SOCIAL INITIATIVES FILMS
This year we have three hot premiers straight from the Planet Doc Review Festival as well as the world-renowned and comparable to Schindler’s List, Hotel Rwanda. Come see these challenging films daily in Café Cauliflower, location…, at 18.00.
Wednesday 18.00 – Hotel Rwanda
Thursday 18.00– Urbanized
Friday 18.00– Ambassador
Saturday 18.00– Surviving Progress
Urbanized dir. Gary Hustwit, Great Britain, 2011, 85 min.
After “Helvetice” and “Objectified”, director Gary Hustwit decided to expand his theme of the design of objects to design of cities and prove that in the day of urbanization this is one of the greatest challenges facing modern society. He shows who and how cities are formed using the history of architecture and urbanization (Jacobs and Moses in New York), modern citizen’s movements (protest Stuttgart 21) and expert comments on spectacular failures of city planning, such as in Brazil.
In the beginning of the 19th Century only 2.5% of the world’s population lived in cities, about 30 million people. That number grew to 2 billion in the following 100 years. According to the World Bank, city dwellers make up over half of the world’s population and by 2030 that will grow to 60%. If this migration from rural areas to cities isn’t met with appropriate political development and interest on the part of leaders and citizens, urbanization may turn into slums.
Selected festivals and awards: 2011- MFF Toronto/Toronto IFF, 2011 – CPH:DOX Kopenhaga/CPH:DOX Copenhagen,
The Ambassador dir. Mads Bruggner, Denmark 2011, 93 min.
Danish journalist and satirist, Mads Brugger, sets off on a journey to the heart of Africa to show the terrifying face and depth of corruption that exists in that part of the world. He pretends to be a weird, enigmatic and depraved diplomat from the west that looks like a cross between Henry Stanley and Karl Lagerfeld. After buying a diplomatic passport on the black market he becomes the Liberian Consul to the Central African Republic. With a cigar in hand and shiny, leather boots he plays the dynamically active, rich businessman who comes to central Africa to do business. Officially he is to build a match factory where he will employ Pygmies, who are according to the locals, endowed with “magical powers of fire”. In reality, though, he plans to meet up with diamond salesmen who will help him buy diamonds.
Despite warnings that he could die, this false ambassador doesn’t reveal his true identity and keeps up the masquerade of a diplomatic magnate. His mission turns out to be harder than he expected, however.
“Ambassador” is an interesting example of a documentary- journalism approach to film. The Ambassador is a genre-breaking, tragic comedy about the bizarre and grotesque world of African diplomacy whose budget was 1 million Euro. The film had negative consequences legally for many of the characters shown.
Selected festivals and awards: 2011 – IDFA , opening film /International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Opening night’s film, 2012 – FF Sundance/Sundance FF.
Surviving Progress, dir. Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks, Canada, 86 min.
“Surviving Progress” is a film essay, based on the book, A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright, and produced by the same producers who made “Corporation”. It’s a documentary, in the vein of “Inside Job”, that looks at the whole of man’s condition and shows the challenge before us as homo-sapiens to survive.
Canadian directors, Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks, made this film as a warning that man is on the brink of destroying Earth. This happens mainly due to our inability to reject the development paradigm- conquest and unlimited use of our planet. Referring to the history of civilization, the directors show the “progress traps” which have destroyed previous civilizations. Ours, it would appear, is not an exception. Using arguments from theorists and economists such as: Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, Vaclav Smil, Daniel Povinelli, Gary Marcus, and Marina Silva, the directors challenge us to change our thought process, but not by becoming hysterical or seeking an enemy.
“Surviving Progress” presents a wonderfully illustrated diagnosis of modernity, going beyond the current economic and climate problems. It tackles the source of the world situation- our way of thinking and false belief in growth as a panacea for all bad. Even though the ideal of development has been challenged today, it remains a strong weapon in the hands of those who accumulate wealth and have no time for rational thinking. The film suggests a way out of man’s never-ending-cycle of destruction but it seems victory will be very difficult and time is short.
Selected festivals and awards:2011 – MFF Montreal/Montreal IFF, 2011 – MFF Vancouver/Vancouver IFF, 2011 – MFF Toronto/Toronto IFF, 2011 – IDFA/International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, 2011 – MFF Dubai/Dubai IFF
HOTEL RWANDA dir. Terry George, South Africa, USA, Great Britain, Italy 2005, 121 min.
The hero of this film, based on fact, is Paul Rusesabagina, manager of the luxury hotel, Mille Collines. By using his contacts and bribing and scaring enemies, he saved 1268 refugees, both Tutsi and Hutu, who sought refuge in the hotel in 1994.
Western film critics often compared Hotel Rwanda to Schindler’s List and there is a lot of truth to that. They tell similar stories in a Hollywood way.
After viewing the film at the Berlin Film festival, several critics accused the director of bias. It is obvious that Terry George tells only one side of the story without delving into the roots and reasons behind the conflict. He tells the story of individuals and their tragedies. In this case, that attitude is understandable. Hotel Rwanda is above all a moving story of an exceptional man as well as a warning and pacifist appeal that that sort of tragedy never happens again.
NGO Breakfast 9:45-11:45
Wednesday-Saturday, only for those interested in involvement in NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) we’ll have coffee and rolls for breakfast with conversation about problems of the Third Sector. Each day we’ll cover a new topic- working with people, organizations and surroundings. Find us by the Social Initiative Fair SAF 2012.
We invite you daily from 15.00-9.00 to the Social Initiatives Fair where you can find out more about the organizations we have invited to the festival. They work in a large range of areas in the Third Sector. Here is the list of organizations joining us as of June 1:
1. Środowiskowy Dom Samopomocy CURATUS– a home for people with chronic psychiatric problems and illnesses
2. Society “Azyland”– work with those excluded from society, specifically now in three prisons in Silesia
3. Society “Inny Dom”– a group of young people devoted to the idea of helping and inspiring others to act. Have been running a day center for children age 7-17 since 2006
4. Serve the City– a group who wants to change the city by helping at orphanages, social therapy centers, with the homeless…
5. Foundation Na Rzecz Kultury Ottenbreit– works within and promoting culture, science and society
6. Society “Twoje Sprawa”– consumer organization that fights vulgarity, lack of culture and violation of good manners in advertising. Recently they were able to remove an ad in a popular TV magazine for porno films on cell phones.
7. Foundation “Ośrodka Karta”– deals with documenting and popularizing the newest history of Poland and Central and Eastern Europe as well as promoting democracy and tolerance. Was founded during the Marshall Law period in Poland and has lasted until now.
8. Pallottine Missions- run by the Polish Pallottine order has a “Heart Adoption” program which sponsors children, especially orphans, in needy countries. Through “Heart Adoption” concrete children are helped.
9. Humanity in Action– an international organization which works to strengthen human rights as well as minorities. They work in Europe and the USA.
10. Gaja Club– one of Poland’s oldest organizations caring for the environment and animals. We invite you to a cycle of meetings with them this year.
11. “Czas Demokracji”– a co-op of organizations under the „My Obywatele” (We the Citizens) umbrella. Their goal is to show how democratic procedures and grass-roots initiatives that are based on co-operation, solidarity and member activity succeed.