Hovorukhina devoted a lot of their time to research, interviews providing information to filmmakers. They also came to Prague for the second FUTURE DOCS meeting. Their strong commitment to the issues they work with inspired the filmmakers. The activists' engagement in the projects made it possible to develop them further. They continue the colaboration with the filmmakers and are the heroines of FUTURE DOCS for us.
FUTURE DOCS provides a platform for a creative meeting of filmmakers and activists. At a joint workshop in Warsaw ideas for possible film projects were presented by human rights defenders and new collaborations were facilitated. Later on, preparation of film projects is supported by the tutors and the project team. The most promising project will receive a bursary for further development. Lessons learnt will help in designing a permanent on-line platform connecting filmmakers and activists. FUTURE DOCS should bring about new powerful documentaries with potential for tangible social impact.
Watchdogs for Docs that Matter is a project aimed at ensuring that human rights stories are told in today’s Europe. By bringing together filmmakers and activists to discuss relevant social-political problems, it forges unusual partnerships that foster connection in Europe.